Guns are an inherently political topic, and talking about guns with your friends and family who lean to the left who already have the idea that guns are bad is primarily based on misinformation and outright lies. Rarely will you be able to win them over with facts, logic, and reason. I want to help you demystify guns for others.
Before we jump in, I want to be realistic. This isn’t going to work for everyone, and it isn’t going to turn people into libertarians or conservatives overnight (perhaps not at all). I can tell you from experience, though, that once you demystify firearms for an anti-gunner, it starts to open their eyes to other things.
Talking About Guns and Finding Common Ground
The first step is to find some common ground to agree on. Yes, there is absolutely too much gun violence in this country. Yes, too many innocent people die. No, the police can’t really do much to prevent it. There’s your common ground.
Most of these people you’re trying to reach have rarely if ever, shot or even picked up a real gun. Here is where the real work begins. Invite them to go to the range. Ideally, you should find a qualified firearms instructor to help you unless you’ve had some experience teaching firearms to others. Now is not the time for your ego, so make this assessment objectively. Also, using an instructor conveys some authority and respect that you might not have on your own. Remember, the goal is to demystify guns for them.
At the range, that first round down range is going to change their lives. By the 100th round, they will feel empowered, capable, and fearless. Some are going to get really emotional about it; some might cry. Nobody leaves that range the same person as they were coming in.
Next, you need to help turn them into a legal gun owner. Please be sure to follow all the local, state, and federal gun laws because you’re not going to be of any use to them in jail and/or deep in debt from legal fees. If they’re going to buy one, help them pick it out. Once they take possession of it, go home, show them how to take it apart, oil it, clean it, and load it (with dummy rounds, dummy).
If they’re anxious to get to the range with their new pew-pew, go! Then again, maybe they’ll want to get used to the idea of having it around first. Before you go, please review the firearm safety rules again and point them to some material about self-defense rules of engagement, castle doctrine (if you have it), and whatever else is appropriate for your state.
New Supporter of Gun Ownership
Behold! You have a fully functioning new gun owner. Soon, they will begin to see that the people they’ve tacitly supported over the years want them disarmed. Now they’re the “good guy with the gun.” They won’t change their political outlook overnight, but this will crack it open and let some light in.
From here, keep talking to them casually about things. Talk about concealed carry. Help them select a holster. Invite them back to the range. Occasionally, send them articles from this site about defensive gun information. You don’t want to overdo it, though, or you’ll get a lot of pushback. Don’t hammer them with gun politics. They’ll start to see it on their own.
Even if you only ever get to the first step, that’s good. You’ve made them think. Sometimes, it’s hard to know the long-term impact.
Stay safe, be prepared, and never panic!