Obviously most of us on this site, both readers and writers are already predisposed to an affinity for things related to firearms. As such we generally use the correct terminology (and enjoy ribbing each other for misuse: muzzle break/brake anyone?). And we also live in our own little microcosm.
Keeping this out of the political bashing realm, who here has noticed a distinct lack of even base knowledge, where firearms are related, what with all of the current events. [*Tom raises his hand*]
I have seen more poor information being promulgated in the past two weeks on everything from the nightly news to social media to discussions with my inner monkey sphere (google it for an entertaining, though NSFW, read). Some of the misinformation is conceptual and some is purely technical.
I’m sure nearly everyone here has seen the “bullet button” interview on the web at this point, where information was so grossly wrong that I literally saw someone shout at the screen with waving hands (okay maybe it was me). We have people thinking that “automatic” weapons are widely available to John Q. Public, or that you can buy guns on some sort of Amazon and bypass NICS (though apparently my late, and uber awesome, Father-in-law ordered a surplussed 1911 for somewhere around $10 back in the early 60’s, which was delivered to him via the post office, smothered in cosmoline). And, of course, we cannot ignore our own internal clip versus magazine debate (which is my own personal trigger point).
I would argue that some degree of the fear in the “gun control” crowd (and even public at large) is due largely to ignorance related to poor education about the relatively simple mechanical devices we know as guns. No matter how much crap you hang from your picatinny rails, your rifle is not suddenly more lethal. A “bullet button” does not convert a semi-auto into fully automatic.
So what can we do as lovers of firearms, and of this industry? I see more finger pointing and disparaging comments (and reposting of “OMG” posts on social media; which even I have fallen into) going on than really anything productive. Can we as a body of supporters help to better educate people in a non-combative or insulting manner? Can we take the mystery out of guns to those that have not been exposed to them? Is it even possible at this point to have a rational and informative discussion with our neighbors and family and friends? Would better general education help the discussion? Ultimately how do we put some water on this fire and decrease the polarization?
As an aside, how do you readers that are not in the United States carry on discussions regarding firearms with your friends and family? I’d be interested to hear if you encounter the same challenges and issues.