As the 2020 political season ramps up, it’s important to keep in mind that we won’t get anywhere by shouting something about taking your guns from your cold, dead hands. Democratic presidential candidates are coming at gun control hard because they think that’s what the people want.

The truth is, most people calling for gun control are afraid of guns and haven’t been properly educated. Take the time to do so — patiently and civilly — and you may just turn someone around. Show the people that gun control is not what they want using logical, fact-based arguments.

Many USCCA authors have given you the materials to do so. Below, you’ll find some snippets to use in your next conversation with an anti-gunner. Full articles will also be linked if you’d like to learn more.

 Gun Control: Why It Doesn’t Work — Part 2

by Alan Korwin

Hoplophobia Drives Much of the Opposition — An Irrational Fear of Firearms Fuels Anti-Civil-Rights Activists

Morbid fear of weapons is a terrible affliction from which many people suffer. These individuals refuse to admit it; denial is one of the symptoms of the condition known as “hoplophobia.” Instead of dealing directly with their problems and seeking treatment (which can be simple), they vent pent-up rage and frustration and, in classic psychological fashion, project or transfer their fears onto those around them.

They frequently fantasize about shooting people nearby. They fear if they themselves had access to a firearm, they could “go crazy” and start randomly shooting people. Hoplophobics know — as do we all — that a firearm would play a role in such a catastrophe. The problem is, they project this fear onto you. In fact, some live in constant dread that their armed neighbors might shoot them.

While people who own firearms have come to grips with this reality (and sanely control themselves and their arms the same as they do with other dangerous things they own, such as cars, knives or poisons), hoplophobes have not. Perhaps they cannot and, as such, cling tightly to internal terrors and loathing abhorrence of guns and their owners.

Many turn their neurotic tendencies outward and seek political resolution. “If only all the guns would just go away” is one irrational cry. Instead of seeking help for themselves, they seek to attack your rights. This makes sense to them and is a great hidden secret of the modern gun debate: We are not fighting a political battle; we are fighting a medical condition —hoplophobia. Point out hoplophobic behavior whenever you see it, but remember that these people deserve sympathy, not scorn, and need help.

Psychiatry treats certain phobias through desensitization — slowly introducing those afflicted to the object of their fears. In fact, you might have personally witnessed the dramatic improvement a gun-phobic person can experience from even a single visit to a shooting range.

Four More, Part 2: Q&A

by Jim Doyle

Since All Rights Have Limits, Why Can’t ‘Assault Weapons’ Be Off-Limits?

We have about as many limits on guns as people like me find tolerable. You have to be specially licensed to sell guns commercially. You have to pass a background check to buy a gun from a commercial dealer. You have to go through a special process to own a suppressor, short-barreled shotgun, short-barreled rifle or exotic firearm. In many states, you have to be specially licensed to carry a loaded, concealed handgun out in public.

With that in mind, someone wishing to restrict guns further needs to make a convincing argument that the restriction is worthwhile. In a free country, the burden should always be on the group wanting to make a restriction. And we already know whether an “assault weapons” ban will be effective because we had one in place from 1994-2004.

No one can show any compelling evidence that the ban made a measurable difference in violent crime or mass murder. So, the best the pro-restriction camp can say is: “Well, maybe it might help; we have to do something!” That isn’t good enough. We would never accept that logic to justify any other restriction.

Although proponents of enhanced gun control point to countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia as success stories, they are overlooking that those two countries have very broad, sweeping gun bans. They are also missing that the U.K. and Australia are islands with greater ability to control the flow of contraband than we will ever have. Our numbers are bad compared to any single European Union country, but we as a country are more comparable to the entire E.U. In that regard, our stats aren’t much worse.

One also has to sort through the B.S. in the stats. It doesn’t matter if a country has fewer “mass shootings;” what matters is if a country has fewer “mass murders” — getting stabbed or bombed to death is just as bad as getting shot to death, and it is deceptive to qualify stats like that.

Point by Point, Part I: Q&A

by Jim Doyle

What Do You Propose to Reduce Mass Shootings?

I start with the premise that “mass shootings” are a lesser-included category of “mass murder.” Any effort exclusively focused on shootings tends to be pointlessly narrow and doomed to be ineffective at reducing the carnage. Despite every restriction, bad guys still get guns (like they did in France, Belgium, California and Norway). When attackers can’t get guns or just don’t want to risk exposure, they use explosives (Madrid, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Oklahoma City and London). When they don’t use bombs, they use chemical and biological agents (Tokyo and countless Anthrax letters). If they aren’t sophisticated enough for chem/bio, they use knives or trucks (London, Japan and China). If you want to be serious about the problem, you cannot just cherry-pick the parts that fit your policy agenda.

Why Do You Value Guns More Than the Safety of Children?

This particular challenge is an irritating but understandable question with two main problems: First, no one has shown me a compelling argument, with evidence, that proposed gun restrictions are sure to make my kids safer. Second, I don’t love guns more than children. I love my kids; that’s why I am willing to fight to protect them. I see gun rights as a means to achieve that in a dangerous world.

Planting Seeds: How to Reach the Anti-Gun People in Your Life

by Beth Alcazar

Don’t Patronize Them, Belittle Them or Make Them Feel Uncomfortable.

Most of us have probably heard the old adage: “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” In other words, we all know that it’s easier to persuade someone with polite requests and a positive attitude than with rude demands and negativity. This is definitely true for the topic of firearms. Others may be more inclined to listen to you and accept — or even adopt — your beliefs if you are considerate and respectful. You can be firm and unwavering, but you don’t have to hammer everyone to get your point across. Be assertive instead of aggressive. And even if the conversation gets you frustrated, take the higher road. Yelling and arguing won’t get you anywhere. And telling a person he or she is stupid, whiny or scared will likely not win anyone over to our side.

Expose Them to Positive Firearms Images, Thoughts, Articles and Posts.

We’re living in a world full of fake news, internet trolls and out-of-control opinions. That, along with simple, fast and immediate access to social media outlets, has created plenty of bad examples of firearms usage. In addition, there are plenty of organizations out there spreading anti-gun propaganda. Keep away from these negative sources. And if you can’t eliminate them, at least try to balance them or challenge them with good sources. Arm yourself with solid information and research so you can have your facts and statistics straight. Share links to articles about those who have saved lives (even their own) because of guns. Post supportive memes showing safe and responsible gun ownership. As well, I’d highly recommend leaving a copy or two of Concealed Carry Magazine around for folks to check out!

Answering the ‘Why’: Part 2 — The Fail-Safe

by Jim Doyle

Why Do You Even Need a Gun Like That?

To me, an armed population is an ultimate fail-safe against foreign invasion or a government gone totally and genocidally crazy. Now, just because I say that doesn’t mean I advocate for the violent overthrow of the government or that I want to “shoot that feller when he comes to take our guns.” It means that if the Rule of Law breaks down — if we can’t protest, impeach, elect someone else, petition in a classical sense — and things have gotten so crazy that people are getting dragged off into the darkness, I want some sort of last-ditch option.

Do I think that day is coming soon? No, I don’t. Do I think that day is coming at all? No, I don’t. I believe in this country. I believe in the Rule of Law. I believe in my fellow Americans and government officials to do the right thing. But do you think it is impossible that such a day could come? How many totalitarian and genocidal regimes have we seen emerge in just the last 100 years? The trouble with the really bad guys is they don’t generally announce their intentions decades in advance.

I don’t want a gun so I can shoot whoever is going to “come for my guns.” I don’t want a hunting rifle. I want a gun so that I can compete in a sport I enjoy. I want a gun so that when the home-invasion robbery crew starts up the stairs, I can put something other than my pink squishy body between them and my daughter. I want a gun so that if, heaven forbid, I see you getting dragged into the darkness, I can do something other than beg them to take me instead.

While we answer questions like these without coming across as hostile or radical, we need to emphasize that in a free country, the burden should never be on the people to justify having a right. That burden should always fall on the parties trying to curtail a freedom to explain why that right must be limited. To gun-control advocates, that proof is self-evident: “Guns kill people.” Don’t let them gloss over their need to prove their case. Yes, guns are sometimes used to kill people, but prove to me that your proposed restriction is actually going to help that.

“Why do you need to take my guns?”

Looking for some statistics to add to the conversation? Check out the USCCA’s new Concealed Carry Facts and Fiction page!