English Prof. in IA Stops Stereotyping Gun Owners After Talking to… Gun Owners


Drake University professor Carol Spaulding-Kruse openly admits she doesn’t like guns. It’s not that she’s indifferent about firearms or just doesn’t care for them, Ms. Spaulding-Kruse in her own words claims “I really don’t like guns.” This English professor dislikes guns and gun owners so much that just the act of picking up the phone and calling a shooting instructor made her heart pound.

In a May 6th, 2016 Op/Ed printed in the Des Moines Register, Ms. Spaulding-Kruse makes her disdain for guns very clear. She also admits to something the majority of our members and followers are well aware of. Ms. Spaulding-Kruse, an anti-gun English professor from Drake University, owns up to the fact that she stereotypes gun owners. She doesn’t go into detail of what her gun owner stereotype consists of, but we know from experience that gun control advocates work hard to portray gun owners as uneducated, abusive, and racist Caucasians who are liable to snap at any moment.

Admitting to the fact that she stereotypes gun owners is a rare thing, but Ms. Spaulding-Kruse goes one step further. As part of her classwork the professor has Drake freshman engage in dialog on a controversial issues. To her credit Ms. Spaulding-Kruse nervously called up a firearms instructor to learn more about gun ownership, shooting, and Second Amendment issues. What is not surprising (for us, at least) is that she was treated with extreme kindness.

The professor writes this about what she discovered, “The woman on the other end of the line turned out to be so helpful I brought my entire class out to the Butch Olafson Shooting Range in Polk City, where she and her husband gave us a lesson (my very first) in shooting 9-mm and 22-mm handguns. A few days later, the couple came to campus to share their views on firearms and gun safety with us.”

To any anti-gun folks reading this (yes, we know you read this), despite what you may have read on your favorite #GunSense or #MomsDemandAction social media hashtag de jour, these types of pleasant and friendly firearms enthusiasts do indeed exist. In fact the overwhelming majority of gun owners a fine upstanding individuals, all you have to do is drop your prejudices and give them a chance to show you.

Even though this English professor still claims to not like guns, even after learning the basics of shooting, she does admit that she no longer stereotypes gun owners. Not ideal, but it is progress. And it’s something we hear of often. If people are willing to be open-minded and try shooting or even just talking to gun owners they often walk away with a vastly different take on the Second Amendment and those of us who believe so strongly in it.

To that end, we as gun owners need to do our part to win over anyone willing to hear us out. That means being open and friendly to those who may not necessarily share our exact views on freedom, gun ownership and self-defense.

It’s easy to fall into a “MOLON LABE!” or “FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!” mindset, especially on social media. And while it’s important that we maintain and defend our values we must also find ways to welcome new and curious individuals to our cause. Taking someone shooting for the first time, or even just talking about our right to keep and bear arms are incredible ways to grow our ranks. Converting open-minded people to our point of view is how we insure that we’ll continue to enjoy our God-given right to keep and bear arms well into the future. This happens one person at a time, and one conversation at a time. But before that process can begin those non-gun owners have to feel comfortable approaching us. And more often than not that process begins by being open and approachable.

Major kudos to the instructor at the Butch Olafson Range who took that phone call from a very nervous English professor. And kudos to Ms. Spaulding-Kruse for owning up to and overcoming your fear, as well as moving past your preconceived stereotype of gun owners. You still may not like guns, but if you ever want to go shooting again look us up. We’re happy to continue your education on shooting sports and gun ownership.

Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, Second Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Permit to Carry process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance Second Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on Second Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation. 

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  1. Tim says:

    I’m curious as to what a 22mm is in your editorial because that would equate to an approximately .70 caliber firearm (ouch). As to education, demand the public education system start teaching the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. Perhaps they could also discuss the Federalist Papers as well.

  2. John Adams says:

    Don’t exactly agree with your premise as to “educating” the anti-gun agenda. While I’ll engage anyone about “guns” anytime they want to talk, converting over the hard-core anti-gun crowd is probably a waste of time. IF they had an understanding of our Constitution, Bill of Rights and other documents that lay out our history it wouldn’t be a problem in the first place. With the liberals controlling the media, schools, colleges, it isn’t a surprise that we have a large portion of our society who has been indoctrinated to the anti-gun side of things.

    What you had before was a uneducated Professor who hates guns! Now you have an educated Professor who STILL HATES GUNS! Really? I’ll stay with “From My Cold Dead Hands” and thank you!

    • Uncle Tom says:

      John, from the way it reads to me, I would think most of your time spent is probably just a waste. In a way, you don’t seem much different than the English professor. Just reverse polarity.

  3. Kurt says:

    I have been a Hunter Safety Instructor, spent 7 years as a Rifle competitor (ran the matches while doing so for 4 of that). I am an NRA Endowment Member and Pistol instructor as well.
    The comments by “John Adams” and Tim are those comments that I have to work past when I find someone that wants to learn about shooting. It is really easy to point out worthless crap (22MM?) and whine that there was no “Come to Jesus” moment regarding this Professor and her views as to the 2nd Amendment and guns in general. Sadly, I find it predictable that the comments above have nothing positive to them. Guys, work on being approachable and-dare I say it-even KIND to people that don’t know anything about guns, shooting, or the 2nd A. There are a lot of cool people that want to know about it. If you do a good job, they probably WILL ask about liberty, and self reliance, and important stuff like that. One convert at a time, ok?

  4. Stan says:

    While I can agree that to convince a hard-core anti-gunner is next to impossible, it has to start somewhere. As an NRA-certified Instructor, I’ve spoken with many people about an irrational fear of firearms in general. When you strip away the media hype, and the “talking heads”, and ask them to examine their fears, in many cases, it boils down to what they’ve heard from others, and have never held a firearm, or know anyone who has. Education, information, and instruction, can go a long way in putting firearm ownership in a positive light.

  5. Thomas Hewlett says:

    Interesting meeting of the minds – I’m glad it was civil. I feel like as a country, we’re at a turning point on this issue. I don’t know which way it’s going to go, but the conversation is far from over. This is a good example of how to continue it. Because the gun divide cuts across all labels. It’s not just liberal college crowd on one side and conservative professionals on the other. I grew up with guns – shotguns for hunting, handguns for home defense. I also went to a ‘liberal controlled’ college. And honestly, my position on guns is always evolving. I believe in the Constitution but I also hate seeing these seemingly endless stories about school shootings. Which is something people on both sides of this debate have been saying! An understanding and/or belief in the Bill of Rights does automatically produce one opinion or another. We need to keep talking with each other and we need to keep listening to one another.

  6. Michael G says:

    Tim, the “22 mm” comment was in the professor’s editorial. I guess there’s only so much you can teach a college professor in one session.

    Props to the professor for doing this instead of hiding in a “safe space”.

    Besides, taking your class to the range is the ultimate ” trigger warning”!

  7. John Adams says:

    Kurt, Nice credentials. I grew up with firearms also, served two complete tours of duty in Viet Nam, ( the 2nd I volunteered for) am a law abiding citizen, never convicted any felonies, never used drugs, take care of older people in the area who can’t mow their lawns and just bought an elderly couple lunch who I never met before because she was digging through her purse looking for change to eat. I like to think I have earned the right to feel the way I do. I didn’t say not to engage the anti-gun people. I said that it’s probably a waste of time to try to convert a hard-core professor who admittedly HATES GUNS! My time is best spent elsewhere like promoting the 2nd ammendment instead of defending it to ignorant imbeciles who don’t know if they are walking or riding a camel. But you go ahead and enjoy as it seems you have the “credentials” to do so. John

    • Kurt says:

      Hi John! I think that we all have our own style as to how we live our lives and try to do the good that we do. I can’t do physical work as you do (BAD car wreck), but I can take time and take people out to the range and teach them. The fact that you are more hands on with your help helps people understand that you are a good guy, and if they find out you are a shooter you have already made a statement that gun people can be good, generous people. THANK YOU for your service! Kurt

  8. Chuck says:

    I think we all have our prejudices and stereotypes. I know I do. When I read about a woman with a hyphenated name, I presume she’s a liberal feminist democrat. I’m usually correct too…but I’m sure a conservative woman with a hyphen may exist out there somewhere. I give Carol Spaulding-Kruse the credit due her, for not only having the courage to check out firearms, but then to expose her entire class to them at the range and in the class room.

  9. I make no attempt to try to win over people who are anti 2nd Amendment. Frankly, if they are opposed to our God given right to defend ourselves and IF our government officials are true Americans, we will retain our God given right. If, OTOH, those who hate the 2nd Amendment and try to get rid of it, will NEVER be in favor of it, no matter who is or is not friendly. I owe 2nd Amendment haters NOTHING. They owe me NOTHING. I’m not even sure they owe our country anything, but as long as our Constitution stands and Christianity is not forbidden, they must abide by the Constitution, as must our “leaders”, most of whom I think know diddly about the US Constitution. I maintain that EVERY LAW ON THE BOOKS THAT DEALS WITH THE 2ND AMENDMENT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    Amendment II
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    “Shall not be infringed” has a meaning not difficult to grasp:
    1. To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate: infringe a contract; infringe a patent.
    2. Obsolete To defeat; invalidate.

  10. Tim says:

    Kudos to the author for using kindness to instruct a person about firearms. I myself did NOT grow up with firearms but I later took great interest. It took a while for me to grow comfortable with firearms. My wife is growing comfortable but much more slowly. Peoples’ fears are not easily overcome – fears about who a ‘gun owner’ is or fears about what guns can do. Some will never overcome their fears totally or at all. Others will become comfortable but only to a point (maybe comfortable with a 22lr). I believe that most who do not grow up with firearms have an adjustment as they enter the society of polite gun owners. The adjustment comes about through knowledge, experience, and application of these simple things to the higher levels of learning such as application to rights, laws, and morality.
    Keep up the good work as you win over people to the truth about firearms.

  11. Mike L says:

    In 2010 I met a gun hating liberal woman from Massachusetts that thought civilian disarmament was a holy cause. Today she carries a concealed permit and Sig P-238 in her purse. Minds can definitely be changed by a mixture of polite conversation and current events. Of course there was a tug of war between her liberal friends back in Massachusetts and what they called the ” Florida gun nut”. But unfortunately that tussle was finally decided by the brutal robbery murder of a mutual friend on a bike trail a few miles from our neighborhood. I’d warned Jeannine about the trail known to locals as robbers row, and events proved that it wasn’t unfounded paranoia that earned it that nickname.

  12. Joe says:

    I am sure she meant a 22 she probably assumed if it was the 9 associated with mm the 22 was also a mm.

  13. CB Demented says:

    I’ve always maintained that if every one of the 100M or so legal gun owners out there could change just one mind from the anti-gun crowd, then the anti-gun crowd would become irrelevant.

    So I never have a problem engaging, politely, with those who do not like guns or who are outright anti-gun. I’ve taken some of those people to the range for the first time, and helped 2 of them pick out their first handgun.

    2 down…98 million to go.

  14. Missouri Mule says:

    I have to give the Professor and her husband a lot of credit. I takes nerve to make that call and go learn about something you are really scared of and do not understand

  15. bud says:

    The best we can hope for the general populace at large is, that all people be modestly educated about our Second Amendment, and that they be modestly armed.

  16. John says:



    Did you know that that in America, there are about 270 million civilians who carry firearms, and there are about 897k guns carried by police officers.

    Here are 10 great facts about guns that you may not have known:
    1. Even though gun sales have exploded over the past 20 years, firearm homicides are down by 39%.
    2. Nations that have more guns, generally have less crime, according to Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
    3. The 9 lowest gun-use countries in Europe have a combined murder rate that is 3-times those of the 9 highest gun using European countries.
    4. With only one exception, every single public mass shooting in America since 1950 was in an area with strict gun laws.
    5. America is #1 in the world when it comes to gun ownership.
    6. Roughly 200k women use a gun for protection.
    7. In Kennesaw, Georgia a law was passed that required every home to own a gun. The crime rate dropped more than 50%.
    8. Guns are 80% MORE likely to STOP crime than to take a life
    9. Once a gun ban was instituted, Australian gun murders increased to 69%.
    10. Despite a strict gun ban, crime is 4 times higher in the UK than in the USA.

    The government cannot completely protect us. It is up to ourselves to be armed and ready in case of a violent attack. Do not let the mainstream media tell you that guns are bad. The cities with strict gun laws have been proven to have higher violence and crime rates. If we allow the liberals to enact stricter gun laws, then you leave yourself vulnerable to just become another statistic.

  17. Chris says:

    I have changed around a dozen peoples minds by doing exactly what these experts did. I know ammo is expensive but offer the pay and that will get you along way. My wife is a NP and one of the doctors she works with was a ban all guns type of guy. He asked my wife why loves to shoot her little 22lr. She explained it and then the next thing I know, The wife and I are at the range teaching him about firearms and all the responsibility that comes with them. He really loved the 12 gauge and clay pigeons. He is no longer a ban them all. I can not get the “gun show loop hole” out of his head nor using the terror watch list to ban people.

  18. Jim Macklin says:

    Hillary says the SCOUS “got HELLER wrong.” Shouting literally or figuratively “From my cold dead hands” or “The Second Amendment is all I need” or “Come and Take It” just feeds the stereotype. Unless you explain with accurate facts that make it clear that guns are not the problem and they are not always to solution. Know the facts and the history.
    Historical Fact— When Congress wrote the existing right to keep and bear arms into the Bill of Rights, the Congress rejected including the four words, FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE as a limitation on the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms. That was in 1789. The Constitution already provided for the States to maintain their militias and the Constitution granted Congress power over the Militia.
    The invention of a small and reliable revolver in the 1830s by Colt made women’s liberation possible because before handguns women had to have men to bear arms to defend the children and the women.
    Laws against arms make society less safe because the bad guys and gals are not opposed by good people. If we had enough police and military to protect each of us, all the time, there would be enough police and military to impose a dictatorship.
    Fact— All fifty States now have a law that allows private citizens to carry concealed weapons. Where guns are more acceptable crime is lower, in places like Chicago and Washington, D.C. where the government does all they can to restrict citizens from carrying defensive weapons crime is higher.

  19. rt66paul says:

    I had preconcieved notins about younger gun owners when I went out to a shooting area(now closed) off of the 15 fwy NE of L.A. I saw idiots shooting from all around, I heard automatic weapon fire and saw cars and all manner of household appliances and furniture ridden with bullet holes and the results of huge esplosians. I had to wonder how many ended up in emergency care.
    My father was a sharpshooter in school before WWII. He never liked guns for him and his family, so I was taught that you never point a gun unless you mean to use it, that a gun was a dangerous tool and that people that do not learn how to take care of it have no business with it.
    Being a city kid, I never got a chance to really shoot guns, so as a young hippy, I thought they were evil. After I sobered up, my wife broached the idea of owning a weapon and I talked to people They were very helpful, showed me that full auto is NOT what the Clintons were talking about with assault weapons. We were shown how to use firearms safely and became belivers. I have shown five others this and continue with the message.
    There is a place for shoot ’em up cars and explosians, but the general public should be shown responsable gun ownership and use.
    Change someone’s mind this weekend

  20. Tom says:

    Hi everyone.
    The phrase, “Grew up with”, is a pretty big factor in these kinds of discussions. I grew up on a farm and exposure to guns, critters and wildlife was taken for granted. I mentioned this fact while attending a cancer support group, as my sisters +1, in a very large urban center. I was immediately bombarded with questions about food production. I didn’t fully appreciate how paranoid urban folks can be about where their food comes from. I realized they were all at least 3 generations removed from rural life.
    We can draw a parallel with firearms and like almost everything else we can have a “nature or nurture” conversation about how someones view of life is formed. When talking with someone who’s nature is to form iron clad preconceptions and opinions about the only solution is to hear them out (one time) and then walk away. I think this is the minority of people.
    In todays social structure, predominantly urban, most people have not had exposure to many aspects of the natural physical world other than in parks, zoos and the National Geographic channel. But they are open to learning. As long as they don’t get shut down by a potential educator who’s nature is to have preconceptions and pre-formed opinions of the uninitiated.
    Kudos to the professor who overcame her fear of the unknown.
    Kudos to the range instructors.
    Big thumbs down to people who assign labels to others they’ve never met.

  21. khal spencer says:

    Nicely done. I don’t expect the non gun owning public or for that matter, people who don’t like guns, to change their minds about guns. What I do hope is that more folks take a minute to talk to the other side and present ourselves and themselves as reasonable individuals rather than social media defined stereotypes. I tip my hat to the Butch-Olafson range, Prof. Spaulding-Kruse, and the Iowa Firearms Coalition for trying to build bridges across the gun politics moat.

  22. Shawn says:

    Great article. Two small typos in third and fifth paragraphs.

    “As part of her classwork the professor has Drake freshman engage in dialog on a controversial issues.”

    ” In fact the overwhelming majority of gun owners a fine upstanding individuals….”

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