Many people say that those who are anti-gun and anti-gun rights simply can’t be reasoned with; that no discussion is possible because they reject logic and reason. Therefore the people themselves are rejected. However, would it surprise you to learn that that’s likely the exact same perception “they” have of us who firmly believe in the value and promise of the Second Amendment and firearm ownership in general?
By relegating all those who disagree to the proverbial trash heap, we who are pro-gun rights shoot ourselves in the foot by treating them exactly as they expect. In their eyes, we’re the “Neanderthals” who refuse to get with the times and live peaceably in society without our “arsenal” of weapons.
How to bridge this divide?
First, realize that they see us exactly as we see them. Then realize that if some discussion between opposite camps doesn’t happen, two things will: 1) gun owners and gun rights advocates will go the way of the dodo bird, and 2) the Second Amendment will either be repealed outright or regulated into oblivion.
Second, and this will be one of the hardest parts for all of us: shut up and listen. Actually, listen to their arguments, and then ask questions. I don’t mean the inane questions such as “who are you going to call when…”, I mean questions that force both of you to actually think; to examine your beliefs and why you believe them. Plus, be ready to be asked the same questions you’re asking, and examine your own beliefs. It’s not enough to have talking points memorized; be ready to articulate your position. And if they ask a question to which you don’t know the answer, admit that and offer to look it up and get back to them.
Third, if they’re willing, take them under your wing and teach them about guns, gun rights, and responsible ownership, use, and carrying of firearms. Teach them gun safety. Take them to the range. Show them that a gun is a lot like a computer: when used properly and safely they’re a hell of a lot of fun; when used improperly and unsafely, they cause unnecessary trouble in droves.
Finally, keep in mind that all of us have to keep our emotions in check and not revert to cliche. Once we’ve done that, the discussion is over and whomever we’re talking with has an even lower opinion of “our kind of people.”
This is not an impossible task. It is a task that will require effort on all of our parts. For the sake of us and our progeny, and indeed the country, we can’t afford to screw this up anymore.
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