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.