Whenever we talk about firearms, there are various terms that are thrown around but people don't truly understand them. The most obvious ones are semi-automatic v. fully automatic and people calling every gun a "machine gun."
CBS News Correspondent Alex Wagner sat down with a group of female millennials to talk about an array of issues. One of the issues that came up was firearms and whether or not there's a need for gun control.
One of the most interesting exchanges occurred between two Republican women who disagreed:
"I think there should be a mental health check or something like that. I believe people should be able to protect themselves, their families, their homes but you don't need a semi-automatic weapon to protect yourself," stay-at-home mom and Republican voter Colette Foster told Wagner. "Maybe those should be banned."
Republican Brittney Christiansen laughed. And it was very obvious that she knew Foster had no idea what she was talking about.
"No," Christiansen said.
"Why?" Foster asked.
"The Second Amendment was put in place because of, um, protecting the citizens from a tyrannical government. So if the government has these guns we should have the guns," Christiansen explained.
Then, Wagner asked Columbine survivor Jami Amo her take on the situation.
"Guys, this is my issue. If you want the machine guns, then go for it. But please lock them up and please keep the ammunition separate," Amo said to the other women. "This goes back many times in my life. I was 15-years-old, I was a ninth grader at Columbine High School and I can tell you that it doesn't matter what color the criminal is and what kind of weapon we're worried about when the gun is five feet away and people that you know are being killed. You're kind of stop and think, 'Hey, Maybe there's something wrong with this. Maybe there's something we can do. But to say that we can't do anything to address the gun is...it's giving up. It's not going to help anyone.
The entire conversation that transpired between Foster and Christiansen is symbolic of a frustration that gun rights advocates continually find themselves in. Although Foster believes she's a Second Amendment supporter, saying that she thinks semi-automatic firearms should be banned actually harms our gun rights.
It's important for average Americans to understand the difference between a semi-automatic and a fully automatic firearm for one reason: gun controllers are doing everything in their power to move towards a full fledged gun ban. When even lax "gun supporters" don't know the difference they're actually working against us without even knowing. It's just like people assuming that "AR" stands for "assault rifle" and not Armalite.
The same rings true for terms like "machine gun." People see a black rifle and assume that it's instantly a machine gun. They assume that because it's long, black and scary looking that it must be a fully-automatic machine gun. They don't realize that the terminology has to do with how the gun functions, not how it looks.
People are likely to repeat the talking points that they're being spoon fed by anti-gunners. If they don't vet these so-called "facts" then they're not any better than those who are spreading misinformation.
Gun owners, we have a responsibility to educate people, even if we're not close with them. Education is the key. You know why? Because once we explain the simple difference between semi and fully-auto and that the majority of the guns on the market are semi-auto, it suddenly clicks for them. A semi-auto ban would essentially mean a ban on all guns. Period.