There is no disputing the facts that firearm freedom comes from firearm education and that the perils of lost liberties are the direct cause of failing to educate on the present subject being discussed. After all, politicians are elected by the people in their state, their district, or in their locality. So, educating the populace about guns and the right to keep and bear arms will lead to greater freedom in the long run, but it won’t be easy and we must recognize that we may fall short in the short term until we reach out and appeal to the hearts, minds, and ideals of the community at large.
Often times people who are vehemently anti-gun don’t see themselves as such. They think in terms of making the world a better place, greater safety for the children, putting an end to senseless violence, and etc. They are appealing to people’s emotions with phrases like “common sense legislation” thereby trying to contrast their position as only a fool would argue against this proposal. Frequently, members of the anti-gun camp use falsehood to further their position. To name a few of their misleading arguments, they offer statistics that are skewed and inflated numbers of child deaths from gun violence. Furthermore, they favor very strict rules to acquire a license to carry a firearm; the number of guns you can purchase at any given time interval; banning assault weapons without knowing what an assault weapon truly is; and many are in favor of new technology like micro-stamping ammunition as a way to “reduce” crime or prevent “potential” crime.
To counter these claims listed above, we shall try to clarify some points. When someone supports strict licensing on a right, it limits that right – rights which we’re born with – that aren’t granted by any government. True Assault weapons are firearms with the capability to have a select fire option to either shoot fully automatic or in multiple-shot bursts with only one pull of the trigger. Assault weapons are used by military and law enforcement personnel. These types of firearms are available to civilians in some states but not all and they are heavily regulated and restricted to people who purchase a federal license and undergo greater scrutiny before you can buy them. Micro-stamping ammunition is a process where a serial number is either stamped or inscribed onto the brass casing and on each bullet and then recorded into a searchable database that local and federal law enforcement agencies can use. This process is almost impossible to track reliably and has been tested for example by New York with zero convictions while costing the tax payers millions of dollars. What’s interesting is that the corporations who designed this technology and thereby make profits from the sale of this concept are the greatest components of it. It is really a boondoggle that does nothing to actually stop crimes from being committed. Can you imagine the manpower it would take just to track every bullet and casing produced in this country?!!!
Here are a few things I think gun owners can do to spread the message about firearm freedom;
1: Speaking to your neighbors, your friends and your family
If your neighbors, friends, and family know that you carry a firearm, then they may be receptive to what you have to say. Sharing your knowledge on the subject will help them to be better informed about guns, gun laws and self defense. They may also benefit from showing them various different statistics that might not be commonly understood. There are some that show that an armed society is a polite society (which John Lott has studied and written about extensively), that more guns have reduced crime, that murders, burglaries, robberies and the such have declined when there’s an increase in lawful firearm ownership in an area.
Here in America we have a few examples where gun bans have been a failure. Washington D.C. is an example where they had a complete firearm ban in place for around 30 years because it was thought that eliminating the possibility of guns in that area would stop crime. Well, that backfired as crime grew steadily over that period. When the supreme court in 2008 overturned that ban in District of Columbia v. Heller which allowed individuals to at least possess firearms in their homes, crime started to once again decline and continues to be on the decline.
Kennesaw, Georgia is an example where crime plummeted after the town signed into law an ordinance that requires that each head of household own and maintain a gun. 29 years after the ordinance became law, crime is still down.
2: Public outreach
Since there are so many misnomers about firearms and gun owners, an effective way to combat them is to address them head on.
One of the most common misnomers found in the anti-gun circle is that guns kill people. Human beings are the true killers, not the firearms. Human thought followed by behavior is the cause of killing another person. Not an inanimate object. Firearms don’t randomly go off; they require physical action in order for a gun to be discharged. The tool or implement used can be anything; a pencil, a rope, a hammer which are all commonly found and can be used to kill. Perhaps we should license everyone who owns a hammer and require that everyone register their hammers after a 5 day waiting period! When handled properly, firearms are no more dangerous than a baseball bat, a knife, a metal bar, a piece of wood, or anything else you can think of. Many things have the potential to be used with deadly force, but it first takes someone who is willing to use that object in a wrongful manner. Human action, malice of forethought, criminal intent are the underlying issues. It is not the guns….it is the criminals who use them and for those there are laws on the books already. Enforce the law. Do not make criminal the possession of the tool….for that tool is what equalizes the weak against the strong. It increases the odds for a small female or a an elderly person to defend against a larger and more aggressive person with violent intentions. To restrict the underdog from accessing the tools for his/her defense is to enable the criminal!
Addressing some of the aforementioned misnomers can be done by pamphleteering in your local community, offering to teach individuals how to safely handle and shoot a firearm and setting up meet and greets so local gun owners can band together. Something else that can be done to further improve the negative stigma associated with gun ownership is to clean up local parks and streets, donate time at a local homeless shelter and help out at soup kitchens. We also have hearts and morals to help one another out. Some stuff that almost NEVER gets discussed is the amount of good gun owners actually do. Hunters that donate meat to homeless shelters, firearm instructors that are teaching self defense to women and the elderly, gun clubs that host safe shooting events for youngsters, and Project Appleseed that teaches rifle marksmanship in the context of American heritage and the events that lead up to Lexington and Concord with the “shot heard round the world”. These are just a few of the things gun owners can do to improve the public image and counter the negativity of some.
3: Speaking to your elected representatives and addressing your local council at monthly council meetings
Speaking to your elected representatives whether they’re at the federal, state, or local level may be an intimidating task, but it is one that’s worth both your time and your efforts because politicians are the policymakers which could either advance a pro-gun cause or push forward anti-gun rhetoric and stir up more hysteria.
If there are politicians spreading false information about firearms in your area, do your best to correct the misconceptions and insert the facts and reality. You can educate the politicians by scheduling meetings with them in person, attending local council meetings, writing letters to your newspaper editor where you call out a politician, or you could write them letters and send them emails. Having well prepared statements or lists of facts and points based on correct information is very important when confronting these folks to at least let them know that you’ve done your homework.
4: Introduce individuals to firearms
A less conventional way to educate people about firearms is to actually allow them to shoot firearms! Most individuals are fearful of stuff that they’ve never done before. If they’re open-minded to the idea of being introduced to a gun, then don’t hesitate to show them the fundamentals of how to safely handle a firearm, proper eye and ear protection and how the firearm works before they shoot your gun. This is also a fun way to introduce non-gun people to guns….it allows people to see how a gun operates and to learn, first hand how if properly used with caution they are really quite exciting to shoot.
It is my hope that gun owners will do more to reach out to their fellow Americans and take any opportunity possible to educate someone to further our cause.