Gun owners are talking about gun control. Stop and listen

Pump the brakes, progressives, and listen. Thanks to those activist kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, t...

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2018 6:06 PM

Pump the brakes, progressives, and listen. Thanks to those activist kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the national conversation surrounding guns is evolving -- and it's evolving in a serious way. Some gun owners are already taking action.

If you are someone who is passionately fighting for gun control on social media or with your feet, keep it up. I'm not suggesting you take yourselves out of your activist role, I'm saying maybe, just maybe, it's time to listen, too. Really listen.

As conservative talker and former Trump campaign manager, John Fredericks told me, "We cannot have the debate in the (Michael) Bloomberg fashion." In other words, conservatives don't want to preached to by liberals or independents on gun control.

Instead, he says the onus is on gun owners -- like himself -- to have a legitimate conversation about what can be done to curtail gun violence.

Fredericks is not the only gun owner who believes it's time. Rick Peters, who owns a group of radio stations in Montgomery, Alabama, is all in.

"We are at a tipping point," he told me. "The argument seems to be that we need these assault weapons to protect ourselves -- which is frankly, nonsense."

Peters owns an AR-15 and plans to get rid of the weapon. "This is a silly discussion," he says. "Nobody needs an assault weapon."

He also owns a shotgun and a handgun and is now in favor of an assault-weapon ban.

"This is not about a gun grab, this is not about not supporting the Second Amendment," he says. "This is about what kind of gun do you have [a] right to own."

Other gun owners disagree with Peters on that, but they, too, are willing to talk about gun control. Jason Cazes owns a gun store in Seattle, Washington. "I don't think either side trusts each other," Cazes told me. "All we have heard is there's going to be a common-sense solution, but all that leads to is, 'We want to take away your ARs and high-cap mags.'"

That doesn't mean Cazes is opposed to common-sense solutions. In fact, he's not waiting for the left or the right to have a come-to-Jesus moment. He is taking matters into his own hands and changing the rules when it comes to buying guns in his store.

"I changed policy yesterday," he said. "To buy a long gun, including an AR, you have to be 21 years old, unless... you're active duty or honorably discharged military. You would be exempted because you have been through boot camp and know how to be a man and use this gun."

I have talked with other gun owners, even members of the National Rifle Association, who also want change. But the preaching, on both sides of the gun issue, must stop.

So, talk. Do not villainize.

I trust that every American cares about our children. As Fredericks told me, "I am a father of three, I am a pro-Second Amendment. I was chairman of the Trump campaign in Virginia. But you know ... those who believe in the sanctity of the Second Amendment have to be able to have a legitimate conversation about this issue."

Many gun-rights advocates are having that conversation. So, gun-control activists, keep protesting -- keep pushing for change -- but don't forget to stop every now and again to listen. Because the conversation is, at the very least, progressing -- on both sides.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32888

Reported Deaths: 1188
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds259141
DeSoto172418
Madison132635
Jones114049
Neshoba100473
Rankin98213
Harrison96911
Lauderdale92280
Forrest91643
Scott77915
Jackson68917
Copiah62015
Washington61710
Leake58919
Lee56220
Holmes56041
Oktibbeha55227
Wayne54515
Warren53218
Yazoo5236
Lowndes50913
Grenada5067
Leflore50053
Lamar4917
Lincoln48434
Pike45416
Monroe42534
Sunflower4208
Lafayette4094
Covington3755
Attala36523
Panola3646
Bolivar35618
Newton3479
Simpson3453
Adams31518
Tate31011
Pontotoc3046
Marion30012
Chickasaw28719
Claiborne28410
Winston2808
Noxubee2728
Jasper2676
Pearl River26532
Marshall2583
Clay24911
Smith22911
Union21810
Clarke21025
Coahoma2056
Walthall2056
Lawrence1872
Yalobusha1807
Kemper17914
Carroll16811
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1454
Calhoun1414
Montgomery1392
Tippah13811
Itawamba1378
Hancock13413
Webster12711
Jefferson Davis1134
Tunica1133
Jefferson1103
Prentiss1103
Greene1059
Amite1043
Wilkinson939
George913
Tishomingo891
Quitman811
Choctaw754
Alcorn742
Perry724
Stone692
Franklin452
Benton420
Sharkey370
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46424

Reported Deaths: 1032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5486155
Montgomery4246105
Mobile4219136
Tuscaloosa234644
Marshall177011
Madison15548
Lee143337
Shelby135724
Morgan11285
Walker98525
Baldwin9809
Elmore96215
Dallas9109
Franklin90216
Etowah79013
DeKalb7615
Chambers64327
Autauga63612
Butler63228
Tallapoosa60469
Russell5680
Unassigned52226
Limestone5181
Houston5106
Lauderdale5016
Lowndes47821
Cullman4705
Pike4525
Colbert4266
St. Clair4162
Escambia4118
Calhoun3875
Coffee3863
Covington3727
Bullock36810
Barbour3572
Talladega3237
Marengo31711
Hale31521
Dale3020
Jackson3022
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Clarke2836
Winston2663
Chilton2622
Blount2511
Monroe2412
Pickens2386
Marion23613
Conecuh2177
Randolph2169
Macon1999
Choctaw19712
Bibb1961
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1187
Lawrence1090
Cherokee1037
Geneva840
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne391
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