If you want effective gun laws, quit taking aim at law-abiding gun owners.
Illustration: Josh Clark
Gun owners today can relate to Ralphie Parker, the popular character in the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story” who was subjected to the anti-gun crowd at an early age. When the little boy asked for a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas, his mother, teacher, and a department store Santa predicted the same gloomy fate.
“You’ll shoot your eye out.” Today, the anti-gun rhetoric has been ratcheted up significantly in an attempt to make gun ownership culturally toxic. In recent years, the gun control crowd has shamed and insulted Americans who disagree with their stance on gun control.
After each mass shooting, they respond by saying it’s time for a national conversation about gun laws. Fair enough. But then they make a monumental mistake by going into full attack mode on gun owners and gun organizations. The NRA, they say, is an acronym for “Neanderthal Racist A–holes.” Following the colorful insults, they resort to emotional blackmail, condemning gun owners for “having blood on their hands” and “caring more about guns than their own children.”
Denigrating gun owners has not, nor will it ever, produce progress on common-sense gun laws. If this flawed strategy was the right path to effective gun laws, more legislation would have been enacted many years ago.
The name calling—“you crazy gun nut”—only causes gun enthusiasts to fight back with twice the vigor. Anyone who is wrongfully painted as crazy or dangerous will vehemently become defensive and disagree with your position because, in the case of most gun owners, those accusations simply aren’t true.
What’s also disappointing is how there’s always outrage directed toward gun owners but very little toward the actual shooter. In fact, Nikolas Cruz, the gunman who killed 17 students at Stoneman Douglas High School in February in Parkland, received hundreds of gushing love letters from adoring fans, as well as money for his commissary account. Yeah, let’s glorify a crazed killer and demonize law-abiding gun owners.
Bearing arms is a constitutional right. If you want to infringe on that right because you feel it’s for the greater good of society, then I’d highly recommend being less hostile and more tactful.
A little bit of diplomacy could go a long way in helping gun owners and gun control proponents see eye to eye.
Assuming, of course, nobody has shot theirs out.