Researcher Watches Gun Videos, Develops Empathy with Gun Owners

Researcher Watches Gun Videos, Develops Empathy with Gun Owners
Researcher Watches Gun Videos, Develops Empathy with Gun Owners

Arizona -(– A criminal justice researcher from New Jersey recently wrote an article that encouraged people who were reflexively for more restriction on gun ownership to explore the online gun culture.  She had done so. Her view of gun ownership and of legislation involving guns was transformed.


I also realized that despite being married to a gun owner, I knew very little about gun subculture, either in real life or online. But I could learn.

Guns, part of fabric of life

For all the noise around gun control versus gun rights, there was a story that was missed by non-gun owners like me: how much these guns mean to those who own them.

Delving into gun subculture online – which in some, though not all, ways reflects real-life gun subculture – can provide a perspective that may be, for non-gun owners, very different from their own.

Americans live in a time of political polarization on a variety of social issues, gun rights among them. Both gun control and gun rights supporters would benefit from understanding how those with opposing political and social views see their identity and their culture.

The Conversation is a publication with a decidedly population disarmament point of view. I was surprised they published Dr. Hasset-Walker’s article. The good doctor inserted a deft virus into the gun debate. She called for those in the reflexive anti-gun culture to educate themselves. She called for them to reach outside their comfort zone and consider the possibility that ownership of guns might have positive aspects.

People who have been in the gun culture for a while know the best way to convert someone from the other side is to take them shooting. It destroys their preconceptions.  It causes them to change their views. Many become full fledged Second Amendment supporters. This is because most people who hold anti-Second Amendment views have just absorbed the propaganda and views prevalent in the media driven culture. That culture does not allow for positive views of the gun culture. They have never challenged the assumptions they have been fed about guns.

People in the gun culture, however, are seldom converted to the other side. There views are nearly always held in opposition to the dominant culture in the media. They do not have to look up anti-gun videos on the Internets. They are constantly bombarded with them in the dominant media.

Education has a tremendous bias here. It is tremendously biased in favor of the gun culture. That is why anti-Second Amendment types work so hard to keep gun education out of the schools. It is why they work so hard to shut down debate. It is why they are committed to emotional slogans instead of facts.

There are many researchers who started out with the assumption that owning guns was a bad thing, and more restrictive laws should be passed. There are very few that started out supporting the Second Amendment who now support more controls.

The reason Second Amendment supporters are winning is simple. The facts, the logic, the Constitution, and human nature, are on the side of the Second Amendment.

Second Amendment supporters push for education. Anti-Second Amendment activists depend on indoctrination.

To those who wish for a disarmed population, who will insist that I am merely projecting, take Dr. Hasset-Walker’s challenge.

View a hundred gun culture videos on the Internets.  You fear you will be assimilated. Don’t worry. Education is good for you. Understanding the other side will, at a minimum, empower you. Knowledge is power.

I give you fair warning. Life is better after you have taken the red pill.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.