America is in the middle of a gun crisis.
No, the crisis isn’t that there are too many guns in the hands of legal firearm owners. It’s that too many Americans fail to understand guns or the Second Amendment.
Last week, over 200,000 activists at the Washington, D.C. March For Our Lives demanded that the government take away their constitutional rights.
Now, before liberals get ahead of themselves, even The Washington Post acknowledged only 10 percent of the crowd were actually teenagers.
Even so, young people–who are repeatedly being hit by anti-gun messaging at school and in the media–lean toward restricting Second Amendment rights.
According to a SurveyMonkey poll, teenagers are eight points more likely than adults to prioritize gun control over mental health in addressing school shootings.
The same poll said teens are 10 points more likely to believe having a gun at home makes it more dangerous, and 7 times likelier to hold an unfavorable view of the NRA.
Sure, we can assume many of these kids will come over to the right side after growing up and getting some life experience. But is it good strategy to bank on personal epiphanies that may never come?
Adults in the ’50s must have figured their kids would eventually “grow up” and dismiss the notion of legalizing abortion.
Likewise, parents a few decades ago probably didn’t imagine their children would actually go through with making gay marriage a reality. It was just a phase they were supposed to grow out of.
Do we want the Second Amendment to go the way of other lost political battles?
Democrats are counting on today’s students being the generation that will drive a sword through Americans’ right to bear arms.
Voter registration is notably present at these #Enough rallies. CNN reports that March For Our Lives got Democrats a few thousand more voters last weekend alone.
Now, what’s a few thousand? A drop in the bucket today. But, as usual, Democrats are playing the long-term game. Conservatives need to play it, too–or inevitably get left behind.
The hard truth is even the most eloquent, fact-supported arguments against gun control won’t persuade the vast majority of the teens walking out of classrooms in protest. Logic can only do so much against a lifetime of indoctrination.
People don’t generally form their views based on rational arguments, but by feelings and experiences.
A kid whose only experience with firearms is reading about school shootings and hearing about scary “military grade assault weapons” will see guns as inherently evil no matter what evidence to the contrary he’s presented with.
By the same token, a kid who spent his childhood bonding with mom and dad at the shooting range and on hunting trips will likely stand firm in defending the Second Amendment even in the face of the entire gun control lobby.
The best place to start defending the right to bear arms is at home, by fostering a culture of responsible gun ownership.
Teach your kids how to properly use, store, and care for firearms. Give them opportunities to practice their marksmanship. Have talks about the practical uses of guns.
Doing so will help them see that owning guns isn’t just for kooky conspiracy theorists; it’s something regular folks do.
As Second Amendment supporters, we also need to convey that same message to those we’re in a position to influence. Take your friends or that youth group you lead hunting, or introduce them to clay pigeon shooting.
There are inroads to be made with demographics that currently tow the Democratic party line. In the era of #MeToo, many women might see the value of being able to defend themselves against sexual assault.
And when violent crime is still an issue in minority neighborhoods, having a gun at home remains as relevant a home defense solution as ever.
If you’re going to let your kids walk out of class, let them walk into the gun range. You’ll be doing them–and America–a favor.