Views on Gun Laws - Where Can We Agree? - December, 2018
by Marty Poehler
In early 2018 a “social experiment” took place. Sponsored by Time Magazine, 21 people in America with vastly different experiences and attitudes towards guns were put together for a two-day session in Washington DC. Another 130 then joined the conversation on Facebook. The people involved included ones who felt they wanted guns to protect themselves, and others who had been assaulted by guns. The goal was to see if humane, civil communication between people with widely different views was possible and beneficial.
One of the participants was Alexis, a financial planner who had grown up in New York in a house where showing emotion was a sign of weakness. She felt like liberals and gun control advocates were dumb idiot morons and called them that to their face. Others like Dan, a gun enthusiast from Louisiana knew just about everything there was to know about guns, and was glad to let others in the group know what he knew. Others had been threatened, mugged, or raped at gunpoint. Moderators helped the group members ask the others questions that weren’t judgmental or accusing, and encouraged them to have open minds and listen.
As the experiment continued, one conversation stood out. A woman from urban Pennsylvania who felt there should be stronger gun laws and who couldn’t understand why people needed guns, spoke with a man living in a rural area in New York. He explained how he and his wife lived at the end of a long driveway far from other homes. Police response time was slow. He and his wife agreed she’d keep a hand gun close at hand when her husband wasn’t at home. The lady from the urban area understood why this couple would choose to have a gun. It was a moment where she understood for the first time the viewpoint of gun owners.
At the conclusion of the experiment, though minds weren’t necessarily changed about guns, in many cases some understanding and a civil attitude had come about for those with opposing views.
This article in christianbusinessinternational.com is the first in a series on gun laws in American. We believe when people with differing voices on gun laws talk to and listen to each other, there is common ground that can be embraced for the good of the whole population. These articles will look at the strongly held beliefs on the differing sides, and will show that there are many specific areas of agreement on how gun laws can be changed for the better, so that fewer people will die from guns – an outcome we all yearn for.