Last month I gave out a vehicle for engaging business owners who prohibit guns in their establishments. It consisted of a cover letter asking for their thoughts after they read a copy of my column analyzing who gun free zones protect us from, and a lined sheet of paper for them to write back to you. You added a business envelope to send it to them and a stamped, self addressed envelope for them to send their answer back. Easy peasy. So far, the file has been downloaded 565 times. If we assume about half the well intentioned folks did nothing with it, we have 280. If each of them actually used it for one business and passed the file on to a friend or two by email, we are probably back to maybe 500 tries to engage someone on the other side with a reasoned argument and a polite request for a response. I also asked for anybody who did get a response to let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After nearly two months, how many responses have I gotten? Zippo! Not one. Not one from the letters I have sent, and none relayed back to me from my cadres of loyal readers. This gives us a data point (albeit a squishy one) about the enthusiasm of the anti-gunners to engage in a logical discussion of the efficacy of a gun free zone in protecting us from harm. I have also tried to engage folks at the Brady Center for two months and nobody will return my emails. Through a helpful member of Million Moms I had a message from me forwarded directly to the email of Paul Helmke. No response.
Maybe the only way to engage the anti-gun crowd is on the street. If you don't want to carry a weapon openly for a discussion starter, try a clever T shirt such as the one showing 50 models of handgun with the headline "Celebrate Diversity". Know your facts about guns and crime and guns and accidental deaths. There are lots of great books out there that cover these well. If you are in a state that has liberalized carry, know the statistics for your state, before and after the law change. Then, be prepared for your debate opponent to go stone-faced and reject all your supporting evidence. They know in their heart of hearts that they are wrong, but gamely go on propounding their thesis that guns are inherently evil and cause people to begin shooting one another.
My wonderful sister and I were having an email back and forth about violence in the Old West, and I cited the study by Roger McGrath about the overblown perception of violence in the towns of Aurora and Bodie in Nevada at the turn of the century. She asked for the citations so I sent her half a page of citations from the book including the New York times and such that were contemporaneous to the time of the studies . Rather than dispute or disprove the citations, her response was "Well, if I had the time and the inclination, I am sure I could find counter evidence." Granted, gun rights are not the obsession to her that they are to me, but the crux of it is, rather than concede the point based on the evidence presented, she simply rejected the proof because surely there must be counter evidence out there somewhere. That left her paradigm intact and life goes on.
History is on our side on this one, as year after year more anti-gun laws are dismantled. The huge uptake of guns and ammunition since the last presidential election should have induced rivers of blood in the street by the reckoning of the Brady Bunch, but the crime rate continues to drop. Liberal legislators have to defend their bills in congress. Make them prove their assertions. We have an election in less than 100 days. Let's put good, clear-eyed men and women into positions of authority to move our cause forward. Let us make the anti-gun crowd face the truth!