Thanks to social media, we can now all see into each other’s minds, so I have an idea of what non-gun people think about the issues of the day. I see consistent themes. Here’s a few facts I see people get wrong a lot:
Rapid Fire: A meaningless term. If you hear this, try to flesh out whether the person is confusing machine guns. If so, relieve that ignorance. It’s OK to say “machine guns are banned.” They effectively are. A lot of gun spergs will get all ACKCHYUALLY, and that’s not the path to take. Your goal as an ambassador to the gun culture is to relieve ignorance, not to impress your opponent with your knowledge of obscure firearms minutia.
Military grade: What does this mean? Almost all firearms have a military pedigree of some sort. Even Grandpa’s deer rifle likely uses the bolt action invented by Paul Mauser in 1898. The M1911 was developed for the military. Again, this could be a symptom of confusion between machine guns and semi-automatics. This is where your typical explanation of the “assault weapons” issue comes in. The war on AR-15s is nothing more than a war on scary looking rifles and ergonomics. It functions no differently than other common rifles.
Magazines: Most people have no idea it takes only a few seconds to change a magazine. It’s also not completely apparent to someone who hasn’t taken any kind of firearm self-defense course that magazine restrictions benefit attackers over defenders. The attacker has planning on his side, and he can plan around the restriction. As a defender, I’m not going to carry a gym bag full of 10 round magazines around with me all day (as the attacker in Parkland did for the shooting). I’m going to carry what’s in my gun, and I want it to hold what it’s designed to hold. Police feel the same way, which is why they’d fight tooth-and-nail if the restriction applied to them. Your average cop is more likely to need his gun than I am, but the vast majority of police shootings don’t exceed ten rounds.
Firearms are Deadly: We shouldn’t mince words. The AR-15 platform is not designed to wound. That’s one of the biggest pieces of gun lore out there, and it’s not true. The reason the .223 Remington was adopted by the military as the 5.56x45mm because a solider can carry a lot more rounds of it than the .308 and .30-06 ammunition it replaced, and it does the job adequately enough. Yes, as rifles go, the AR is not particularly powerful shot-for-shot. Yes, in many states, you can’t hunt medium sized game like deer with it because it’s not powerful enough. What makes it popular among shooters is also what makes it a choice for some mass killers: it’s an open-source, accessorizable platform with good ergonomics, manageable recoil, and a quick learning curve. There’s nothing remarkable about the AR-15s function that sets it apart from any other magazine fed semi-automatic rifle. I think it’s important for people to understand why it’s a popular platform. While I’ve always thought the term “Modern Sporting Rifle” was a transparent euphemism, the war on so-called assault weapons is a war on modern ergonomics and usability.
Yes, We Care About Children: How many of us have heard this one over the past few weeks? I don’t really take kindly to the use of emotional blackmail, so usually if someone engages in it, I will cut off discussion. But yes, we care about kids. We just don’t agree on solutions.
Arming Teachers: Be realistic about arming teachers. The caricature pushed by the media and gun control proponents is that we want to hand out guns to school staff. No proposal by the NRA or anyone else even comes close to this. My actual opinion on this is that there should be no legal penalties for a person to carry in a school if they are licensed to carry everywhere else. I think local schools should have the option to adopt state prescribed training standards for allowing select personnel to carry. Could be a resource officer, could be retired veterans, could be teachers who are inclined. I don’t really care either way. It should be up to the school district how they want to go about it, or if they want to allow it at all. If a teacher has a license to carry and wants to carry regardless of district policy, they risk their jobs. I don’t see any public benefit to putting them in prison for it.
It’s Just a Hobby: If it was just a hobby, we wouldn’t be at each other’s throats. Skiing is just a hobby, and even though people die skiing, no one argues over it. The fundamental argument at work in the gun issue is what the proper distribution of power in society should be. That’s not a simple topic where there are easy answers. Unfortunately, people very strongly want to believe there are easy answers to complex social problems. I don’t believe popular sovereignty really has any meaning if those in power disarm those without it. Without arms in the hands of the people, it’s a fiction. Also, non-shooters tend to be unaware of the interdependency between the civilian shooting culture and the police and military shooting culture. The truth is when you destroy your civilian gun culture, shit like this is what happens. Many of the training options police and military now have are courtesy of the civilian culture, and vice versa. You can’t destroy one without damaging the others.
Also, I would encourage you to check out Tam’s post on this subject, and add that to your quiver.