A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

If you haven’t already committed the above 27 words to memory, you may want to. It’s very beneficial to have important details, like the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, locked into our brains so we can be assured of our rights … and so we can comment, discuss or debate with confidence.

More Than Words

But I truly believe that we, as the firearms community, need to be willing to give more of an answer than just the Second Amendment.

Here’s what I mean. I have heard a lot of pro-gun folks addressing the media or the anti-gun crowd’s questions or concerns, not with a personal story or a meaningful why, but with just two words: Second Amendment. I have encountered many responsible gun owners who seem to deal with everyone and everything (whether anti-gun or gun neutral) with the same two words: Second Amendment. When new gun-control laws are looming and representatives are voting, many people argue with those same familiar two words: Second Amendment.

While most of us in the firearms community realize — and respect — the importance of the Second Amendment, those who don’t know (or don’t care) will never be swayed by those two words (or by those 27 words, for that matter)! Believe it or not, it’s difficult to influence others by simply claiming an amendment and not ever adding any personal or relatable thoughts, reasons, emotions or details.

More Whys

While the Second Amendment is of utmost importance and significance, don’t ever shy away from sharing your story or your why. Don’t miss a chance to connect with others and let them see a real human side to your answer for owning and training with firearms rather than a cold, lifeless line.

For instance:

  • Tell people about your introduction to firearms, when, perhaps, a beloved grandparent or a parent took you hunting and built cherished moments and memories with you. Or maybe a spouse or a friend first took you to the shooting range to learn about self-defense and gun safety.
  • Let others know that gun control negatively impacts women and victims by limiting or taking away their options for self-defense. Maybe you were directly impacted by one of these laws. If not, share Nikki Goeser’s story. Her stalker fatally shot her husband in a crowded, gun-free zone where she, as a law-abiding gun owner, did not take her gun.
  • Tell them that studies show millions of crimes are stopped and millions of lives are saved every year because of defensive gun use. If you have a personal experience with that, imagine how powerful it can be! And if you don’t, tell them about Mychael Waller Sr. who used his firearm to protect himself and his 5-year-old son MJ from an armed assailant.
  • Share that you love your family and your friends … that you value life … and that you believe we are worth protecting.

We all have our own personal experiences, rich with details, memories and emotions. These have made up the steps in our firearms journeys. Maybe you have developed new friendships, gained confidence and learned life-saving skills because of firearms? Maybe you have avoided conflict, deescalated a situation or stopped a threat because of your training? These stories have depth and meaning and may be able to reach others where the Second Amendment can’t! And these stories give others an opportunity to build a sense of togetherness — a connection — as the listeners place themselves into your experiences!

So even though the Second Amendment may be the foundation of your reason for owning guns, don’t let it be your only answer. Let the 2A be part of the story, but not the whole.