“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people”. For some reason, this statement has become the mantra of gun folk, a presumed “win-all” argument in any anti-gun debate. But here’s the thing…it doesn’t work!
When was the last time you saw a gun-control debate won with the “Guns don’t kill people” trump card? I’m guessing never. Perhaps this argument held merit once upon a time, but today it’s a monotonous tune played by unimaginative gun folk. And no one’s listening. We need a different approach…
ANTI-GUN vs PRO GUN
Fact: You will NEVER convince an anti-gun activist that guns are good.
So why even bother?
Like any hotly debated topic, there exist three groups:
1) Those on the left side of the fence
2) Those on the right side of the fence
3) And those that ride in the middle of the fence
The latter folks are the ones that need approaching. In most cases, they make up the bulk of any population group, which means they carry the most significant vote.
The mistake gun owners make is that we expel too much energy trying to convince anti-gun supporters that guns are good, while at the same time, anti-gun folks are driving their propaganda to the fence riders.
The critical thing to remember is that the general public doesn’t necessarily think that guns are bad, but like most things, they fear what they don’t know. And guns are an easy thing to fear.
We will never win a gun-control argument with crime report stats and figures. Telling people that the homicide rate increases after gun control laws are implemented will produce a counter statistic that proves an opposing thought. And so, an endless game of pie-chart tossing ensues, where no one wins or admits defeat.
ANTI-GUN CONTROL FACTS
We don’t need more stats and facts to win the fight; we simply need a moral angle.
The argument against guns is void of logic, so trying to throw more logic (stats) at the problem (in an attempt to convince them) is… well, illogical.
Let’s look at the typical reasons why so many people are anti-gun…
• They fear them
• They believe that you owning a gun puts their life at risk
• They believe guns represent the easiest way to kill people
• They believe that if all the guns were gone, then the world would be a better place
Looking at the abovementioned points, you’ll notice that the first point is an undercurrent for all the others. Meaning fear is the number one driving force behind any anti-gun argument.
Following that, there’s a strong sentiment of morality, e.g. “What gives you the right to put my life in danger?
Unfortunately, as far as human emotions go, fear is our most dominating; it can paralyse reason, block logic, and shut down the ability to accept any counter-argument.
This is why most pro-gun arguments don’t work; they literally fall upon deaf (fearful) ears.
The only effective means of cracking a fear-based argument is to incite the opposite emotion.
Paratus.info recently published a blog titled: Fighting Back. The blog listed several positive cases where firearm owners protected their (or a potential victim’s) life against an attack. Quoting any of these stories in an anti-gun debate will have an impact far more powerful than you realise. Here’s why…
Research shows that our brains respond best to stories. In other words, we’re more likely to retain information when it’s conveyed in a story. This concept dates back thousands of years, and according to the same research, the most receptive story is a hero-based tale where an ordinary person overcomes adversity.
Quoting a positive story enables the listener to overcome negativity and manage their fear. If you think about it, this technique has been around for countless years in almost every culture, starting with tribal leaders telling tales of heroes around campfires.
These days, things are no different, and if you look at most children’s books (or box-office movies), the theme is very much the same: fear and negativity, overcome with bravery and positivity.
In short, stories have a long-lasting emotional (and intellectual) effect on our beliefs.
But it gets even better…
A positive story enables the opportunity to introduce a follow-up moral argument: “So, do you think the hero did the right thing, or should he/she have done nothing?”.
Returning to my original statement about fence-riders and the general public’s perception of firearms. Perhaps the onus rests on us, maybe it’s our task to search and share positive firearm stories, and while we’re at it, a visit to the range with a non-firearm owner won’t hurt relations either.