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Ginger Strand, the author of The Brothers Vonnegut, has a dangerous idea. She thinks liberals need to go out and buy a gun!
I'm both a committed liberal and a gun owner (the latter for over a decade now). I used to be afraid of them until I realized one day that my fear wasn't based on any kind of meaningful knowledge or personal experience. These days one of my biggest sources of frustration is discussing guns with my political contemporaries whose opinions are based entirely on deeply flawed misinformation.
While you might not be inclined to get a gun of your own, I encourage everyone who feels compelled to express strong opinions on the subject to find someone willing to take them to a shooting range for some first-hand knowledge. Even non-liberal gun owners tend to be very friendly people who foster intellectual curiosity on this subject and are happy to encourage you to learn new things. If you earnestly desire a real, constructive conversation with gun owners you absolutely owe it to yourself to step out of the echo chamber you've put up around your political views, and actually learn something new.
As a gun owner who grew up hunting in rural Idaho, and a vocal progressive, I personally have nothing wrong with guns. I still go out target shooting, and am perfectly comfortable handling both a .22lr and .223 AR-15. That being said, just because I own and have used guns most of my life, I do not think that my opinions on guns matter more than someone with no experience with guns.
If you follow that line of logic only rape survivors have valid arguments about combating rape because they have experienced it. The simple fact is gun violence is not a problem that occurs in a vacuum and only affects the person perpetrating the violence. Even suicide does not affect only one person, it's a tragedy for fiends and family as well as the individual. The very nature of gun violence, or at least the kind everyone worries about, doesn't give the victim a choice. The person using the gun isn't stopping and asking their target what their views on getting shot are. While I think learning to shoot may help facilitate the conversation, we have to reject this false argument that only gun owners have something valid to say about gun control. Gun violence is not a victimless crime and can affect anyone, at any time, regardless of whether they own a gun or not.
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