Response to Limited Vision, Limited Interest in Understanding American Gun Culture by David Yamane

second amendment

If you're not familiar with Professor David Yamane's work, you should fix that. For years he's been working towards educating the vast middle ground about firearms, taking a more tempered position than the two common extremes. Recently I read an article by Professor Yamane about some challenges he faced while trying to sell his book Gun Curious to publishers. I won't spoil the article, which you can read HERE, but in short, he was surprised at the lack of desire on the part of publishers to understand gun culture and owners.

My Thoughts and Experiences VS Professor Yamane

Professor Yamane's experiences are unsurprising to me. Over the last decade I've slowly reduced my interaction with the anti-gun crowd, as many conversations are really just two people talking at each other. No desire to change their views, just shouting for "likes" and culture points with their respective circles. I've had people tell me that all gun owners should be killed at any hint of a refusal to immediately surrender all firearms at the greatest extreme—one that was supported by multiple commenters who I knew personally.

The "nobody is coming to take your guns" argument is absolutely false, as we've had people as high as the President talk about taking guns with no recourse "Take the gun first, go through due process later". Unfortunately, there are a lot of people on both sides of the debate who have no interest in even understanding the other's perspective. If we want our rights to continue to exist, we must be politically active, bring people into the fold, and make our voices heard.

The Brighter Side of Things

On the flip side, I've had some amazing conversations with people in the middle ground. In 2017 a middle-aged woman sitting next to me on a flight from Spokane to Seattle started talking to me about gun control before take off. I considered brushing her off and going to sleep, but instead made the potentially foolish decision to engage. That ended up being an awesome educational opportunity for her, learning more about guns laws currently on the books than ever before. She wasn't ready to go out and buy an AR-15 afterwards, but she say that she had a lot to think about moving forward. That's just one short example of many.

guns for women

As an instructor with Operation Blazing Sword, and a former chapter leader for the Pink Pistols, I brought in a variety of people from outside the typical gun owning sphere. These were folks who had heard the anti-gun propaganda about guns and gun owners, but still wanted to defend themselves and loved ones. With me acting as a safe intermediary, they got to learn that most gun shops aren't filled with hate spewing racists and rednecks, despite what the media may claim. Some of these people already owned guns, others quickly became gun owners. Unfortunately, a few found themselves pariahs in their old social circles as their opinions on guns changed--something they were shocked to experience. Even some of our own writers here have seen their views shift over time with more experience.

Closing Thoughts on Limited Vision, Limited Interest in Understanding American Gun Culture by David Yamane

As with many hot political topics, it seems like the majority of America has fairly mild opinions on guns right and gun control. Interacting with the extremes rarely leads to a positive outcome, and only serves to provide sides with more ammunition and entrench their positions further. Instead, we should try to educate slowly bring in those who are genuinely interested in learning. Like with other interests, hitting newcomers with "all laws are an infringement" probably isn't helping, so save that one for a little later.

Be more like Professor Yamane. Educate without aggression, inform without slant, be matter of fact, and try to meet people where they are.

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About Daniel Reedy 377 Articles
Daniel holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has received training from Craig Douglas, Tom Givens, and Steve Fisher among others. He also has experience competing in USPSA, CAS, 3 Gun, and Steel Challenge. In his free time Daniel enjoys petting puppies and reading the Constitution. His work is also published by AmmoLand, Recoil Concealment, and Air Force Times. Daniel has also written and edited for The Kommando Blog.

2 Comments

  1. I am an NRA T/C, Each time I run a series of instructor training I finish up with Home Firearm Safety. To me that is the best course available to reach those outside the gun culture. "Worried about firearms, come learn how to make most common types safe!" The course teaches how to unload firearms, covers the basic rules of firearm safety and presents the truth about firearm accidents. No live ammo, no loud noises and no political statements, just the truth.

    • Safety is important for everyone, even if they never plan on becoming gun owners. That said, I know a lot of people who feel differently about that, though they're usually the ones who need it most.

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