One of the most effective ways to change gun culture is to talk to your friends and loved ones about your decision not to use guns. But we get it – starting a conversation about guns and gun violence can be intimidating, especially for teens. Use these five tips to get the conversation flowing and help it stay productive and positive.
You’ve decided to talk with a loved one about how guns make us less safe because you care about them and want them to be safe. As you start your conversation, remind them of that fact. You want to talk about the risks that come with having a gun because you want the people you care about to be safe.
To change someone’s mind on getting a gun, you first need to understand where they’re coming from. Ask your loved one how they feel about getting a gun and really try to learn what’s motivating them.
Once you understand why someone may want a gun, you can know which facts may be most important to share. For example, your friend may tell you that they feel unsafe walking to school. In that case, you could share how studies have shown that having a gun in a self defense situation makes it more likely, not less likely, that someone will be injured or killed. If someone is worried about break-ins at home, you may want to remind them that break-ins are rare and it’s much more likely that a gun will be used to harm someone living in the house, rather than to protect them. Check out our facts page and tailor what you share to what you’ve learned about your conversation partner’s interest in guns.
You’re likely talking to someone who respects your views and is interested in hearing about them. Assuming that’s the case, share what worries you about having guns around and what makes you want to steer clear of them. Your reasoning for not wanting a gun may help inspire someone else to make a similar decision.
Studies have shown that teens are very open to learning more about gun risks and shifting their views on wanting a gun, but even though the facts are clear, not everyone is open to changing their views. If you feel like you’re having a conversation with someone who isn’t interested in hearing you, you don’t need to keep having that conversation. Change subjects or take a breather to prioritize your emotional well-being.
A simple way to spread the message that we’re safer without guns is to share the facts via your own social media. Download graphics you can use below and ask your community to visit our facts page for more information.
To turn the page on gun violence, we must tell a different story about guns. With your help, we can grow our work and save lives.