I’ve found, just in general, that most people who hold staunch anti-gun opinions don’t have any experience with guns beyond what they’ve seen come out of Hollywood. You can try to explain to them that what they see in Hollywood is entirely unrealistic and has no basis in the real world, and they won’t understand because they don’t have any real world experience to develop a basis for that understanding. They exhibit a sort of strange amnesia effect, where they watch the movie and see things happen in the movie about which they DO have some sort of experience and think “my this is entertaining and all, but has no basis in reality,” but then forget all about that when guns are depicted because they don’t have the basis in the reality of guns to compare the depiction against. So you get anti-gunners thinking that it is possible for a man with a gun to wreak impossible havoc with endless magazines and fully-automatic fire when no such thing is really possible in the real world.
The best way to combat this is to give them some real world experience. Take an anti-gunner shooting. I’ve talked three anti-gun people into going shooting with me in my lifetime, and all three of them are now gun owners and avid shooting enthusiasts.
You have to be careful here, as you do with any newbie to shooting sports, because they don’t understand the rules of safe handling, proper stances, grip, trigger control, or any of that stuff. You have to watch them like a hawk. But once they get it in their blood, my guess is that you’ll have a pretty good chance of ridding them of their ignorance and making a convert out of them, and in the process enriching their lives by bringing shooting sports into their realm of reality.
You don’t have to violent backwoods hillbilly to enjoy guns. I’ve enjoyed shooting since I was a little boy and because of that, I’ve never fully understood the demonization of guns until I realized that most of these people have never been around them and so are approaching the entire topic out of ignorance rather than understanding.