Opinions can change over time. People often change their opinions over time and for a variety of reasons. It’s often productive to look at how these ideas shifted because they may give some guidance on how to get others to change their minds.
At the Washington Post, of all places, there’s a story of one writer’s journey away from being pro-gun control.
Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.…By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.
In other words, writer Leah Lebresco found that the best way to curb gun violence is to focus on the noun (“violence”) rather than the adjective (“gun”). She’s completely correct.
As noted earlier today here at Bearing Arms, mass shootings are terrible but rare. Most violence takes place at a smaller, more personal level, and any sound policies intending to reduce violence need to focus on those crimes, not the horrific events of Las Vegas.
Lebresco states that she’s not actually pro-gun as many might think of it. She has no interest in owning a firearm and she believes the risks of doing so outweigh the benefits. However, she also is pretty plain about no longer buying the anti-gun rhetoric parroted by people like Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts.
To be honest, that’s enough.
Lebresco is taking the approach I wish more people who hate guns would take: If you don’t want guns, don’t buy guns. That’s an approach I think we can all get behind.