The average reader of Bearing Arms is going to be pretty pro-gun. They’re the kind of person I wouldn’t blink about talking firearms with.
But not everyone is that way. Some people are freaked out by both guns and gun people. Others, of course, aren’t, but you can’t really tell who is going to react in which way. Not all the time, at least.
Over at America’s 1st Freedom, editor in chief Frank Miniter shares his thoughts on the topic, starting with an anecdote.
While we watched our kids learn karate, I had gotten on well with this little group of parents and grandparents for years when, at a barbeque for the dojo late last summer, a grandmother in the group said she “Googled me and was surprised.”
The word “surprised” made everyone seated at the picnic table—four women, two men and two teenage girls—stop talking and look at me.
The grandmother then said, “What’s it like editing a magazine on guns these days?”
Now, I can’t speak for him, but I’ve found myself in mixed company and found out someone there had googled me and found my work. For half a heartbeat, it can be concerning. Are we about to have a big political debate at this social gathering?
Miniter’s turned out to be a good exchange, where he got to inform a few people and shift their views from the mainstream narrative into a more informed position. He made good arguments, such as saying gun control is immoral and that you can’t talk a thug out of hurting you, so it makes it immoral to make it so you have to be hurt.
It doesn’t always turn out that way, though.
Still, he figures there’s a reason we should welcome these conversations.
I left thinking I was being too careful about talking about our rights. Before this, I didn’t think I was, as I often talk to strangers and to friends about our natural rights, but I had to consider why I just didn’t want to introduce the topic to a mixed group. I conceded that I might not bring up presidential politics or religion to such a group for the same reason.
Still, I need to rethink this polite stance. America isn’t as polarized with this issue as politics and the media so often pretend. And, culturally, we need to be ambassadors of this freedom. We can’t do that if we won’t politely talk about this civil right even in mixed company.
This is a valid point.
However, we also need to be cognizant of the fact that some people really are what we see on social media.
Years ago, my wife and I were part of a circle of friends. All couples, it was really the chance to connect with other married folks. Everyone talked about the things that interested them. One guy was bad about talking about nothing but cars, for example.
That was about the time I started getting into competitive shooting and so I’d talk about how much fun I’d had on the rifle course that morning or whatever. Eventually, though, someone mentioned it made folks uncomfortable so I stopped talking about guns entirely unless someone else brought it up.
It didn’t matter.
I was eventually told I was no longer welcome among them. Sure, my wife was, but I wasn’t and a big chunk of that reason was because I talked about guns.
Now, this is a bit different since I was talking about guns themselves and not the right to keep and bear arms, but it is something that may well come up if you start engaging people in discussions about your rights. There are people who think anyone who values the right to keep and bear arms represents a real danger to them.
Does that mean I disagree with Miniter? Not really.
In my story, it really became a case of the trash taking itself out. Much of that circle of friends came to us and made it clear that they didn’t have an issue with me or what I talked about. It was just a couple of folks and, frankly, I didn’t much care for some of them anyway.
And even if that weren’t the case, if we can have those discussions politely and rationally, we still should because there are a lot of people who really only know the misinformation touted as fact by the media. They don’t know the truth and they won’t get it unless we have those conversations.
Could it cost some friends? Maybe.
But, really, if they can’t tolerate you having a different view from them, are they really friends in the first place?