This week’s column is quite short, but fear not, more lengthy analysis and discussion will be published in the near future. As the incoming president who has openly advocated for the implementation of horrific and unconstitutional gun laws prepares to take office, we can expect a renewed visibility of the gun control debate in American politics.
The legacy and new media establishments are not on our side, so if there is to be any progress in advancing a pro-gun narrative, it must be made by individuals. A recent video by Mrgunsngear discussed how the rise of social media has had a positive impact on sales of NFA items. Perhaps these sales were primarily to persons who would have been purchasing firearms regardless, but the point of the correlation is that speech, especially online, can still have real-world impacts.
I myself used to be deeply indoctrinated into the belief that all guns were bad, that gun owners were dangerous, and that the ownership of weapons should only be permitted after a lengthy and invasive process. How could I not be? My schools, the media, everyone, advanced the same narrative over and over until it became normalized. It was only through being able to hear others outside of those circles rebutting the arguments that had been drilled into my head that I was able to begin to change my perspective.
I also know from personal experience that some of the most frustrating conversations to have are with anti-gunners. As a general rule, those who oppose the right to keep and bear arms know nothing of firearms technology or history, very little of the philosophy of firearms ownership, and perhaps a few misleading statistics on the subject.
When debating with anti-gun individuals or those who claim to be “pro-Second Amendment, but…”, it is inevitable that there will be a repetition of the exact same arguments over and over. Oftentimes, you will not be able to win over someone deeply indoctrinated into the belief that citizens should be left defenseless and subject to the wills of common criminals and tyrants. However, winning over such opponents is not the purpose of debating, the purpose is winning over the audience.
Change is made on an individual level, and it is the onlookers capable of having their minds changed that are your target. On rare occasions, you might discuss the subject with someone open-minded who can be convinced that the government should not be infringing on the right to keep and bear arms, but even when you are not, it is crucial to press onward.
There are many who have surrendered to a defeatist perspective, coming to the conclusion that the cultural battle is lost, so we must simply place all of our eggs into the basket of legal action. While this position is understandable, it is also foolish and self-destructive. Those who wish to see us disarmed have pushed legislation incrementally over decades, infested cultural institutions, and refused to cease their onslaught despite the people’s protestations. Why should we be any less determined than them?
It is mind-numbing to repeat the same arguments over and over again, but it is necessary when so many have been brought to believe the same exact falsehoods. If we are unwilling to engage with those who repeat nonsensical talking points that they half-remembered from a John Oliver clip or a slogan by Moms Demand Action, then how can we ever hope to make progress in the restoration of our rights?
It is only through constant and repeated efforts to counter lies and ignorance that any minds will be changed. A properly devoted effort to advance our cause is essential for deradicalizing anti-gun zealots to the more modest position that all gun laws must be repealed. We the people are now, and always have been, our only hope to stand against tyranny.