Kevin’s note: This was written and queued up for publication last week, before the massacre here in Florida happened. If anything, it’s even more relevant today.
The facts really don’t matter: We can quote the reality of the situation, that responsible armed citizens aren’t the problem in America, but it won’t change the minds of people who favor gun control because a change in worldview like that only happens after an experience forces someone to change.
This was brought home to me while listening to David Yamane on Ballistic Radio last weekend, and it matches my experience (there’s that word again…). I’ve been arguing gun rights online for almost 20 years now, long before there was such a thing as a gunblog, and in that time, I’ve managed to convince absolutely no one that disarming the law-abiding will somehow affect criminal behavior.
However, I’ve also seen friends who were anti-gun get into guns because of their experience at a range: Shooting guns is fun, and once we get people to try it, we usually win.
A few years ago, after Sandy Hook, I was approached by a left-leaning college classmate of mine to join in on an online discussion of guns, arguing from the “pro-gun” side of things in a forum with people who favored gun control, with the goal of reaching a consensus. I declined, stating that I had argued guns for years online, and that trying to discuss why the right to self defense is important with people who are in favor of gun control is like trying to talk somebody out of their religious beliefs.
Not going to happen, as Dana Carvey would say.
I’m one of the very few believers I know who has had an intellectual religious conversion: Mere Christianity and The Road Less Travelled are what brought me back to Christianity: My experiences (there’s that word again) growing up in the church had no effect one way or the other on my decision to return to the faith.
However, I know I’m the exception. The good news is, though, when we take people shooting who are on the fence on this issue, we win, and we isolate the gun control crowd even more.
To borrow a line I’ve used over and over again, take someone to the shooting range and let them see for themselves, because guns are the gateway drug to freedom.