I created the Gun Discussion for one purpose: “Reasoned discussion of gun laws and gun culture.”
One of the things I emphasize to the more than 6,000 members of the group is there are no litmus tests for membership and that it’s not a place for the broad brush.
A person can be a Democrat, a liberal, or a progressive and like guns. That person can even oppose gun control while favoring women’s rights, recognition of same-sex marriages, and immigration.
Conversely, a person can be Republican, conservative, or reactionary and not like guns. They can favor strict regulation of firearms, even bans, while they oppose abortion, take a traditional view of marriage, and can’t wait for President Trump to build that wall.
In my space, all that matters is guns. I am fairly consistent in my feelings on the subject and my answers on Quora show that. I frequently receive comments that disagree with me and sometimes that exchange can be spirited.
However, it can also be educational. I can learn from both the left and the right because, depending on the particular issue, I am on the left or the right.
For that reason, when I started seeing the positions or parties or candidates being used to identify all people with a particular party affiliation or position on the political spectrum, I posted the following message to the members of the Gun Discussion:
“I used to be a Democrat. I agreed with them on many issues and still agree with them on some. These days, when they hit me up for money, I tell them I am no longer a member. If they ask why, I tell them it’s their fault; I am no longer welcome in the Democratic Party. I can’t support a party that tries to demonize me. This does not prevent me from supporting an individual candidate for a particular office.
“However, I am not a Republican, either. Just as with the Democratic Party, I agree with the GOP on some issues and disagree with it on others. As is true of some Democrats, I also support some individual candidates. In fact, I recently did some work for one.
“So what does that make me? I’d like to think it makes me an informed American who cares more about his country than somebody else’s partisan politics.
“In this group, I don’t care about party labels. I don’t care whether you like Donald Trump or think Hillary Clinton would have made a better President.
“If a person can make a rational case for gun control measures, they are welcome here. The last thing in the world that any of us need is another echo chamber. If a person can make a rational case for ditching every gun control law on the books, they are welcome, as well.
“If someone wants to avoid the divisive issues, they might make a case for .22 as a legitimate self-defense caliber; somebody else might think the Magnum Research BFR in .45–70 is the minimum that should be considered.
“I want to see us challenge views. I want to see us stake our claims and our positions, but only on this one issue.
“I am fully aware this may be difficult. Certain factions have made their positions a litmus test; even a loyalty test.
“If there is one side of which I am a proud member, it is the side of liberty — individual liberty.
“The United States was never intended to be an exercise in group-think. It was always intended to be a grand experiment to see whether widely disparate viewpoints and ambitions could work together to create a strong nation. Dissent is part of our culture and heritage; honest debate is our nation’s life’s blood.
“We live in a constant state of civil war; the goal is to keep it civil, to work out our differences before it’s time to pound those plowshares back into swords.
“To my mind, this is the spirit of The Gun Discussion. Speak your minds freely but speak to positions, not partisanship.”
I think this is where we have to go. We may not choose to hear them, but the forges are burning hot and the anvils are just waiting. If you don’t believe me, look at the chart below.
Note: This is not a promotion for Quora or for my space on Quora. This is simply me sharing some thoughts I shared with the members of my group.