It's not the gun laws, it's the salesmanship

A question that comes up a lot after every mass shooting is "Why does this only happen in America?" To many of us, the answer is obvious: because of how easy is is to buy a gun here. Then the solution is also obvious: make it hard to buy guns. It has worked in other countries. It has worked in California. It's tried and tested. It will work everywhere else too.

The real question is: why don't people want gun control laws?

It can't be the reasons they give. Because those are completely illogical.

E.g. the more clever of them say things like "Cars kill people too. Should we also ban cars then?" We reply something like: "No. Because you can't take a car inside an elementary school and use it to kill children. It's an extremely inefficient killing device. Cars were made for a completely different purpose. People do die by cars, but those are accidents, tragedies. Guns, on the other hand, were made for one purpose: to kill."

Some others make the argument of rights and freedom, because historically people used to bear arm to protect themselves against the tyranny of the government. This argument is also deeply flawed. Because we are not in 1776 anymore. Just look at the kind of weapons and technology the US army has. If the government wanted to use brute force to control people, no number of rifles could stand a chance.

Anyway, we could spend all day debunking their arguments -- in fact, many of us do, and that itself is a problem, but more on that later. For now, let's get back to our question of why don't people want to ban gun ownership, despite the evidence?

These people have been sold on an idea, and fed senseless arguments. At some point, this idea was presented in front of you and me as well. But we didn't buy it. Fortunately, we were able to see the flaws in these arguments. Unfortunately, many people couldn't. And they ended up buying into the idea. We need to realize that these people are actually victims. And they need our help.

Have you ever succumbed to buying a product solely because the salesperson was very persuasive and pressurizing? Perhaps he/she even came off as a genuine well-wisher (and not at all concerned about making a sale, no sir). This is exactly what is happening here.

Gun manufacturers, the NRA, lobbyists (basically anyone who profits from gun sales) are the ones selling the idea that gun ownership is a basic human right, the true essence of freedom. And boy are they good salespeople. They have successfully convinced about half the country. And they relentlessly continue this effort, spending tons of money each year on this propaganda. It's hard to blame them, because for them it's just business. Every business has a marketing team and this is theirs. It's also hard to blame the people who get conned into buying this idea.

Now here is the really hard pill to swallow: you and me are as much at fault for their beliefs as they are. Because just look at the way we treat them. We call them names, berate them, insult their intelligence, yell at them as if they personally pulled the trigger on that rifle. How is any of this going to help?

We need more empathy. Remember these people got convinced by sales tactics, not by the product. They don't even have the ability to evaluate the the product. Or in other words, they don't have the ability to discern the soundness of an argument. Yet all we do is reason with them. When will we realize that no amount of reasoning or logic or rationality will work? It is time to try a more emotional approach. Be empathetic. Listen. Understand. Don't get distracted by debunking opportunities.