Learn to Think like Someone who Chose to be Unarmed

Three years ago, this correspondent wrote an essay on how to understand people who want a disarmed population. It was popular, but did not appear on AmmoLand.

I have updated the essay for current conditions.

There is an easy way to understand people who wish you to be unarmed.

It takes a little discipline. You may have  a little mental discomfort. It is not particularly difficult.  For the ability to understand the other, assume you have deliberately chosen to be unarmed.

Choosing to be armed is more difficult. It requires action. It requires training. It requires an investment in money and time. You think about unpleasant realities and plan for unpleasant possibilities. You devote time and money to be armed. A higher level of responsibility is required.

Once you internalize the decision to be unarmed, arguments on the other side become understandable. The voluntarily unarmed people we are attempting to understand are those who have moved from the decision to be unarmed, to the policy statement “guns are bad”.

Armed people have a power advantage over unarmed people. People do not want others to have a power advantage over them. It makes them uncomfortable. To prevent this, the voluntarily unarmed often want everyone else to be unarmed.


If you choose to be unarmed, you easily accept news that validates your choice. If authority figures tell you your decision to be unarmed makes you safer and more virtuous, you want to accept that as true.

If a politician proposes restrictions on gun owners and gun buyers, you appreciate their efforts. You do not own a gun. You do not intend to own a gun. Such proposals cost you nothing. The costs are born by other people, people who made a different choice. Armed people.

Restrictions on armed people appear to be positive, because you believe fewer guns means you will be less likely to have a personal conflict with an armed person.  You are unconcerned with whether the proposed restriction is stupid, draconian, ineffective, or unjust. To a deliberately unarmed person, the cost is zero. Any reduction in the number of guns is seen as a reduction of risk to you.

One of the costs you avoid by choosing to be unarmed is any necessity to learn about firearms, firearms technology, and the dynamics of armed conflict. When people who are knowledgeable point out technical mistakes in proposed legislation, discussion, or articles, it strikes you as meaningless babble. Semi-automatic, automatic, who cares? You are not interested in guns, so the technical distinctions seem unimportant.

Remember, you have voluntarily decided to be unarmed. If you admit arms are effective in preventing crime, or might be necessary for any defense, you might need to re-evaluate your assumptions.  Re-evaluating assumptions about reality is painful for most people.


Deciding to be unarmed depends on a perceived high cost to be armed, and a perceived low cost to being unarmed.

Many people who once were voluntarily unarmed have been persuaded and see the advantages of being armed.

There are several effective methods to persuade the undecided and voluntarily unarmed. The methods show the benefits of being armed for the individual and society, and the costs of being unarmed. They work on both emotional and logical levels.

Source: Learn to Think like Someone who Chose to be Unarmed