Some people figured this stuff out early, or had it pointed out to them. I think a lot- maybe most- of us had it creep up and whack us over the head. Which is pretty much what happened to me. I'd heard bits and pieces when I was a kid; the first I actually remember was my dad and someone else talking about a measure someone had introduced in Congress to ban 'short-barreled' handguns. Dad thought it was a dumb idea, and that led to discussion of some other idiots' idea of banning ALL handguns, including for law enforcement personnel. General outcome of that discussion was Dad saying that if it happened, he'd either borrow the cut-down Winchester idea from Steve McQueen, or quit; he would not go out on patrol unarmed. I wondered what kind of jerk would want to disarm even LE, but after that it slipped out of my mind. We were visiting my grandparents, and there was fishing to do and beehives to watch and maybe some squirrels to hunt.
It continued like that for several more years, something would bring this stuff to my attention and I'd get distracted and forget it. Then one day Dad and I went to the range. Didn't get to go often at that time, so it was an occasion. Handguns only that time, Dad's sidearm and a .22 revolver(side note: I was in my early 30's before I fired a semi-auto pistol). Great fun was had, and then it hit.
I was lining up a shot when the aforementioned Truth walked up behind me with a 2x4 and swung. There were people out there who would never let us do this again! They'd take the .22, and Dad wouldn't be able to let me shoot his .357! I'd never be allowed to own a pistol, and if I had kids someday, I wouldn't be allowed to teach them to shoot them! Hell, if those people had their way, we wouldn't be allowed to own ANY firearm!!!
It's kind of hard to overstate how strong a shock this was. I'd known it intellectually, but not in my gut where it counted. I knew it now, and it scared me. And then it made me mad.
Dammit, we were honest people! We weren't going to rob or rape or murder someone, but it might be handy to have one if some criminal came along. The thought of our own government saying "You cannot be trusted to own arms" really, really pissed me off. And I joined the NRA.
And I read the magazine every month, and I started writing letters. I was a pissed and scared teenager who didn't like the idea of my basic rights being chopped up by politicians and GFWs(damn, I wish I'd known that term then!); especially when I started finding out just how crooked and hypocritical many of them were. And how arrogant and condescending others were.
So here I am. I still write letters to my Rep. and Senator; I write letters to the editor sometimes; and I talk to people. I've helped a few people start shooting, helped others with maintenance or ammo questions. I've been an on & off member of the NRA, partly because there were years I flat couldn't afford the membership and sometimes- in later years- because I was pissed at them for compromising(or compromising excessively) on something important. When I wasn't in NRA, I was in GOA after I learned about them. Yeah, they sometimes are excessive on some things; I've decided that I'd rather support that in many cases than the 'we must compromise' attitude.
And I raised my kids as gunny people. Bill of Rights people in general, actually, which led to some funny and some scary episodes. Funny when- my daughter in particular- got into arguments with teachers about the Bill, especially the 2nd and firearms in general, and either fought them to a truce or won. Scary when they found out how little most of the other kids- including in high school- knew about their rights and responsibilities, and how little many of them cared.
So on we go. They're of age now, and as I have happily found out, willing to argue the matters with people. Oh yeah, they've discovered the "if you bring up nasty facts I'll call names and go away" method of 'argument' among many GFWs and libs. We don't agree on everything; they weren't raised to be parrots. On a number of important things, however, we're in accord. And the 2nd is one of them.
Oh, being able to point out some interesting facts to a teacher and change their mind about firearms is a fun thing, too. The hippies I just wear a suitable shirt and annoy.