Ah… the great divide - between those who support gun ownership and those who don’t.
I bet most (if not all) of the folks in our USCCA community are the former! But I also bet that MANY people in our community have had to speak with those from the latter. And it’s not an easy task! People who are against our individual right to keep and bear arms have loads of reasons, and some of those reasons are intricately intertwined with their emotions, their political views, and even their personal value systems.
So how do we effectively speak to (and possibly even reach) the anti-gun crowd?
For those who will be in attendance at our 2021 EXPO in Fort Worth, you’ll have to stop by and check out my session. It’s one of my favorite presentations! But even if you can’t join us (and also because I am curious), please feel free to share a memorable moment you’ve had with someone from the anti-gun side.
I’d love to hear a big win, of course, but those not-so-great interactions are also great for us to learn from!
I just state the facts that protection for you and your loved one is a priority. How you do just that is a personal choice and in the state of Florida there are options that property train and licensed individuals can explore.
A lot depends on whether you are talking to people in rural versus urban areas. Generally rural folks have their own opinions about guns. They don’t mind talking about them once they get to know you and have some idea about your motives. Urban people tend to be more openly vocal about guns whether they know you or not. It doesn’t make any difference if they own a gun, know anything about guns or are afraid of guns. They think they have an opinion about firearms when it’s actually just a group opinion. One of their biggest problems is being reluctant to use the top half of the phone.
Points to consider: guns have no magical power to fire themselves - the shocking lack of respect for life, property, etc., in today’s society, due to social and economic reasons - it takes a gun to stop a gun, forcing citizens to arm themselves to even go to a supermarket, or adopt a fortress mentality - the glaring incompetence of government and public officials.
I have often had to explain to people why I carry a firearm because that is a question they ask me. Some even ask me if the gun was loaded. Go figure. Has anyone else ever experienced this and how have you answered? Some of the people who ask these questions are also Anti 2nd amendment. Its a sensitive discussion and sometimes these conversations you really want to avoid. But anyway I am interested to know if others have experienced this and how would you handle it.
I explained to them and emphasized, I do not want to kill no one! I would rather like to make you a good meal and have a drink with you then cause anyone any pain or have to shoot them but,… when it come to my life or yours, that is where I am going to have to draw the line. I hope and pray that I will never have to use my gun for self-defense and there is a chance that I may never have to but, IF I do I would really have to had used it. The problem lies with others looking to do harm to others and there are those out there in the world that do not care one Iota who gets hurt. In a perfect utopian world we would never need guns but, we do not live in a utopian type of world. Ideas are peaceful but, History is violent.
I feel it is important to know some good responses to some tough questions that the anti-gun people may have. There is an old saying “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” You may even have a chance of changing anti-gunners into strong 2A supporters with the right words. That’s what we all hope for anyway. I posted above that one of the questions most frequently asked is Why do you carry? A lot of us may have a different response to that question. I’m glad @Beth brought this up again since that last post about 2 years ago we have had tens of thousands of people become community members. I am interested in some of those responses also.
After years and years of trying, I find the issue is generally one of emotion, rather than misinformation. They are often afraid of guns and want the government to take on the role of defender.
As an example, my sister is an attorney, and has grown up watching me hunt and shoot for decades. She has never shot a gun or wanted to shoot a gun–until the riots last year.
Now she is a CCW holder.
The issue for her was personal protection. She had always trusted in a good neighborhood and LE to keep her safe. With basically the breakdown of civilized society during the riots in some areas–she woke up. I’m sleeping better as well, knowing she can defend herself now. Yeah, she turned out to be pretty good with a Glock 43.
My point of the story–until it’s personal, and they actually see that they have a really good chance of being a victim, and that they have a great chance of preventing that (if they have the mindset); they change. Until then, logic will not suffice, and winning arguments is not converting to the cause.
Yes and yes. I think this is why we saw such a dramatic upswing last year in first-time gun ownership. The issue of self defense became very real and very personal as people watched the rioting in their cities, or what could just as easily be their cities.
When the police don’t come on scene, or when they do, but don’t engage the rioters, citizens realize they must be able to protect their lives and property themselves. We saw so much of this in the prior year, that many were finally convinced of that necessity.
We are all our own first responders. Whether we decide to act on that responsibility is our choice.
Fear is obviously a huge motivator for the anti-gun crowd. In the case of some close relatives of mine who do NOT own a gun (even if not vocally anti-2A), they have a great fear of accidental misuse or discharge in the home. Of course if you never learn and train, you’ll be dominated by your fears. They have kindly turned down my friendly offers. But there is still hope. Same with learning to drive a car, or to swim, etc. Another greater fear, threat, loss, or perceived value in a new skill, would have to change their mind.
Other relatives of mine have bought into the gun control misinformation and related “statistics”. These are the same relatives who believe the last election was free of any fraud and who watch ONLY certain news sources. And maybe not so coincidentally, these same relatives are now very worried about the COVID delta variant. And of course they have the complete opposite opinion of me. In their eyes I am the one who is completely misguided, taking too much risk, and in error.
It’s not any one factor, IMO. The anti-gun sentiment seems to go along with other factors and mindset. And the other side would say the same about me/us. Even among family I find that sometimes we just agree to diasgree.
Slight disagreement in that I believe it is emotion fueled by misinformation and misperception.
In my experience the self-righteous anti gun person takes a position of moral superiority to attack the gun itself as evil and the gunner as a merchant of death.
Being morally superior logic becomes less effective on them. Patience is required to drive a wedge in the self-righteous armor. Ask leading questions about other Amendments to the Constitution to guide the discussion toward some agreement on the protection from government infringement of human rights.
i.e. We needed the Fourteenth Amendment to remove the ability of local governing bodies to ignore the rights of individuals. IMO
Emotion, misinformation, attitude, education or rather the lack of real facts and the truth often lead to group thinking and opinion sharing. But I believe that the overwhelming one sided negative media coverage of gun violence where criminals with guns are the marquee story. What we rarely if ever see or hear about is when a well trained, responsible firearm owner stops a potential mass murder, stops a mugging, stops an armed robbery, saves a grocery store clerks life when reacting to a threat of bodily injury or death is present, etc. The “feel” good stories are not shared with the public so the public only sees one side… the negative scary side. Because everyday all most people see is horror, murders, rapes, armed robberies, and groups motivated by politics start clamoring for gun control … gun control… the only people gun control will impact is the law abiding, responsible American Citizen. Criminals don’t give a damn about gun control. most weapons used to commit crimes are illegal to begin with…so making new laws, limiting magazine sizes, outlawing so called assault rifles, etc.etc. Will have zero impact on the criminal element but will have a huge negative impact on the average, law abiding citizen who would, by abiding by these potential new gun control, gun limiting laws, become even more vulnerable and less protected against the REAL PROBLEM - the criminals who don’t care about laws… So what we need is REAL FIREARM EDUCATION… REAL STORIES… FACTUAL STORIES that level the playing field and provides the average American citizen the view from 20,000 feet above and not just the view from 5 feet in front of your face … Truth is Guns have never killed anyone… people kill people- guns are just the weapon of choice more often than other things like knives, bats, etc. For those people that actually believe that GUNS KILL PEOPLE, then I guess PENCILS MISSPELL WORDS, CARS DRIVE DRUNK, and SPOONS MAKE PEOPLE FAT… at the end of the day, EDUCATION is critical, nerve to stand up and challenge those who spread false information or who use canned comments of others mostly driven by a political agenda. We have to as a society start using our own brain for our own thoughts and conclusions and not just to repeat someone else’s opinion- which quite frankly may be incorrect… maybe they too listened to someone who didn’t pursue ALL the facts but only those that would help fit their political agenda and the all we get is political rhetoric… we already have way too much of that… We must somehow get back to using good old fashioned COMMON SENSE again… we have a lot of political leaders that have all kinds of degrees… but sadly lack common sense…
I will admit to having had some fear of misuse or accidental (negligent) discharge before being a gun owner. Fear of the unknown, right? In theory, that fear can be dispelled easily. All it takes is education, and maybe a little hands on experience.
Exposure to the fine group of people right here is another way to convey how seriously we take safety and responsibility.
What can’t be so easily corrected is the body of inane gun laws wrought by people who don’t have any accurate knowledge about guns, nor desire to gain such knowledge.
I have had numerous interactions with the anti-gun crowd. Some went well and some didn’t go well at all. I have found that, in general, you are not going to change anyone’s mind in a single interaction, so now I go for the long game. Successes usually come from establishing a prolonged dialogue that may last over the course of days, weeks, or months.
I used to train dogs, so I use a lot of the same techniques: Establish trust, lay down the ground rules, reinforce messages and behaviors, continue to build trust, etc.
Have had a few anti-gun people who now shoot regularly with us. Those are real wins. Those are also real rare.
I start with the proposition that an anti-gun person is not “an enemy.” Just like there are no “bad dogs.”
I have trained a number of anti gunners. My approach is to make sure I don’t mock or belittle them or their beliefs. I don’t speak in an authoritative voice and maintain a calm demeanor. Keep it friendly at all times. Offer information and if they are receptive, continue, ending up by offering to show them some firearms and eventually asking it they would like to try one. If yes, start small like a Ruger 10-22 and then a 22 revolver. Move on to semi-auto and then see if they want to up the caliber to 38 and 9mm… This is the way I have done it and over the years I have created several avid gun enthusiasts and quite a few new gun owners. The main fact is that most anti gunners know nothing about the real world of guns. I just converted another young lady last weekend, She wants to go shopping now, LOL I have to admit that I have a distinct advantage in that I have a home range in my back yard. One of the bennies of rural life.