My friend Paul Martin participated in a panel discussion on campus carry sponsored by NEW Leadership Texas – part of the UT Center for Women and Gender Studies.
The audience leaned left of center, although there were at least two license to carry (LTC) holders in the group. They were very engaging and willing to listen to opposing viewpoints in a respectful way. Likewise, the panelists were respectful of each other despite the significant difference of opinion among us.
One of his observations stood out to me:
Those who oppose concealed carry have little understanding of the licensing process or the training curriculum. Students seemed surprised to learn that non-violent dispute resolution is a statutorily mandated curriculum requirement. There seemed to be some belief that 18 year olds can obtain a LTC (minimum age is 21, unless the applicant is active duty military or veteran).
Take that for what you will.
Still, Paul has a greater message:
We need to be taking these people to the gun range to let them experience it first hand. Some of the participants who visited with me after the event said that they were generally supportive of concealed carry but had some reservations – and these included people who expressed left of center political leanings. I took that as a good sign. But there are others who were indicated they were agnostic on the issue until they attended the event. We need to be doing a better job of inviting people who may not be “pro-gun” to the range in an effort to encourage people to have a better understanding of how guns work.
Bottom line: it’s about education. We can tell they don’t know, but chastising folks for their ignorance only serves to drive the wedge further, the strengthen alienation.
There was a time in American politics when we would “reach across the aisle”. Unfortunately today’s political climate seems to only want to yell, spit, and throw punches across the aisle.
If you’re willing to listen, I’m willing to teach. If you’re accepting of education, I’m happy to help. We can work together to have greater understanding, and that will yield better things; because allowing ignorance to rule and proceeding through life with ignorant zealotry, does no good for you or the world.