bennedose wrote:2. Be careful about blindly cheering news reports where guns were used without having the full facts in hand. It is very easy to be cheering the wrong party and end up with egg on one's face and a self goal scored againt RKBA as a group of people who simply cheer whenever someone uses a gun. Mature understanding and discussion about whether the gun was used legitimately and appropriately would be a better indicator of maturity among the group.
My own personal approach is to keep in mind that right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter what "team" someone belongs to, and that regurgitating an ideology is seldom as convincing as just giving a reasoned explanation of your thoughts and feelings. People who are opposed to guns often will respect a well-considered set of opinions. Not always, but often. The ones who reject everything are the ones you cannot do anything about, anyway. The ones who will listen are the ones who can be won over.
For instance, after the Columbine shootings in Colorado, one of the TV talk show hosts had Charlton Heston on his show (Heston was a famous Hollywood actor and figurehead/spokesperson for the NRA at the time) and Heston went on about how the attack would never have happened if there had been a guard with firearms in the school -- his carryings on were, in my eyes, a rant. In fact, there was an armed guard. Furthermore, it was not the time to be "scoring points" against the anti-gun groups -- nothing was going to convince them, and to many non-gunners watching, Heston appeared to be a crackpot.
As we now know, Heston was already suffering from Alzheimer's at the time. He was a poor person to have on national TV as spokesperson for anything. What was needed was a thoughtful, but firm response.
I have given this point of view to non-gunners and have never gotten too much feedback -- that is, the thought that Heston's words were insensitive and inappropriate, that the anti-gun crowd was unreasonable, and that the issue was much more complex than just banning guns or having armed guards.
Thinking about your views, rather than presenting some rote, cliche words to a thinking non-gunner, (e.g., "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Save that stuff for your pro-gun friends. Give a well reasoned response of your own and don't sound like a parrot!).
Finally, wrong is wrong, and even if the person in question is one of our gun community, if he's done wrong, say that he's done wrong. You don't have to "throw him under the bus" and trash him, but making the point that wrong is wrong tells the non-gunner that you are not willing to wink at wrong-doing, and generally gives you a chance to be heard as a thinking person, rather than an unreasoning fanatic.
bennedose wrote:3. When it comes to discussing self defence, do not score a self goal by saying that guns are the only method. Be honest about things like pepper spray and stun guns, but point out that a firearm is superior to any of these. Be aware of situations in which guns may be useful and situations in which they may be useless. Be aware of ways in which safety can be ensured without resorting to any weapon. Apply those situations to day to day life in India rather than lifting from the American experience. I see that happening too often
Some people and their "self defense" statements make me cringe. Years ago, I lived in a Western community that was notorious for giving out concealed weapons permits like candy. I think our little county had issued about half of the permits in the state, or something like that. When this fact came out, pressure was applied to county officials to drastically cut the number of concealed permits that were issued.
I had a permit for a number of years and was very worried about getting mine renewed. The process was to go to the chief of police for an interview, and then go to the district court judge. The chief of police collected shoulder patches of other police forces, and I arranged to give him some out-of-state department patches when I went to see him. I also took my Dad, who was a very reasonable looking and sounding fellow. I passed that and went to see the judge. He was an old time politician who had known JFK when he served as Montana's congressman, and he was easy: He always asked why I wanted a gun and then would ask if I mixed drinking and guns. I told him (as always) that I was a gun club member and that I didn't drink. The judge's nose was as red as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, but he would always say, "good, good," and sign my paper.
A coworker went in at the same time and, when asked about his wanting a gun, said that if someone started trying to beat him up or rob him when he was coming out of a bar, he would shoot him! And the fellow wondered why his permit wasn't renewed!
I knew a fellow who was involved in a shooting -- his dad pulled the trigger. It was mostly self-defense and there was a lot of provocation, but when they hauled this fellow and his dad into court, the prosecutors had rounded up many people who testified to both the fellow and his dad saying all sorts of things about shooting this person and shooting that person. It made both the fellow and his dad sound like true goons. The dad got convicted and had to serve probation, in addition to having to give up all of his many guns and never being able to own one again.
In other words, it is best to give up notions of being Rambo or some action hero, and remember the famous Spanish saying that we all look prettier with our mouths shut.