In my experience there are three basic types of 'antis' (anti-gun people).
Type 1 Antis are the most common. Their dislike of guns is based primarily on ignorance. Most of their information on guns has come to them from movies and television. They're reflexively anti-gun, having never given the matter much thought.
Type 2 Antis are driven by emotion. Many of them have deep personal reasons for their stance, often involving the loss of a loved one.
Type 3 Antis are driven by ideology. This is a subtle difference from the Type 2's but a crucial one. Type 3's know what the Second Amendment says, and what it means and that's why they hate it. They want to be the privileged elite it guards against.
So, how should you deal with these three types?
Type 3 Antis should be met with scorn, ridicule, and mockery. Facts are poison to them and their position so use them liberally. Note that they'll often hide behind Type 2's.
Type 2 Antis are generally deserving of our sympathy and understanding. We may disagree with their stance but it's an honest one. Feel free to talk to them and explain that while you sympathize with their pain you do not agree with their stance.
The Type 1 Antis are where you want to spend your time. Most of these folks can be brought around to the 'Pro' side with a little work.
Engage them in friendly conversation. Add facts to a discussion but don't browbeat them. Most importantly, take them shooting!
Don't grab your biggest gun and get set to laugh, get the .22's out and schedule some time. Explain to them that it's going to be a two-step process: First you'll sit down somewhere comfortable and go over gun safety and how the guns work. The only ammo around will be there for them to look at and will be put away before the guns are handled. Once at the range be sure to test the gun before you have them try it. Start small and let them decide if they want to move up. The most important thing is to make sure they stay safe and have fun. Don't worry about changing their mind - let that happen by itself. After all, how many people don't have fun at the range?
Odds are good that you'll leave the range with someone who's at least on their way to our side of the debate. And if not, well, you did at least get some range time in.
Copyright © 2009 Steven L. Van Dyke, all rights reserved
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