I carry concealed. About once a year, maybe less, someone who doesn’t likes guns asks me, “Why do you need a gun?” No two of the ensuing conversations are exactly alike, but they all run something like this: I tell them, “I don’t.” There’s usually a little pause.
Then I’m asked, “Then why do you carry one?” “I carry one for the same reason I have car insurance.” This usually evokes a comment like, “But you need car insurance.” “No you don’t.” “What if you get into an accident?” “Then I need it.” If that doesn’t clear things up, I add, “I don’t need car insurance until I’m in an accident. Then I need it. I really need it.” This sometimes elicits the following comment, “Well, in this state you need it.” “No you don’t.” My incredulous acquaintance will then ask, “What if you get pulled over by a cop, and he asks for proof of insurance?” “I need it then, too, but I don’t need it until I’m asked for it.”
If they can’t figure out what I’m trying to tell them by this time, I explain: “What I’m trying to tell you is that I don’t need car insurance unless I’m in an accident or I’m pulled over by a cop. Until one of those incidents, I don’t need it. And it’s the same thing with the gun I carry. I don’t need it until I need it, and if that happens, I’ll really need it and I’ll be glad I carry one. But, until then…”
I’ll often also sum it up: “What I’m hoping you’ll understand is that I carry for the same reason I keep my car insured at all times, because I don’t know when I’ll need a gun, or have an accident, or get pulled over.” Some people see what I’m saying; others think I’m just being a smart ass. What can I do?
I've used the analogy of life insurance. It has the advantage that it is not required by any law or contract. It's purely voluntary, and purchased in order to safeguard one's family.
I can't say it's really convinced a lot of people, though.
I've had a little better success with the "civic duty" approach. Since statistics clearly show that society is much safer when a significant number of law-abiding citizens carry, and I want to live in a safer society, I'm doing my part by being armed.
I think a reason why the "car insurance" argument, as well as any other logical argument, is not likely to get through is because many if not most people simply don't want to accept that there are some people out there who would pose a danger that would require physical force to prevent.
They want to continue believing that because they support some political party, did something in the past, - or just plain can't accept that evil people exist - nothing violent will ever happen to them. It is simply ingrained in their way of thinking.
It is worth it to try to make the argument and attempt to get some people to start really thinking about the real world out there. But sometimes it is going to take a hard fall and a forced awakening to "get it".