A Gun Safety Advocate’s (Imaginary) Conversation With Gun Rights Supporters

gunSo. Gun rights proponents. Are you psyched about your new spokesperson? Curtis Reeves is a hell of a guy. Retired cop, licensed to carry a concealed firearm, shot a guy in a movie theatre for texting during the previews. Killed him. Just pulled out a gun and killed him.

That’s not fair.

What do you mean? It’s totally fair. He’s just the kind of guy you all hold up as the right kind of gun owners. Law-enforcement trained, well-versed in spotting bad guys, a civilian fully equipped to protect other civilians. Isn’t that right?

Well, he was. But clearly his mental health deteriorated.


He made a mistake.

He fucking killed a father of a 3 year old.

Stop. He’s not like all gun owners. He was sick.

Yeah, he was sick and no one took note of his sickness and thought to remove guns from his possession. No one in his family stepped in, no one from the state was empowered to screen him for mental illness before issuing or reissuing a concealed carry permit. He was just allowed to carry a gun around all the time and then he used it to kill someone.

He’s an isolated case. 

Really? It’s unusual for legal gun owners to kill innocent people? Trayvon Martin would disagree. Renisha McBride would disagree. The 72 year old man with Alzheimer’s who was shot to death after he wandered into a neighbor’s yard would disagree. Or they would if they weren’t dead because people with guns appointed themselves cop, judge, jury, and executioner.

Most gun owners don’t kill anyone. 

You’re right. Most don’t. Explain to me, then, why own guns? And why carry them everywhere?

Because we might need to defend ourselves.

From whom?


Are there criminals everywhere you go?

I don’t know. There might be. I never know when I might have to stop a crime.

Or, you know, shoot a guy texting in a movie theatre.

Stop bringing that up! I would never shoot an innocent person.

I wouldn’t!

I don’t believe you.


I don’t believe you. I think you would shoot an innocent person. I think you are capable of overreacting to a situation, pulling your gun out and firing it. I think you are entirely capable of shooting an innocent person.

That’s not fair.

No? You’re armed. You have the ability to use lethal force at all times. What guarantee do I have that your judgement is flawless? How do I know you won’t shoot me or my kids or my husband? 

You need to have more trust than that.

No. I don’t.

You’re being judgmental.

No. I’m being smart. I am afraid of guns. I am afraid of what guns can do. Therefore, I am afraid of people carrying guns.

I’m sorry you feel that way.

I’m sorry that you’re willing to carry around a lethal weapon all the time.

It’s my right.

Tragically, that is true. But just because it’s a right doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

I guess we have to agree to disagree.

Yeah. But at least if I get angry at you, you can be sure I won’t shoot you.


Photo credit: iStock

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