How the Other Side Lives

August 1st, 2013

Dave Workman found a policy document outlying strategies for gun-control advocates [pdf file]. It's very much worth taking the time to read.

Back in 1993, I sat on the panel of a gun-control debate for a local TV station. The guy on the other side of the table actually said, "you can try to trip me up with the facts, but the only real fact is that we need these weapons off the streets." The crowd loved it.

They're still using the same tactics.

Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics. (…) We should rely on emotionally powerful language, feelings and images to bring home the terrible impact of gun violence. Compelling facts should be used to back up that emotional narrative, not as a substitute for it.

The paper advises advocates to refer to the issue as "gun violence" rather than "gun control," and to advocate for "stronger" gun laws rather than "stricter" ones.

There's a whole section about tailoring their arguments differently when addressing minority audiences, and they have a primer for how to capitalize on public shootings.

The truth is, the most powerful time to communicate is when concern and emotions are running at their peak. While we always want to be respectful of the situation, a self-imposed period of silence is never necessary.

The clearest course is to advance our core message about preventing gun violence independent of facts that may shift on us over time. (…) Of course, once a fact is clearly established, it makes sense to rely on it to advance your case.

The paper then goes down a list of pet causes like Stand Your Ground laws and national reciprocity. There's all sorts of fun stuff about vituperating the NRA without looking like you're vituperating the NRA.

And what happens when the watchmen are the ones contributing to the problem? Sweep it under the rug and move on before the audience has a chance to ask more questions.

We are better off acknowledging that it was a botched operation and then quickly moving on to a broader conversation about weak gun laws and guns flowing into the hands of drug cartels. (…) It is the height of hypocrisy for the NRA to be attacking the ATF’s enforcement capabilities after they have waged a decades-long effort to hamstring the agency’s ability to enforce the nation’s gun laws.

In case you're wondering about authorship and bias, Greenberg Quinlan Rosser and OMP both take money from the Joyce Foundation to do studies for the Brady Campaign.

Anyone involved in supporting the 2nd Amendment needs to take a close look at this and learn from it. It's one thing to have the facts; it's another thing know how to use them to convince an unsure audience.

ETA: TBE has pulled the original link down. I have re-linked to local copy above.

1 Comment
  1. Chase wrote, running Mozilla Firefox 22.0 on Windows 7

    So, basically, we haven't been imagining things. The other side knows exactly what they're doing. They aren't stupid, they aren't so emotionally hurt that it makes them irrational. Advocates for forced disarmament *choose* to argue in bad faith.

    Comment on August 2, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

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