Converting an anti -(or)- in it for the long haul


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Jdude
April 14, 2008, 02:06 PM
So, I have this friend. Let's call him... Charles.

Charles is my roommate.

My primary goal is to shift his viewpoints on firearms. This is my progress thus far.

1: 2 years ago: Charles wished for tight gun control. He went into hysterical, angry, yelling rants about how he doesn't want to be shot in his room by someone across the street. (Well neither do I, of course, but this was the core of his argument.) His rights to not be shot through the wall superceded the neighbor's right to shoot an intruder. (Again, I am not going to discount his fears. It could happen. A car could also drive through his window and squash him flat).
The solution to fear is education. Between the two of us, we debate in the Socratic method: The search for truth is more important than the victor. Because of this he was willing to visit the shooting range with me. I took him to the range and demonstrated safe operations of firearms. I explained to him the capabilities of firearms. We researched the likelihood of him being accidentally shot by the neighbors. (That research is long gone by now, I won't re-do it for the purpose of this post.)

2: Over the next year we visit the range off and on, covering safety. He doesn't particularly enjoy the trip, but it is not something he dislikes. It is something to do. He still thinks assault guns and machine guns should be completely banned. He is still pro gun control, but has less concern relating to his earlier rants. Learning the lack of probability of this happening, and understanding the function of firearms, was what eased this concern.
About 6 months ago, I bought a Swiss K-31 rifle. We went to the range with the usual EBR, and took the K-31 this time. He fired the 31 a few times, and said "This is more fun. I have to make each shot count, unlike the other rifle. It takes more work and isn't a waste of ammo."

Lightbulb!

His birthday conveniently came 3 weeks later. Not being one to celebrate, he was surprised when I gave him a gift - a do it yourself black powder pistol. He was surprised. A risky maneuver on my part, but worth it. He got to sanding and polishing, all the fun things. I had to walk away many times because I wanted to be the one doing the work. After it was complete we went to the range. Load the powder, ball, percussion cap. Then bang! He has a small smile. I think to myself "Got you! It's all downhill now."

4: Three months ago, I started open carrying. The beginning was rough. Charles wanted to know why I wanted to shoot people. He wanted to know why I wanted to cause havoc. So on and on. We ended up making a compromise: Since I had never O/C before, I would O/C for a week. He would stick around to keep me from being stupid and after the week was up I would not O/C around him afterwards if he explicitly requested it. I obviously did not do anything stupid. I've been armed in public before, just not openly. On day 6 Charles says to me "I kinda feel safer knowing that you have that thing. I don't know about other people, but I know you aren't going to do anything stupid." O/C now is hit or miss. Some days he asks I leave it behind, some days not.

5: Last week he said "I want to buy a black powder rifle" The little voice in my head said "It's working..."


Charles started Absolutely Anti on assault rifles, machine guns and pistols.

Charles is currently Semi-Neutral/Anti when discussing assault rifles. He is mostly anti on machine guns. He is closer to our side when it comes to pistols, and almost all the way there on B.P. firearms of any kind. If given a choice between turning in his guns or his comic books, the guns will go for sure. I am going to let Charles figure that one out. When he does it will be more solid than anything I can ever tell him.

After 2 years, I have nudged him this far. Like a huge boulder, once I got it going it became easier to keep it going.


Lessons learned:

Slow and methodical is the only way this will ever work. If I dropped a EBR in his hands and berated him about his viewpoints, we would have lot Charles immediately and forever.

I had to find a firearm he liked. A single sentence over the course of 2 years was the only hook I had to go on. It has paid off beautifully so far.

I have invested more in his gun than he has, dollar wise. None of it was wasted. The gun itself is ugly as hell but he built it with his own hands and he's proud of it. If I assembled the kit he wouldn't care as much.

This has been a long road.

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critter
April 14, 2008, 02:25 PM
Good story. Good work on your part too!

WayneConrad
April 14, 2008, 02:28 PM
First, I'd like to introduce you some folks who say that a hard-core anti can't change their view. ;)

Second, You are a true friend of liberty, but more important, a true friend to Charles. You'd still be his friend even had he not come around to your viewpoint, wouldn't you. That's the most important thing. Without that, he never would have walked down this long road with you. You didn't drag him down that road. You walked down it with him.

Ltlabner
April 14, 2008, 02:29 PM
Humm...you walked him down the road without shoving guns in his face, taking advantage of "teaching moments" and having the paitence to take things step-by-step instead of focusing on "winning the argument".

Shocking!

Great job and an example more of us should follow.

XDKingslayer
April 14, 2008, 02:29 PM
I gotta give you credit. You hung in there. I wouldn't have. In the 2 years it took you bring him from completely anti to sorta anti, I could have found a dozen roommates that like to shoot.

bogie
April 14, 2008, 02:31 PM
So, how far are you from Knob Creek?

bogie
April 14, 2008, 02:34 PM
Oh yeah...

One thing to realize about many "anti" folks...

They're not "anti." They're just uneducated. They've gotten most of their info on boomsticks from television and mass media hysteria.

When we lead them gently, and let them get their own minds around stuff, it works. If we try to force feed them, all we get back in return is "that's just NRA propaganda," like they've been trained via the media... It's all just a matter of allowing them to teach themselves, and being ready to provide the material.

SsevenN
April 14, 2008, 02:44 PM
I actually kind of wish I had an chance to "convert" a friend like you have. All my friends were pretty much fence sitters with no opinion of their own about firearms. Now most will shoot with me, but are not very motivated to buy a gun/shoot on their own.

******Not trying to hijack the thread******

But beyond shooting with them, and educating them about gun saftey and the surrounding political aspects....How do you lead someone to being RKBA active?

jhansman
April 14, 2008, 02:52 PM
Personally, I am not interested in 'converting' anyone, anymore than I'd want, say, some strongly religious person trying to convert me. I respect what you've accomplished, but for me the power of my example mixed any genuine curiosity on the part of those who differ with me have proved to be far more effective in opening minds. I grow weary of all the anti bashing that goes on here and on other boards, and I've been around long enough to know it only generates heat and no light. Rational discourse and tolerance are the only way the issue of gun ownership is ever going to come anywhere close to resolution. Keep up the good work!

Jdude
April 14, 2008, 09:32 PM
So, how far are you from Knob Creek?
I estimate 2-3 years. If we went today, I think Charles would either violently poo himself and faint or have incurable priapism.
If I took the more direct route, it's 10 dollars of duct tape and 1100 miles.

But beyond shooting with them, and educating them about gun saftey and the surrounding political aspects....How do you lead someone to being RKBA active?
I have no idea, friend. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Personally, I am not interested in 'converting' anyone, anymore than I'd want, say, some strongly religious person trying to convert me. I respect what you've accomplished, but for me the power of my example mixed any genuine curiosity on the part of those who differ with me have proved to be far more effective in opening minds. I grow weary of all the anti bashing that goes on here and on other boards, and I've been around long enough to know it only generates heat and no light. Rational discourse and tolerance are the only way the issue of gun ownership is ever going to come anywhere close to resolution. Keep up the good work! Sir, I respect your opinion and thank you for your compliment. I feel that religion is a private matter. I hope I have not imposed my beliefs on anyone, especially Charles. I view what I am doing is akin to planting seeds. The right seeds at the right time will lead to it's own conclusion. I think that when I gave him the black powder pistol, I manured the entire field. :neener:

Tribal
April 15, 2008, 12:51 AM
Good job!

As people have been saying, it's not so much that people dislike guns as they dislike what they think they know about them. Your friend may never get into mil-surp weapons or want to fire full auto...but I'll bet that once he starts a family he'll buy a shotgun or revolver for home defense. Not everyone is going to be Charlton Heston; if we can increase the number of people who know how to use guns and think that people have a right to have guns to defend themselves and their families, we win.

dmazur
April 15, 2008, 01:07 AM
My wife is a firm believer in RKBA, but was a little reluctant about actually carrying, due to comfort issues.

Knee-jerk reaction might be, "What! Are you crazy? You're not going to get a second chance. Carrying a pistol isn't supposed to be comfortable. It's supposed to be comforting."

However, I didn't do that. I asked her to think about how circumstances can change in the blink of an eye from safe to dangerous, and that, while you can't walk around paranoid, you shouldn't leave it at home and walk around feeling everything's going to be OK either.

Eventually, I found some references to "condition colors" and I think she understands. Regular carry convert. (But I didn't make her do it...)

Now my sister is a lost cause. Absolutely complete hoplophobe. Two kids, who are completely insulated from guns, she thinks. So I just don't know what to do about that. She lives on the east coast, and it's literally a different world back there. Not my kids, not my responsiblity, but it still bothers me that they are growing up ignorant in this area.

JWarren
April 15, 2008, 08:45 AM
I applaud your work.

However, we REALLY need to consider two points:


We went to the range with the usual EBR, and took the K-31 this time. He fired the 31 a few times, and said "This is more fun. I have to make each shot count, unlike the other rifle. It takes more work and isn't a waste of ammo."


No one FORCES anyone to "empty magazines" with an EBR. I've owned EBR's for 25 years and I haven't emptied a magazine in over 10 years.

He needs to realize that a semiautomatic doesn't somehow force a behavior on a person. My father has a Remington 7400 30-06 that he hunts with. He can carry 4 shots in his magazine. I've NEVER seen him dump those shots at a deer.

Likewise, I take aimed shots with my AR.

I get weary of the notion that a firearm is anything more than the tool by which a person exercises his own choices.



Charles is currently Semi-Neutral/Anti when discussing assault rifles. He is mostly anti on machine guns.


Does he realize that NFA items are VERY different than semi-auto black rifles? Bring to him the statistics of how many NFA registered items have EVER been used in a crime. By a HUGE span, a guy that goes through the efforts and cost to register an NFA is NOT the guy commiting crimes with said weapon.

It is important that he understands the terms and actual facts surrounding EBRs and NFA items.




But overall, you are doing great!


--- John

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 15, 2008, 10:04 AM
Bravo - excellent work! :) If only I had the patience for that...

Nomad101bc
April 15, 2008, 10:09 AM
Or you could be like my gf who thinks guns are awsome...I told her if we moved to New Hampshire I just might end up owning lots of guns n she laughed. She has already fired a 12 gauge and liked it!

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