So John Richardson has a post up on the latest push of the anti-gun “Ask Campaign”. He links this video
Since I now have a daughter, this little campaign has a potential to come to my doorstep. I was talking to my wife about this potential and how to handle this. We don’t advertise our gun ownership to total strangers, just because I don’t want the criminal element to know my home has guns, and that would be a good idea to attempt to steal. Of course my home security system and my safes will help prevent this, but better they never try than to try and be thwarted. Also given that the origin of this is anti-gun, my general feeling is of hostility.
Still my wife had some sound arguments. #1. While this question roots in anti-rights stupidity, people will likely hear of this who aren’t zealots. We both used to be anti-gun, and anti-gun for the noblest of reasons. We were wrong, and recognized that, and I don’t see why others can’t be the same. Also while the wife and I have enough friends, and have no need for ignorant and rude people to join us, this does not extend to my daughter, nor to the progeny of said rude ignorant people. Of my friends I know several who have cut off ties to their parents because they don’t agree with them.
Also my wife is not a fan of lying, and isn’t very good at it, and saying “I’d rather not answer that question” or “That’s none of your damn business!” is very similar to somebody pleading the 5th Amendment, or saying “No Comment” to a reporter. You can assume the answer, you just can’t quote them on it.
Listening to one of Dan Savage’s podcasts really got me thinking further about this. Of course Dan was talking about gays, transgender, and bisexuals, but the social aspects are similar.
Many people believe there aren’t that many bisexuals because they identify to strangers as straight or gay. This of course does no service to anybody. It let’s the ignorant people make assumptions based on false pretenses, and it keeps people in the shadows.
Still one must be strong when faced with such a pointed and loaded question, so here’s my plan of action:
Step #1: Shame! Coming out of the box and asking somebody if they own guns and where they are is a bit forward and rather rude. If somebody I know even mentions guns in polite conversation I’ll volunteer any relevant information, still out of the box it’s like asking somebody their sexual orientation or their political affiliation. There’s NOTHING wrong with any of these things, but it’s private information, and the person has just been rude! I would suggest something like “Wow, that’s rather forward! We’ve only just met!”
Step #2: Honesty. Keep that shame going, but don’t hold back, let them know that if they want to be so forward you’ll be frank that yes there are guns in the home, and yes they are kept in such a way to minimize harm to children playing. You can go into detail as much or as little as you want, but DO NOT show this person your guns or security systems, that is a bridge too far. You’ll note that I don’t post my gun safes here, and it’s a bit of a shame because I have a cool setup, but I don’t want to let any thieves make any plans until my house alarm is tripped.
Step #3: Quid Pro Quo: Now since you’ve entered into this personal relationship, it’s time for THEM to be on the hot seat. Ask them: DO they own guns? What training and skill level with firearms do they have? Have their kids done any Eddie Eagle safety programs? Do they know how to safely handle and operate a firearm? Do they know the Four Rules of Gun Safety? Chances are, since you got the loaded question, you’ll be getting a lot of “No” answers back from them.
Step #4: Into the Fold! Now’s the time to really turn them! Now when you ask them if they would like to learn about guns and how to be safe around them! If they do the abstinence method, and claim that since they don’t own guns they can afford to be ignorant, point out that they were asking YOU if you had guns in the home. Guns are everywhere and it is a reality, and the worst guns are the ones not spoken about. I talked about that in this post, what if one of the other children in a home is a bad seed and sells some drugs on the side, and also has a gun. Do you think that illegally held gun will be kept someplace safe? Is it possible a parent might not know about it being in the home? Kids and parents need to know how to be safe around guns even if they don’t have them!
They may not want to play along fully, or participate that first day, but keep at them! Remember this is safety training! Maybe you’ll luck out and take somebody to the range for a great time!
Step #5: Social Stigma. Now that’s the whole point of the Ask Campaign, its to stigmatize gun owners, and isolate their children. Still that blade is double-edged. If you get some hair-brained “Progressive” that storms off and denies their child a friend simply because their parents are good and responsible gun owners, that shouldn’t be kept a secret. You probably have other parents in your social circle who know about your gun ownership or are gun owners themselves. Share this experience with them. Let them know how narrow-minded they were. Let them know about their reaction to basic and sensible safety was. This sort of reaction is NOT rational, and people should be aware of such behavior for future reference.
Step #6: Remember The Children: Under no circumstances should a child be held accountable for the ignorance or irrationality of their parents. Let your child know that if they want to play with that kid it is 100% OK, and they have your blessing. Like all play-dates for young children you should get to know the family and household where the kids play, there are things MUCH more dangerous than guns, and you should make sure that the home they play in is safe, and that supervision will be adequate before you leave your child at another home, but if this person passes all other musters, there’s no reason not to let them play at the other child’s home. Just because Mom or Dad is a crazy moonbat doesn’t mean your child should be denied a good time and social interaction.
Of course I haven’t implemented any of this given my daughter’s age, so let me know what you think!