The more I enteract with people outside of our relatively close knit shooting community, the more I realize that our greatest struggle as a civil rights and advocacy movement is not the political whims of our elected officials, but rather the superstition which which firearms are regarded by the vast majority of the public.
It has become a predictable pattern these days. When most people find out that I’m carrying a firearm (which I am as I write this from my blackberry) their reaction if they’re not a member of the shooting community is universally “You have A GUN!?!?” as though the concept of carrying a firearm is as alien as little green men. I used to take offense to this, and offer pithy little comebacks; however that did little to help the situation or educate the person to whom I was speaking.
So I spent a lot of time thinking about what causes this reaction, and after a lot of thought I have reached the conclusion that gun owners are subject to the tyranny of superstition. If you’d prefer a less melodramatic phrase, then you could say that we are subject to the whims of misinformation. Think about a conversation you have had with an undecided non-member of the shooting community. How much of their info is based on fictional ideas or heavily biased main stream reporting? That is the superstition that we face, just as many researchers and scientists have faced superstition.
That is the issue – as long as people allow their education on firearms, self defense, and civil rights to come from fiction and the media, we will continually be at odds with the myths and superstitions imposed by those sources. Remember, the arguments for the right to keep and bear arms are built in facts – when we resort to arguing from a position of emotion, we are then arguing from the same place that the other side does. To draw a very heroic parallel, think of gun rights supporters as the Galileo of our time, using truth and observation to defend our points, and our opponents as analogous to the Catholic church of Galileo’s day: interested in control, superstition, and suppression of the truth.
(Author’s note: this is by no means a shot at the modern Catholic church)