When talking with staunch anti-gunners, it’s worth inquiring whether they object to firearms or to weapons. Contrary to their initial impression, the two are not the same. This Anschutz target rifle is a firearm. While it can be used as a weapon, it’s designed for an entirely peaceful purpose. That didn’t stop California from temporarily banning Olympic .22Short pistols as “assualt weapons” because of the forward location of their 5-shot magazines. Equally contrary to the initial impression, a basic cable gun lock is a weapon, a sap. It’s not an ideal weapon but far better than nothing in restrictive environments. A bicycle cable or channel lock is a more obviously potent variant, and widespread on every college campus.
If the anti is against firearms, ask if crossbows, longbows, slings and atlatls would be permissible. If yes, what makes them different? If no, ask how they intend to un-invent neolithic technology. Most are against weapons, which is why so many are OK with specialized sport guns and other tools that they do not perceive as weapons. At that point, make the distinction between offensive and defensive weapons. Almost anything can be a functional offensive weapon — a 5-gallon can of gas, a bottle of acid, a rock or a vehicle. It’s a bit harder to press such improvised weapons into timely defensive use. A pistol can be deployed in a little over a second and used very directionally. Getting a Molotov cocktail going takes longer and the effect is not nearly as considerate of the innocent bystanders. Make the distinction between offensive and defensive weapons — by use rather than by construction.
Some antis feel that weapons should be restricted to the well-trained police and soldiers. Equally well-trained regular people aren’t good enough for them. Often, retired police or military aren’t good enough either. That’s where we run into the first rational antis, those who feel that private defensive weapons do not serve the interests of the state while official offensive arms do. They either identify with the government or have some ulterior motive, perhaps criminal predation on disarmed victims. Those antis are not misguided idealists but consistent and dangerous foes and should be treated as such. Since open warfare has not commenced, we should do everything possible to discredit them in the eyes of the more more numerous moderate anti-gunners. Those are naive but less vicious than their activist counterparts and may be reformed over time.
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