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My Conversation With a Gun Bigot

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Like many Americans today, I work with a number of gun bigots. They have an irrational fear of firearms and in their willful ignorance they misapply negative personality traits and motivations upon gun owners. Given where I work, this fact is highly ironical to me, since our company is in the business of recreational safety education, including hunter education and firearms safety education.

Due to my pro 2nd Amendment stance, sadly, I am regarded by some of my coworkers as a gun-crazed sociopath who is looking for any excuse to unload my weapon into some innocent citizen who offers me some slight insult. The idea that a person can make a distinction between the evil of attacking innocent people and the moral absolute of defending one’s life is entirely lost on gun bigots.

I became concerned this week when after I apologized to one of my colleagues for my visible frustration and agitation during a work-matter misunderstanding, he remarked, “Ah, no worries. It’s all good, unless you have your gun on you.”

– full stop –

He was not kidding. I did not address the issue immediately, but lost sleep that night over my concerns that he would think even for a moment that I could switch from good to evil on a whim. Just because of the presence of a gun.

So the next day I invited him to a private chat and confirmed that while he meant it as something of a flippant, mildly humorous remark, he did mean what he said. I expressed my concerns that he’d think such evil of me. I acknowledged what he knew—that I have trained for 25 years in several disciplines that involve the application of violence—but all exclusively in the context of defense.

He nodded and remarked that he understood and believed that.

I explained that like anyone, I’m susceptible to agitation or even anger, but these things are in no way some precursor to obtuse violence. I explained that even in the event that an argument gets heated and someone gets a bit physical with me, I make a distinction between addressing strong disagreement involving argument and/or shoving, and defending my life. In the unfortunate event that someone I know lost control to the point of getting physical with me, emotionally driven fisticuffs is not a threat to my life or family. Rather, it’s a sad event to resolve and move past (note that if it sounds here as though I fight with people on occasion, that is a mistake. I’ve never been in a physical altercation as an adult and hope I never will be).

He nodded and remarked that he agreed and believed that of me.

I reassured him that my years of defensive study, ongoing training, the weekly shooting regimen I maintain, and competitive shooting endeavors are all a part of what I understand to be my responsibility as a man and a citizen, and not fuel for some desire for violence. I explained that my ongoing training has forged in me and reinforces a very strong sense of moral responsibility to recognize the distinction between evil acts and righteous defense.

He nodded and remarked that he agreed and believed that of me.

I explained that the heavy responsibility that comes with carrying concealed and even being a firearms owner in general requires I understand these distinctions and be very conscious of my actions and intent in every consequential situation. As such, I’m continually reflecting on the effect my actions have on those around me, on my family, and my friends, as well as how my actions reflect on the responsible gun owners around the country. As such, I couldn’t consider engaging in any evil or obtuse response to some mild or heated disagreement with someone.

He nodded and remarked that he understood and believed that. And then he said that, even so, he would never be comfortable knowing someone near him was armed with a gun. Even if it were me. He explained that he believed that despite all I had shared with him, any disagreement or bout of anger involving someone who had a gun meant that lives were in danger.

I was at a complete loss. I couldn’t fathom how to make a dent in his bigotry.

The summation of our discussion is that he says he believes that I’m a good and conscientious person, but that if I am angry and I happen to have a gun at my disposal he fears that I will shoot people.

Bigotry can’t be fixed with logic and facts. To a gun bigot, a gun means impending violence and death, while logic and facts mean nothing at all.

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Photo of sheep by Myrabella

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