I’ve taken a lot of people shooting. Most were shooters. Some were newbies. Two were rabid antis, as opposed to civilian gun ownership as I am to watching another episode of Fairly Odd Parents. The shooters were delightful and delighted. The newbies emerged from their immersion born-again ballistic ‘bro’s. The antis remained antis. Obviously, this failure is anecdotal, and doesn’t include dozens of antis who declined my invitation to get to grips with their gripe. But it’s been my impression that people promoting gun control are insensible to evidence contradicting their idée fixe. There’s only one thing that can change their mind and it ain’t you. A close encounter with criminal violence. Am I wrong? Have you ever turned an anti?
I haven’t turned an anti, yet….. I have made my fiance’e comfortable to the fact that I carry everywhere, everyday, including around the house. Comfortable enough that she says “you’re carrying, right?”.
A handful. No more than that, to my knowledge. I’m working on another now, slowly. All I do is question when he says something stupid, pointing out alternative ways to think. He is generally a clear thinker, but misinformed (i.e., a perfect candidate for conversion). With some others who are less inclined to use their heads, I don’t even try.
Complete failure. My brother-in-law thinks me and his kid-sister are nuts because we are armed to the teeth and carry virtually all the time. OUr little joke on him is that the closet in the bedroom he stays is packed with about 5000 rounds of ammo.
Converting an anti is the functional equivalent of curing a mental illness. Even Freud couldn’t do that.
Possible, I was sorta an anti. Then again it is pretty stupid to have a revolver under your pillow.
Better to try and fail than to not have tried at all.
Depends on the pillow, doesn’t it?
And the revolver.
I have one hanging in a holster strapped on the headboard. Much preferable to one under the pillow. Even my muyo anti wife recently admitted that she likes it hanging there.
Depends on how Tactical the pillow is.
i was converted. It might not happen often, but I’d like to believe that a convert like myself has a great opportunity to relate to others and possibly help them too.
I Agree. Those that had the anti gun mindset may have an advantage over the always have been pro gun rights crowd.
Reformed antis can make good gun evangelists.
Some of the most strident anti-smokers are ex-smokers.
A lot of the hardcore anti-communists are ex-communists like Mike Vanderboegh.
And virtually all the people who really, really hate the Cult of Scamatology are ex-scientologists.
Depends on what you mean by anti.
No point bothering with the hard-core activists. Most of them don’t care about crime or accidents, or mass shootings anyway. They want a people dependent on them for protection and incapable of resisting their edicts.
It is possible to convert those who are anti-gun simply due to ignorance and lack of personal experience. I’m thinking of the soccer-mom and suburban little-league coach types. Very often they are just following the crowd.
I personally think that this concept is a great reality TV show for the NRA or one of the sportsmen channel.
1) Take some undercover video at some lefty hangout or gun-grabber event
2) Record people talking to unknown host making disparaging comments about guns
3) Pick a handful of them and say that you’ll take them to a nice outdoor range, teach them by professional instructors, and let them use some of the very best premium handguns and rifles and giggle toys.
4) Record before/after interviews
5) Even if they lie at the end, if you record everything I’m betting you’ll capture grins, giggles, and smiles that you’ll overlay with the interview while they lie at the end. The viewer will make their own assessment.
Suggested this to NOIR months ago to no avail.
Would be great showing people seeing the light of day.
Hell if you don’t get a good number of conversions scrap the whole project and burn the tape.
Something similar was done a few weeks ago and posted here. Can’t place my finger on it.
I converted my fiance, thats about it.
i was an anti 2 yrs ago.
And what lead you to change your position?
i posted a longer response below, but I’ll be happy to elaborate if you’ve got questions.
One. My wife. The most important one.
My wife is even more gung ho than I am at this point. Three years ago, after we were married, I sold off all the firearms in the house. Big mistake but we live and learn.
All of the gun purchases since then were her idea with me doing the research and the final decision on what to buy.
There are some people who have strange misconceptions but don’t quite believe them. The antis that know that they know jack about guns. Those kinds of people are more willing to learn and possibly enjoy shooting.
Then there are the people who don’t care that they know nothing about guns, they just want them all gone. You can’t reason with them…
I think Jeff Cooper described it best when he explained hoplophobia. Some people are just immune to logic and reason that way, and remain so till the day they die. Be that as it may, the main thing that worries me is their desire to control other people for who they are. And on THAT problem, we simply must never lose that fight, for once if it is lost we are all ruined for ever.
None. I think a lot of anti’s need a “come to Jesus moment”. I myself was ambivalent for many years but not anti. It took old age and incidents in my area to become the pro 2A guy I am now. And I was much too argumentative and confrontational. Now nobody know nuthin’ except for a pump shotgun. Everything else was lost in a tragic boating accident…
Obama has turned millions of ambivalent and anti’s when they had their come to Jesus moment around Obama 2.0. Myself growing up in a house with several guns and dad working in the industry, was ambivalent and my wife was more anti until about 2.5 years ago. The current administration and changes in the neighborhood turned her from the dark side the arms race was on, and so was my bad luck on boats.
Damn boats. I live on a lake, and that’s tough, too.
If people are not open to listening to clear, logical evidence of the fallacy of their agenda, and still insist on making emotion-based arguments, no amount of range time is going to change anything. Don’t waste your time with true antis. Stick to those on the fence and those who haven’t totally drunk the kool-aid yet.
Not a single one. The vast majority of anti-gun types I know are the dyed in the wool, “guns cause crime, no guns = no crime” types. Their minds are completely shut to the idea that they might possibly be wrong. They are all also, coincidentally, card-carrying Democrats.
My wife wasn’t an anti, she liked it when I carried, she just wasn’t interested in carrying herself. Now she loves to shoot and just took her CPL class.
I’ve converted two. However, both came with me to the range fully self aware that their prejudice against guns was a product of the environment of their upbringing. I’m sure that helped.
Chris, those are the ones I’ve had the most luck with. Biased due to background, but at least understanding their bias. I’ve taken several to range days, gotten a small handful to become owners, but when it comes to rabid anti lunatics, I don’t even bother. You can tell the type that won’t even listen and will more than likely end up swatting you at some point.
The sad thing is the two totally rabid ones I’ve encountered are also the most vocally violent people I’ve met. By ‘vocally violent’ I mean the type that advocates terrible things happen to innocent people, who just happen to disagree with them. “Those Republiturd deniers should all be staked out and let the condors feast on them. That would be justice.” (No, not kidding at all.
This Black conservative Republican converted two White liberals in New York City so that would be like ten normal people in the real word outside this insane Nanny state.
maybe even counts as 15
Hmmmm….I don’t know….maybe your job was easier because…..
Due to their lefty prejudices……
1) they didn’t believe you were REALLY conservative
2) they didn’t believe you REALLY liked guns
3) they didn’t feel comfortable in declining your invitation
and so before they knew it they we’re converted because you blew their mind!
Good on you for using you’re tactically superior elements of disguise and surprise.
Never converted a rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth anti, but I know several who were/are mildly anti and my efforts have put them in the “middle ground,” so to speak. Not a full conversion, but definitely a few steps in “our” direction.
Best chance I had on one in particular I did not even try. Thought she was “too far gone” and a waste of time. Turned out later she was “curious” about guns and was bothered that I did not take the chance to educate her or give her the opportunity to shoot.
Lesson learned: it’s never a waste of time. It’s always worth the effort. Even if we don’t “turn” them exactly, it’s still a step.
Over a dozen in the 90’s. Recently, I’ve not had to deal with many hard-core anti’s, living in the rural west.
If you want to make converting anti’s your life’s mission, California’s Bay Area is the place for you.
Agreed. I’ve been in the bay area for about 30 years. I don’t know if I’ve made any converts but I’ve taken many newbs to the range that came from non gun owning families. Most of these bought their own guns.
If someone wants to make converting antis their life’s mission, they should seek counseling and possibly powerful prescription medications…
Which, ironically, increases the likelihood of having his own guns confiscated due to mental illness…
Not a dyed in the wool, hard-core anti, no. I suspect the reason for that is what one of our office “anti’s” said at the end of a 20-minute discussion on gun control, after I had logically demolished all of his arguments. “I just don’t like guns.”
My reply: “I don’t like Brussels sprouts, but I’m not trying to make it illegal to eat them.”
The basic problem with a true ant-gun zealot is that they are convinced the People of the Gun are evil, and must be destroyed. You can work with someone who is ambivalent, or even passively anti-gun, but I am too old to waste my time on the rabid ones.
“The basic problem with a true ant-gun zealot is that they are convinced the People of the Gun are evil, and must be destroyed.”
By and large I agree with this statement.
Another way to look at it: a true anti-gun zealot is convinced that People of the Gun oppose the Almighty State and must be destroyed.
While I agree that seems to be their attitude, I continuously wonder who they think is going to do that “destroying”. Do they think there is a magic wand somewhere, or do they realize they, themselves, will have to take the field, outnumbered thousands to one? To put their own lives on the line?
No, they expect the (armed) agents of the state to do it for them.
I’ll explain my conversion since I think a lot of people might have some misconceptions.
I grew up in a gun unfriendly state. As a result, my family and friends had limited exposure but as with most things in life, did there best to be informed. Without first hand exposure, where do you think the “education” comes from. It comes from not for profit “safety” groups, the news, and politicians. With the exception of the last one, these are groups that you want to believe ultimately have your best interests in mind.
Fast forward to post college living in a much more 2a friendly state, and a co-worker is talking about buying a revolver for home defense. After putting in some long hours, we’d have 10-15 minute discussions/debates about politics, 2a rights, the environment, fastest route home, etc. While occasionally impassioned, it was always civil. To be clear, my position was that I was ok with guns for hunting, and even handguns for home defense. I thought more background checks would be helpful, and were nothing more than i minor inconvenience if you had nothing to hide. I felt that ar/ak style rifles had no place with civilians. I didn’t want a gun in my house because I had heard some scary statistics about the likelihood of a tragedy if I kept one.
He never did convert me on my 2a stance, but his discussions got me to doing my own research. The more I learned, the more i realized how statistics were being skewed (and I will say, I think pro 2a uses some selective statistics once in a while too). I realized that not everyone should own a firearm, but that I felt if someone should, I’d probably be a great candidate if I could get the training I needed and practice. I’ve realized that there are far more laws already in place than I ever knew existed and that adding more is probably not a viable solution. I’ve realized the difference between rifles is not much more than cosmetic, but even if it isn’t significant, I’m ok with that.
As I said, he didn’t convert me, but he laid the foundation for me. I feel I owe him a great debt of gratitude.
“It comes from not for profit “safety” groups, the news, and politicians.”
Don’t forget about movies and TV shows.
good point. While people often can make the distinction between fiction and reality, it still paints a picture. That might be the only picture some of us had.
Face it; he converted you. It just took more time and work on your part.
I don’t claim any conversions from antis. However, they came back to me after each encountered a criminal with a gun either because of an armed home invasion they personally experienced or a mugging a loved relative experienced. I think their agonizing re-appraisal was more prompted by a confrontation with reality than my evangelism, but at least I dropped many seeds, which when watered by the rains of adversity, burst forth into new gun owners and Second Amendement defenders.
Not an anti.
Did take 3 “on the fence” to the range over the summer and they all agreed it was fun. 2 asked to go out again.
Have taken many who were interested, but knew nothing. Went over safety, manual of arms, laws, range rules/etiquette, etc. Then bang, bang, bang, “OMG, why didn’t I do this sooner? I wanna buy a gun. Where can I buy a gun? Can I use your bullets?”
First time’s free, kid.
TTAG, r/guns, and Youtubers like Colion Noir, MAC, Hickok45, and Nutnfancy converted me to being very pro-2A where before I was more of a Fudd/borderline-anti, having grown up without any exposure to guns.
From here I’ve converted my family and a lot of my friends to the gun-friendly type. They don’t drink the pro-2A kool-aid like me, but I’ve gotten several of them interested in buying handguns or rifles for recreation and defense. My younger brother bought himself a bolt-action .22 as a high school graduation gift to himself, I was proud of him and myself for the work I’d done.
Think it depends on the person. There are quite few people that are in the middle on this issue. They think they don’t want guns around but they are not quite sure if that makes sense or if they are just swallowing propaganda from the left. The gun issue does tend to cross political lines IMO. Some Dems I have talked to are all for the right to bear and carry arms. And a few Repubs are the opposite. I have talked to a few that are anti but seemed rather unsure after I told them some facts and compared those to the propaganda they have been hearing. Also told them that I thought that much of the anti rhetoric was really just pandering to get votes. Got some agreement on that point.
From politicians, I think some of the pro rhetoric is pandering for votes, also. Witness Manchin.
What to do? My own mother thinks all guns in private hands should be confiscated. I have other relatives that think the same thing. I bet you cannot guess where they grew up, give up? The people’s republic of New Jersey.
Hah. 50 years ago, my mom (rest her soul) assigned me to find a HD handgun for her. I never had any doubt where she stood.
Wait. Whats wrong with Fairly Odd Parents?
Sigh…despite many a noble effort, I have yet to actually get one to cross over. Even if they stipulate in the end, that the facts are contrary to their position, and that I am “right”, they remain resistant to making the leap to where logic prevails. Maybe it’s because they are loathe to admit that they’ve been led astray, and that all they had belived up to that point was a farce, but they are resistant to unlatch their claws from the supposed truth that they were so vested in….the force is strong in these people.
That sounds like they are left actually thinking. If that is the case, it’s like a time-delayed conversion. Eventually a light will come on. I don’t want people to blindly do whatever I say. I want them to think it out!
Unfortunately every anti that I have met in Seattle area cannot be reasoned with. They just want all of them gone… every one of them.
you know, I was debating someone online after they posted the meme circulating on facebook with Jon Oliver saying something to the effect that “one failed shoe bombing and we all take our shoes off at the airport. numerous school shootings, and no new laws”. I was pointing out that there were many new laws, just that they would do anything. Anyway I was expecting the usual arguments that we should accept more BG checks, magazine restrictions, etc. HE flat out said he wanted to ban it all. It was both disappointing and refreshing. At least he was honest. I’ll give him that.
Yeah, so much for the ‘we don’t want to take your guns’ crowd. Every anti I’ve talked to wants all guns gone.
Refreshingly, one or two also want the police completely disarmed and the military disbanded, too. I mean, why go half way?
I think we’re advocating anarchy, here, which is not gonna work with half the people armed. The dysfunctional would die, then we would go back to rational civilization.
Nope. In my limited experience, true antis are unreasonable and borderline mentally ill. And I’m not talking about the “well, I just think fewer guns would be better for the little children/they’re scary/we should all just smile at each other and volunteer at homeless shelters” crowd. Those folks are easy enough to spot. They just believe what they’re told because it feels good. They are well-meaning, vapid and lazy and don’t want to invest any effort into thinking about problems. They merely take up any low maintenance ideology that makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside. These folks can be converted and I don’t really think of them as antis.
True antis? Those folks that will tell you that you’re a bad person for supporting the RKBA; people who will tell you they hope you’ll die or ask you to kill yourself or to not have children. Worse yet, they’ll wish harm upon your children. True antis are filled with hate and are utterly incapable of having a civil disagreement, let alone meeting in the middle, so coming over to our side isn’t even an option. As such, the moment I identify one they just get cut out of my life. Plain and simple, I won’t speak to them or associate with them in any way. I don’t have the time to deal with petulant crazy people.
Good plan. What you describe is not a reasoning human, it is a madman.
Zero, instead I’ve practically cut myself off from most of my dad’s side of the family. Literally a bunch of liberal Jews. All from the New York-New Jersey area.
0.5 x 2.
My wife is ok with me having guns and concealed carrying but does not want the kids to see them. She remains an emotional thinker. I managed to change a college friend’s opinion from “nobody should have a gun” to “I know and trust you so I think you’re ok to have a gun, but not everybody.”
I guess I’ll take what I can get.
I’ve played that game (the one with your wife). Let me guess; when you ask what is going to happen if you are not present or cut down and attackers are headed for your kids, she approaches a nervous breakdown and claims she cannot discuss it further. Eventually, the bride heard me, and now has carried daily for over 15 years. Everybody has a part to play. There have been places where I identified where Dad failed, were mom failed, and where son and daughter failed as well, resulting in all dead. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood for the new guys.
Do we count ourselves?
I was an Anti for most of my life – and I honestly don’t know why I flipped. I grew up in NY, and have lived in Chicago since I was 18 – I was an anti by default. I don’t even remember when I flipped. It had nothing to do with crime. I think it might have started when the AWB lapsed, and I started reading articles about what the ban actually entailed (like the shoulder thing that goes up). I also remember being more irritated by the histrionics of the antis than the other side’s more measured arguments. I was older and more inclined to research and think about an issue than just going with the ‘common sense’ answers.
Taking people shooting might convert someone on the senselessness of the AWB, but it won’t convince anyone that firearms safety is more about the software and than the hardware. That just represents a different mindset, and I don’t know how to change it.
nice to see another on this site. The quantity of posts on this site that say anti’s are hopeless disappoint me. Not all are. Sometimes it just takes time for a person to broaden their perspectives.
Depends on your definition of “anti.” Lots of what we call “antis” are anti-gun because either:
1) it’s an easy, feel good, well-meaning answer to a problem that they haven’t thought much about
2) they have been conditioned to believe it for one reason or another, to include having an axe to grind.
Those two types of folks, as evidenced by you two fine gentlemen, can obviously be reasoned with. A true anti is an irrational ideologue that doesn’t give a damn about logic or human rights. They just want them gone because they’re stupid, low information, non-self sufficient, statist crazies who have become ideologically fixated on guns because a charming politician told them they were bad. Confront them with fundamental truths (e.g. criminals don’t obey the law) and they just dismiss you as if you’re the crazy one.
It’s probably just luck of the draw that they ended up being fixated on guns. If not guns, it would have been flouride in the water or high fructose corn syrup or chem trails or the plastic soda can holders tripping little duckies’ footsies. I’d have better luck outshooting Paul Howe than reasoning with those creatures.
I certainly can appreciate the distinction and believe it is a vary real one. That said though, even the two anti’s you listed first vote. The more we can help, the better our cause will be in the long run.
I’m not certain how that explains the hard-core haters, wishing violent death on everyone who opposes their view of blissful peaceful coexistence amongst the rainbows. And those people’s wives and children should die with them, preferably horribly. I think this type “anti” should be promptly introduced to the no-fly list. They are madmen, and uneducable.
I’ve helped several Anti’s see the light. In the past two months, I’ve taken 8 non-shooters to the range. Not all anti, but not 2nd Amendment purists either!
A few weeks ago, I took a couple to the range who were visiting a friend. They’re from Hawaii and had never even held a gun before – and when we finished they were hitting targets regularly. They had a ball and want to continue at home. Their big takeaway? GUNS ARE NOT EVIL.
There are two kinds of Anti’s – the uniformed who kind of go along with the mass media (Guns? Yeah – I guess they’re bad. For the Children!) and the true believers (Guns = Evil = NRA.) We can ‘cure’ the uniformed with some fun range time and good instruction. You can actually SEE the moment when they realize guns are fun.
No hope with true believers – but the great thing is that there aren’t many of them. Unfortunately they’re very loud and well funded…
Actually, I had a buddy in college (around 2003) who I can only describe as a non-owning Fudd. His view was that farmers can provide the meat, hunters were compensating for something, but he couldn’t outright condemn because he had friends that hunted.
But handguns… handguns “exist only for killing humans, the Ultimate depravity of our race, and any argument of enjoyment or sport is an affront to rational thinking.” He is a vocal atheist, but that never really seemed to come into his line of thinking.
It came down to a decidedly rational discussion (as rational as it can with drinks involved) between us to discover that his entire opinion on guns came without any first hand experience. Speaking to his opinion of himself being a science centered rational thinker, I convinced him to vacation at my parents place during an upcoming break where he’d have the chance to shoot in a controlled environment, with the promise from me that if put forth an honest effort, he’d hear no more arguments from me regarding his view.
It took a couple of weeks, but he agreed, I arranged things with my dad, and we headed to my home for the break. The night before heading to the range, my dad uncle and myself had a hefty “range sampling” on the kitchen table, minus ammo, and introduced him to the four rules, loading procedures for everything, and what to expect at the range. He was paying attention, asking questions, and doing a good job approaching this new experience rationally, considering his eyes were bugged out at the sight of an AR, AK, and a host of other “assault rifles” and several handguns.
At the conclusion of the night, I asked if he was excited, and he answered that he didn’t think he would change his mind, but he was interested to try the bolt guns, but probably wouldn’t bother with any semi automatic rifles, and saw no reason to bring any handguns. I chuckled and told him it didn’t hurt to have options on case he changed his mind, and besides, he wasn’t going to be the only one shooting and we enjoyed everything we would be bringing.
The next morning we loaded up 14 assorted rifles, and 4 handguns, and checked that we had enough of each caliber needed. A quick trip, and we were at a nice indoor range with good lighting, automatic ranging target tracks, and being a holiday weekend in a military area, we had two lanes out of 10, in an otherwise empty bay. While my buddy watched the safety video and passed his safety test to get his range card, we unpacked and waited for him to join us. When he arrived, he immediately commented that he didn’t expect such a place to look as upscale as it was. My dad, uncle and I just grinned and suggest that he might want to start with an unmarked family heirloom single shot 22, and got him up to the line. We set the target at ten yards, which he scoffed at how it couldn’t be a sport if he couldn’t possibly miss. We covered again the safe loading, unloading, hangfire protocol, and sight alignment, place a handful of ammo on the bench and let him get to it.
Immediately we realized we forgot something, he’s a lefty. Before his first shot, we got him lined up south paw, and apologized for the oversight. He commented that it was a lot easier to line up the sights, and he had no idea you could shoot a rifle from the left shoulder, more chuckling.
He realized quickly even at ten yards, he could miss the bull, and started telling himself verbally all the fundamentals of shooting we laid on him, in around ten shots, he had what we referred to as “an acceptable newbie grouping” and asked if he’d like to try something else.
He’d gotten a glimpse of how tedious a bolt gun in the hands of a lefty can be, but still wanted to stay with the bolt actions. At this point, I had to caution him that the remaining bolt guns would have significantly more recoil, regardless of which he chose, a mosin m44, or a k98, and offered to fire his next choice first so he could get an idea of what he was in for.
He selected my mosin, and from the first round, he noted that if the noise was any indication, it was definitely a rifle that could hurt him. I talked him through what I was doing for my five rounds, he observed, and decided he would give it a go. He held the butt in tight to his shoulder and after the first round commented that there was a definite sting, but it was accompanied by a grin, he was even on target.
We repeated the process with the Mauser, and he noted how much easier the bolt was to operate, as well as how he was beginning to understand why people collected these older rifles, even if just for their differences in comparison.
By now, the rest of us were on the other lane firing various semis and hand guns, and he continued with the bolt guns he’d become familiar with, observing the loading process and starting to note the reduced recoil on the semi rifles.
In between his strings, I brought over a round of 30-06 ball and asked if he wanted to fire a rifle that fought in the same era as the bolt guns he was shooting. He asked how powerful it was, and was surprised when I told him it was in the same class as what he’d been firing, considering he knew we’d only brought 4 bolt guns (he was not so thrilled with the SMLE). He cautiously agreed, and I brought over one of the many Garands in the family, with the enbloc clips.
When he realized it was semi automatic, he was visibly conflicted, but intrigued, and asked me to show him how to load it. I talked him through the proper way to avoid smashed appendages, how the safety operated and stood back. Right away he found the utility in not having to fiddle with the bolt, and the 8th round ping had him the happiest I’d ever seen.
In short order he was sampling every long gun on the table, the SKS was next, the marlin lever gun, but I noticed he was reluctant to try a detachable magazine rifle.
We’d been firing for over an hour, and stepped out of the bay for a break. He said he was enjoying the experience a lot more than he expected, but still didn’t see the point in “high capacity” magazines, or handguns. I suggested that of he have them a try, he might see the point.
After mulling it over, he picked up a RRA NM AR, I grabbed the magazines for it, and he was back on the line. He asked for instruction on how to load it, and was surprised at how simple it was: insert mag, pull charging handle, let go. The light bulb turned on for him, and he fired every other rifle we brought, the AK, a PSL, m1 carbine, and some others I know I’ve left out.
After nearly 4 hours on the line, lots of brass on the floor, and some tired hosts, he was getting tired too, so we offered to pack up, get some lunch and introduced him to proper firearm cleaning.
Instead, he sheepishly asked if it would be alright if he tried a handgun. That got everyone’s attention, and we suddenly weren’t tired and ready to go either. Our selection was light, a Ruger mk3, and a couple 1911 45’s, but we got the Ruger in his hands, and he was punching holes. He quickly realized how much more difficult short sights are to align, but said he enjoyed the new challenge. The 1911 ended up being his favorite of the day.
The ride home was quiet, cleaning was another opportunity to discuss history, and the day ended with some barbecue and the real question: what do you think now?
He was quite honest with us, he was still conflicted, but the experience told him he needed to do more research, and that shooting was indeed an enjoyable activity in and of itself, regardless of sport, need, utility or defense. We left it at that, pleased that if nothing else, he had fun.
Once we got back on campus, the subject didn’t come back up for several weeks, when suddenly I was answering questions about calibers, performance, brands and a host of other ballistic inquiries on all manner of firearms. We found a range local to campus that offered rentals, and started going every couple of weeks, where, surprisingly, his main focus was handguns.
After graduation a couple years later, he moved to Florida for graduate work, and last I heard (it’s been a while), he owns 4 handguns and was mulling over getting his CCW.
My experience with him had driven my actions with every other rational anti (they do exist, look carefully) I manage to get on the range, and while I’m not at a 100% conversion rate, I’m certainly at better than 50%.
The main thing I notice at the range when I see someone else at the range with a newbie, they need to be presented options, starting small, and at their own pace. That goes regardless of their political views prior to walking on the range.
that was a great post. The first person i went to a range with didn’t have more than 3 (all pistols). Even taht was quite helpful though. That was a lot of shooting for a newbie though. I’m beat after 2 hrs. (-:
We warned him ahead of time that we didn’t get to shoot often, so we made up for it in volume. He’d said that if we were only going to do something for a couple hours, we could just go watch a movie watching other people shoot stuff, lol. In the end, we told him we’d stay as long as he still wanted to shoot, that we were picking up the lane rental tab, and all the ammo was already paid for, so he had no concerns but learning and enjoying the opportunity.
He ended up showing off his shoulder bruising (which was substantial) on campus like a badge of honor, haha.
Around the same time he started asking me follow up questions is when he realized how much ammo we’d used that day, and how much the replacement cost might be and tried to offer some form of repayment, which was patently refused. When we started going to the range every couple of weeks off campus, he brought me along for advise and coaching, and paid for everything, so I suppose it evened out, even though I never looked to save or recoup money on the venture.
Good story but it kinda had like a strange Penthouse Forum vibe to it.
The meeting, the teasing, the consummation, and the parting of ways.
I was half-wondering if it was the work of a troll and going to end up with some gay ending.
Maybe so, just laying out how it happened.
Hey, the ending sure made ME gay! Nice post, Harry.
I spewed Pepsi!
How many people opposed to gun right have I brought around to the pro-gun way of thinking?
I don’t have a hard number, but I know I’ve converted scores into the gun owner community over almost two decades of firearm instruction and I’ve relished every minute of it. It’s what keeps us going when we don’t make any money teaching (and trust me, as a new instructor, you have plenty of those classes as you get established).
There are some examples that stick out in my mind.
One women named Adrienne is probably my favorite. She was scared of guns when her husband brought her to one of our two-day handgun classes.
Her husband, a big, burly guy but as nice as could be, brought her along because he wanted to get his Florida non-resident carry permit and he wanted his wife to have half-a-clue what to do if they had a problem at their rural home while he was at work. They have three cute daughters and his parental instincts are strong. Turns out hers were too.
Adrienne didn’t like guns. She barely tolerated her husband having them in the house. Barely.
She was nervous in class and literally trembling when we started dry firing exercises.
I thought she was going to cry when we were about to fire our first shots. One of our outstanding female instructors was on point, helping to assuage anxieties and worries, patiently helping her one-on-one. Several of our instructors gave her high praise and positive reinforcement as the day wore on, gently correcting any form issues. By the second day, she had transformed from a meek and mild housewife (and part-time teacher) into momma grizzly.
What sparked the change?
We were doing an exercise and one of the instructors told her to bark her commands to the “bad guys” down range before firing from cover. She wasn’t very convincing.
Our instructor told her that “Manny”, the target, was coming for her girls.
She snarled at Manny to “get back *&*#&#!” and then gave him a triple-tap in his upper chest. She growled after that. No hissing. She growled.
Not long after, she got her own semi-auto pistol, practiced regularly and has taken additional intermediate-level training with handguns and the whole family has been to a couple of Appleseeds now.
She and the entire family became a regular at Guns Save Life meetings. The next spring, she and her three daughters carried a Guns Save Life banner at the front of the Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day parade.
This same woman joined our training group as a staff member, helping students with registration and other non-gun-related needs at classes. She also pays it forward by helping some of the nervous ladies overcome their anxiety about learning how to handle something they’ve looked upon all their lives as “scary” and “dangerous”.
She’s taken to gun ownership and gun advocacy like a fish to water. This same Adrienne, present day about three or four years later, is slated to become the new Vice-President of Guns Save Life after elections next month. She’s running unopposed.
You think she was an aberration?
How about the elementary school principal from near Peoria. We thought she was joking when she said her husband promised her a trip to Hawaii if she accompanied him to our class.
It was no joke.
She left the firing line and cried through the live-fire exercises. Our instructors and staff (thank heavens we’ve got lots of good instructors) took turns trying to convince her to come shoot a little. She bawled her eyes out for almost three hours Saturday afternoon while the others were shooting down below on the ranges.
Sunday, per an arrangement with her favorite instructor, they came out an hour early and shot one-on-one. Jeff helped her overcome some of her fears in that hour. She went on to shoot many of the exercises Sunday.
She didn’t get an NRA certificate of completion as she didn’t complete some of the NRA-required aspects of the course, but she stuck with it and didn’t go home.
Now remember, this woman was a life-long professional educator, now administrator. She detested guns. Wouldn’t let her husband keep his guns in their home. He later told us she made him store them at a relative’s house.
Saw her husband six months later – at an early January gun show in Springfield. He was all smiles when he saw my wife and I at the GSL booth. Came up and thanked us. He was well-tanned from Hawaii, and said it was the second-best money he ever spent. The best money was tuition for GSL Defense Training. His wife let him bring his guns into their home and had since gone out and bought – on her own without hubby along – her own snub-nosed revolver.
Six months after that, I saw him again.
His wife had picked up a second pistol AND had taken two of her formerly anti-gun teachers out to a Women on Target shooting program at the Chillecothe shooting club.
Not only did we bring her over, she’s now recruiting and converting other fellow educators who *were* anti-gun.
It’s not just women either.
One dad came with his son. Son played lots of video games – those shoot-em-up games. Son turned 18 and wanted his own gun.
Dad thought he should get his some some training before even considering buying his kid a gun, much less letting him have a handgun.
“Guns are for killing, and nothing more,” he said during introductions. “I don’t like guns, but I know my son is going to be getting a gun soon, with or without me, and I think I should know a little bit about them too before we bring them into the house.”
After the two-day class, dad wrote on his evaluation (it’s on our wall at the website): “I came thinking guns were only for killing. I left having learned that guns were for living. I’ll be getting my own soon.”
That’s powerful stuff there.
Those are just some of my more memorable ones. There’s plenty more though.
I really do think converts are the best at swaying others. If other see you as a product of your upbringing, they assume your position isn’t based on any real knowledge/research, which may or may not be true. Once you can say you were in their shoes before switching, the first question they have to ask is why. Once the door is open, you can relay your feelings and hopefully the listener will perceive a lot less bias.
“I came thinking guns were only for killing. I left having learned that guns were for living. I’ll be getting my own soon.”
That’s honestly one of the coolest quotes I’ve ever heard on this subject. Good job!
None. Nada. Zilch.
All anti’s must keep their filthy mitts of my firearms.
That goes for my grandpa’s rifle he bought for my dad when he was 14, up until the first polymer pistol I ever bought for myself.
(Is that refreshing and friendly enough, Gang?) 🙂
Before any judgement is cast upon me by the good folks on TTAG, kindly allow me to elaborate.
There’s a difference between someone who thinks guns are bad, but are still “curious”. If said individual is warm enough to squeeze one of my triggers a few times, despite how bad they think guns are, I wouldn’t call them an anti.
But this MDA, outspoken, do away with and banish the 2A crap, I wouldn’t let their ass touch any of my guns, if they said they’d buy one from me. I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of getting to touch one.
“But this MDA, outspoken, do away with and banish the 2A crap”
You mean the ones who have ARMED security quite often?
I don’t blame you a bit.
I find it easy to convert someone willing to listen to facts, that base their life decisions on data instead of emotion, and are willing to spend a few hours with an accomplished instructor to get past their fears. I have converted a few dozen or so. I found it impossible to convert a Democrat Party loyalist who will tote the party line to their last breath, so I do not even bother. I suppose the hardest people to convert are those who refuse to listen to the facts, and thus, I have converted none. A simple observation, as a new part-time instructor and a long time student of many firearms courses, I have seen a lot more newbies since Obama was elected than I have seen previously.
My last 2 girlfriends as well as the current love of my life all went from being either anti-gun or “just don’t like ’em” to being responsible gun owners themselves. I’ve also helped bring several others into the fold by not being pushy and giving them a positive(fun) first time shooting. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
One of the things that helps me is to take them somewhere OTHER than a packed gun range to go shooting the first time. Being surrounded by gunfire and “gun people” can easily make them uncomfortable and less open to new ideas. 1 rifle, 1 pistol and 1 on 1 time discussing safety and rules beforehand keeps them in or close to their comfort zone enough to actually listen and learn.
Generally intelligent people dont require conversion. They find their way to the truth naturally. The others I dont have time for. Life is short and the range sometimes has a waiting line…
When you teach a Progressive to shoot
you are teaching them to shoot you
You have a point there…
But teaching a Progressive to shoot is the surest way to convert them. It won’t matter with the true die hards. Progressivism is closely tied to cowardice and they never do their own dirty work.
I’ve taken some folks shooting here in NJ, most of them fell somewhere between “not interested in guns” to “OMG guns are bad and why would you need one?” Even though they all liked the experience and would (and have) do it again, I don’t think any of them became part of our team. I think it takes time and different reasons for each individual. When people live their whole lives in a blue state, it’s not easy to change their mind with one or two range trips. Hopefully they’ll come around eventually.
My wife, my mom and working on a friend
May I add I never had to convert any of the women in my life. Even my crazy weirdo ex-wife( new age nuts) carried a gun in her purse-illegal as h##l 30 years ago in Chicago. And I’m glad she didn’t shoot me. I just can’t understand getting with someone with such a profound philosophical disagreement-on par with religious differences. YMMV
Converted my wife as well…. now she sleeps with her own pistol on the headboard, has her own deer rifle, and by her request we are in the process of familiarizing her with the operation and shooting of every gun I own. Can’t wait to get her behind the newest member of the family… the AR platform.
None. Why convince a half-wit to carry a firearm? Let’s face it 2ndA or not, there are folks who aren’t competent to carry a butterknife, much less a gun.
I have converted none in the sense of the question, as I don’t shoot, or own a gun. Shooting for me was an occasional, just part of life, in the hills where I grew up.
However, since I live and recreate almost completely among the unconverted, I am sometimes the thin end of the wedge, planting a new seed. I’m otherwise “normal” – well, not that normal. But, they listen to my POV on citizen gun ownership, including the perspective “…powerful tool, dangerous in dangerous hands. But it’s the hands.”
I get a lot of traction *starting where they claim to be.*
So, “It’s just obvious. Too many people getting killed with guns, so we have to get rid of them.”
Then saying things like: “Well, I don’t think that works (that way.)” Maybe that’s an admirable goal, but as I recall alcohol prohibition didn’t work real well, and we are re-living a similar results with the current war on drugs. Why would gun prohibition work any better, and BTW what unintended consequences would it create?”
“So, you are pro-gun.”
“Um, you are pro eliminating guns, in a population that has a few hundred million of them (and BTW considerably less “gun violence” than the count of guns out there.) So, make your case, and I’d like to know why you think it’ll work. I’m pretty sure prohibitions are hard. Also, violence happens a lot of ways that don’t involve guns. So, I’m not sure getting rid of guns would get rid of all that much violence, even less sure legal guns are the problem, and finally I’m a bit uncomfortable with removing equalizing technology from women – who tend to be victims of various kinds of assaults more than me, and part of this is they are simply smaller (often.)”
Make them make their case. Then, “Oh, BTW…” Don’t argue, but problem solve with them, aiming toward the same goal they’ve said they want.
At root, I think a lot of the objection to guns is the same as this (from another article here): ‘To which he replied, “That’s ridiculous. You can get meat in the store!”’
There are parts of life that involve the exercise of power, using skill and will to shape the world, “agency” in babble-speak. Many folks love the results of this agency, but don’t want to own making of the decisions (and perhaps choosing wrong), or the other consequences. Nothing is free. You wanna eat meat? There’s killing an animal in there. You can do it, or have it done for you. Either way you are responsible for the doing, and really for the manner in which it is done. Or don’t and be responsible for that choice as the dingos chow down on your kid in the back yard.
To use a gun is to wield terrible power. We’re modern humans, so we can wield terrible powers safely, for fun, like driving way too fast on a track, skydiving or more. We use our minds to increase our agency, to not only deploy terrible powers, but also to mitigate the consequences.
We can also wield terrible powers, accepting terrible consequences at need. Sometimes we’re just not clever enough to enact our will, for example not to die just now, without some side effects. Use a gun to kill and you have killed when you might not have. It may have been needful. It may have been the least bad available option. Still, you will have killed. It is a terrible power you wield, or not at choice.
It’s the choosing that they can’t stand, not the choices. Standing up and owning your own power, including the choice to acquire power you might need is “agency” writ large. If you’re gonna do things you could choose not to, maybe you own the results, some.
The other thing they can’t stand is piercing the veil to show the imperfect world as it is. A very smart friend talking a while back started a sentence: “In 21st century America, there just shouldn’t be…” So, the illusion of our mastery of all of the world is pierced. That’s the objection. I shouldn’t have to use my agency to protect myself and mine. “In 21st century America there just shouldn’t be cougars stalking children, or two-legged predators stalking us from within our own herd.” Shouldn’t be but there are.
Here’s where I go completely non-PC…
“In 21st century America, there just shouldn’t be … some unstable whack-job shooting up an official he’d stalked for months, at least.” And rather than own the power, accept the agency, Gabby Giffords chose not to have armed security there, then. “In 21st century America there just shouldn’t be … such a whack job.” and rather than deal with the world as it is, she got shot. More accurately she choose to risk getting shot which turned out badly this time.
I don’t like dossier-based “persons of interest” lists one little bit. Still, that whack-job who shot up Giffords, killed a Judge, crippled some kids … and was finally stopped by a Vet stepping up and taking him down (with a folding chair if I’m remembering right) makes an argument for maybe a bit of scrutiny and selection. Also, this should be know as the story of that Judge and that Vet. Also, agency – he did what he could, meaning grabbed a chair and took his shot.
That’s why they won’t talk about the Vet. It’s the wrong story.
So, the Gifford’s campaign for sustaining the illusion that makes choosing to be unprotected in public not dumb continues. It’s not about removing guns, but removing guns to sustain the fantasy that there’s no reason for having guns around. This is a very odd choice of agency – owning the power to sprinkle illusion sustaining false feelings of comfort. Not owning the power to act in the world as it is, with power you have, if you choose to.
I was mostly dead a few months back – stroke & some follow-on problems. I got the most interesting reactions from several of the docs for expressing exactly this attitude, then, about myself. “Well, I wasn’t sure it would help coming here. In fact, I’m pretty under-whelmed by medicine in general. But, it was bad and getting worse, despite what I could do, and this seemed the best remaining option. So, I took the bet – nothing to lose. BTW, having bet on you, I’m do everything I can to help you do what you are doing – how else? That I *can* do, even now. FWIW, I’ve revised my opinion of modern medicine upward dramatically over the last couple days. You guys can actually do things. It’s impressive. Who knew?”
Agency requires doing what you can, and the anti-gun folks hate that.
None. But when SHTF they know not to come to my house.
Kinda. My mom used to be opposed to scary black rifles, just accepting that my dad had guns because he was a cop. Over the years I have changed her mind a little at a time. She now accepts that black rifles are not appreciably different than any others. She doesn’t really like shooting, but is enthusiastically in favor of legalizing suppressors. The muzzle blast is mainly what turns her off of shooting, even my .22s.
Like I said, my dad is a cop. He has a pretty healthy “cops are special snowflakes that deserve better equipment” attitude, like nearly all cops do. But we have had quite a few civil conversations about it.
My latest ex-girlfriend never really had any experience with guns. She shot all of mine, and really enjoyed going to the range. So while I didn’t really convert her; she was never anti, I did push her from not caring to being on our side.
I’ve never converted an anti (at least to my knowledge), but I’ve seen my mother go from anti to pro-CCW (and pro-gun just in general) all on her own. Quite suddenly, too, might I add. It was quite a shock for me, though I never let her know that, and I still don’t have the faintest clue what made her change her mind. Not even after discussing the subject with her many, many times. She doesn’t even know. But, I won’t be one to argue.
Once again, fine shooting!
My wife was a semi-anti. Didn’t oppose them, per se, just didn’t want them in her house. In her case, though, it was more self-confidence than anything. First time I got her out, though, she went through 75 rounds of .22LR, she gives me this pathetic look and asks, “Is that all?” Fortunately I had a couple more boxes for her.
Helped get a couple friends from Belgium turned around. I had an old picture of my son shooting BB’s at Cub Scout day camp and they couldn’t believe I was letting such a young child (7 in the picture) shoot. When I explained it’s just a BB gun, the reply was that it didn’t matter, it was still a gun. I couldn’t go to the range the day they were taken, but I wasn’t happy with how they were taught, so I’ve promised to take them where I shoot.
This summer, I was the Range Master teaching the Cub Scout day camp myself. Some shoot regularly. About most only get to shoot at Scouting events. But a couple dozen, I know were under the black cloud of the Anti-gunners. I’m sure there were several parents upset afterwards because even the sons-of-antis loved it and you could see the lightbulbs turning on in their young brains.
While I haven’t personally turned an anti, I was an anti before being turned. All it took was a knowledgeable friend who was an enthusiast and a day at the range. I had a very negative view of the firearm community and no knowledge of the law or reality of gun ownership. Now I own many guns and know my rights. I must admit, though, I still have a pretty negative view of a large chunk of the firearms community, in no small part due to some of the ravings I’ve read on the comment section on this site. But seriously, take everyone to the range who will go. It may not always work, but it worked on me.
Not sure. None that I know of but it’s different here in Canada. It’s not a polarizing topic here like in the USA. I’ve never got a negative reaction from anyone when they find out I own guns. Maybe curiosity or something but I live in a large urban area so you’d expect more negativity.
So maybe I’ve changed how people view guns/gun owners, I don’t know, but I can’t say I’ve ever really met an anti.
BTW, you’re wrong about Fairly Odd Parents. It is occasionally quite funny.
Agreed on Fairly Odd Parents. Compared to the other shows my 7 year old will watch, Fairly Odd Parents looks like an Emmy winner.