Then there is being "anti-gun". This position is that guns are made to kill, thereby it is best to restrict them extremely or eliminate them from society, and only allow the military and police to have them. They are morally evil things as they are an instrument of death. They are used by murderers, terrorists, and unstable people to more effectively inflict harm. Parts of the Chicago and Washington, D.C. gun ordinances are anti-gun, as they seek to so severely restrict the use of firearms, through imposing significant extra costs and inconvenience for their use, in addition to background checks and licensing requirements. This position has in common with the "pro-gun" position that its judgement about the nature of guns cuts across time and space and social and political contexts. As an otherwise intelligent person told me recently when I consider guns a tool, but a powerful one that not anyone should be allowed to have : "Guns aren't a necessity, so they are not like a jackhammer or a drill".
Another is pro-gun control that is not anti-gun. This position views guns as dangerous to society if not properly regulated, but that guns are not in and of themsleves morally evil. While it is distinguished from being anti-gun, it also doesn't in particular see benefits to society from private firearms ownership and shooting sports. It is something you can personally choose to do as long as you follow the proper rules.
The position that I hold is to support a system which regulates private firearms ownership AND supports the shooting sports. This position is never discussed in the mainstream media. It recognizes that there can be dangers to society from private gun ownership that is poorly regulated, but also strongly supports shooting sports, especially hunting, as there are benefits to society from these activities.
This position forms a unique program, which I have been referring to as a "grand bargain" politically. It would require that advocates of stricter gun control support measures that help the shooting sports, such as money for shooting ranges, firearms safety education in the public schools, and affirmation of shooting sports as positive activities. In exchange, gun owners would have to actively support stricter gun control, or more accurately, regulations to keep guns from some people that shouldn't have them.
There is potentially a large constituency for this approach, and Minnesota is the place to try. We have a high firearms ownership and hunting participation rate, with a history of progressive politics. A large swath of gun owners here have pragmatic views about guns, aware of the satisfaction they gain from their proper use, as well as the death and mayhem guns can be used for in the wrong hands or from unsafe practices and storage.Then the question is, what should be in the "grand bargain" ? On the "control" side, I'd say closing the gun show loophole is a no-brainer, strong state authority to close crooked gun dealers who allow repeated straw purchases, and possibly a system of licensure to be a firearms owner. The license would be a training requirement, people who took their hunter safety training would be covered. Lastly, tougher safe storage regulations, especially in homes where there are children. A possible rule would be that ammunition be locked, which would be an affordable requirement. On the "support" side, a short mandatory firearms safety course in all public schools, with full firearms safety as an after-school program where there is interest, run by the DNR. Money will be needed for the the safety training, and to support access to shooting ranges. A tax should be levied on the firearms industry's profits. It should be put into a dedicated fund controlled by the DNR to pay for the classes and give grants to shooting ranges for upkeep, as well as even buy ranges that go on the market or get offers from developers. This could have stopped Moon Valley range, my former favorite shooting range, from being sold off. The fund could also help boost 4-H and high school shooting leagues.
This is a starter, and any such arrangement would be be the result of lengthy negotiation and discussion. There will be sticky issues which require a lot of research and debate. A perfect example is : when should people be allowed to sell or lend guns privately, with no background check ? One bill authored in the legislature closed the gun show loophole and required all guns be sold through some institution that requires background checks, with only immediate family exempted. What about friends or people you know or more distant relatives ? There are cases of people lending or selling guns to people they knew, confident the person was not unstable, and the gun was then used in a murder or suicide. On the other hand, I recently lent a gun to someone I have hunted with for several years who I know already owns firearms. This is a common activity amongst hunters who would feel unduly restricted if it were prohibited or forced to go through some time consuming process. Responsible gun owners and anti-gun violence activists who see the importance of shooting sports will have to craft proposals that address both these situations.