By Tom McHale
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- I feel like I’m a fairly bright guy. Especially when I watch Wheel of Fortune and guess at least half of the puzzles without buying a single vowel. Brainpower or not, this issue has me totally flamboozled.
It’s the “No Guns Allowed” campaign led by the Moms Demand Alimony From That Napoleonic Little Tyrant Michael Bloomberg (MDAFTNLTMB) organization. They’ve been bringing swarms of protesters, like almost 10 or 12, to a whole bunch of events at businesses like Kroger grocery stores. Apparently their goal is to encourage those businesses to adopt a “no guns allowed” policy.
Call me crazy, but I thought we already had a bunch of laws for that, which a slew of tipsy politicians codified over happy hour at the Capitol pole dancing club.
Here’s the thing that’s got me stumped. Exactly who are they worried about when it comes to people carrying guns in stores?
As I see it, there are a grand total of two choices of “people to be worried about” groups.
- Legally armed citizens.
- Illegally armed criminals.
Am I missing something or any other groups here? I don’t think so. I was thinking about including Nigerian Dwarf Goats because they just look kind of creepy, but then I remembered they don’t have opposable thumbs, and therefore can’t operate guns.
At a loss to understand this issue, I decided to get some first-hand intelligence and consult a Moms Demand Alimony member.
Me: Hey, if you have a minute, I’d like to ask you why you’re here protesting at the Kroger store?
Moms Demand Alimony Protester: It’s my right to feel safe here!
Me: I agree!
MDA Protester: So we need to prevent people from carrying guns in this store.
Me: Who is carrying guns here?
MDA Protester: You know, those people with concealed carry permits.
Me: Oh. Gotcha. Do those folks cause a lot of crime?
MDA Protester: Well, I don’t feel safe if they have guns.
Me: You know, concealed carry holders commit fewer crimes than active duty police officers. The crime rate among people with concealed carry permits is about as statistically close to zero as you can get.
MDA Protester: But they have guns!
Me: What about criminals?
MDA Protester: What do you mean?
Me: Well, by definition, criminals are people who don’t follow the rules. Won’t they be here with guns whenever they feel like it?
MDA Protester: That’s why we need to ban guns from this store!
Hmmmm..? So my strategy of gathering first-hand intelligence failed, as there was none to be found in the vicinity.
I actually do understand the mentality. Sort of. To some people, guns are scary. I’m scared of things too. Like Rosie O’Donnell. And sharknados. And Donald Trumps hair. And most of all,mustache wax. Trust me, I can relate to fear.
But back to the effects of fear. When you’re scared, you don’t think rationally because fear drives a more primal response. I remember having conversation with a friend a while back about the whole guns in restaurants and bars debate. She was incredulous at the movement to eliminate concealed carry restrictions in places like this.
Her: I don’t see any reason people should be allowed to carry in bars.
Me: People can carry in bars now.
Her: No they can’t. It’s illegal.
Me: Right, so criminals are allowed to carry in bars right now, and law abiding people like me are not allowed to defend themselves in restaurants and bars.
Her: No, criminals are NOT allowed to carry there!
Me: Think about the definition of the word criminal. Do you really think that someone who, by definition, breaks the law, is not going to carry in a bar because they law says they can’t?
My epiphany from this conversation is that law abiding people have a hard time digesting the fact that other people won’t follow the rules. It just never occurred to her that someone would violate the law that said no guns allowed, because, as a law abiding citizen; she follows the law.
So when you add a natural fear response to the assumption that people will follow society’s rules, you end up with lots of effort being expended on silly things like “No guns allowed!” policies.
You and I know those rules accomplish nothing except forced removal our ability to protect ourselves from those who will not follow the law.
So what to do? How do we combat this type of thinking?
First, remember we can be right all day long and still lose. Calling folks who support no guns policies idiots and shouting them down won’t accomplish much. When someone calls me an idiot, I tend to dig in my heels, shut out any further dialogue and punch them in the throat. Instead, engage in polite conversation and ask sincere (not sarcastic) questions. This way, someone is a bit more likely to walk themselves into a logical conclusion. And when someone arrives at their own conclusion, they’re convicted in that new-found belief.
If someone tells you they want guns banned so they can feel safer, put on your most sincere smile and ask them something like “safer from who?” If they say, “safer from concealed carriers” ask them if concealed carriers commit a lot of crimes. That opens up a great conversational opportunity to educate them to the fact that concealed permit holders are among the safest, most law abiding societal group out there. We’re way more law abiding than Mayors Against Illegal Guns members, but that’s not saying much, I know.
There are plenty of other questions you can ask to drive a positive discussion. Do you worry that people will change their normal behavior when they are carrying a gun? Do you think someone might freak out and start shooting if another shopper takes 12 items into the 10 or less line? Do you see that happen with police a lot, meaning do they freak out because they’re carrying a gun? Do you know that people who carry guns actually make great efforts to avoid trouble, because they don’t want to have to use it?
The bottom line is that we have to remember our opposition is driven by fear and flawed assumptions, and the best way to alleviate fear is to calmly introduce rational thinking through dialogue. We won’t convince everyone, nor do we have to. We just have to convince those who have never given much thought to the issue.
Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.