How do you start a conversation about guns without looking like a gun nut ( I live in the communist state of California so keep that in mind)
Unfortunately, in CA, I feel your only real option is to respond to, not start, the conversation.
USUALLY, most gun folks have key words and tricky phrases that can be used in the most innocent of “get to know you conversations”.
Them: “So what did you do last weekend.”
Me: “I spent too much time perforating paper.”
Gun guy: “Oh, How far out?”
Non-Gun Guy: “Oh, so you had to work?”
Me: “Did some close stuff but got to 200.”
Gun Guy: What were you shooting?"
Non Gun Guy: “Wow, that must have been a heck of a report.”
There are many others but it’s kind of like dating, you dance around, often times back off, circle each other because neither want’s to give it up bluntly.
Usually you can almost smell another gun guy or girl, it is just the way they act.
For most difficult topics, you are in a better rhetorical position to allow others to open the conversation. as Sun Tzu -or some other ancient master strategist- said, “He who moves first loses the advantage.”
I find that responding to another’s statements can be a more effective way of conveying important information. If I start the conversation I can be perceived as trying to impose my views/info, whereas when I respond to someone else’s statements I am simply asking questions for clarification (Socratic method) or providing corrections to errors.
See? Interested and helpful, and at all times respectful.
Or the GSR all over them.
Living in the same state as the OP I find the lines are drawn before the conversation ever starts.
So it is always best to be well prepared for the standard objections. And whatever happens do not give in to a change of language or definitions.
Know that more people are killed with hammers or blunt objects than AR 15s. Also know that an AR-15 is not an assault rifle and assault weapon is a made up term.
You can not let them drag you down the path of what the founding fathers meant when they say they were talking about the military or muskets. The musket was the most advanced weapon of the day and the Supreme Court has affirmed the rights of the second amendment apply to the American citizen.
Be ready for the “banned weapons will stop shootings” and remind people that Chicago has as many shootings as they had in El Paso almost any weekend.
Lastly understand the debate has nothing to do with mass shootings or any shootings because no one that wants to ban law abiding citizens from having a gun is willing to increase the penalty for the criminal that uses a gun illegally.
Once again look at what happens when stiffer penalties are proposed for the shooters in Chicago.
Very little will change after these debates except you anti gun neighbors will most often not mention the subject when you are in attendance.
I’m in California and I have no problem bring up the conversation of firearms. I don’t currently carry but I’m always aware of my surroundings and keep my head on a swivel so people around me tend to ask why I’m looking around so much and I let them know or sometimes I’ll just flat out ask people how they feel about people being able to protect themselves with firearms. Never scared to talk about what I’m passionate about just wish I was more educated on the topic as far as all the legal things that come with ownership of a firearm and if I ever had to use it to defend myself.
This is the right place to learn about that, so stop wishing and start reading!
That’s exactly why I’m here and on a few other sites. I want to soak up as much as I can as often as I can
When in doubt, ask questions! Lots of great folks here glad to share what they know.
Opening the conversation… well I don’t usually start a random conversation with it… “hey lets talk about rifles!” but if asked what I did over the weekend I may say “I took a friend to the range to teach them to shoot” or “I did some practice at the range” or “I went to the range to practice with my firearm” or “I taught a concealed carry class”.
As a teacher, I’m not shy about discussing it, even when I lived in CA, but the are some people i don’t bring it up with because i know there’s no point.
Mostly i try to just bring a calm rational attitude, and facts. The more normal my demeanor is, the better anxious people can hear me. If they insist on hysteria and I can’t get them to join me in calm, I’m ok with saying “well, if you do want to have a calm conversation about this, I’m always happy to”, and walking away.
I’ve spent this weekend visiting at the beach with some childhood friends. We had lunch yesterday with another friend who mentioned to me that he wanted to get his CWP. The childhood friend looked at me and asked if I carried. I said yes, all the time, and that he’d been inches away from a concealed weapon for hours as we visited. I said it stays concealed and as unnoticeable as possible. I hope nobody ever has to see it when I’m carrying. I don’t think he expected that. Then another at the table began giving Biblical references. Another surprise fir him since he works for a very well known evangelical organization.
I found the USCCA decals on my truck windows start a lot of conversations … but if it looks like the kinda person who I don’t want to talk about guns with when they ask what that decal is I tell them that it is United States Commercial Carriers Assn