Guns scare me. They scare me in a way that someone who's never held a firearm can be afraid. It's equal parts lack of knowledge and the preconceived notions I'm stuffing into the casings of my own hangups, slamming into a cold magazine, and hoping to hell I left the safety on.
I fear guns because I know what I'd do to myself with one. In and out of mental hospitals as a kid, my instability caught me in the crosshairs of never being able to own weaponry. I'm on a list. It's kind of weird and makes it damn near impossible to learn about guns meaningfully. So I'm trying out the Concealed Carry Match dating site to get a clue and possibly cause my own anxieties about firearms to stand down.
Concealed Carry Match launched in August, garnering write-ups in Breitbart and Guns.com, though COO Molly Lund claims the site has little do with politics. Nonetheless, Concealed Carry Match lowkey hopped on the anti-Hillary Clinton bandwagon when it tweeted out a discount code after the Democratic candidate's "basket of deplorables" comment slamming Donald Trump supporters.Lund was amiable at first when I emailed her about doing a quick interview, then stopped responding when I sent over questions and followed up a few times. Maybe this TrumpSingles writeup with my colleague Jay Hathaway was a dealbreaker.
It's hard not to feel like hanging your romantic aspirations on a singular amendment (shoutsout to #2A) isn't an inherently political action. But Lund doesn't even own a gun and the above tweet "resonated with [Concealed Carry Match] because there are a lot of incorrect generations about the concealed-carry community," so she said in an interview with USA Today.
"We have a sense of humor about those kinds of buzzwords," Lund added.
At the time I started browsing the site, Concealed Carry Match was about one month into its existence and was perhaps more active than it is now. My experience from the middle of October to just into November was akin to stepping into the cobwebbed basement of a library in disarray.
Of the cumulative 338 profiles on the site, none seemed active and few were complete. The green dots indicating if a user was online stayed perpetually gray and my messages went unanswered. And there certainly wasn't anyone in or around New Orleans that I could try to meet up with. Was Concealed Carry Match a passing fad passing faster than an NRA-supported bill?
A quick perusal of Alexa, the ranking system to end all website ranking systems, showed not enough data to even justify its trends. The site is ranked in the the low 3 millions, and an average of 2.5 visitors—so, like, two people and a firearm—darkened its empty doors per day. For a few weeks, I was one of the two.
Throughout her many interviews with more conservatively minded and/or larger publications, Lund stressed the importance of privacy on Concealed Carry Match. Per a writeup on Gun.com:
Lund said the company understands the attitudes of their clientele—as notoriously private—and maintains strict privacy policies to protect its members. She told Guns.com that the company reviews profiles as they come in on a daily basis, removing fake ones from the pile. The site also restricts contact to between paid members in an effort to prevent spam or anti-gun rhetoric.
Such a private, reclusive clientele does not a dating site make, though. Romance is inherently about patience and taking risks. I faced an unscalable barrier separating myself and my fears to learn about guns, and the courting process could've been an opportunity to learn, were it to ever happen in the first place. Instead, Concealed Carry Match appeared as flat as a scare tactic headline.
The only thing I learned from Concealed Carry Match is whether Louisiana requires a permit (it does, but you can get a lifetime one) and that the site probably isn't as strongly vetting profiles at it purports to be. I slipped in under the username "goodasscontent," which is not only vulgar but definitely suspicious.
Like many barebones dating websites, Concealed Carry Match's membership comes with an auto-renew feature, making it an ideal moneymaker for every customer who forgot about it, or can't seem to navigate through an opaque cancellation process. Concealed Carry Match may succeed monetarily, but when it comes to finding love, it's seriously off the mark.