I find that one of the best things an individual can be asked as a gun owner is, “Can you bring me to the range with you?” especially if the person asking you is someone that doesn’t know about firearms as you do. I found myself in this position a lot over the last few years, especially with my group of friends that I have known for a while now.
Over the years, I have been asked, “Why would you want a firearm?” I can give them a plethora of reasons why I want to own firearms, and it would never click with them as it would with someone else who owns a gun themselves. Over time, when they become more curious and want to learn more, I find nothing more important than providing them with the most accurate and informative information on firearms to lessen guns’ demonization.
Let’s face it, the demonization of the Second Amendment is something that has been going around for a long time now. Whether it is the media, politicians, organizations, etc., there is something negative to be said when it comes to firearms. I felt that this was the negative impact on the perception of guns that affected my friends’ decisions about firearms ownership. Before we hit the range, I had asked them what made them feel the way they did. The response wasn’t surprising at all; they believed that some firearms were “too scary,” some “belonged on the battlefield,” and the broad term “assault” was something that shouldn’t be in the hands of anyone.
I knew that this was a stigma that needed to be broken. I needed my friends to fully understand that this was nothing more than just words and a scare tactic provided to them by individuals who wanted nothing more than to regulate the ability to purchase and own guns. I decided that this was the best time to start to bring friends with me to the range and help them realize that they were mistaken about the perception that they had formulated on firearms before they even got the chance to shoot a gun in the first place. Now I believe when it comes to individuals who have never been to a range or even held a firearm before, the best thing to do is go over the safety rules and give them a dry run with a gun before we use live ammunition.
After getting through the basics and going over the safety rules that anyone who owns a firearm takes to heart, I could tell that there was a sense of calm that came over them. You could pick up on their anxiousness when they first got to the range and witness everything going on around them. We all experienced some sort of nervousness getting into the gun world, and I had my reservations before I was introduced to it. You realize that these weapons are not playthings and that someone could be seriously injured if you become negligent with the firearm in your hand.
The best way for them to fully grasp the concept of how firearms really were and to break that misconception they held for years was finally to jump into and fire some rifles and pistols. Now I’ve done this a few times before with different friends, and their reactions were all pretty much like one another. After the first one or two shots with the AR, they realized the rifle’s characteristics, including the weight, look, feel, recoil, etc.; this wasn’t how it was described in the media at all. After a great day of shooting, we sat and talked a bit about individual thoughts and feelings on the subject. I want them away from that negativity that was falsely fed to them. Now you must consider these individuals and their thought processes. They had been highly adamant about their opinions that they had formulated on the whole firearm industry and the ability to own such guns that had been targeted in recent years.
To my surprise, I was able to have a substantial breakthrough with them finally. I found that they were “surprised by how the firearms really work, how individuals acted when it came to safety (some thought they were going to end up witnessing something out of a western movie), and how everything was overdramatized about what these weapons truly are.” The best thing that I found that came out of this whole journey with friends is that they believed that there should not be a ban on ownership of something they believed to be for everyone. Even now, most of those I had taken to the range with me even went as far as to go through the process of obtaining a license and bought firearms for themselves.
Now I bring this story up in one of the most critical times in our lives as Americans. Politicians are fighting to take away the rights of the People. They believe that firearms should be limited, and many types of rifles and pistols should be outright banned for purchase and ownership. The best way for individuals to help the cause of preserving our rights is doing just this; by bringing people out and showing them that there are plenty of benefits of firearms ownership. If you can break the demonization of firearms that the opposing side has created, we will be able to bring about a new outlook on guns that can end in the preservation of our rights.
Author: Nicholas Torres