Researcher Watches Gun Videos, Develops Empathy with Gun Owners

Researcher Watches Gun Videos, Develops Empathy with Gun Owners
Researcher Watches Gun Videos, Develops Empathy with Gun Owners

Arizona -(– A criminal justice researcher from New Jersey recently wrote an article that encouraged people who were reflexively for more restriction on gun ownership to explore the online gun culture.  She had done so. Her view of gun ownership and of legislation involving guns was transformed.


I also realized that despite being married to a gun owner, I knew very little about gun subculture, either in real life or online. But I could learn.

Guns, part of fabric of life

For all the noise around gun control versus gun rights, there was a story that was missed by non-gun owners like me: how much these guns mean to those who own them.

Delving into gun subculture online – which in some, though not all, ways reflects real-life gun subculture – can provide a perspective that may be, for non-gun owners, very different from their own.

Americans live in a time of political polarization on a variety of social issues, gun rights among them. Both gun control and gun rights supporters would benefit from understanding how those with opposing political and social views see their identity and their culture.

The Conversation is a publication with a decidedly population disarmament point of view. I was surprised they published Dr. Hasset-Walker's article. The good doctor inserted a deft virus into the gun debate. She called for those in the reflexive anti-gun culture to educate themselves. She called for them to reach outside their comfort zone and consider the possibility that ownership of guns might have positive aspects.

People who have been in the gun culture for a while know the best way to convert someone from the other side is to take them shooting. It destroys their preconceptions.  It causes them to change their views. Many become full fledged Second Amendment supporters. This is because most people who hold anti-Second Amendment views have just absorbed the propaganda and views prevalent in the media driven culture. That culture does not allow for positive views of the gun culture. They have never challenged the assumptions they have been fed about guns.

People in the gun culture, however, are seldom converted to the other side. There views are nearly always held in opposition to the dominant culture in the media. They do not have to look up anti-gun videos on the Internets. They are constantly bombarded with them in the dominant media.

Education has a tremendous bias here. It is tremendously biased in favor of the gun culture. That is why anti-Second Amendment types work so hard to keep gun education out of the schools. It is why they work so hard to shut down debate. It is why they are committed to emotional slogans instead of facts.

There are many researchers who started out with the assumption that owning guns was a bad thing, and more restrictive laws should be passed. There are very few that started out supporting the Second Amendment who now support more controls.

The reason Second Amendment supporters are winning is simple. The facts, the logic, the Constitution, and human nature, are on the side of the Second Amendment.

Second Amendment supporters push for education. Anti-Second Amendment activists depend on indoctrination.

To those who wish for a disarmed population, who will insist that I am merely projecting, take Dr. Hasset-Walker's challenge.

View a hundred gun culture videos on the Internets.  You fear you will be assimilated. Don't worry. Education is good for you. Understanding the other side will, at a minimum, empower you. Knowledge is power.

I give you fair warning. Life is better after you have taken the red pill.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 11 thoughts on “Researcher Watches Gun Videos, Develops Empathy with Gun Owners

    1. I think one of the biggest problems that we, in most of the gun culture, have is that because the anti-gun rhetoric tends to be a liberal construct as part of the democratic platform, we demonize anyone who is slightly to the left of Barry Goldwater Sr. It’s a huge mistake. We’re talking about a civil right here. It covers everyone, regardless of political philosophy. I can’t tell you the number of times I see or hear the use of some pejorative like “libtard” in a discussion. Why would anyone want to even listen to someone in the gun culture if their very core belief system is going to be attacked from jump?

      One of many great mistakes that the NRA has made is to get into conservative politics rather than sticking to being a civil rights group that backs that civil right no matter what the politics is. We need to do the same. Preaching to the converted in our little bubbles isn’t going to keep us from losing our civil right. There are more democrats and independents, who don’t own guns, who have somewhere between extremely progressive to mostly conservative views. All we do when we start throwing names at them is put them on the defensive for their beliefs, and you’re not going to educate many people who you’ve put on the defensive.

      You want to fight abortion, or build a wall in Mexico, or let your MAGA flag fly…great. Have at it. Be free with your expression of your beliefs. But if you’re in a public forum trying to get people to see that the Constitution applies to them as well as it does to everyone else, and why the 2nd amendment is a great thing, then it’s probably a good idea to keep anything BUT the 2nd amendment (and let’s not forget the 14th, which applies to the right to keep and bear arms as well) out of the discussion.

      Be pro-life in a different context. Tell people how great Trump is at a different rally. And don’t jump down the throat of the person you’re discussing the Right to Bear Arms with because they don’t believe those things. That’s immaterial to the discussion.

      This idea you can’t change an anti-gunner’s mind is just flat out wrong. The only people whose minds you can never change are either too deep in their grief over the loss of a loved one to someone with a gun, or someone who profits financially, or politically, from abrogating a right.

      You can’t do anything about the former, but the latter will jump on our team just as soon as we change enough minds that it becomes more profitable to be a supporter than adversary…and that includes the press.

      Giving women the right to vote wasn’t a popular idea. Making it illegal to sell booze, wasn’t either. Hell…in my lifetime, driving drunk was a punchline, not a serious crime, until one pissed off mother changed the national consciousness.

      We can do the same thing with the making sure that the right to keep and bear arms is never infringed. We just need to realize that it has nothing to do with political affiliation and work specifically on getting people who don’t believe about other issues the way most of us do, to get on our team. Gotta make them friends first…not enemies on the defensive.

    2. “I knew very little about gun subculture, either in real life or online”

      And there is the thought process for most anti-gunners. Or, to put it more succinctly: “don’t know, don’t care, ban guns”. This lady, on the other hand, took a bold step and learned something in the process. There was another fellow a few months back that went though a similar process, moving from anti to pro.

      I’ve taken more than a few lib anti-gunners out to the range over the years. Some became gun owners, some changed their anti views, some maintained them. A few that invites were given to gave a line similar to “I don’t have to do crack to know it is bad for you”. Sadly, you can’t get through to the militant antis. Their ignorance (and misplaced rage) knows no bounds.

    3. I have a friend that I used to work with, very liberal does not care for guns. The other guys at work used to go off the deep end because of his views, and would get bent out of shape when I would talk to him. They would often ask me how I could have a conversation with him and not get mad, one of my first talks with him we talked about the difference of our thinking, from that point on I knew that I wouldn’t change his thought. I then went on to explain my thoughts about owning my guns, the way it was best to start was about hobbies and what we did, I asked him if he watched sports and if he drank beer, now the sports he watched was different than mine, he has hobbies as do I, and when each of us came to the conclusion, we do understand that even though we are different in ways we talk about when I buy a gun he has almost always asked me why and if I liked it and how it shoots which really would drive the rest crazy, since time has passed and I’m retired now but stay in touch, also at times he will hear something about guns and call me about it, I know I will never change his mind but at least I have done some education to him without banging my head against a wall trying to do hard line, and I have a very good friend out of that.

    4. When she mentions people who started out anti-gun– or at least neutral– she should add John Lott’s name. His “More Guns, Less Crime” was a result of his research, not any preconceived notions. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that critics of this work support his methodology but disagree with his conclusions. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, “If your conclusions don’t agree with your premises, reconsider your premises. One of them is wrong.”

        1. I took a progressive, anti-gun, anti-carry, ban semi-automatics, thinks that hunting is immoral and certainly should be illegal with lead, individual to the range several times. Kicking and screaming, almost literally, the first two.

          6 months later he was the proud owner of a Walther PPQ that I helped him get a really good price on. Got his CCW 3 months after that. Still doesn’t like the NRA, but he did join the 2nd Amendment foundation.

          I find that the words “never” and “always” tend to be incorrect more often than not.

    5. The unknown is very frightening to people. Most of the fear is unfounded. When people hear of shootings and have no idea the difficulties and challenges are it is easier to blame the firearms than the scum pulling the trigger. Our problem is ranges are not accessible for more and more people. Cities are a large cause of gun control.Gangs are also a.large cause. Politicians are just a by product of those.

    6. The Conversation is a publication with a decidedly population disarmament point of view. I was surprised they published Dr. Hasset-Walker’s article.
      Google returned

      Hassett-Walker, Connie Ph.D. | Kean University
      Before joining Kean in 2007, Dr. Hassett-Walker was a research associate at the Violence Institute of New Jersey at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers University). She received an AREA grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine the …
      Connie Hassett-Walker – The Conversation
      Feb 25, 2018 – Prior to joining the faculty at Kean University, Dr. Hassett-Walker worked as a research associate at the Violence Institute of New Jersey, at the …

    7. Who is this wonderful and insightful lady? Where has she been hiding.
      We need to nurture her and others like her. Her statements are a breath of fresh air in the fog of anti gun propaganda. Bravo!!

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