I have a student who emailed me this week and asked me for advice on having an adult conversation with “Liberals” as it relates to the 2nd Amendment. This is always an awkward question. I don't know that I have ever formed a really good approach to having those conversations myself and don't feel super qualified to venture my own opinion on it but here is my best effort.
Below I'm going to outline several talking points that I have found keep a conversation calm and adult like without caving in on my strong feelings about firearms and personal protection.
Guns do Exist
As a core to all conversation I like to start with this simple idea. Guns do exist in our society. Currently Americans can/do own firearms and that has been central to our culture since before the puritans landed at Plymouth. Any theory, concept, or solution that doesn't consider that guns are in American households is not practical and borders more on the ideal or theoretic than the possible and realistic. Even those who choose not to own firearms are still faced with living somewhere where they do exist. Perhaps in some places in this country (New York) the personal ownership of firearms is relatively low and firearms are associated with law enforcement or illegal activity; but in other parts of the country (Utah) ownership abounds and goes beyond the estimated threshold of 50% of American homes.
Education and Training are My Personal Solution to the Problem
As a society the solutions to violent crime are as complex as the problem. There is no easy solution and differing opinions make it hard to come to any good conclusion. At a personal level however it is much easier for me to look at the problem as it relates to me and my family and work toward a practical solution. Pro-activity is at the core of this idea. Instead of hoping that society or the government can come up with a plan to make my family more safe and secure I am going to take action to do my part. The solution I have deemed most appropriate for my family is education and training. My proactive approach is to get more training and education as it relates to all potential levels of security. Firearms make up a part of that overall strategy. More education and training are always preferable to ignorance in a society where I and my children will be exposed to crime and to firearms regardless of any decision we make (or don't make).
More Emphasis Placed on the Perpetrators and Less on The Tools They Use
Since firearms are just tools I feel that our societal solutions need to be focused on helping the people who are causing the problem. We see clearly in other countries where firearms are not available that people with these issues will use other available tools to carry out their delusions and sickness. Any long term solution should focus on fixing the people and that begins with the family unit. Pooling resources to strengthen families is our best approach to stopping these senseless acts and our best plan to help us cope with them when they do occur.
I hope you found these three talking points helpful as you move forward in rubbing shoulders every day with people who may have different opinions but whose feelings are just as important and require just as much validation as your's or mine.