I don’t shy away from many topics with my children. Religion, gun rights, politics, social issues, news headlines, even gender rolls and race relations are typical conversations in our household.

My son, being an outspoken 17 year old senior in high school, is great at discussing a wide range of current issues, especially in school. As he frequently does, he sent me a text last week asking me a question:

While I’m always happy to discuss my area of expertise with my firstborn child, I pressed him when he got home as to how he could ask me why I support guns and/or the NRA for his project since he should already know. He told me that his Social Problems class was doing a project on gun control and he had to find three people for and three people against it for his project. While I was happy to be a part of his “against gun control” group, he also told me he also had to add his homeroom teacher’s remarks to his “for it” group.

“Oh really? What were her remarks?”, I asked him, although I already had an idea of what she would say.

I have to point out here that this 17 year old boy had already done something pretty darned amazing. He asked an outspoken left-leaning teacher for her opinion on gun control.

She very simply stated she supports gun control, very much opposes current gun laws, and that “concealed carry permit holders shouldn’t even be allowed to have guns, much less carry them around in public.”

But there’s more. While some kids may have just taken her response and dropped the subject, Alex saw an opening.

And he took it.

He respectfully stood firm and reminded this extremely liberal anti-gun teacher that his mother is a concealed carry permit holder.

Then he informed her:

Among the many things I admire about my mother, is the fact that she remains trained to stop a personal attack or a deadly threat to herself and our family. She is licensed by the state and takes the responsibility of carrying a loaded weapon seriously. She does this in order to have the opportunity to stop a threat if it happens around her. But the thing I admire most about her is the fact that she would step right in front of you for your protection as well. She wouldn’t hesitate to take a bullet for you and accept the burden of potentially killing another human being in order to save herself and others. Even people like you who think she should be disarmed.

Of course I’m insanely proud of him for standing up for me and recognizing my responsibility and commitment to protecting myself and our family. But I’m also impressed that my son used his critical thinking skills to recognize where his teacher was lacking in her thought process and using a combination of facts and emotional statements to make her see his perspective! I had just shared an article about critical thinking for high school graduates with him and along with my continued encouragement to discuss hot button topics, obviously something is getting through.

While it’s all fine and dandy that I’m raising critical thinkers, we can all use this approach to become more effective advocates for gun rights and fellow gun owners.

You need to know your audience in order to tailor your responses to fit the gaps of missing information or lack of sentiment in their thought process on gun rights. Whether it’s getting them to visualize what it would be like if they were in a defenseless situation or shifting their view of us by showing how we are there to not only protect ourselves, but those around us as well. Even those who wish to disarm us.

Because you know as well as I do, if it hits the fan on our watch, we won’t be canvassing the crowd around us for their feelings toward gun owners or the NRA. We’ll be moving quickly to remove the threat and save as many lives as we can.  Just as we’re licensed and trained to do.