An Ex Gun Control Advocate’s Perspective on Socializing with “Soft” Anti-Gunners
Positive social interaction is a key element to swaying “soft” gun control advocates.
I am a former Gun Control Advocate. It has occurred to me recently that I was always more of a “soft” anti-gunner. I was very passionate about my feelings, yet they were based on a lack of knowledge. Once I understood firearms better, I was almost instantly swayed.
After writing an article about my experiences at the Albany Gun Rally, responses flooded in. I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who sent me positive encouragement to write more. Other responses I received had me a little concerned.
It seems the general attitude is that this struggle for gun rights is a war, and the opposition is an enemy to be crushed. I do not believe this, because wars eventually end. This struggle will not. Even when freedom is attained, its retention must forever be ensured by the watchful eyes of free individuals. It is my feeling that for us to succeed, this must be a way of life.
If every single day people are socialized with and this struggle kept current, the opposition will have a difficult time surviving.
While some gun control advocates are stubborn, there are plenty of “soft” anti-gunners out there. They are people that are undecided, or simply uneducated about firearms, and their opposition is to the “unknown” more than anything else. With a proper introduction to firearms, their perspective can change.
However, the moment is very fragile when a soft-anti-gunner opens themselves to firearms. Their opinion of firearms ownership hangs in the balance, and it is important to nurture this moment and above all do nothing to destroy it. I can speak from personal experience that many, many people do just that.
The warrior spirit can often be misconstrued as “coming on too strong” by the hesitant. I am not saying we should shed the warrior soul, but I am saying to focus it toward something constructive that empowers the newcomer.
Things like giving novice shooters overpowered firearms with no instructions on their use definitely works against the struggle. Especially if laughter follows the trigger pull that ultimately causes them to wince in pain.
Unnecessary drama in gun clubs tends to alienate the newcomer, making it seem as if shooting is more aggravation than it is worth.
Glaring, rather rudely, at “outsiders” and other new faces that enter our local gun shops only enforces certain stigmas about the gun culture.
Speaking to women in a dismissive manner is also detrimental. To underestimate the power added to this movement by female ownership of firearms is foolish.
Also, while it may seem minor, talking to a novice using advanced technical jargon they likely do not understand does possibly the worst damage of all. It makes our passion seem boring.
I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to enter the gun culture. To be honest, there were many times I thought about returning to my anti gun ways. I am glad this never occurred, however the point remains the same. These people are not our enemy; they are our future. Sociable actions, casual guidance and friendly offerings of useful education are without a doubt the most effective tools for embracing them.
Case in point; I received a message from a firearms instructor. He states that while most soft-anti-gunners change their minds by the end of one of his classes, some do not. More importantly, though, is the fact that after being treated with cautious mercy, a friendly smile, open heart and mountains of easily understood education, those individuals no longer felt the need to oppose gun ownership. It is a winning formula for us.
I am in no way implying many of us are not out there at this very moment educating our communities. I do, however, think it is safe to assume that many readers can list a few individuals inadvertently working against the cause. We need to work together.
Our struggle is as much cultural as it is political. I received so many curious questions about my thought process. Each side of the debate has shown curiosity toward me as if looking through a window to the other side. Quite simply, we are curious about each other! Take it as a sign, now is the time to get to know one another.
To date, I have set up a few fun social gatherings with three soft-anti-gunners, who no longer oppose the firearms movement. Two of them now own their own firearms. I challenge you to beat my record, and recommend you challenge someone else to beat yours.
We may not comply, but we will unite.
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