I’m not a “gun guy” by any means. I don’t like them, and I find their presence an alarming undercurrent in American culture. They’re an obsession for large swaths of the population — and while I generally love obsession as a narrative device or as a personality trait, I’ll never get over the fact that guns are designed only as tools that kill things, that take life away from something that has it. I don’t like that at all.

That said, I spent time in 2014 with a former Baghdad-based security contractor named Stony Smith. He lives in Lakewood, Ohio, these days, and he took me to his shooting range in Lorain. We shot handguns on two occasions; he showed me all the basics and taught me about the history of each gun we fired. The one that I enjoyed the most was the CZ 75. That gun originated in the turbulent nationalization of the Czechoslovak arms economy. Stony reviewed the context of each handgun as he pulled them out of a massive bag, before letting me hold the thing and get comfortable with it and fire it down the range.

And I say enjoyed because we had a good time of it, after all. This was marksmanship education on a very rookie level. I was a good shot. (And now that I’m thinking about it, I should update this post later with photos of my first few targets. I impressed myself greatly.)

The point of writing this today is that a friend of Stony posted this piece on Facebook. The idea is that the more “liberal” gun control proponents — the anti-gun crowd, generally — would do well to talk with gun owners. Maybe even shoot a few with them. Learn the definitions behind the words that surround the gun control debate in the U.S.

I’d love to have a frank conversation about gun policy and violent crime in America. But first the other side has to learn the language. Or at least hire an interpreter.

You know before you hit “publish” that you don’t really know what you’re talking about, right? So why not reach out to someone who does?

The writer isn’t wrong. My perspective on guns grew more informed because of those interviews with Stony. And I could use a refresher conversation with guys like him. Because I’d like to see reform legislation, sure; I might even argue for a repeal of the Second Amendment and, like Michael Moore has proposed, passage of a 28th Amendment that addresses, e.g., automatic weapons, storage, fingerprint ID technology on triggers, etc.

But I’m probably more woefully uninformed on the subject than I’d like to admit. I don’t want to argue from an emotional standpoint anymore. And certainly not when the matter at hand involves guns, death, tragedy and certain inalienable rights.

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