You do not have to engage most Republicans in a conversation very long before the real reason for their opposition to gun control becomes obvious. Your conversation with a Republican about gun control may begin with him offering the old bromide that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” He will offer spirited support for the 2nd Amendment “ as a sacred American right. Keep on pressing him to explain his position. Say, “I’m not arguing with the right of Americans to own guns for personal self-defense or for hunting or sport. But, why would any of those uses require a person to own an assault rifle or high capacity clip or armor-piercing bullets?” Listen carefully to how your Republican friend answers this question. His response will peal back all of the high-sounding philosophy to reveal his true reason for being a gun advocate.
Ultimately, your friend will justify gun ownership as the last best hope of a free people to defend themselves against tyranny. You will discover that the real reason your Republican friend supports gun ownership, including ownership of the most dangerous weapons like assault rifles, is that he is terrified of government, particularly the federal government. He doesn’t want to own an assault rifle to defend himself from some robber or deranged person with a weapon. He doesn’t want or need an assault rifle for hunting or sport. Your Republican friend wants to own an assault rifle to defend himself against the police and military. Deep down, your Republican friend has become so alienated from all government, the federal government in particular, that he believes his only option and that of like-minded patriots is armed rebellion. Your Republican friend believes that the federal government in particular will soon be taken over by socialists, communists, facists or some other foreign ‘ism’ and maybe already has been. Your Republican opposes gun control because he is preparing for a civil war. He is stockpiling weapons for the fight.
A substantial number of Americans, mostly Republicans, are paranoid when it comes to their own government and are actually engaged in preparation for civil war. I don’t know about you but I find that idea very disturbing.