“I will never have guns in my house, or allow my children to visit homes that have guns in them.” – Anonymous
I have experienced variations of this line from casual dinners to heated arguments. And as I read it again tonight, I was compelled to get behind my keyboard and make my point heard.
The debate between liberals and conservatives has raged for decades regarding the ‘politically incorrect’ topic of firearms. Here’s something most of you already know – guns can’t do anything without a human telling it what to do. If the operator has hostile intentions, then it goes without saying that the result will not be pretty.
The conservative side of the argument usually discusses the issue with points like these:
- What will you do when home alone and 3 guys break in?
- I will not be here today had it not been for my firearm
- I’ve been carrying for years/my better half carries/we teach the kids to shoot from a young age
Although these points all make perfect logical sense, they don’t address the issue on the table.
Many anti-gun-minded individuals have preconceived ideas of what guns are for. Before we can change their mind, they first need to be open to change. Unfortunately, it is part of human nature to stubbornly resist change.
So I’m not going to try and change anyone’s mind with what I have to say. But I will try to drive a few points home.
I own firearms and carry one every day. I also carry a knife, a multitool, as well as a flashlight. My chosen brands have no place in this article, nor do my reasons for carrying them.
I go to work and the shops like this. I visit family like this. And I will be at home like this.
Now, allow me to return to the quoted statement at the beginning of the article and address it directly. I’ll ignore the prevailing level of ignorance in that mindset and argument. I’ll also ignore the fact that I carry my firearm when dropping-off and picking-up the kids at school. And when greeting you in the grocery store afterwards. Lastly, I’ll ignore the fact that you will never even know that I’m carrying a firearm on any of these occasions.
How can you justify depriving yourself of another human being’s company solely because they happen to own a firearm? A mere defensive tool and an inanimate object. More importantly, how can you restrict your son from going to cricket practice because the coach goes hunting every season? Or prevent your daughter from playing for the hockey A-team against another school because their principal endorses sport shooting, and happens to be a range officer at his local shooting range over weekends?
I understand that you will defend your above statement by painting me as the silly person who indulges in nonsensical scenarios. But you have said exactly that with your absolute and binary statement regarding firearms and the people who own them.
You have to be rather bigoted to not understand the following
- I have gone through more than 20 different police background checks for various competence certificates and license applications over the past five years. And passed every single one.
- I can’t step out of line or I will be arrested and deemed incompetent to own firearms. And then I will lose my ability to exercise my passion – I must look for ways out of conflict. I can’t seek confrontations.
- With all of this permanently weighing on my consciousness, do you think I am going to harm you or your family? Or do you merely feel insecure around me because I really can’t break the law unless life depends on it?
- Having said that, please tell me how many of your friends and family you can vouch for so confidently that even the government, the most anti-gun organisation on the planet, allows them to keep and bear arms?
I’m an Average Joe with social interactions and feelings. And I can tell you that if your friends and family ostracised and excommunicated you because of a completely irrational reason, you will spiral into depression.
Firearm owners are humans. I have experienced my fair share of bad egos, but I have never gone to a fellow firearm owner (or motorcyclist, for that matter) and started a conversation only to find them unreasonable or unsociable. There has never been a complete lack of interest in regaling me with their stories or history. We are people just like everyone else. And when you unfairly cut us out of your life simply for being who we are, it does harm to both of us.
Written by Shaun Owen
Shaun works in the firearms training and retail business, and has several years of experience both behind the counter and at the shooting range