For U.S. citizens, enduring arguments for and against guns and gun ownership are just about as commonplace as it gets. Types of guns, access to guns, capacity of guns; if there was ever a perennial topic for sparking argument it is guns and the rights concerning their ownership as affirmed in the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
The incensed and vicious tone these arguments have taken in 2018 is worrisome, another symptom of the seemingly widening cultural rift in our country. The emotions on both sides run hot. People on Right and Left are not seeking parlay or common ground on the issue any longer, and are not taking prisoners on social media.
Family gatherings may degenerate into invective and insult over differences of opinion. It may seem trifling or humorous until you have to deal with it; Pro- or Anti-2nd Amendment, your “allegiance” will set you against your counterparts in any social setting where it emerges.
The good things about guns and gun ownership never come up. That is a lost opportunity, and a shame, because anyone who is honest can see that guns and gun ownership are overwhelmingly good for citizens at large, and not just when it comes to self-defense. In this article, we’ll cover a few positive facets of the gun sphere that you may have overlooked. Next time you find yourself in a battle of wits with an anti-gunner, you can try a different tack to change their mind, or at least get them to reconsider their point of view.
The nature of the fight usually sees us on the defensive, fending off spurious assertions of statistics and howling accusations about our character with no basis in fact, and often times no basis in reality. The fatal flaw with that approach, no matter how well intentioned, is that it does nothing to bridge the divide that yawns ever wider between us and a significant population of our countrymen. Instead of holding a position against such a battering and then peeking out from our burrows when the verbal shelling stops, we need to go on the offensive.
No, I don’t mean blowing up and showing them how hostile you can get, I mean marching out on in a different direction. Anti-2A proponents are not aliens (no matter what you might think about your brother-in-law), they are Americans, mostly like us. Chances we care about most of the same things, even if we are half the world away on the issue of gun rights.
There lies the opportunity: present the positive gains that guns bring not just to your life, but the lives of millions of other Americans, in a way that they can relate to, even grudgingly admire, and you will have made progress toward softening the heart and mind of an ideological adversary.
Note that you should waste no time even discussing to say nothing of openly arguing these points with anyone who is avowed in their hatred, someone you have no chance of making a connection with. In contrast, if someone close to you is not on the 2A train, you might be able to help them aboard before it leaves the station. Think friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, fellow congregation members, etc. There is value to be had in spending your time and effort to improve one of those people, because they are all a more or less significant part of your life. A random stranger, not so much.
By all means, if the topic should come up with a fellow commuter or whoever, and they are more or less amicable, go for it. I only urge caution so you do not sink time and brain cells into a master-crafted argument and radiant oratory only to waste it on a zealot you cannot hope to shift. Do not cast pearls before swine. Think grassroots; invest your efforts on the people you actually know.
Guns Are Good..?
Trick question. Guns, like all technology, are neither good nor evil. They have no inherent will of their own; it is the deeds of the gun’s user that characterizes it as good or bad, just or wrong. That being said, for a country like America that is positively swimming in guns from coast to coast, a country with the most heavily armed citizenry in the world, if guns were as patently evil as so many of our counterparts assert, we would indeed be living in a hellscape.
Instead, because Americans are overwhelmingly good, guns are overwhelmingly good: The U.S.A. is safe, prosperous and its citizens enjoy rights and personal agency that is the envy of people the world over. A part of that is thanks to our cultural tie to our guns. Americans have long been proud of our reputation as rugged individuals: self-sufficient, capable, prepared, whatever comes our way we handle it with the swaggering confidence of a people who have seen it all, beat it all and lived to tell about it.
From breaking an unknown land for human habitation, bringing down wild game for meat and materials, repulsing hostile invaders or throwing off the chains of tyranny, Americans have relied on guns since before the U.S. of A. was. Today, they still protect us and our families at home and away, but they also contribute greatly to the safety of our communities, ensure conservation of our national parks and wildlife and reinvigorate, or create, lasting family traditions.
Below are a just a few of the positive things that guns and gun culture contribute to the landscape of America.
Guns Save Innocent Lives from Criminal Predation
Rather guns help innocent victims save themselves, and do so with both great effectiveness and regularity. It should be the height of common sense that a good guy or gal armed with a gun can handily turn the tables on a criminal scumbag, whatever their intent, repulsing or incapacitating them. Instead we are faced with obfuscation and grandstanding from both politicians and vested interests in the anti-gun lobby that guns are responsible for the deaths of more innocents than they save.
You do not have to go too many degrees from home in your social circle to find someone who has been the victim, or was intended to be the victim of a violent crime. Many of us know someone, friend or family, off the top of our heads.
The bottom line is this: anyone, stranger or not, that intends to victimize you would prefer you be unarmed. There are piles of reports that corroborate intended victims’ tales that the mere presence of the gun was often enough to halt an attack, and that return gunfire is overwhelmingly effective at riving off or stopping them in the event they persist.
Guns are not magic wands, and the user must be trained in their use to guarantee effectiveness, but no other tool is such an equalizer; guns have the range, precision and power to help level the field between victim and attacker. A gun will serve the young and old, fit and infirm alike. Weight of numbers counts for far less against a gun that can be brought to bear and fired rapidly, and it is the rare dirtbag, anticipating an easy mark, who feels gung-ho with ringing ears upon watching his accomplice drop like a string-cut puppet with two bubbling holes in his chest.
There have been plenty of studies touted by independent scholars, scientists and the NRA, among other groups that the defensive uses of guns in the hands of citizens drastically outweigh the number of murders and assaults each year in the U.S. The numbers produced by these studies vary, because reporting is inconsistent and further complicated by varying legal definitions and tracking state to state.
But thanks to recently uncovered CDC study on defensive gun usage (a study that they opted not to make public. Hm…) conducted back in the 1990’s, we now have corroboration of the long-touted claims produced by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz on the number of legitimate defensive gun uses in the U.S. every year: over 2 million.
The discovery of this study is recent and full collation is ongoing as this article goes to press, but once the numbers are fully dissected this will prove to be the final nail in the coffin of the argument from those who claim that guns kill innocents far more than they save, proving, finally, impartially, what we have all been trying to tell our adversaries for years. No one except a sociopath wants to see innocent people harmed or killed. Be sure and tell your less pro-gun acquaintances about the life and limb saved every year by guns in the hands of the innocent.
Guns and Hunting Ensure Conservation of our Wildlife and Public Lands
Conservation efforts to preserve our wildlife and public lands cost fortunes. Thankfully, the revenues, fees, taxes and donations generated from sportsmen and hunters are more than adequate. Licensing for hunting activities generates about $800 million per year for conservation initiatives. Billions more are generated from taxes and donations.
Conservation of our animal and plant life is an enormous undertaking; maintaining and preserving ecological processes, law enforcement, policy making and regulation of development is the province of both government agencies and NGO’s. All funnel vast amounts of personnel and resources to dozens of different sectors in order to provide the necessary management and stabilizing efforts to ensure future generations will be able to enjoy nature how we do today.
There is nothing more important to funding these efforts than hunting revenues, furnished by hunters and sportsmen who care about our animals and land, and dearly want to see them available for future generations. Regulated hunting has never led to endangerment of animal populations, and that regulation is made possible by conservation efforts.
Guns are great for the economy as a whole: Retail revenue generated by hunters and shooters in the U.S. each year is north of $100 billion. Additionally, more than 800,000 jobs in the U.S. are directly related to shooting and hunting. The economic impact of both cannot be denied. Most Americans care about the economy, and are all affected by it whether they care or not. The next time someone demonizes guns, gun manufacturers or hunters, kindly remind them of how much they contribute to our markets.
Guns Help Create Strong Family Traditions
Many families have guns in the house for one purpose or another. For keeping the home and family safe, for hunting, or just for plinking and target shooting, the ethical use and ownership of guns is an integral, cherished part of the American experience. While not the most important element, guns can play a significant role in continuing or starting traditions that will bond family members more strongly, and the requisite skills that go hand in hand with gun ownership are valuable “hard” skills that children and adult alike will carry with them for life wherever they may go.
Learning to handle a gun safely and shoot it well is a rite of passage for a great many boys, and an increasing number of girls. At any rate, teaching children gun safety is prudent parenting no matter who you are. Many families enjoy informal plinking, target shooting and hunting as an activity that the whole family can do together, and the added benefits of fresh air and a little exploration is just a bonus.
Guns themselves easily weave into a family’s historic tapestry, being both durable, long lasting artifacts and one of those most endearing of possessions: something carried. Guns carried afield, any gun used by an ancestor is a precious heirloom, handed down from one generation to the next, and often squabbled over by inheritors. The stories and legends that materialize in their wake are palpable.
Guns are inherently part of American culture, and the part they play down to the individual and family level is overwhelmingly positive, no matter what naysayers would have you believe thanks to the actions of criminals and psychopaths. Skill at arms is nothing to be ashamed of, and need not be draped in any of the negative connotations so ceaselessly portrayed by the media.
This undoubtedly is no revelation to many readers, who have grown up in a gun-centric household, and whose childhoods are full of happy and pleasant memories of time afield, at the range or in the woods with loved ones. To those who grew up in a household where guns were demonized, and those who like them vilified, it is a concept they cannot wrap their minds around on their own: they lack the frame of reference.
It is here that you can relate your tales and memories to them in a very personable way. The gun is not the focus of the story or the family, it is merely a tool, and one that has its part to play.
Guns are arguably a part of the culture, traditions and landscape of America, and undeniably, in the hands of most American citizens, a force for good. Not everyone sees it that way. But some of us value our independence, safety and traditions more than the false, flimsy platitudes and promises of safety handed out so prolifically by politicians.
Charles Yor is an advocate of low-profile preparation, readiness as a virtue and avoiding trouble before it starts. He has enjoyed a long career in personal security implementation throughout the lower 48 of the United States.