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CrossFitters hate guns! There is no place in CrossFit, or the fitness industry, for guns. That is what the some out there would have us believe.

The winners of the 2016 CrossFit Games, in addition to money and various other prizes, were awarded certificates for which they could turn in to Glock and receive a pistol. As soon as Dave Castro, the Director of the CrossFit Games, made the announcement, the media went ablaze. Within hours there were reports of the entire CrossFit community, comprising approximately 800,000 in the US and approximately 1.2 million people worldwide, disgusted and ready to walk out on CF because of the decision to give pistols as prizes.

Below are a few of the news headlines the day after the announcement.

“CrossFit Games come under fire for awarding Glocks as prizes” – LA Times

“CrossFit Games to award winners a Glock handgun leading to backlash from Reebok, ESPN” – NY Daily News

“CrossFit Games’ decision to award Glock handguns sparks outrage” – USA Today

Media outlets quoted distraught CrossFitters that were beside themselves with anger and outrage.

“Half of the US and most of the rest of the world do NOT agree with the American gun culture, and are disgusted that you are forcing people who do CrossFit to be associated with it.” said one CrossFitter.

“As a reward for fitness you can potentially shoot people? After the worst mass shootings in USA, I hardly feel bringing a community together via guns is in the spirit of CrossFit. Shameful.” said another.

NBC, CBS, and ABC local affiliates ran news videos with titles like, “Pistol Prizes for CrossFit Games Spark Outrage.”

As grand as all that is, my favorite bit from this nonsense is the on-line petition that was started. Some limp-wristed milk-toast from down under started an online petition in an attempt to get Dave Castro to change his mind. Within hours, it was reported, it had garnered over 10,000 signatures. As of this writing it had a massive 22,319 signees. Let’s put that in perspective. It is roughly 2.7% of the population of CrossFitters in America and less than 2% of the worldwide CrossFit population. Hardly a significant number.

CrossFitters love our guns. And there is a great reason for it. Guns were CrossFit before CrossFit was Crossfit.

An old west adage said, “God made men and woman. Samuel Colt made them equal.” No truer statement has been made. And along with Samuel Colt, CrossFit continues to work in that endeavor. In fact, except woman’s suffrage (passed in 1920), I can’t think of anything that has leveled the playing field for woman more than guns and CrossFit.

Gun ownership empowers woman to go places and do things they may not feel comfortable doing otherwise. Being able to handle a weapon is an emboldening skill. A skill that provides one with options. Gun ownership provides safety. It increases confidence. It doesn’t matter how big one is when they are facing down the barrel of a .38. While we would love a world without violence, as long as the male of our species breaths and possesses testosterone, it is never going to happen. Guns level a playing field that is often tilted to the strong and powerful. Woman understand this and have responded with a 270% increase in gun ownership since 2007.

Gun ownership didn’t stop with empowering women, either. Minority rights and freedoms were secured because of our nation’s love affair with firearms. The Emancipation Proclamation may have stated that slaves were free, but it took the kind of persuasion that only gun powder and a lead bullet can provide to make it true. Right up until the 1960’s in parts of the rural South, the law may have said black and whites were equal, but reality painted a very different picture. Black communities were routinely ransacked and terrorized by the klan. Things started to quickly change when black communities, with the help of the NRA, began arming themselves. One can read about it in World War II Marine veteran Robert F. Williams’ book “Negroes with Guns”.

CrossFit, much like gun ownership, is changing the way woman are viewed in both recreation and the workplace. Societal norms for the female body type are changing and women that participate in CrossFit are learning to define their own beautiful. In a segment of the fitness industry that had been entirely dominated by men, woman now have an equal, if not more popular, voice. Woman swing kettlebells, walk with yokes weighing hundreds of pounds, dead lift the world, squat heavy, and snatch and clean and jerk ridiculously heavy weights. The opposite sex is being viewed in an entirely different way, and more importantly woman are viewing themselves differently. If CrossFit has done nothing else is has become the modern day equalizer.

This phenomenon has not just hit the female population; it has transcended the age demographic as well. Senior citizens are leading healthier and more productive lives because of their commitment to reclaiming their fitness. Slowly but surely, the world is viewing those with a few grey hairs and a few wrinkles when they smile, differently. And rightly so! Just a few days ago at the CrossFit Games 60 year-old men and women were knocking out gymnastics movements and deadlifts that make most of us “younger” athletes wish we possessed their ability.

I’d even venture to say that CrossFit is even helping race relations during the very strained time in which we live. There is no time for prejudice in a Gym Full of Iron. Barbells hate all races equally. Exhaustion discriminates against everyone regardless of country of origin, creed, or sexual orientation. It is “#allrepsmatter” in a CrossFit gym.

I don’t understand the anti-gun lobby. It is humorous to listen to them try and tell us that we don’t like guns. CrossFit empowers people. Guns, throughout history, have empowered those that might otherwise not have had their voice heard, or their personal freedom guaranteed. Who wouldn’t like that?

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