Yes, Rational Conversations About Guns Are Possible

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We’ve all been in conversations in which someone mentions gun control or their hatred of firearms. I had some relatives stay overnight with me a few days ago and they left with a different impression of guns than when they arrived. It isn’t that this couple hated guns, they just knew nothing about them other than the fact that pulling the trigger makes one go “bang.”  They don’t own any firearms, and although being with me probably didn’t make them change their minds about arming up, their perception of gun owners has changed, and for the better . . .

Since they arrived on a day that ends in a ‘y,’ I was armed when they rolled up to the house. I was locked and loaded, open carrying in my pink Rekkr holster. I immediately offered drinks, and as my brother-in-law sat down to talk, I poured one for him. Since I decided to partake in a small amount of whiskey with him, I disarmed. I removed the gun from my person, emptied the round from the chamber and placed it on a shelf above my desk well out of reach of my kids.

He was watching me. I don’t think he was scared, but he asked why I did that and I took the question as an opportunity to show him what I feel responsible gun ownership means. I simply explained that I won’t have a loaded gun on my hip if I decide to drink alcohol. It isn’t something that I feel is responsible, so I disarm. He seemed surprised, but impressed and while we didn’t get drunk, we sipped our whiskey and talked about my work here at TTAG.

I was impressed that he was open and asked honest questions. I didn’t talk down to him and he didn’t shut down on me, even when he asked if you can “hunt with an assault weapon.” While I explained what an assault weapon is and why the premise of the question was wrong, he asked to see an AR-15 so he could learn. He’d shot guns before, but not knowing how they work, he wanted to see for himself.

I showed him my AR, how it worked and the conversation even got to the bullet button. I was surprised when he agreed it’s a worthless idea because a bad guy isn’t going to spend the extra $25 to make an illegal gun legal. All I could do was smile and nod.

Calm discussion (and a little good whiskey) can often change minds. It isn’t that I expect this couple to go out and buy a rifle or handgun tomorrow…I don’t. But I’m confident that they now see firearm ownership in a slightly different light and perhaps even understand that responsible gun owners aren’t their enemies and don’t need to be regulated.

Rational conversations seem to yield better results, and after explaining the process of actually obtaining not just a gun, but a concealed carry permit in California, the couple understood. Two people who never thought much about guns came to the conclusion that California is far too restrictive to good people who wish to keep and bear arms. Baby steps….

 

comments

  1. avatar Chris. says:

    Important unanswered question though: What whiskey?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      For most people, cheaper whisky allows more firearm and ammo purchases.

      1. avatar george from fort worth says:

        true dat !

        i don’t drink cheap whiskey/scotch because that is all i can afford. i drink it because i want to spend more money on gun stuff and things, and stuff.

  2. avatar William Burke says:

    Whiskey, Beer and Plinkin’… GOOD TIMES!!!

  3. avatar Vhyrus says:

    I had a conversation with a mildly anti gun youngling today. I found that constantly asking questions that challenge their assumptions is an excellent way to foster critical thinking without coming off as overbearing or patronizing.

    1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      Wow, you discovered the Socratic method;-)

  4. avatar george from fort worth says:

    what i “saw” was a woman who disarmed herself, feeling that since she was sipping an adult beverage, she would not be in need of her pistol for the duration. if whiskey keeps the bad guys away, just keep a drink in hand all day, and take the weight of a gun off your waist.

    1. avatar Mr. AR-10 says:

      Are you supposed to be making some kind of sensible point here? Because you didn’t.

      Perhaps you should clarify.

    2. avatar Aerindel says:

      The truth is that when you use drugs or alcohol you lose the ability to defend yourself well. A good reason to stay sober or only indulge in a safe setting.

    3. avatar James Lee says:

      I’m totally teetotal mostly because of this reason. Nothing to impede my situational awareness.

      1. avatar george from fort worth says:

        agree with total-t. but how does disarming to imbibe protect the gun-owner? found it curious that such an advocate of being armed all the time, does a time-out where she is not capable of defending herself.

        1. avatar James Lee says:

          Dunno man. I’m just a gunnut who never drank even back in high school and college lol

        2. avatar barnbwt says:

          What, like sleeping? Besides, that little measure looked really good to the gun muggle, so mission accomplished. I think disarming for a singular drink is silly, but I can see how the activity might be off-putting to a neophyte, or Anti with delusions of Yosemite Sam.

        3. avatar george from fort worth says:

          sleeping with a gun under the pillow, or holstered on the bedside, or in a drawer or one of those small lockboxes under the bed is ‘disarmed’. when you are finished sleeping, you wake up, you are ready and able to use the firearm. sarah, however, cannot immediately use her gun after she quits drinking one glass, because she would be ‘impaired’. not good.

        4. avatar Mr. AR-10 says:

          “such an advocate of being armed all the time”

          It’s not physically possible to be armed every second of the day. As much as is possible is the goal.

          And there’s nothing wrong with taking off the piece to sit down with friends for a drink. Sitting down with a drink and a gun is wrong, guns and booze do not mix. Safe firearms procedures means taking off the carry piece and putting it away.

          This is pretty basic stuff, not sure what you are misunderstanding here.

        5. avatar george from fort worth says:

          let me try again. a person is armed for a reason, at home or away. drinking and guns don’t always mix well. if you want to drink, it is prudent to disarm. but wait, you were armed for a reason. why does that reason go away just because you want an alcoholic drink? if drinking means the threat (for which your armed yourself) disappears, then have a drink in your hand all the time (always is possible in the common sense of it), and there is no threat for which you should be armed.

          disarming just because you want booze means you don’t have a good handle on why you arm yourself. if you need a sidearm, forgo the booze. simple.

        6. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Maybe she looked at the risks and rewards and decided the slightly higher risk of being unarmed and attacked in her own home (a very remote possibility anyway) was worth the reward of enjoying a drink with her brother-in-law. Sometimes people choose to enjoy life once in a while instead of maintaining a constant vigilance and worrying about which of Cooper’s “conditions” they’re in.

        7. avatar george from fort worth says:

          now we’re getting somewhere. possibility of attack is so very remote as to be statistically insignificant. stay out of stupid places where stupid people are doing stupid things. avoid being a victim. weigh the likelihood of needing to be armed, then save bunches of money by not collecting guns for being armed indoors or out. the possibility of needing to defend yourself is far and away more remote than the possibility you will find yourself in a situation where you need/want an adult beverage, a time when you would not want to be armed because it might be irresponsible to consume and carry. i think i just made the case for the anti-gun crowd. wow. i had it wrong all along. now i can go back to hooters without feeling guilty for carrying concealed.

        8. avatar Mr. AR-10 says:

          “i think i just made the case for the anti-gun crowd. wow. i had it wrong all along. now i can go back to hooters without feeling guilty for carrying concealed.”

          No, you didn’t. Carrying is a proactive measure. Consider a seat belt, do you always need a seat belt? When you first step into a car and are not driving the risk of a crash is low (but not zero), and your seat belt is not on. Do we conclude that you never will need a seat belt? That is absurd.

          Your argument is absurd and it’s exactly the same case.

          Stop trying to make up meaningless points out of nothing.

          And you are also completely ignoring the real underlying issue, the right to self defense, and the right to be armed, is a constitutionally protected individual right. How and when one chooses to exercise that right is frankly non of your business.

        9. avatar george from fort worth says:

          if a person is a carry supporter (carrier??), then there is a reason for concealed carry. when does that reason come into play? or more simply, what is the threat concealed/open carry is intended to meet? when does that threat exist? does the threat/reason exist only when one is not in a bar, liquor store, enjoying an alcoholic drink with friends? if one can be confident that carry is unnecessary when in the proximity of alcohol, when/where else can one be confident? if one can be confident the threat is non-existent here, there and yon, then maybe the reason to carry is invalid, because if you know where/when the threat is, you can avoid those instances, just about removing any reason to carry. to make it plainer, sarah decided she needs a gun on her while at home because…threat. but when she has friends over for drinks, threat potential is reduced by the mere presence of alcoholic beverages. does that make sense? if it does, a case can be made that the risk of any threat requiring a firearm is actually near-zero, and call into question the need for a sidearm. yes, one can simply carry a gun just because the constitution allegedly prohibits governments from preventing same, but the pro-gun theory is constitution plus threat. remove the consideration of threat, and the anti-gun crowd will beat us to death with the argument that 2A is a relic for a more dangerous time. “need” is the issue for them, and an appealing one for the masses (we do not have an overwhelming majority of the populace who understands or concerns themselves with constitutional niceties).

        10. avatar LarryinTX says:

          “when you are finished sleeping, you wake up, you are ready and able to use the firearm”

          After about 4 stiff drinks, I am far more capable of analyzing the danger of a situation (assuming it is not crystal clear) than I am in the 15-20 seconds after I am awakened from a sound sleep. I NEVER sleep with a firearm within reach, since about 25 years ago. You must determine your own limits, not blindly accept what someone else thinks. I have discovered before that snockered, I forget I’m armed, better to fall over in the gutter armed with a gun than with a knife, since I might hurt myself with the knife.

        11. avatar george from fort worth says:

          not sure i fully understand what you wrote, but in the immortal words of ben rumson, ” iiiii double it !!! “

  5. avatar Mr. AR-10 says:

    Recall the discussion about teaching gun safety to the little-uns and why the statist is against it; this is why.

    Teaching gun safety by definition will teach some things about guns.

    People who don’t understand a thing will be unable to make wise decisions regarding that thing.

    Or even more basic, people who are uneducated and dumb are more easily led, and controlled.

    And this is another question to be asked of the gun neophyte; why do you think the government wants you to be ill informed about guns… do you really think they have your best interests in mind?

    Of course they do not.

    1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      “Or even more basic, people who are EDUCATED and dumb are more easily led, and controlled.”

      Fixed that for you. Plenty of people are educated but still dumb as rocks. They are only educated in their narrow field and think it therefore gives them insight on everything because they are “educated”.

      Education is to humans what training is to your pet. It is the same thing. Any moron can be educated but it takes intelligence to question what one is taught and if it is relevant, logical, and beneficial to one’s well-being.

      So if tl:dr, intelligence does not equal educated.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Congrats Mrs. Tipton for reaching out. Keep up the good work.

    If all of us could replicate this with just one friend, family member, or neighbor per year, in a span of 10 years, each of us would have reached out to 10 people/families. Keeping in mind that something like one out of every three adults own firearms, that means we would have reached everyone five times over in that 10 years time. Even if you only reached out every other year to just one friend, family member, or neighbor, we would still have reached out to everyone within 5 years.

    You don’t have to reach out to your entire county or even your entire neighborhood. You only need to reach out to one adult every other year to make a significant difference.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      And, social media is a “force multiplier,” of sorts, when it comes to reaching out and educating. I do it nearly every day… “drip marketing,” if you will. 🙂 And, you know what? It works!

  7. avatar Gregolas says:

    Well done, Sara. Thanks for your efforts.

  8. avatar Stinkeye says:

    “Two people who never thought much about guns…”

    I suspect that this is the key. They hadn’t thought about guns much before. When you’re working with a blank slate, you have a pretty easy job. When you’re working against years of anti-gun brainwashing, it’s infinitely more difficult to have a “rational conversation”.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      And those two people who never thought much about firearms would still be in the dark had Mrs. Tipton been carrying concealed. Instead, she was openly carrying her handgun in her home and that opened the door to conversation and education.

      This is why gun-grabbers hate open carry. They cannot have uninformed people learning about firearms much less responsible firearm ownership.

  9. avatar James in Florida says:

    I really enjoy this site, thank you all for your stories.

  10. avatar 2Asux says:

    Congrats on finding a pair of those ultra rare birds…the non-committed. Maybe they are not going to be found later in the anti-gun cabal, but maybe they will privately talk themselves into re-affirming hidden fears and opposition to all guns all the time. The type of victory Sara experienced is to be commended, but a real victory would yield a couple who announced a decision to never (never again?) demand others bow to their fear and loathing of firearms.

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Now that gent is going to go home and remember that. He’s maybe even going to contemplate buying a gun. This is excellent.
    The gun didn’t jump up and murder everyone by “going off”

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    Having a rational conversation about guns with rational people is more than possible, it’s likely. Having a rational conversation about guns with a hoplo is like teaching a pig to do quadratic equations.

    1. avatar schernobyl says:

      The pigs would learn the quadratic equations before the anti began to stop screaming for the childrens

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        Au contraire, gentlemen. I have actually had rational conversations with strongly anti-gun people. Open dialogue seems to happen best when:
        1. We already have a prior relationship (friends, play date parents, etc.)
        2. They bring up the topic.
        3. They assume I’m anti-gun, so they are unprepared when I don’t agree (I.e., a non-hardened target).
        4. They are not surrounded by other anti-gun cohorts.

        I’m not saying I’ve won anyone over, but at a certain point, these folks face a decision: recognize at least one gun owner who’s not a raging killer or toothless redneck — one in fact who’s rational and demographically similar to them — or deny their own history with me as a trustworthy, social person and persist in the slander that allows them to hold the beliefs they hold. It’s not easy to do that face to face.

  13. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    If other people are like me, whiskey won’t help. It is not conducive to learning.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Really? Because I’ve learned a lot from drinking.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I’ve learned a lot *while* drinking!

        1. avatar schernobyl says:

          I’ve learned a lot that I didn’t want to know whiles drinking

  14. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    And that’s an example of why Anti’s aren’t interested in conversation and rely on histrionics. They loose when it stays with rationality.

  15. avatar Defens says:

    I think if I’m responsible enough to go armed in public or at home nearly 100% of the time, I’m responsible enough to not get drunk while having a glass of wine or two with my steak. I’ll keep my gun right where it belongs, on my hip, thank you.

  16. avatar Bohucka says:

    I carry concealed except when showering or sleeping (or making that rare visit to the post office or serving jury duty). I like a good beer (or three) and don’t disarm while imbibing. I know what the law and “common sense” say about alcohol and firearms, but my house, my rules. So far, no one’s been offended or shot. A man’s got to know his limitations…

  17. avatar ThomasR says:

    Society has found that pepole can safely drive a lethal weapon (a vehicle) with a certain level of alcohol on board.

    I do well to drink three beers in an entire evening, or three shots of whiskey. If I am not considered a danger to myself or others while driving under this level of influence from alcohol, I don’t see a problem with carrying a lethal weapon in the same circumstances.

    1. avatar 2A says:

      Might it have been a better demonstration of personal responsibility if Sarah had explained that a single (?) coctail/beer is not enough to impair here responsible carry/use of a gun, but she would not have more?

      1. avatar Defens says:

        I thinking people are conflating “shooting while drinking” with parking a gun on the hip while having a drink. If you’re carrying, you’re not shooting, until/unless you are. I think we’re all in agreement that actually shooting at the range, hunting, etc. while under the influence is no more of of a good idea than operating a chain saw, etc.

        But a carried firearm is an emergency device. You have it with you only because you might need it. Would you not use a fire extinguisher if your BBQ blew up after you had a beer? How about a first aid kit? No bandages if under the influence?

        1. avatar 2Asux says:

          Yes. If Sarah needs to carry in the home, she needs to carry in the home. If not, not. Drinks don’t change anything (presuming one does not get blind drunk, or becomes a mean SOB after/during one drink. If having a drink while carrying a gun is a bad ides, don drink. One may actually need the gun, no one actually needs the drink.

  18. avatar gerald brennan says:

    I have been fighting this fight, personally and professionally, for 30 years and I have learned this:
    When an anti is actually curious on the subject, there is hope in conversation. I have turned many this way toward the light, and that’s something I am proud that I did in this lifetime.
    But the other species is hopeless, and is characterized as a person who does not believe that humans have the right to defend themselves. There are millions of these people. It becomes clear that these folks do not have an “opinion,” the have a neurosis. It was not reasoned into them, and shall not be reasoned out of them.
    They are best avoided.

  19. avatar DaveR says:

    I’m sorry, but how exactly is it “rational” that a glass (or even two) of whiskey makes someone suddenly irresponsible? What about coffee? How about being groggy? Is the implications that one cannot carr AND relax??

    This is really one of those concessions that makes responsible gun ownership sound like it exists on a knife’s edge of chaos. It’s a myth that perpetuates a misconception that guns are simply an accident waiting to happen.

    1. avatar george from fort worth says:

      this, right here. this !

      1. avatar 'liljoe says:

        Really? Because I’m not a lightweight and I wont drive if I’ve had more than 1 shot, and if I can help it, even that 1 shot. Does that mean I’m a crazed driver on the knife’s edge of mowing people down? Or maybe it means I’ve set my own personal (keep that word in mind) limits on what I find is acceptable for what I do. Some people would find a nit to pick in a winning lottery ticket.

        You, sirs, are entitled to your wrong opinion, but that doesn’t make her personal actions, based on her personal judgement wrong. And it doesn’t make your opinions any closer to fact for anyone other than for you.

        I think this was a great article, would never happen to me (too sarcastic) but it’s nice other people are carrying this load for the whole of us. Thank you for your efforts!

        1. avatar george from fort worth says:

          i do not drink and drive, either. personal choice. but not one i employ to demonstrate to my passengers and friends that i am a responsible driver. if entertaining, i will have a nip or two. if any of the guests decline a drink, i do not ask why. it is simply their choice. sarah apparently felt that demonstrably removing her firearm when alcohol was present, in the presence of non-gunnies, was somehow a show of “responsibility” designed to show how a gun-owner can act responsibly. would it not be more impressive to demonstrate a responsible gun-owner can drink and carry responsibly?

          the article was interesting, worth the reading, but it did not deal with the question of why being a responsible drinker eliminated, or even reduced, the need to carry in home that she demonstrated by having a gun on her in the first place. simply carrying around the house “because i can” is not her stance. self-defense is her message, and i cannot see how having a nip at home with friends reduces the potential that self-defense will be required.

  20. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    The self righteousness is getting a bit thick. Sarah’s making her own personal choice for her own personal reasons. She’s not suggesting or trying to impose them on anyone else.

    If there is a situation or environment where you are not comfortable carrying, then you should not be carrying.

    A rule like that isn’t based on how much she is drinking. It’s based on that she is drinking at all. It doesn’t matter if she isn’t going to be intoxicated this time. Discipline now is the best way to avoid erring in the future.

    In a case like this, it isn’t a matter of whether I agree with her standards. It’s a matter that she has standards and that she sticjs to the even when they could be bent. That’s something that deserves respect not criticism.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Anyone who publishes here a policy, procedure, idea, philosophy is subject to evaluation and critique. reviewing the input of others may be a, cough, “teaching moment” for the person making the original post. There are two major issues in Sarah’s post: engaging in conversation about guns; guns and booze. Posting personal actions here is equivalent to, “Here is something to consider. Whadda ya’ think?” If someone doesn’t want feedback, then the post should include the plea for readers to read, disregard and move on (which may not actually work). Better, if a person doesn’t want feedback, remain silent.

      1. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

        I happen to agree with the primciple. Yet there is a difference between critique and self righteous condescension. While there has been both in this thread, there has been a distinct weight towards the latter.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Not really seeing anything different from the usual. Most people here seem to hate everyone else (even though we are all “pro-gun”, and should be supporting and encouraging each other.

        2. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

          Yeah, you’re probably right, but I can’t help but hoping to reach higher.

          Considering our enemies, we may have to fight in the gutter, but that doesn’t mean we have to live there.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Getting in the gutter to fight “enemies” is a good tactic, but seems we also fight ourselves there.

  21. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Hey Sara-saw your picture on Girls with Guns FB page under the caption “sexy redheads”. You got fans young lady…

  22. avatar mer says:

    “Rational conversation…”

    The fundamental point of a rational conversation is that both parties participate and “converse rationally”. The problem is that most conversations about firearms are anything but rational, simply because one side doesn’t actually desire conversation.

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