I started this piece with the plan of writing about the guns people love and ways to enjoy them. As I tried to frame up an introduction, I remembered an encounter with a young father that led me to think about a bigger and more important topic: how to treat people who don’t love guns and how to convince those people to be gun-lovers.
The encounter I speak of was at a high school reunion, and we were talking about guns with one of my husband’s friends who was a new dad. He mentioned that his wife won’t allow guns in the house. I (along with several glasses of wine) replied, “I’m sorry.”
Apparently, he heard judgment in my voice. To be honest, there was, because I don’t understand why anyone could marry someone, committing to a lifetime together, who doesn’t want guns around. That’s insane.
His reply was that he loves his wife, and he fell in love with her—not a set of ideas she was raised with or a viewpoint her family and those around her had shaped. He was willing to give up something he enjoyed for someone he loved. So, that made me think: How many guys find someone with whom they click, someone who is the yin to their yang and would do anything for them? It’s romantic. It’s selfless.
And, it’s a little stupid and naïve. I don’t mean that sarcastically or judgmentally, but I can’t give up my rights and freedom. If my right of free speech offended the man I love, I don’t think I could give that up. If I saw an injustice and thought that by speaking out it would make my life and the lives of others better, even if the man I love thought it wasn’t my job to speak freely, I couldn’t give up that right—even if it did rock the boat or offend someone.
“It’s worth the time and investment to come to an understanding about guns, as well as about your other beliefs regarding our freedoms and rights.”
Don’t give up your freedoms because it might offend someone—including someone with whom you are considering a committed relationship.
There are other freedoms aside from guns and speech that require us to stand our ground, such as our freedom to go about our lives as we see fit, to travel, worship, petition and question information. All those involve personal responsibility, just as guns do.
We have all heard that relationship advice about not trying to change a person, but maybe, this is one place to make an exception. It’s their right to have their own set of beliefs, but it’s something that should be talked about, and challenged, including the presuppositions those beliefs are based on. So, if Cupid has struck you with an arrow that’s got your heart tied up with someone who says “no” to guns, think about what you can do to share the “why” of what you love about guns.
And if that ship has sailed, if there’s no way to try to address the “why,” then discuss the “how.”
Even if your loved one disapproves of guns, you should still teach your kids to be responsible and safe with firearms. This will shape them into people who ask questions. Questioning our own beliefs is something we should do. Learning to play “devil’s advocate” is something taught in debate, and it’s a legitimate way to teach someone how to persuade others to see their views.
Our beliefs are generally shaped by our experiences, what we see and what we’ve been shown; this is what shapes our perceptions. Changing your loved one’s perceptions is one way to not necessarily change them, but to change the lens through which they see life and everything in it—guns included. It changes their baseline.
Giving a person a different baseline from which they can view things can change the way a person thinks, which can then effect a change in their beliefs. If we let our families see things through the lens of facts and history—peeling away the negative misconceptions they’ve been taught about guns—maybe they can look at guns as tools and possibly form new opinions.
“Changing your loved one’s perceptions is one way… to change the lens through which they see life and everything in it…”
It’s worth the time and investment to come to an understanding about guns, as well as about your other beliefs regarding our freedoms and rights. Marriage is a lifetime commitment, and the lives you bring into this world together are your future; our future.
Author Becky Yackley competes in action shooting (3 Gun, USPSA, Bianchi and IPSC) with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t shooting matches or writing, she is busy with her camera. Becky is the founder of the 2A Heritage Junior shooting camps and works in social media for several firearms industry companies.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.