Those of us who own guns know that they tools worthy of respect, but not something to fear. Unfortunately many people who don’t own guns seem seem to have an irrational fear of them. We gun owners should do our part to help these people see that guns are nothing to be afraid of. Doing so will help protect our gun rights and ensure that the focus of society’s efforts against crime are not wasted on scapegoats like guns and gun owners.
I spoke with a friend who is opposed to guns, and it seemed that his opposition to guns was based upon an admittedly irrational fear of guns themselves; as if guns were more than just a combination of metal, wood, and plastic that propel a piece of metal at high speed. I offered to take him to the range and let him fire my .22, which I hope will cure him of this fear of guns.
As someone who is relatively new to gun ownership I can sympathize. When I went to the gun store to purchase my first firearm (a Remington 870 XCS Marine Magnum, a shotgun) I was quite nervous. I wasn’t worried that the gun store employees or customers would open fire on me, or anything like that. I also wasn’t worried that I would mishandle the gun and injure myself. I was just nervous about the proposition of having a gun. Rationally I recognized that I had made a good choice to lawfully purchase a gun, and that it would be secure from theft in the large firearm safe I had purchased, but there was still a lingering sense of danger. This nervous feeling quickly evaporated once I handled the gun and found it to be just a tool, like any other tool. It is made of metal and plastic, just like the car that transported me to the gun store. It operates based on simple mechanical principles, just like any other object in my everyday life.
It would seem to me that this irrational fear of guns comes from many sources, such as the negative portrayal of guns in media, fear over the loud sounds guns can make, lack of personal experience with guns, etc. Spending the time to take a friend to the range and showing him or her that guns are nothing to be afraid of is a great way to solve this problem. Just handing and firing the gun a few times makes clear that the gun is not a magical object that should strike fear into the hearts of all those within 1000 yards, but instead a tool. They will recognize that the the gun is a reliable and safe piece of equipment, worthy of respect but not fear.
As more people come to realize that fearing guns (and trying to ban guns as a misguided effort at preventing crime) does not help solve the problem of criminals, our gun rights will be better protected. At the same time, the true causes of crime such as poverty and lack of education, can be addressed in earnest, instead of wasting police and political efforts on gun control that only serves to disarm law abiding citizens.