“Normalizing” guns

Over at The Truth About Guns, Dan Zimmerman asks “How do we make guns normal?” Dan writes…

That’s the bottom line — we need to make guns normal, and it has to be done in popular media. If we can have gay characters on TV shows and have it not be a big deal, why can’t we have characters open-carrying on TV shows and have it not be a big deal?

This is a common refrain from many conservatives. “If only the mainstream media would present our point of view.”

They won’t.

They never will.

So how do we make guns normal to the non-shooting public if none of the characters on The Big Bang Theory or Parks & Recreation will be packing heat anytime soon. We do this “IRL”; in real life.

The best way to make your non-shooting friends, relatives, and neighbors see gun ownership and gun use as normal is to take them shooting. Ask them if they’ve ever gone shooting. If the answer is “no”, ask them if they’d like to go with you to the range. If the answer is “yes”, ask them how long it’s been since they last shot, and then ask them if they’d like to go to the range with you. Whether their answer is yes or no, you still take the conversation to “Would you like to go to the range with me?”.

When you get them to the range, remember to start them off with a discussion of safety.We want them to see that we value safety. This contradicts the media stereotype of you as a drunken redneck waving a gun about. Pick a .22 as a first gun to try. As they get more comfortable, move up to something with a little more umph; like a self-defense handgun or a 5.56mm black rifle if you have one. Again, we’re trying to contradict those media stereotypes. We want them to see that the AR-15 isn’t a super-gun that shoots through schools and downs airliners flying at 30,000 feet. We also want them to see that your Glock or Sig is just another handgun. There’s no magic to it; no voodoo. After they’ve tried something a little bigger, if they really prefer the .22 then move them back to that and let them have fun. The idea here is to make this a positive experience and not the murder and mayhem that Hollywood would have them believe happens around guns.

Even if your friend turns down the chance to go shooting, you’ve still made an impact on their thinking. You just politely offered to involve them in something you think is fun. You just showed that your anything but the grunting Neanderthal that Michael Bloomberg wants them to imagine when the words “gun owner” are spoken. So whether you get them to the range or not, you’ve just made guns and gun owners “normal”.