I recently received an email from a woman who is not a gun owner, but who has attended gun education events and teaches womens’ self defense classes. She asked a rather well respected gun educator a simple question about laser sights, which he could easily have answered. Instead of answering, he rudely and dismissively told her that laser sights are something that he neither used nor recommended, then ignored her question. This woman emailed me to ask that same question, and mentioned the response she received from that gun educator and how it had made her feel. I answered her question about the laser sights to her satisfaction, but was left disappointed by the way her question had originally been handled. By responding in that manner, the gun educator in question wasn’t doing the gun rights cause any favors:
What it can take for a non gun owner to ask a gun related question
For those individuals whose firearms knowledge comes only from the movies and the news media, guns can be scary. As an example, colleagues who knew me to be a gun owner have stated, after the fact, that they wanted to ask me about guns for a while but were apprehensive about bringing up the matter. Some of the non gun owners whom I’ve taking shooting for the first time were quite nervous, and had to work up the courage to finally say that they wanted to take me up on my offer to go to the shooting range. (Also note that 0ther people who aren’t afraid of gun themselves do fear being treated like a violent criminal for just mentioning guns in a completely non threatening manner.)
The long-lasting effect of properly responding to a non gun owner’s question
When a non gun owner does manage to summon up the courage to ask a question about guns, the response they receive can have a long lasting impact. The very existence of this website is proof of that fact: I first considered becoming a gun owner during my first years of law school, while I worked part time for a computer software company. A coworker mentioned in passing that the boss was a gun owner and a hunter. This surprised me, since from a young age I had always been taught that gun owners were uneducated, racist, and violent. My boss was none of those things, and so I began to question the “facts” I had been told about gun owners and guns for all of my life. After a while, I summoned up the courage to bring up the topic of firearms in a conversation with my boss. After several conversations about guns, I became more interested in possibly owning one, and began to research the matter. About 3 months later, I bought my first gun. As time passed, I bought more guns, started this website, took non gun owners shooting, became an NRA recruiter, and otherwise have done my best to advance the gun rights cause.
Had my boss ignored my gun question, or worse yet answered rudely, I would likely have dropped the matter and been somewhat apprehensive about discussing guns with anyone in the future. I might never have bought a gun, decided to support gun rights, or started this website. Thankfully, he answered my questions, and those answers led me down the path to becoming a gun owner and gun rights advocate.
Those of us who are comfortable owning, shooting, and discussing guns should keep in mind that many non gun owners are quite apprehensive about even mentioning guns. When they summon up the courage to ask a question about guns, it behooves us to be polite in our responses. Nicely answering one question can mean the difference between that person becoming a gun owner and strong support of gun rights, and the person being left with a long lasting negative impression of guns and gun owners.
I'm very glad your boss was so cool about answering your questions. 🙂
I was very lucky, my Dad taught me how to shoot. And he taught me correctly and safely.
Pretty funny, actually: I'm afraid of sudden loud noises. Watching little kids run around with balloons makes me nervous. I keep anticipating one of them accidentally or intentionally popping one.
Going up to the range the first time with my Dad, I kept jumping every time someone fired their gun. But by the end of my lesson, I didn't even flinch when someone else fired a round. 🙂
So, when I got home from that, I was ironically ok with the sound of gunfire (at a firing range, anyway), and still nervous about little kids unexpectedly popping balloons, lol. 😉
Because of the anti-gun propaganda I was exposed to as a teenager from teachers and peers I was actually so stupid as to be surprised that a military jet pilot my family knew carried handguns. I thought pilots only knew how to use their installed guns to shoot down other planes! I roar with laughter at this now but at the time it disturbed and frightened me totally that this really nice man might actually have to use a handgun to kill someone. Needless to say, he was dumbfounded at my ignorance but very good at explaining to me that though he had to learn to protect himself at all times and with all types of firearms, he was an expert in handling them and would never use them unless justified. I wonder if he got a lot of laughs from his fellow officers if he ever told them the story.
I was raised with guns and, obviously, never had any reservations asking questions. And it never really occurred to me that asking gun related questions is, for some, like asking your parents about sex. I have always tried to answer honest questions with honesty.
Please, don't be afraid to ask, if you happen to get a asshole answer, you just happen to ask a asshole. Move along and ask again. You might consider joining a online forum like;
And "The friendliest gun forum on the inter net"
You might want to start all your questions with "stupid gun question", "newbie question" or "I'm new to the world of guns…"
First of all, keep up the good work on this site. It's ashame people aren't kind to no-gunowners who ask gun-related questions. I personally have never experienced anyone being rude to me when I ask questions about guns. Probably because of the fact that I am 6'1 around 330lbs. I may intimidate them. When non-gunowners ask me questions, I am flattered that they respect my knowledge of guns (although I don't consider myself an expert). I am glad to share my knowledge with others and perhaps they can share their knowldege on another issue with me. In closing, I feel that the advice/knowledge I give a nongunowner could save their life (if they choose to use it)!
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