When Someone Just Hates Guns
I love telling people what I do. Firearms instruction is a really rewarding job on many levels. Because I treasure my right to own and carry a gun, I am committed to teaching as many people as possible to do the same. One way to keep a right from being infringed is to make sure it is popular…politicians like to be re-elected, and they are less likely to go after something that will make the electorate unhappy. There is also a great deal of pleasure to be had in watching someone realize that, not only can they learn how to shoot a firearm, but it is actually fun. The look of discovery on a new shooter’s face, followed by a delighted “Wow! Can I do that again?”, is something I never get tired of. But every now and then, when someone asks what I do, my answer of “I’m a firearms instructor” brings a terse “I hate guns.”
The conversation is not necessarily over at this point. I am not an aggressive person, and I have no interest in arguing with people, but if the talk stays civil we can both express our views. I usually find that the person I am talking with has never had any experience with guns at all, and is operating on a general fear of what they read in the papers or see on TV. (I think I have expressed my views about the impartiality and accuracy of the media well enough in the past…no need to dig into that now.) Fear is a terrible motivator. It has a tendency to keep one in an emotional state, unable to think or reason clearly.
A Reality Check
At this point, I don’t jump right into trying to convince them that guns aren’t evil. My usual response is to remind people that guns are here, that there are a lot of them, and they are not going to go away. It’s reality. And doesn’t it make sense that people should be trained to use them properly? There are issues of safety, both to the gun owner and to others, not to mention law and morality. When gun owners are taught the safe, proper and ethical use of firearms, everyone is better off. With one exception, everyone I have had this conversation with has understood what I am saying and agreed with it.
The One Exception
“I don’t care!” she said. “Guns are evil! I wish they would all disappear!” Nice lady, married, one kid, homemaker, lived in a pretty little house in a rural area. Never held a gun, no interest in trying, just wanted them to go away. I decided to give her her wish.
“Okay,” I said, “let’s pretend that guns don’t exist. They never did. Nobody invented gunpowder, nobody has ever figured out any kind of firearm. The world is entirely gun-free. Do you feel safe now?” She agreed that she did. I kept going. “Excellent. Now, your family has come home for the night. You are all tucked in bed, and just drifting off to sleep. And suddenly you hear a loud crash. Four men just broke through your front door. But don’t worry, none of them has a gun, because guns don’t exist. One has a wooden baseball bat. Two have knives. One has an ice pick. And maybe some zip ties. Your son’s room is down the hall, and your room is at the top of the stairs, so they will get to you first. I hope you can stop them. A gun would really help you at this point. And they do exist. If you ever want to learn, I would be happy to teach you.” She had no answer. It got a little subdued, and we moved on to other subjects. But she is thinking about it.
The plain truth is that guns do exist, and so do evil people. When someone wants to hurt you, they will not hesitate to try as hard as they can, and whether they use a gun, a knife, a chair, or their bare hands, you have a right to defend yourself. I would like to do so with the best possible tool available to me. If your attacker is armed, bigger, stronger, angrier, on drugs, or if there is more than one of them, your firearm is your equalizer. It’s no guarantee that you will survive, but it gives you a far better chance to do so. You are the good guy. Learn how to take care of yourself and the others around you.