Talking to the people in office today will not make them change their stance on gun laws in America. The solution is simple – if you want to change gun laws you have to change elected officials.
When I joined the Georgia General Assembly it frustrated me that many of my democratic colleagues who had served for several terms seemed like they had given up on so many issues. It annoyed me they literally sat down and said “it aint going to change.” I looked up at the impenetrable mountains we call political issues and still tried to find ways to get around them, over them, under them, or through them. I at least wanted to discuss the possibilities. I watched as my colleagues sat with their back to the mountain defeated unwilling to even talk about potential solutions. I rolled my eyes. Why did they not even try? Why were they so easily apathetic about the issues?
Then….I watched the 2013 gun debate over open carry in Georgia. I knew open carry did not mean open carry for everyone which was my biggest problem with the legislation. However, the staunch, “never compromise” position that the gun supporters had was shocking and kind of scary. Their fight was seething and deeply rooted. It was the exact opposite of that of my colleagues who would not even face the mountain that had defeated them time and again.
I engaged the people I once referred to as “gun nuts.” I went to a local gun range with them. I shot an AR-15 with them. I discussed the gun show loophole and tried to understand where they were from. I went to a gun show with my husband and walked around. I talked. I met. I debated. I sought to understand an experience unlike my own. I don’t agree with the experience, but I won’t call the all gun nuts anymore.
In my head these hunter, gun enthusiast types have a weird blood lust I still cannot understand. I try to rationalize that they are the descendants of the original colonizers who had to rape, pillage and kill the natives to take over countries including America. It took a callous heart to invade other countries and steal people to put them to work to build the country. They won those battles not because of their superior intelligence but because of their lack of humanity and … their guns. That type of cruelty is within a person’s DNA.
Generations later, their decedents still carry with them the strength and power of a firearm and the fear of the karma that could be released on them at any time due to the blood on the hands of their great great great great grandfathers. All that to say this love for guns is so deeply ingrained in their blood that no amount of discussion will change their hearts. The heart pumps the blood filled with the fear that makes them cling to their guns. These people, who one on one are regular, good, people. But they have within them something that words can not change.
Today, as I watch the passion of those against the gun debate I see myself … sitting with my back to that mountain. I now have the same annoying defeatist attitude about the gun issue. Not because I don’t care but because there is no grey area in the gun debate. Primarily because those who support more guns, arming teachers (hard eye roll), the good guy with a gun mentality CAN NOT BE CHANGED. It does not matter if 1,000 kids are killed with gun. Doesn’t matter if 100,000 kids are killed with a gun THEY ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE THIER POSITION. Now unborn babies being aborted – that moves them into protest.
Most issues in legislative bodies are passed with a unanimous vote on both sides of the debate. Some issues even with a little debate can move people. The gun debate has zero give and take. People fall on one side or the other. If someone is in the grey area they don’t say it. They pick a side and stick with it. As I watch America again get upset at the issue – I sit with little words with my back to the mountain of the gun debate. I have little words because like my colleagues – I do not think there will be any change in the current climate. The fight feels like it would be a waste of energy, just like trying to climb that impenetrable mountain.
I have not given up all hope. My hope is that we can encourage people to run for office so the majority can be changed and we can roll back those open gun laws. We are not going to change the minds of those already there. We can shame them. We can talk about them taking donations from the NRA. We can hold townhall meetings. But they are not going to change their minds. That is an impenetrable mountain.
What we need right now are people who want to “be the change” and will stand up! People willing to take time off of work to knock on doors. People willing to beg their friends and family for money so they can fight against NRA funded candidates. People willing to go into the General Assembly and go over, around, and through those mountains. People who can’t be defeated.
How not to sit with your back to the mountain in this gun fight!
Donate to a legislative candidate who is in a winnable district that can help turn our Georgia House and Senate!
Get educated about the voting history of your legislator to be sure they have not only voted against gun measures BUT THEY WERE PRESENT FOR THE FIGHT.
If you have a legislator that supports ridiculous gun laws – talk to them. Don’t stop talking to them. They have to know that they have more people who will vote against them for supporting guns than will vote for them. Right now the gun supporting voters are speaking louder and more often.