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The Range at Austin

Regular readers know that TTAG has a new home range for testing and evaluation, of both guns and cigars. Well, we will do next summer, when the Austin-based guntry club known as The Range at Austin [above] opens its doors to the public. “How will a gun range of this size [the biggest indoor range in Texas] do in a city as notoriously liberal as Austin? asks. Quite well, I imagine. As a former Rhode Island resident, I can tell you that even bluest of blue states contain a significant number of gun enthusiasts. More than that . . .

Guns 2.0 ranges lower the bar to fence-straddling antis. They’re clean, well-lighted places for non-gun types to see what all this ballistic fuss is about. And once they get to grips with a gun, they often change their perspective. But how true is that? Have you ever taken an anti the range and they weren’t converted? Is hands-on marketing the best way to pull the rug from under those who would degrade and destroy our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms?

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    • Great article. What it really underscores for me is that attitudes don’t change overnight. Especially heart-felt beliefs, like “gun control is the answer.” The author is clearly conflicted because his experience with guns challenged all of his long-held beliefs about gun laws and the efficacy of gun control. It would be interesting to see if he continues to try shooting and whether his attitudes change more over time.

      • Have a coworker that went shooting for the first time a couple weeks ago. I wouldn’t have called her a rabid ‘phobe, but she didn’t see the need, value, benefit, or interest anybody would have.

        Talking about it after (trying to get details was painful – I think she fired a few centerfire of some kind, but no shotgun or rim fire, but there were bullets of some sort) she still has no interest personally, but she sees why some enjoy it and see the value.

        In my world view, she is tolerant. I doubt she will ever be a supporter, but that’s a choice I leave to her. Although, I suspect that by definition of certain all-or-nothing social justice groups, I should still call her a ‘phobe.

        • The politically important question is whether she’d vote to impose her “don’t care much about guns” attitude on others (actively anti-gun politically) or would stand aside because she doesn’t care as it’s not her ox being gored (passive on the gun issue). Or would she do the principled thing, and say “I don’t care for them much but that’s no reason to go banning them.”

          I can get along with the last sort of “hoplophobe.” I don’t insist that you love guns (though if you’re otherwise dating material it’s a plus), I insist that you respect the right.

        • We ought to take whatever we can get from wherever we can get it.

          Suppose we have a voter who is sympathetic to gun-control and tip her. Now, she is skeptical that much of any supply-side gun control will have any effect. She is pissed off about how NJ treated Shaneen Allen. She sees the argument in favor of an armed citizenry. Still, guns are not her bag and she’d just as soon not be around them.

          OK, now, how susceptible is she to a politician’s rant about gun control? Not very. That politician might appeal to her on other issues and she might vote for him anyway. However, he will sense when the tide turns and not very many of his constituents are going to vote for him BECAUSE he is for gun-control. Now, he will concentrate his message on more stop-lights, parks, welfare, etc. He doesn’t HAVE to vote for a gun-control bill because that is what he promised his constituents. Now, he starts concerning himself with how many gun-owners’ votes he will lose if he votes for a gun-control bill.

          We can move a dozen gun-control sympathizers into the skeptical camp more easily than tipping a single foaming-at-the-mouth Anti.

          Our best strategy with the foaming-at-the-mouth Anti is to convince her that gun-control is politically futile. Such an advocate is interested in a plethora of issues; better work on saving the seals or global warming or owls. Blocking gun-control bills and hammering away in every way possible against existing laws is apt to have this impact. Get her to conclude that she is wasting her time, money and energy on a lost cause.

        • If the anti-gun fascists were only speaking for themselves…..

          But they aren’t. They fear anyone with a gun is just nano seconds away from killing them or their children.

  1. I’ve had people absolutely refuse to go to the range with me, afraid evil gunz would get ’em. People who refused offers of instruction, refused to discuss a subject they were convinced they knew everything about without ever learning anything. By the time they actually get to the range, most of the conversion is behind them.

    Evaluating guns and cigars? Are we getting crazy? I’m trying to imagine the smell of gunpowder mixed with cigar smoke.

    • Cigar smoke and burned gunpowder, the epitome of smoke if you’ve got ’em. Sounds like a fine bouquet to me.

      Way too many folks that learn the fun of gunpowder therapy when I take them out. Not every one, but more than not for sure. I remember handing a friend my Winchester 70 with a single 180 gr 30-06 load. She’s all of a petite 5-3, but the excrement-eating grin and vigorous head nodding when I asked her if she wanted another round warmed my soul.

  2. Strikes me as though we need to get ’em when they are young. Children come with a minimal inventory of culturally-acquired fears. If they are exposed to guns in a positive frame then those positive impressions will stick with them.

    Boy Scouts strike me as the ideal vehicle. All kinds of kids sign-up for Boy Scouts, including children of hoplophobes. Not much the parents can do about it when the scoutmaster does a show & tell about guns and takes kids to the range.

    It’s going to be much harder to penetrate other organizations – e.g., schools, church youth groups, etc. Nevertheless, each of us needs to be alert for opportunities to pursue reaching the youth and where the Person-of-the-Gun can exert some influence.

    Other possibilities might be to form a cooperation with police departments and include a trip to the range or a gun safety demonstration at a Law Enforcement Career Day. Maybe find a way to weave gun safety into a DARE class. Something similar with military recruiters.

    Maybe gun ranges inviting teens to tours. Somebody has to shovel-up the brass at the end of the day; maybe offer neighborhood youth an hour’s work. The idea shouldn’t be to get the brass cleaned up; even cheaply. Rather, it’s to get some one (or a few) neighborhood kid interested in the shooting sports and spreading the word to his schoolmates. In a couple of years these high school grads will be 18 and will be able to go to the range themselves. Maybe keep a few cheap single-shot .22 rifles available for free rentals. Some of these kids might rent a booth, buy a box of cartridges and spend an hour at the range a few times.

    The ranges can’t be expected to absorb the whole expense themselves. However, there may be times and days when they know business is pretty slow – e.g., maybe Wednesday mornings. Advertise cheap intro range sessions during these slow times. The local Rod & Gun Club might subsidize the cost of ammo. If 1 out of a couple dozen kids takes up an interest he might join the Club and become a dues-paying member in a couple of years.

    • I’ll never forget the 4-H Gun Safety Program. We listened to lectures on safety, then went to the police range and were given .22 rifles to punch paper with. Made me want to practice more with Dad’s gun when I got home!

  3. Thomas Jefferson — ‘He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.’

  4. I think there are lots of reasons an anti is an anti. Sometimes it’s as simple as one who hasn’t fired a gun yet. Other times it’s a misunderstanding and fear of chaotic systems – from those you’ll hear “But we can’t tell who might snap or who is good” type comments. Others buy into the media’s mischaracterization of firearms or certain types of firearms. The really fun ones just don’t get logic 101, they’re the Kool-Aid drinkers who want to ban guns so that no one has guns and then everyone will be happy.

    If it were as simple as someone shooting a gun to no longer be anti, we would have no issues with the FUDDS. Though FUDDs have fired at least one gun, if it isn’t grandad’s ole Winchester, well then it’s scary stuff.

  5. I think a lot of anti gunners would change their stance if they had the opportunity to employ a firearm in a safe setting. Despite the left/right politics, they’re fun!

    • Lol. No worries, Ralph. I’ll take ’em for you.

      I took some anti- coworkers to a gun show a couple years ago (Phoenix Crossroads). I think they mostly enjoyed poking fun at all the “crazy” people, and I don’t know if their attitudes changed much (or at all), but I still found the experience worthwhile. At least they won’t be able to deny the scope and scale of gun enthusiasm, and it won’t be so easy to dismiss resistance to gun control as that crazy NRA and their bully lobbyists. Besides, it opens the door just that much more for future conversations.

      I’m strongly considering setting up a “field trip to the AR factory” for one or two anti- acquaintances. I’m friendly with a local place that mills lowers, and if they’re amenable I think it would be fun to show them how chunks of aluminum become “guns” (and to force them to wrap their heads around the idea that they need to pass a background check to bring home one of those expensive paperweights because they’re actually firearms).

      I’m not sure anyone who has accompanied me to the range (or a desert shooting session) has been vehemently anti-gun, though at least a few of them had been a little conflicted and one or two were a little nervous. I won’t take anyone who I don’t know personally or who I don’t believe is willing to respect and follow safety rules. For the greener newbies I find that the structure and rules of the range offer comfort and make for a more controlled, and therefore more enjoyable experience. One thing is constant–every single person I have taken shooting has thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

  6. I think a lot of it depends on how much anti-gun venom they regularly spew. That can be an awful lot of crow to digest. I think some of the ones you read about in the media or blogs that decide to get some range time are doing it just to prove how open minded they are before tearing off on another tirade of anti-gun blather.

  7. No, familiarization with firearms and shooting them won’t change an “anti-gunners” mind. I say this because someone who is a firearms enthusiast, owns many guns, carries them for personal defense, etc. would probably be labeled an “anti-gunner” if they don’t see a problem with requiring background checks for all firearm sales, for example.

  8. I’ve only taken one anti-gun person to the range — one of my son’s best friends.

    He’s still as anti-gun as he was before, at least outwardly. Maybe a bit disappointing, but then he’s a stubborn teenager; in his mind, violent criminals don’t really exist and combat is something that should only be done by people with perfect karate form and/or samurai swords.

    On the other hand, we did all have a good time shooting. He picked up the basics really fast (gaming probably helped) and had a blast putting .22 shorts through our little Henry lever-action.

    And then again, he is still just a teenager — and his only interaction with guns so far was positive and fun. And his best friend (my son) is 110% pro-gun. I consider it a seed planted. Whether it grows over time or sits dormant in stony ground, who knows…but it’s there.

    As for the question at hand, I figure the dominant percentage of anti-gunners are people who don’t appreciate the freedom of others and never will.

    But there are those who, once they see the other side, will think it through and can at least appreciate someone else’s point of view; even if they don’t actually come over to our side, they’ll support the anti-gun totalitarians that much less.

  9. No, I mean, psychology aside, I’ve always been positive on the idea of guns but shooting was an acquired taste for me. And it was not my first rodeo with respect to hazardous machinery. So I could certainly see someone not being won over by it.

  10. Ask them about hunting and self defense. Hard core anti-gunners are, at best, ambivalent about hunting for food and completely opposed to trophy hunting even when astronomical license fees are dedicated to conservation. They regard self defense, with or without a firearm, as a childish fantasy or needless brutality. Recreational shooting, in which they have no interest, can be dangerous or destructive unless pursued responsibly. With only negative views about firearms, it’s not surprising they oppose private ownership.

  11. Here on Long Island, a local gun shop recently investigated the cost of building a state-of-the-art 2.0 range facility. Assuming you can overcome the regulatory and NIMBY hurdles, the break-even point would be more than $50/hour for a paying customer to use the range (multi-thousand dollar club memberships notwithstanding). That’s a major barrier to entry for most new shooters. I assume it would not be significantly different in most of the urban and suburban Northeast. Where market penetration of gun ownership is extremely low and upside market potential is the highest.

    • For comparison, I pay $32/hour for a safe, clean and well run, but totally non-fancy indoor range in not-so-nice part of metro NYC. So that $50 an hour for a nice range/club in a nice area is not out of line at all.

    • “$50/hour for a paying customer to use the range”


      That sort of pricing really a shame. That is a real barrier, and is probably not unintentional (on the part of the system that creates the necessity for the business owner to charge that much).

      Not make you guys cry or anything, but a single person at that rate would be paying more per hour than I pay for an entire day when I take my two children to the range we use.

      That’s a huge difference in accessibility.

  12. Anti-gunners are just people hoping to take over when they get rid of guns from the people that could prevent them from doing it.

    Anti-gunners are short-sighted people who don’t think, if they got their way, we wouldn’t be overrun by China, Russia, Mexico (more than we are now), ISIS. . .

  13. I have taken a few people out to the range that have never held a gun before. Of these few folks 3 were anti. I explained that they should at least see what it was all about. Two of the 3 said that it wasn’t what they were expecting and saw the way the other shooters were like and how safety oriented everything was that it changed their minds. They also found shooting to be exciting and fun. of these two one (the wife) actually had her husband get for her a .22 rifle and a shotgun. She enjoyed it and is a pretty good shot too. The other of the two hasn’t bought a firearm as of yet but understands and isn’t against people owning them. She sees the sport side of it and that it is not a bunch of Rambo wanna be’s, but she did not want to join the ranks as an owner… yet. The third understood that most of other shooters are normal folks but she didn’t see the reason to own a gun unless it was for hunting for food, again she does have a new respect for the gun owners that she met.

    • “she didn’t see the reason to own a gun unless it was for hunting for food, “

      Next step is to take her hunting, then, right?

      No reason she can’t hunt for her own food. She might find something spiritual in that she never imagined existed.

  14. Anti-gunners are afraid to trust themseleves with guns. They know them best. If anti-gunners are afraid they cannot safely and responsibly handle firearms, I damn sure do not want them at the rante (inside or out) !

  15. Anti-gunners are afraid to trust themselves with guns. They know them best. If anti-gunners are afraid they cannot safely and responsibly handle firearms, I damn sure do not want them at the rante (inside or out) !

  16. Hey people can change-they need a “come to JESUS” moment. WE had a women beaten,sexually assaulted,kidnapped and left for dead in Indiana. They caught the POS. Only a mile away and lots of local chatter about “more po-leece”-this was a dark semi-rural street which probably doesn’t get a regular patrol. I have talked to idiots ’till the cows came home-they need to be victims(unfortunately)…

    • most anti-gunners are not equipped to think, about anything other than the next shiny thing. they aren’t trained for thinking, don’t like it, and find it too scary.

      pretty much like most of the population.

      • Exactly. I used to be a liberal and had no idea what critical thinking meant. It was quite an eye-opening experience to finally learn to think critically. I think most who go thru government education do not learn how to think critically.

  17. Back in ’09 I managed to turn an “anti-gun” individual onto shooting & the 2A, although he’s still a complete pacifist.

    When I was living in Alamosa, CO, I made regular trips up to the Springs to visit a couple old Army buddies for some time at the Rampart range. On one of these, I picked up a hitch-hiking Deadhead geode-vendor (along with his little Jack Russel) on my way out of town. It was fairly cold & nasty out, there was very little traffic, and his sign read “Denver”. I felt bad leaving him to sit in the cold drizzle, and the drive up was a pretty boring one, so I stopped and offered a ride as far as Black Forest, which he happily accepted. My VW TDI still had a couple hippy-dippy stickers from the previous owner that I hadn’t gotten around to removing and The Doors “American Prayer” playing on the iPod, which led him to drop his guard a bit (turned out Jaybird had about $5k worth of crystals in a Pelican case to sell at the Dead show that weekend).

    It took about 60 miles of amiable small-talk before he started noticing things; like the .50 ball round hanging off my keychain, a couple loose .22s rolling around near his feet, some empty 7.62 Silver Bear boxes that his dog found & started chewing on, and the muzzle of my 9mm Tokarev poking out under the hem of my favorite comfy flannel shirt. Jaybird got kinda quiet for a few miles and I could tell something was on his mind, so I asked him about it; he answered my question with his own, “Hey brother, is that a real gun?”

    “Yep, sure is. Does that bother you?”
    “Nah. I figure if you had wanted to kill me and take my crystals, you would’ve already. Besides, your karmic aura is clean so I knew you were a good dude when you picked us up.”

    After a couple more questions (“Why do you carry a pistol; have you ever shot anyone; ever shot yourself; do you need a license?”), Jay told me that he’d never even seen a handgun up close, much less held one. Not only is he a pacifist (personally, not militantly) and an old-school Deadhead, but he’s also a Hawaii native. But he admitted that didn’t mean he was adverse to guns;,only that he’d never had the opportunity to be exposed to them, or felt a need for that level of personal-protection.
    “I’m better at avoiding bad dudes than fighting them.”
    So I asked him if he’d like to do some shooting once we got to the Springs, and he didn’t hesitate much; “It sounds like fun, as long as it’s safe”. Jay later told me that because the group of us going to the range were either current or ex-military, it made him more comfortable about accepting.

    We got to my friend’s house to meet the guys before heading to Rampart, and they were quite amused (a couple were nervous) that not only had I arrived with an old hitch-hiking Deadhead & his dog, but I had also convinced him to go shooting with us. It didn’t take long, though, and everyone was

    • It didn’t take long, though, and everyone was convinced Jaybird was on the up-&-up.

      When we got to the Range we conducted our safety-briefing, making extra sure our new Deadhead friend was familiar with the 5 Rules of Gun Safety (#5 Never Try to Catch a Dropped Gun). Jay hung back behind the line with me as some of my buddies took their turns, while doing so I fielded more of his questions; “What kind of rifle is that? Does that one kick really hard? Do you need a license to buy bullets?”

      Finally it was our turn, and I brought my Arsenal SLR-95 out of it’s case for him to shoot. It was a post-ban AK, with a black plastic thumbhole stock, and upon picking it up Jay commented thay it was pretty futuristic-looking and lighter than he’d expected. I handed him a 5-round magazine, and walked him through the process of getting it ready to fire and then putting it on safe. When that was done, I took up my instructor-position behind his right shoulder, directed him to place the safety lever on “fire”, and let him shoot first-ever round at his own pace.

      After the magazine was empty, he correctly cleared the rifle without much help (turned out Jay didn’t suffer from typical Deadhead short-term memory loss), placed it on safe, and handed it back to me while making super-duper sure it was pointed up & downrange.

      The smile on his face and glee behind his eyes left no doubts that Jaybird was a convert; when we walked behind the firing line he got handshakes and gave hugs all around.

      When we finally finished shooting, he had gotten trigger-time on an AR, my AK & Tokarev, a Taurus .38, and an SMLE Mk. IV. I decided to give him a ride all the way into Denver, and dropped Jay off in LoDo at a hotel in time to make the Dead show.

      And to this day on the rare occasion that he blows through my area on a concert-circuit, selling his crystals & geodes, one of the first questions I always get is; “Hey brother, wanna go shoot the AK?”
      Jay is still a pacifist, and will not carry a gun for protection while on the road (he’s pretty set on that), but he is adamantly against attempts by the government to outlaw anyone else’s right to do so.

      • That’s cool. I really think the majority of Americans are like him though, feel they have no need for a firearm, and thus have no interest in obtaining one, but don’t think the government should step in an restrict that right to the law-abiding citizen.

  18. NO, Real antigunners are not uninformed- they’re zealots cut from the same cloth as the rabid hoard from PETA, Greenpeace, and Antiques Road Show (jk). The others, those that we whom we can reach and educate, are just the mindless hipsters jumping on whatever is socially salient at that moment.

  19. I think it’s important to appreciate that “pro gun” an “anti gun” are more gray than black and white. For every public policy issue, there is a bell-curve. The two tails of the curve give the illusion of black and white. One tail will never stop hating guns and gun owners and the other tail will hold uncompromisingly to “…shall not be infringed.” Nothing wrong with the latter! But the huge gray area is the vast majority in the middle. They run the gambit.

    I’ve worked in public relations and one principle with things like this is to focus on the majority in the middle and not get distracted by the opponents in the far “tail.” If you can shift the middle in your direction, you accomplish more than shouting down the opponents. So while I don’t think hard core anti-gunners will be swayed by taking them to a range, I think the average person who is on the fence would at least be moved somewhat in our direction by getting some time behind a gun.

    I am all for taking non-shooters to the range. I have done it, and it has always been a good experience for me and for them.

    • Are you not presuming the anti-gun crowd can be represented by a bell curve of some sort? With anti-gunners, there is no large “middle” group. They are not people susceptible to nuanced persuasion (or even gross persuasion techniques). A rare few might be approachable/teachable, but that population is insufficient to overcome the far left group, even when added to the number of pro-gun people. The anti-gun gang is incapable of recognizing the logical disconnects in their own philosophy; facts do not matter. Perhaps a study of how/why POTG became that way would shed light on the feasibility of changing the minds of the greater number of anti-gun bigots. If we do not know what caused POTG to become such, we cannot really expect to make much difference when facing virulent opposition.

      • You missed the point. It’s not that Anti’s are represented by a bell-curve; it’s that ALL people’s sentiments about guns are likely represented by a bell-curve.

        On one side – called a “tail” – there are very strongly committed PRO-gun people
        On the other side – the other tail – there are very strongly committed ANTI-gun people.

        A majority of people – represented by the hump in the middle – are either:
        – moderately pro-gun
        – moderately sympathetic to gun-control

        Generally – though not necessarily – you can presume that most natural phenomena can be charted with the result looking like a bell-curve. Some bell-curves are bunched-up in the middle with very short tails. Other bell curves don’t exhibit a really pronounced hump and have thick long tails.

        The argument here is to not waste time on the anti-gunners on the tail. Concentrate on those people who fall nearer the mid-point of the hump. There are lots of folks to talk to in the middle. They are more open minded. Likely, you can get more of them to move toward rational arguments for gun rights.

        If we don’t talk to these people in the middle the Antis will get to them. That’s what they are trying to do; to persuade people who don’t have strong sentiments pro/con guns and get them to buy-into their emotional arguments for gun-control.

        The Anti’s would be delighted for us to concentrate on trying to convert Anti’s to be pro gun-rights. They know that as long as we are wasting efforts on converting their most extreme adherents we are not cultivating the uncommitted in the middle. It’s very easy for us to be seduced into playing to their game. Their lies anger us and attract us to counter-attack. But our counter-attacks addressed to the extreme Anti-s is a waste of ammunition and other resources.

        We need to concentrate on those people who still have an open-enough mind to be interested in rational argument.

        • Guess I look at the population as majority liberal/anti-freedom/anti-gun, dismissing the notion there is a middle-group of consequence. Afraid I cannot subscribe to the notion that the general populace is reasonable and/or reachable. In the end, the question is not how to reach the muddle, uh, middle, but how to defeat the rabid left and their legislators. the battle is not for the hearts and minds of “the people”, but to raise pro-freedom activity to a level that can swing the balance of power away from the leftist/liberal power brokers.

        • OK, now I think I understand where we disagree.

          As I mentioned before, GENERALLY – but not always – one can anticipate that natural phenomena will lay-out in a bell-curve. It’s an empirical question subject to discovery. You are not obliged to accept my proposition that gun rights sentiments lay-out on a bell-curve.

          Some phenomena have a very different shape that is not bell-curve at all. Some are quite skewed to one side or the other. So, e.g., if you took a survey in the middle ages and asked people in North-western Europe about their religious preference you would get a strong skew to Roman Catholic. After the Reformation, there would be two humps, one for Protestant and another for Roman Catholic. Not many heretics would make up the “tails”.

          You think that the US voter population is skewed Anti. So, let’s see what the evidence is to support your expectation. If you had looked at opinion polls on the proposition of banning handguns in the 1950s then you would see support for your expectation. But, the response to that particular question on polls has gradually dissipated.

          The trend on the Pew poll as to whether people think that the laws ought to stress more gun control or more gun rights has been gradually moving toward gun rights. Now, the split is closed to 50:50. This poll tends to support a bell-curve shape.

          Observe that State legislatures over the past 25 years or so have been passing Right-to-Carry laws pretty consistently; now we are up to 40, maybe more. Trailing behind this trend is the emerging trend of going from Shall-Issue to Constitutional-Carry. A couple of States have amended their constitutions to compel courts to use strict scrutiny on RKBA cases.

          Granted, there have been a couple of set-backs such as UBC in Washington State and Oregon. Nevertheless, the popular polls and the acts of State legislatures have been generally favorable.

          Most people in the PotG community express the opinion that things are moving in our direction. You might not be convinced yet, but I urge you to look for the evidence.

          “. . . I cannot subscribe to the notion that the general populace is reasonable and/or reachable. In the end, the question is not how to reach the muddle, uh, middle, but how to defeat the rabid left and their legislators.”

          Most people are not particularly fond of reasoning – present company excepted. That they are reachable – well, that’s an open question. I think that the middle/muddle is mostly interested in lots of things OTHER than RKBA. That’s OK. They don’t all have to fully embrace the 2A. Instead, they need to regularly hear messages that encourage them to be open-minded and skeptical of the Antis.

          The very best thing we can do is to be out-of-the-closet as gun-owners. Put an NRA sticker on your car. Take the opportunity to mention to acquaintances that you are a gun owner. Speak calmly and rationally about gun issues. Once they see that you are not a tobacco-chewing cammo-wearing “gun nut” they will begin to awaken to the fact that we PotG are all pretty normal people.

          Conversely, those of us who are more on the edge of blowing steam and foaming at the mouth using ad hominem attacks and vulgarity at the Moms who Demand Action will tend to confirm the stereotypes the Antis try to paint of us.

          “. . . the battle is not for the hearts and minds of “the people”, but to raise pro-freedom activity to a level that can swing the balance of power away from the leftist/liberal power brokers.” Here I partially disagree and partially agree with you.

          I don’t think we are likely to turn lots of gun-agnostics into gun-enthusiasts. Not overnight by any means. Suppose each of us made a positive impression on a dozen agnostics. Maybe a couple of those would accept an invitation to go to the range. Maybe one would suddenly have an epiphany and start considering her own self-defense. Such things have happened. I have a neighbor with rather eclectic political views. She got her license-to-carry but never bought a gun. Who would have thunk!

          All we really need to do is ‘defuse’ the gun-control issue. Get the agnostics to be skeptical that gun-control would work at all. Question whether it’s cost-effective to do anything to try to control the supply-side. Ease-up on the idea of people carrying guns in public. Imagine a future state where 1/2 of the population are concealed-carrying and the other 1/2 don’t own guns at all. The 1/2 that don’t own guns would be fully aware that 1/2 of the people around them were carrying guns. And – nothing happens! In such an imaginary future distant America, would it matter any longer that 1/2 the population don’t own guns? Guns in the public square would be an accepted fact. The rabid Antis would not be able to get any traction at all.

          As we gradually creep toward this sort of America – where guns are accepted as a fact of life that’s all around us – gun-control could not really survive as a viable issue. Everyone would accept the fact that there is a 2A just like there is a 1A. I don’t like what some other folks are saying; but, it’s their Constitutional right to express their opinion. Likewise, someone might not like guns in America but it’s their Constitutional right to keep and bear them.

          The much harder task is to swing the balance of power away from the leftists. Here, we will be struggling with the very difficult problem of talking the middle/muddle out of their belief that the cornucopia of free-stuff-from-government is a myth. When everyone believes with all their heart in Santa Claus, it’s mighty tough to get them to grow-up.

          Taking the gun-rights issue away is not – however – so difficult. Imagine this large block of voters who believes fervently in free-stuff. And, these voters are also being told that guns-are-bad. Suppose we make a convincing case that there really isn’t anything wrong with guns at all. That guns-are-bad is just a myth that they have been told. Are we threatening to burst these voters’ fantasy bubble? Are we telling them that there really is no-such-thing as a free-lunch? Nope; they are free to live their fantasy.

          Flip this argument over. Suppose we tell the leftists to “Come and Get ’em!” The harder they work on gun-control the more gun-owners are going to be motivated to rise-up and go to the polls to vote against them. We are this one-issue-voter block their mothers warned them about. We are winning; they are not. And, the harder they work the more we are going to threaten the politicians that vote for gun-control. When we win on gun-rights politicians THEY LOSE on Progressive politicians who will deliver lots of free-stuff that they have sold to their gullible voters.

          We can tell the leftists that they really have nothing to win by pushing gun-control. Ultimately, even if they could sell gun-control and lots of free-stuff from government, they couldn’t confiscate our guns. Remember, we-got-the-guns, they-don’t; Where’s the problem? How are they going to explain to their constituents why they are risking civil war? How are they going to explain why they are risking loosing all the free-stuff by getting us PotG voting for legislators who are inclined to vote-away all this free stuff?

        • Interesting. Thanks for the long commentary.

          My original point was/is there is no empirical evidence (dataset) that validates the theory tht the anti-gun crowd in fact maps to a bell curv. I think the published evidence is that the population is so badly skewed at to rest almost exclusively one direction (clustered so tightly as to be a single blob). The anti-gun population cannot be encouraged or persuaded to be agnostic (“don’t want one for myslef, but you can have yours). They are fanatically fascist. What population there may be that is truly agnostic is statistically insignificant, not worth expending precious resources on. Indeed, rather than attempt to be scientific, objective or informative, we need to understand and accept that this is a war, and only defeat can change the calculus. I believe if you look at history, the best way to get people to be non-committal or supportive is by utter destruction of the opponent (re Carthage). Rather than appealing to a small group of people to remain neutral, our resources should be spent on overt, overwhelming declaration of principle and devastating defeats in the houses of power. Who cares what the anti-gun crowd thinks if they are rendered politically ineffective.

          Emotion, not reason drives the anti-gun crowd. Reason, science and numerical proofs cannot penetrate such thick heads.

          But I did like your walk through. Thanks again.

        • De’nial [of the progress of gun rights] ain’t just a river in Egypt.

          I don’t think we much disagree on the prescription;
          we disagree on the diagnosis.

          That is a critical disagreement; for, if one of us were mistaken in the diagnosis then his prescription would be unproductive; possibly counter-productive.

          “My original point was/is there is no empirical evidence (dataset) that validates the theory tht the ANTI-GUN crowd in fact maps to a bell curv.”

          I don’t understand why you focus on “the ANTI-GUN crowd” to the exclusion of the rest of the population, It seems to me that either you are still not getting the point that a curve is supposed to map the whole of a population of observations, not merely a particular sub-set.

          Draw a bell-curve – never mind for the moment that you don’t believe the relevant curve is shaped like a bell, just follow along for the sake of understanding what I’m trying to convey to you.

          Label the left 1/4 of the curve “Rabidly Anti-Gun”.
          Label the right 1/4 of the curve “Rabidly Pro-Gun”

          Now, label the big hump in the middle as “Don’t feel VERY strongly about guns”.

          Does this curve represent reality? Don’t know; that’s what we are trying to figure out.

          Make another diagram. Imagine it represents the gun sentiments of one of the States; e.g., Wyoming. Where do you think you would put the hump? Would you skew the curve for Wyoming such that the hump is centered under the heading “Rabidly Anti-Gun”? Or, alternatively, where the hump is under the heading “Rabidly Pro-Gun”? Either way would probably be a bit extreme. Personally, I’d shift the hump somewhat toward the right putting more of the population under “Rabidly Pro-Gun”.

          Make another diagram. Imagine this one represents one of the North-Eastern States, say NJ or MD. You might skew this curve more to the left – the “Rabidly Anti-Gun” side.

          In your mind’s eye, make 50 such curves, one for each State. I suggest you might find that most of the States are skewed a bit to the right “Pro-Gun” side; because in this exercise you are simply making 2 stacks of diagrams where Texas and Alaska each have a diagram and Rhode Island and Maryland each have a diagram.

          Were you to account for population, however, the skew would shift to the left. The higher population States will have major metropolitan areas such as NYC and Los Angeles that skew their curves to the left (Anti-Gun) notwithstanding their smaller populations in rural areas such as up-State NY or Northern CA.

          You seem to – figuratively – be willing to look only at the curves for States with a strong Anti-Gun skew and ignore the majority of – admittedly smaller-population States – with something of a Pro-Gun skew.

          Look at the national polls that strive to represent a cross section of the population. I will readily concede that they do NOT show a strong right-ward skew that is Pro-Gun. In recent years, these polls show a roughly evenly-divided country on gun-rights. Over the last several decades, the shift has moved toward gun rights albeit it is at best only about 50:50.

          Estimates of gun-ownership by household are in the vicinity of 45%; i.e., 45% of households keep guns; 55% do not keep guns. How could public opinion across ALL households be strongly skewed against the right to keep arms if 45% of households keep arms? If all the husbands and sons of these households were Pro-Gun and ALL the wives and daughters were Anti-Gun then the skew would tend toward Anti-Gun, but it would not be overwhelming.

          Even if your pessimism is rather closer to the truth than my cautious optimism, I think the best rhetoric is carrot + stick. We begin with the carrot. Guns are good because self-defense is good. . . . But, of course, you are free to harbor any sentiment you like. Bear in mind, though, that confiscation does not promise peace. Remember, we got the guns, you don’t. Civil wars are bloody.

        • Yes, we disagree on the population distribution. I do not believe there is a “middle” cluster worth the effort, that the distribution is almost entirely left and right. You prefer to address a small target, apparently with hope of at least persuading that nit to not be hostile to POTG. I believe the middle is so small and so squishy they not only cannot be easily identified, they are so easily swayed by whatever person is talking to them that one cannot rely on those people not quickly being persuaded to adopt the opposite position. Picking-off the scouts, or outriders, or whatever fringe is there will not serve to have a lasting impact. Only the destruction of the political class and power brokers will have anything near lasting results. As I mentioned earlier, when was the last time you had opportunity to observe/review a communication from the nation of Carthage? I don’t think we have anywhere near a Pareto situation, but the reverse; anti-gunners are the 80+ percent of the non-POTG.

          So, our different interpretation/acknowledgement of the make-up of the non-POTG portion of the general populace leads to either adopting a slow, uncertain progress, or a course of surprise and overwhelming force of political action.

          And those two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

        • “I do not believe there is a “middle” cluster worth the effort, that the distribution is almost entirely left and right.” Now I think I understand you; you believe the distribution is 2-humped at the “tails” and a dip in the middle; an up-side-down bell-curve.

          That’s a possibility. Most people having made-up their minds and not too many neutrals. That could be consistent with the polling data. It could also be consistent with gaining ground in State legislatures.

          I don’t think it’s true; but I’ll have to consider this possibility in the future.

          If its true it makes the campaign a lot harder. We have to make someone who is convinced of the anti-gun argument “flip”. Or, possibly, give-up after being persuaded that gun control is a 3rd rail issue.

  20. True enough, for me at least. In the mid-90’s, I was dragged kicking and screaming to a range by some friends for some pistol shooting. As a city boy, the only guns I saw were on cops, and once, pointed at my head when mugged. On the way home, I was already planning my first purchase and have never looked back. I guess I’ve went country – besides having a CCP, now driving a big ol’ diesel pickup with NRA, Trijicon, BCM and a few other stickers slapped on it.

  21. In my experience, people who have never fired a gun, if invited to do so and treated with respect and dignity, will at least enjoy the opportunity to try it for themselves. While they may not “catch the gun fever” many of us have, they will at least know precisely a bit more about what it feels like to shoot a firearm. And that can never hurt.


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