Watch the mainstream media's coverage of the 2013 NRA Convention -- if there is any -- and you will almost certainly not meet any of the gun owners TheBlaze is about to introduce you to. Despite the stereotypes thrown around about gun owners in America, we found a remarkably diverse, patriotic crowd at the event in Houston Saturday who shattered the image anti-gun advocates have carefully crafted for "gun nuts."
Without having to seek them out, we found gun owners old, young, black, white as well as a lot of military veterans. However, they all had one thing in common -- they are not happy about the way gun owners in America are portrayed in the media.
Ethan Sanders, 19, told TheBlaze that the media portrays practically every gun owner as a "criminal lunatic -- someone who is going to go out and kill someone."
"Owning a firearm isn't about shooting a deer, it's not about any of that," he said. "It's about defending yourself against other people, specifically a tyrannical government. And they try to paint all of us as some sort of crazy people who just want to start shooting…you never want to shoot somebody, you never want to kill another person."
And Sanders had a very short, simple message for the media: "Stop lying about us."
Zeke Emejulu, a black conservative from Houston, told TheBlaze he's tired of gun owners being portrayed as "a bunch of idiots."
He said gun owners are smart and are unfairly demonized because the anti-gun crowd seems to think that guns, inanimate objects, "have lives of their own and go on random shooting sprees."
"What I would say to the mainstream media is that they ought to live up to their journalistic standards, which presumably includes doing actual research and laying out facts rather than opinion," Emejulu said. "Get to know what you are reporting about, in-depth, not just enough for a three minute segment…Stop injecting your own preconceived notions of what you think about guns."
Retired U.S. Marine John Tullous, of Wilmington, N.C., took a three-day road trip to make it to the NRA Convention in Houston, but he says it was worth it. Tullous agreed to talk to TheBlaze because he knew he would not be taken out of context or made to look crazy.
He recalled going to the NRA Leadership Forum -- which featured speakers like Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum -- and seeing a gaggle of media members huddling together "scared to death."
"They wouldn't look you in the eye, they had no integrity. They were absolutely terrible," Tullous said. "I can't stand them."
If he could tell the media one thing, he said he would ask so-called journalists to show "courage" and stand up for the U.S. Constitution.
Tullous, a true American hero, spent 22 years in the Marine Corps. He served a tour in Vietnam, South America and was involved in "quite a few shooting conflicts" throughout his military career.
Houston resident Mitch Duffy was accompanied by his 11-year-old son, Nolan, at the NRA Convention on Saturday. He said it's important to teach kids at an early age to respect firearms, but emphasize that they don't have to be afraid of them.
Nolan said his favorite part of the NRA event was spending time with his dad and checking out all the "awesome" antique and modern guns that filled the massive convention floor.
And again, the topic of the mainstream media's coverage of gun owners came up. Duffy said the media doesn't understand who gun owners really are, adding that the Second Amendment should be celebrated and not demonized.
Take a good look folks, these are the faces of the NRA Convention that the mainstream media won't show you.