One thing I've learned over the years is that if you really want to get boat folks all riled up, talk about anchors or guns.
My Mom's side of the family, the farm family, always owned guns. I got my first gun, a bolt action .22 (which I still have) when I was 16 and used it for hunting small game and target shooting. That gun taught me a lot. Since I was only 16, I had to take a hunter/gun safety course before I could get my first hunting license. I learned about safety and responsibility when handling firearms, and respect for the property of others.
At one point, I had my .22 rifle and 12 gauge shotgun on board Drift Away, but I put them in storage. We'd be traveling down the coast and I didn't want to run afoul of any local gun ordinances. Besides, we have two pit bulls. Who is going to mess with us? And if someone did board us to rob us, would I really shoot him?
I really never gave the ownership of guns much thought until recently, with mass murders seemingly in vogue, gun violence at record highs in inner cities, cries for gun control from some, and similar cries about gun confiscation, the 2nd amendment, and government tyranny from others. Guns are headline news, especially in some of the urban stops we made on Drift Away. Baltimore, in particular, seems loaded with gun violence.
Being an inquisitive sort, and the kind of person who tries to understand all sides of an issue, I've done a bit of research over the past few years. One conclusion that I've come to is that, in my opinion, the NRA is a sham. It is no longer the worthy gun education group it once was. Nor does it lobby lawmakers on behalf of gun owners, but rather gun manufacturers. The NRA is all about selling guns and corporate greed.
In advance of our move back to upstate New York to build our little farmstead, I recently looked into joining a local rifle club. One requirement of membership is joining the NRA. I will not be joining the rife club.
This is a good video. Please get by the remarks about things like hollow point bullets (these folks obviously aren't hunters), and focus on the organization of the NRA and it's funding, and how it operates by instilling fear, uncertainty, and doubt in both its members and the general public. It's pretty much in agreement with my own findings.
As for whether you should carry guns aboard your boat, well, that's entirely up to you. But if you do, please make sure they're properly locked and secured, that you and anyone else aboard is trained in the proper use of each gun, and that they are only used as an absolute last resort.