By: Tim U.

If one were to listen to the gun-grabbing politicians, one would think that all gun owners are far-right wing extremists bent on opposing everything and everyone opposed to the mainstream Republican agenda. Obviously, as the armed community knows, this is not the case. But, could someone from outside the firearm community tell this? Probably not. In the past, when elections were close and there was less polarization and division, the issue didn’t matter. In today’s political climate . . .

…with the all-time highs of polarization of right versus left, Democrat versus Republican, combined with years of racial voting “blocs”, we begin to see a demographic shift. While more people are becoming gun owners, we also have more people shifting to the center or even to the left of most political issues.

These people are all too willing to let gun owners be regulated out of existence if their elected officials are providing the answers they want for other issues our nation is facing.  Regardless of if you are more right or left leaning, if the Second Amendment is to survive the next generation, we need to focus on making the Second Amendment and firearms ownership a universal issue, not a right wing issue.

1.       Reduce Name Calling
How often have terms such as “libtard” turned up in firearm forums or in the comments of a blogger? It’s pretty common, and because the majority of the the active firearm community disagrees with the stereotypical “gun-grabbing Democrats,” nobody notices or cares to respond to it. Today, I will.

Ask yourself, will this comment polarize people? Will we push away potential supporters by making this statement? If the answer is yes, don’t do it. Our freedoms could be at stake, and we do not want to let the Second Amendment disappear because we couldn’t get along with people about immigration or gay marriage.

Not only should you personally avoid name calling that can cut off prospective Second Amendment supporters, but you should stand up for them in the firearm community if you find someone else making inappropriate comments. Show people that our community is not one that is made up of solely right wing bigots the way those who oppose our rights try to portray us as. That we are from a wide range of backgrounds, and will accept anyone who stands with us on the Second Amendment.

I may not always agree with you, but as long as you support the Second Amendment we can meet on that which we have in common. I will fully support your right to argue differently than me in politics, regardless of your political party affiliation.

2.       Invite Diverse People to the Range
We all have friends, family, coworkers, or acquaintances that are not already in the shooting sports or interested in firearms. Many may even oppose firearm rights or know absolutely nothing about firearms. Focus on inviting people to the range, to show them what it really is all about.

If you take the time to talk to these people you know about firearms, you will discover that odds are they are only fearful or against them because of the fear of the unknown. By gradually removing the mystery in conversation, they can begin to change and even be willing to take you up on that range invite.

And when you do get them to the range invite, only focus on safety and fun. Don’t correct them when they say “clip” or use other jargon that is not technically correct. As long as they have a safe, fun time, you have created the potential for a new shooter to be born, or at least someone not hostile to our rights. Someone who understands that firearm ownership is not a right versus left issue.

3.       Be Patient
When my wife and I first started dating, it came out that she was afraid of firearms. She was noticeably uncomfortable if she knew I was carrying on a date. I started slowly by covering the basics: that it’s just a last resort for self-defense. She began to understand, even if she didn’t agree or fully understand my viewpoint.

Over time, she was gradually exposed to firearms in conversation. Then, a big day came when she got to see my M1 Garand. I had purposefully picked this rifle to be her introduction to firearms because of her interest in history, especially World War II and Nazi Europe. She began to understand that firearms can carry on a unique history to enthusiasts, and that they really are just simple machines. By explaining how that Garand operated, I took away the “mystery” I referred to earlier.

Time passed, and eventually she worked up the desire to try shooting. I started her on a SIG Mosquito. To this day, she calls it “her” Mosquito. She has expressed an interest in obtaining her permit to carry, and in finding a suitable carry gun. She buys me ammunition if she finds it before I do. And she absolutely respects and supports the Second Amendment.

My point in this story is that, like many things, it takes time. You won’t convert an anti-gunner or even someone who is indifferent overnight. Don’t rush them or force them into it. Make it a positive learning experience.

The Second Amendment is not an issue that must be exclusive to Republicans or Libertarians. It should be a freedom that members of all parties, with all types of views, should be able to agree upon. When we inject our political views into discussion about it, we run the risk of alienating other would-be supporters. The firearms community as a whole needs to stop this and begin to realize the fact that the Second Amendment has the potential to be upheld by all parties…as long as the people voting for them support it, too.  Begin winning hearts and minds, and begin welcoming Democrats, gays, minorities, and everyone else to the gun community. We need them, now more than ever.

49 Responses to FNS-9 Contest Entry: Embracing the Other Side

  1. I used to be patient and polite. And while I was being patient and polite, the other side was stealing with both hands.

    I’m all done with being nice. I despise Democrats and what they stand for, and I have no tolerance for Republicans who can’t or won’t do any better than the lowlifes on the other side of the aisle.

    I’m going to call it the way I see it and I hope that the people who want to deprive me of what’s mine will be offended.

    Martin Luther King was polite and respectful, but he didn’t win the war. Malcolm X did.

    • Interesting point about Martin and Malcolm, Ralph; I partially agree with you.

      But hey…. you got any extra bitter pills?

        • I’m with you Ralph, totally. But I never call names. I stick to my position and I argue it without emotion. that is where we win.

          Give the assholes enough rope to hang themselves. Because they will. And they do.

    • I’m going to call it the way I see it and I hope that the people who want to deprive me of what’s mine will be offended.

      Do you actually expect your being pissed to somehow psychically quash opposition to the 2A?

    • Love your enemies only works in church.

      Out here in the real world on the field of battle, hugging the folks who wish to destroy your individual liberty is the sure way to have your liberty destroyed.

      When confronted with a lethal threat, decisive, forceful reaction is the only way to defend yourself. So it is with the jackwagons who are either too stupid to know what they are doing (useful idiots) or just plain evil in their political philosophy.

      Either way, the reaction against them should be the same. Just ask the ‘Nam vets who had to blow away kids who approached them wired with ied’s. Gut wrenching, but if they didn’t they’d be D-E-A-D. A threat is a threat is a threat.

      Bottom line: Stop the threat any way you have to.

      Like Levin says, we don’t want them to like us, we want to DEFEAT them.

    • If we don’t sway a lot of those libtards, we’ll never get out of this position.

      In a democracy the only way to win and keep it won is to out number your opponents. Where are we going to get more 2A supporters? It’s not like only pro-2A people are breeding and we’ll eventually out number them. The only option is to sway people who aren’t on our side, and you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    • GRINDING AMERICA DOWN – a Documentary EVERYONE needs to watch.

      Available on Vimeo.Search for ‘full movie’

  2. I agree with everything said. The only problem is that party politics, especially at the national level, currently seem to mandate party “purity” on any issue of significance. Accordingly, with a few exceptions, only Democrats are the ones presently pressing for the gun control that I oppose so vehemently, which causes a certain level of frustration. It can be difficult to keep that frustration in check at all times.

    • My very Republican mother can’t understand how my very liberal ass can like guns and support the second ammendment. Apparently there is some party line I’m supposed to be voting along.

  3. “Then, a big day came when she got to see my M1 Garand.”
    After how many dates is it appropriate to show a woman my M1 Garand?

    In all seriousness though, your first point is called appeasement. You are not polarizing the situation by name calling, you are resorting to name calling because you are dealing with a polarized person on a polarized issue. If someone is being an ass they are being an ass.

    Your 2nd and 3rd points are very good advice and I strongly encourage and practice them.

    But one point I’d like to make is this, “You won’t convert an anti-gunner or even someone who is indifferent overnight.” – by definition, you will not convert and anti-gunner, regardless of time or tactics. They are the only person that can do that, and they aren’t interested. If you could convert them, then they weren’t anti-gun, they were just indifferent, as you say, or they were uninformed on the subject, but willing to learn. I make the distinction because trying to convert an anti-gunner is a waste of time and energy, and therefore it is more important to identify them and avoid them all together, while spending your time and energy on the open-minded.

    • Well said, and much more mature than my comment.

      Oppose the antis, appease those who are reasonable, and always keep your powder dry.

    • “After how many dates is it appropriate to show a woman my M1 Garand?”

      The better question might be, “after which BASE is it appropriate?”

    • …your first point is called appeasement.

      Is behaving civilly and not calling people names really appeasement?

      If we’ve reached the point where not hurling childish insults is considered a compromise of our principles, then as a society, we’re screwed.

  4. Good post. I often think the same thing when debating in some comment section. When I see the pro-gun types start resorting to name-calling or insults instead of rational thought, I want to remind them which side they’re stealing debate tactics from.

    Also, I like the “her Mosquito” thing. I took my New England, city-girl fiancee to the range one time, and had her shoot the 10/22 with a small, inexpensive scope. Afterward, she’d semi-affectionately refer to it as “the sniper rifle.” (Sorry, Barrett 🙂 )

  5. Now I will throw a monkey wrench into the works. I have a friend who is an avid hunter and enjoys target shooting. He has been gracious enough to share his outdoor range with me and I have spent several afternoons sighting-in various firearms and just plain plinking with him. We really enjoy that time together. And he is about as far left as anyone could be, which confirms the author’s article.

    Now here’s the rub. He is so far left that he opposes any type of carry outside of the home. Further, he wants all firearms limited to three rounds because “you would never need more than three shots in a self defense situation”. He knows I have a concealed carry license and carry a lot. So does another friend of his. Neither of us are shy about our concealed carry licenses and have gently encouraged him once or twice to get his license. In spite of four years of positive interaction, he seems just as opposed to the 2nd Amendment as ever.

    I wish I knew a way to crack that nut.

    • So if one has more than three assailants, is the proper technique to run around until you can line up two or more with one shot?

      As for your friend, which amendment does he thinks “permits” him to hunt and target shoot?

    • Take him to a paintball field, give him three paintballs and load your hopper with a couple hundred. Step off ten paces and see if he changes his idea of what a reasonable self-defense ammo capacity is…

    • You could start by admiring what incredible daily privilege he enjoys that his outside-the-house experience has been entirely without a challenge to his idea of safety. A lot of times, being “lefty” means having grown up with a ginormous amount of social and other privilege that insulates one from things like having to take the 3 a.m. bus through the worst part of town, alone, as a working woman. Or being a queer couple (or triple, or quad) just about anywhere at any time. Or having meth addicts move in next door on Section Eight or a Angelo Mozilo Liar Loan.

      Of course there ARE those lefties who consider martyrdom the highest form of social involvement. They tend to be way too religio-masochistic for me to understand, and to be honest, they are the primary reason I carry everywhere: I know from experience that when trouble comes knocking, they will NOT stand up for me. Only I can.

  6. I disagree about the first point in a fashion. It depends upon the context. I agree that it’s not always appropriate and it doesn’t always help if speaking to someone to rationally convince them. However, you are not always trying to persuade someone rationally. Sometimes, a display of emotional conviction to your position is really what you want. Aristotle identified the components of persuasion to be pathos, logos, and ethos. All three need to be considered. Do you think politicians and government officials think harder about a constituent that calmly calls them and tells them their position or the one that rants and raves? They appreciate the former, but fear the latter because they know that emotionally committed people vote. They also call the media. They also file complaints and lawsuits. Sometimes you *need* to be seen as a emotionally involved to effect what you want. That sometimes will involve a little impolite language or name calling. Also, on a gun board, the emotional committment can instill solidarity among those like minded. I get it that you are uncomfortable with it, but don’t confuse that with it being something that no one should do.

    This is a mistake made by non-leftists the world over. They assume that showing yourself to be the calm and rational one will grant you the win. It will not. In fact, you may be seen as a good guy, but not very convincing. Ignoring emotion in your tactics is a huge mistake and always has been. Want to argue the federal budget, you can drone on about numbers (see how far that’s gotten anyone) or you can show the victims of government waste and overspending. Which one do think might move the needle for the majority of people? Further, do not assume that a single tactic or manner of presentation is appropriate for all people under all circumstances. Different people respond to different things, including, for some, name calling.

    Now, since this is the internet, I have to say explicitly that I’m not saying that name calling is a good tactic under all circumstances or even most circumstances. But neither is avoiding it panacea to persuasion. It depends upon who you are, who you are talking to, what you are talking about, and what you want your listerner to believe or do. In particular, the bigger issue is important. Do not fall for the notion that civility wins arguments or changes minds. Often it does not. And many times seeming to be “too civil” can hurt your credibility about an issue. Make of that what you will, but do not be unprepared to address the emotional side of your position, even if it involves a little name calling.

    As to points 2 and 3, spot on.

  7. The best way to convert someone is to melt their fears of guns away. This can be accomplished by associating with responsible players, enjoyable gun experiences, and safe practices. If they don’t get it after that then the libtards are inconvertible. 🙂

    The people you are going to switch sides with kindness are on the fence or just a little over the other side. The retardedly antigun need a seminal moment or tragedy to open their eyes to the world as a cruel and unsafe place for the masses.

    • “The retardedly antigun need a seminal moment or tragedy to open their eyes to the world as a cruel and unsafe place for the masses.”

      THIS. +10,000

      And it is sad when it happens, because it generally means that some innocent(s) did not have someone covering their backs when sociopath predators targeted them.

      This is the angle I always use in talking to rabid antis: you want to go through life abrogating your moral AND COMMUNITY responsibility to protect the vulnerable from being made prey, that’s your choice, though don’t expect me to conform to that or respect you for it. And don’t expect me to see it as anything other than vicious, primitive, and amoral Malthusian biology (“They’re weak and can’t keep up with the herd, therefore they deserve to be culled by the baddest predator.”).

      Usually for me the turning point in the conversation comes when they realize that I would cover THEIR backs in a situation or moment of vulnerability, but they would never cover mine. Usually they reply that they don’t want that, and would resent it if I did it. That is not, of course, their choice, but mine. The choice of moral response to predation, I mean.

  8. I tangle with gun control freaks almost daily–over at Mikeb302000 and elsewhere, including the HuffnPuff. I always try to be rational and respectful in the beginning, but if we’re going to get dirty, I will not be unarmed.

    That being said, people who are gun control’s true believers cannot be educated, for the most part. What I have to remember is that there are plenty of readers who haven’t made up their minds for every one who is my committed opponent. That’s why even when I’m going on the offensive, my heaviest weapons are facts and logic.

    • Greg, you are a minister to human ignorance. I got banned from DU, HuffPo, and Common Dreams for asking simple questions of antis. It seemed there was a pattern: at any point where someone would say, “You know, I hadn’t thought about it like that before,” that is, they started to think things through at a different level, one of the rabid antis would have me banned. I never made it personal at them. I talked about my experience of life, my experience with firearms and RKBA culture, including my firearms protecting me from being victimized by mean and crazy people presenting themselves as on the right. This was most notably during my years as a queer, pro choice, family farm, and microbusiness activist, and as a woman who likes to go backpacking alone in very wild places. Eventually I gave up that time consuming online stuff to take local people to the range, so your persistence earns my respect.

      You are exactly correct that for each dimwit nattering on at high volume with anti-facts, or even with facts, there may be dozens, even hundreds, of people on the sidelines, listening in, sifting, winnowing, weighing, considering. That is as it should be: our Bill of Rights was formulated by reasoned, experienced men who weighed many things in crafting those few words.

      I only wish that more pro-gun people were more reasoned and Mencken-like, rather than hysterical and hyperbolic. I’m of the view that adrenaline and piss do not go well with firearms. And I always think of what Tom Lehrer said: irreverence is easy; what’s hard is wit.

  9. By some statistics,there are 90 million gun owners in America.

    The current NRA membership tally is around 5 million people.
    Clearly a lot of gun owners don’t care about their rights,to say nothing about the liberal stooges among us.

    Before we can start changing Liberal minds-a task I personally find to be impossible to accomplish from the outside in- we must first get our own house in order.

    • +1

      We have to unite on the common ground of the 2A regardless of other beliefs. I agree, if we force support away from us because we’re all not on the same piece of paper on every topic…we will fail, and the libs will win…eventually. It’s a matter of time, numbers, and votes.

  10. Another article from someone offering the opinion that the best way to win an argument, battle or war is to “not make your opponent mad at you”.

    It has never worked, and it never will.

    • It seems to be working for a bunch of “lefty” social issues. I think gay marriage is a great example. It’s a lot easier to understand Alex the Stockbroker and Bob the Doctor wanting to get married and adopt kids than Alex the Drag Cabaret Singer and Bob the Professional Activist and Drum Circle Leader. It’s not so much “not making people mad” as it is reminding people that we really aren’t so different or scary, and that we just want to live our lives.

  11. Gun control is not about guns, its about control. Those people who have a mindset that people need controlled through liberal policies won’t be the ones we are needing to reach out to. We need to reach out to those who have not taken that attitude yet and bring them into the freedom side. You can’t be for freedom in the gun issue and expect everyone to be a slave in all other issues. The two points can’t occupy the same space.

  12. +1… This idea is a-kin to the saying “Hate the sin… not the sinner…”

    We have the truth on our side…If we play it right we’ll continue to wake some of these folks up. Not all, but some…

    Fight the wolves, guide the sheep and ignore the suborn goats!!!

    • “Fight the wolves, guide the sheep and ignore the suborn goats”

      THAT was awesome…+1 to you sir!

    • “Fight the wolves, guide the sheep and ignore the suborn goats!!!”

      Well spoken. I’m going to steal it if you don’t mind.

  13. There are examples of the divide on guns not being simply a Democrat-Republican one. The vote for the Illinois concealed carry bill is one rather interesting recent example. Still, urban Democrats tend to be anti-gun, and it doesn’t seem easy to reverse that tendency.

  14. Nah. Most of them will still not vote for rights. Instead they will continue to vote for big government policies that destroy rights. I would rather them be clueless when the time comes.

  15. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THE ENEMY WATCH THIS MOVIE:

    Grinding America Down

    I am simply a big fan, I have no interest in the movie. It is a MUST SEE if you are fighting the right fight.

  16. There are ways to insult someone without resorting to “name-calling”. Calling someone a Libtard, does not convince him or any others who may be watching the conversation. Calling him a misinformed zealot or something like that is insulting while also clearly stating why his opinion is of no value. Using facts and logic to completely destroy a gun-grabbers arguments is also a very effective way to show everyone that the gun-grabber is an idiot, without actually calling him an idiot.

    When an emotion-based argument is necessary, use a DGU story as an example of how a gun can save lives. Then hit them with the statistics that show that your example story is not an anomaly – that the number of deaths and other crimes stopped and prevented by gun owners GREATLY surpasses the number of deaths and crimes committed by criminals. In other words, guns owned and carried by law-abiding people Prevent more gun violence than the anti-gun crowd is trying to prevent by restricting gun ownership.

  17. A good way to convert a neutral or LGG to a gun person, or at least give them a respect for the 2nd, may be to take them to a rifle range. The media portrays us as knuckle dragging rednecks who want to over throw society, which obviously is not the case. If you can get them to a range and see the members and employees talking like normal people, then they might change a bit. Hell, gun people are some of the nicest people iv ever met. We’ve got people of all colors at these places, and if all ells fails, it would at least be funny to see the heart attack the LGG gets when he sees a father and young son happily shooting together. Because ya know, kids aren’t suppose to know what guns are apparently.

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