Gun War: Understanding the Mindset of Both Sides

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Every gun-related massacre brings out the most predictable and primitive reactions to what is and should be a nuanced policy discussion. In one boisterous corner, you have the left demanding the immediate implementation of gun regulation that would, by every metric, fail to prevent each tragedy that has provoked their indignation. In the other corner, you have a reflexively partisan conglomerate of gun-rights aficionados who clutch their rifles, thinking the more they repeat slogans like “molon labe” (Ancient Greek for “Come and Take”) and “from my cold dead hands” the stronger they make their case. In fact, it does the opposite. At its core, the gun control debate is a matter of culture-this is why it represents the flashpoint for so much political debate. This culture gap can only be narrowed through a sincere investigation of facts- and the facts are not being rightfully told by the mainstream media. To understand both sides of the argument, we need to know the reasons why both sides think the way they do, know the misconceptions, and the interpretation of the second amendment on both sides. In order to understand both sides, we need to dive into the culture of the pro-gun side and the anti-gun side and see where they are coming from. Starting from the pro-gun side, the anti-gun side does not know or understand the reasons of having a gun if police is there to protect and serve.

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The main reason on why the pro-gun side needs to have a gun is because of the distrust that the police will protect them on time. According to CreditDonkey’s research, the average police response time is about ten minutes, depending on where you live and your situation. Now, ten minutes seems like forever when being in a situation where you don’t know if the criminals only want your stuff or hurt your family. So the pro-gun people wants to take charge of the situation by having biggest advantage as possible by using a shotgun or a pistol to make the criminal run, surrender, or in worse case senarios, injure the criminal.

Going to the anti-gun side, I noticed two reasons on why people on this side dislike or just flat out hate guns in general. One of the reasons is the media interpretation of guns. Hollywood loves to make things as flashy as possible when it comes to action movies/ TV shows and guns are sometimes the tools that are the driving force with it comes to the action scenes. In these action scenes, directors would make the actors use big, cool, and powerful guns that would fire a lot of bullets and mow down people with ease. With no knowledge of the law and what type of guns are allowed, consumers of movies/TV shows would mistake on what kind of guns owners would actually have in real life and so would want them out of the hands of everyone. Second reason on why people have a dislike of guns is because of the culture the person grew up in. For a person in Texas, it isn’t particularly uncommon to see someone carry a handgun on their waist, whereas the exact same sight somewhere like California would ignite panic. People who are opposed to guns may not have been in situations where they needed one, or that when growing up, they never grew up with guns so most likely they don’t see the purpose of having one and might have a slight fear of them. The culture gap is big and that is due to life experiences, but it can be closed with openness of understanding of both sides. The main takeaway point is that it’s a debate being talked about by two sides with very different backgrounds. And to understand the debate, one must take the time to understand both sides.

Misconceptions are very common when talking about the people of both sides of a debate. Reasons why misconceptions are made is because both sides have been convinced of a concept or "fact" earlier in life and have no desire to question it or change it even if they see a discrepancy in their belief. Misconceptions run rampant on both sides and a decent amount of them are unfair to make. For the misconceptions of the pro-gun side, some anti-gunners think that gun owners are uneducated, scared of the government, and are not concerned with gun violence. These assumptions are false and are only stereotypes. There is a wide spectrum of gun owners from all sorts of background and ethnicity. Owners being scared of the government or not afraid to use their gun is also false. People who buy guns simply own it for protection use or recreational shooting. Again, the reason for owning a gun is on a spectrum so it’s not only radical reasons.

On the other side, the pro-gun side believes that the anti-gun side wants to take away all guns from law abiding citizens, don’t know what the anti-gunners are talking about, and wants to rip up the second amendment because it’s “outdated”.

The first misconception is of course false. People who are in favor of more gun control are fine with people having rifles designed for hunting or a small pistol for self-defense. Anti-gunners just wants the federal government to stop any more production of modular rifles like tha AR-15 platform and implement a ban on the current ones in curculation. The saying that people who favor gun control don’t know what they’re talking is also false as people have different statistics and interpretation of things so it’s only a different way of thinking. For the assumption of anti-gunners believing the second amendment is outdated, the people I talked to who oppose guns all say it is. I assume this is the common mindset for people that are opposed to guns. The misconceptions of booths sides may be true to some people but not overall to the groups. Both are vile and nasty to say to each other, and to understand the arguments, one must move aside the misconceptions to move to a more clear understanding of the subject . When reading a book or an article, people will have different interpretations of what the message the author is trying to portray. The second amendment is no exception as both sides have their own meaning on what the 231 year old piece of paper means.

Starting on the pro-gun side, the Second Amendment like the rest of the Bill of Rights is an acknowledgement of the Declaration of Independence’s statement that the fundamental purpose of government is the defense of the rights of individuals - rights that existed before the founding of that government and that are independent of government for their existence. It is a promise that, if broken, renders that government illegitimate. The Second Amendment, explicitly, is an acknowledgement of the right to defend one’s own life - the right to the tools often necessary for that defense. For anti-gunners, most of them want the second amendment repealed or restricted. The reason for believing that is because they think the founding fathers only wrote the amendment for muskets back at that time era and never expected guns like the AK-47, AR-15 platforms or M16A4’s. These interpretations are great individual topics to debate about on both sides. Not only that, it gives us a deeper knowledge of understanding the mindset of both sides.

The culture gap needs to be closed in order to obtain a better understanding of a heated debate such as one about guns. The best thing to do is to ignore the misconceptions of both sides, understand the mindsets, and see both views of the Second Amendment. By doing this, we can form an opinion that can be based on a series of facts, not emotion.

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