Memo to the NRA, GOA, SAF: DGU PR ASAP!

The New York Times’ Joe Nocera has published The Gun Report: February 18, 2013. It chronicles a “sad sampling” of firearms-related deaths over the weekend with links back to the stories. Regardless of the circumstances of these stories—from gang-bangers gone wild to murder/suicide—the cumulative effect is exactly as the Times intended. They underline the underlying meme pushed by proponents of civilian disarmament: respect to the Second Amendment (i.e. screw the Second Amendment) something must be done! Ban assault weapons! Limit magazine capacity! Create psychological exams! Truth be told, it’s a compelling argument for people who don’t know a Glock 30SF from a Swedish supermodel. There’s only one answer to this strategy: a PR campaign centering on gun owners who’ve saved their lives—and the lives of loved ones—with their firearm. And we need it now. Just sayin’ . . .

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

54 Responses to Memo to the NRA, GOA, SAF: DGU PR ASAP!

  1. avatarWilliam says:

    If only the DGUs had any effect only made-up minds.

    • avatarNazgul says:

      I am forced to agree.

    • avatarRokurota says:

      Yes, true, mostly regarding the NYT and its ilk. The NRA can fire off as many press releases as it likes, they won’t make it past the elite gatekeepers. They will simply dismiss them as aberrations or propaganda. No, the best PR is all of us “little platoons” doing our part to show people we know that guns are not time bombs, but very handy tools. And for some, a load of fun.

      • avatarSkeev says:

        It’s not the made up minds that we need to be looking for, but the people who haven’t made their minds up.

    • avatarDutchinDC says:

      Mothers Aganist Drunk Driving tried for years to change laws and public opinion. It wasn’t until they started airing commercials that centered on the emotional impact of DD that they gained traction. The same is true of DGU, you can quote stats forever but once you start showing a mother with her children talking about how her gun saved their lives and pleading not to take her only defense away people in the middle will start listening and that’s all we need.

      • avatarpat says:

        Bullseye

      • avatarDJC says:

        AMEN to that.
        The elements are essentially the same. Citizens got mad and “weren’t gonna’ take it anymore”! No more drunk drivers killing and maiming the innocent then, committing the same destructive acts over and over again with little consequence. MADD first centered on AWARENESS of the true problem. They created OUTRAGE in a heretofore blasé public. That outrage resulted in much harsher punishments, better law enforcement, and dare we say, ‘political action’ in right direction for a change (’cause the politicians, who didn’t give s**t before, now wanted to look like ‘good guys’, right?).
        MADD was highly successful because it told a true story designed in a way to create OUTRAGE.
        It changed our culture. Now, we make sure there a designated driver at the party without thinking about it. I seriously think twice about having more than one glass of wine at dinner if I have to drive home ‘cause a DUI is terrible (and hugely expensive) thing with which to associated.

        So, lets tell our story and in doing so, create some outrage of our own. I moved to TN from CA and can tell you the only thing CA has going for it terms of gun legislation is super harsh treatment of those who use a gun to commit a crime.
        We need that everywhere.

        So, here it is:
        GUN Owners Against Gun Crime! … GOAGC ?
        Well, … OK, no, we’d have to work on that acronym but, you get the idea.

        Do a huge campaign against the Bad Guys. After all …
        The Bad Guys are the true enemy of responsible gun owners. (Aka. The Good Guys)

        First: Get the DGU story out there. Create OUTRAGE against the Bad Guys. Rail against the walking crap disguised as a human and tell true stories (get the victims to do this if we can)
        Glorify and affirm the one that protected.

        Next: Tell the story of how banning the right to defend truly kills and harms people. (GO! Amanda Collins !)

        Next: We MUST offer solutions to the things that people fear about guns. Our politcos have done a super job of frightening the public. So we go after that fear.
        Do we have too many gun deaths? YES and we are “outraged”
        Do gun owners care? YES and we have REAL solutions.
        The Good Guys, support:
        - super-harsh sentences for anyone that uses a gun to commit a crime.
        - Instant internet check on gun criminals near you. (similar to sex offenders, a person that used a gun to commit a crime, wears that badge their whole life)
        - Outing judges that fail to dispense justice and coddle criminals
        - No plea deals for those who use guns to commit a crime
        - ??? … fill in the blanks

        Next: we work the issue of Suicide and mental illness. That will take some deep thinking and careful “treading”. Still we have to engage the public with the truth that it’s a mental health issue not a gun issue.
        And, again, we’ll have to offer solutions.

        Just my opinion
        DJC

  2. avatarRKBA says:

    We don’t need these PSA’s NOW, we need them YESTERDAY!

  3. avatarBiofire says:

    A week or two ago, NPR did exactly that on Talk of the Nation. They devoted an entire hour to having people call in and tell how a gun saved their lives. I thought they did a great job because they didn’t editorialize the stories. They just let regular people speak. The host (Neil Conan) was very supportive.

    Not sure, but I think this was after the interview with Rob Pincus.

  4. avatarCJ says:

    This is a good point. I don’t expect it from SAF as they tend to clean up the mess in the courts, a much needed service. GOA is what, a fourth or fifth the size of the NRA? It seems to me the PR campaign we so desperately need falls on the NRA to provide. Unfortunately they seem to do best when preaching to their own. They need to hire some fresh young talent that can provide the same type of cross-platform media blitz that’s being handed to us by the gun grabbers. Something that speaks to the sheep, not just the sheepdogs.

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      The SAF has already said that they’re going to do a big ad campaign, the problem is that who knows how much longer it will be before it happens. I find it ridiculous though that the NRA puts DGU’s in every monthly issue of American Rifleman (not sure about other magazines), yet they haven’t bothered to try to get any of these people on camera for 10-15 seconds each to make commercials that can be put on TV an YouTube.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        I hope and assume they’re saving the big media buys for the weeks before the House votes. It gets expensive. As for PR placement stories in the MSM, good luck with that idea. I suggest an infomercial. Just buy all that empty weekend time on MSNBC, hire some really hot looking talent, and ‘sell’ a how-to guide for liberals that actually want a defensive gun but don’t want to say it.

        • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

          Gunnies will probably be outspent (Bloomberg, moveon.org, etc.) so gunnies had better get creative. Tick tock.

          How long until another Colorado? Think of the kids. If we can save just one…

    • avatarDon says:

      I emailed them offering my young talent. No reply.

      -D

  5. avatardwb says:

    we need much more than that. The underlying premise that a lot of his followers have bought into is that the “gun mentality” causes violence. The Violence Policy Center puts out a lot of psudoscientificy sounding research that guns are a “public health issue.” The VPC’s motto is crime does not cause violence, its guns, and their availability. nah, it could not possibly be criminally employed people stealing guns looking for tools to further their criminal enterprise. nah, it could not possibly be criminals sending people out to rob to pay back the money they owe. nah, it could not be drug deals gone bad. I am sure its none of that. I don’t get it, if its not crime, then why aren’t those pistol packing suburbanites not shooting each other in equal numbers. The NRA unfortunately is a one-note band on gun rights. They need to do more than discuss “rights.” They also need to put the blame for crime and violence where it belongs, with the criminals, not the tools. For these stories they need to show that in most cases I suspect some of these people have a rap sheet as long as my arm.

    • avatarFlubnut says:

      Bingo. Look no further than Hadiya Pendleton’s murder in Chicago: 2 gang bangers with rap sheets. Notice how the media attention died off REAL fast once it became a “gang bangers with guns” story, and not just a “tragic gun violence” story? Must fit narrative…must fit narrative…

  6. avatarBob says:

    “Just sayin’ . . .”

    Just agreeing… Completely. The anti’s ads are so effective, because they are personal and emotional. Their message is so incorrect when one knows the facts and thinks about it, but most people do not know the facts and have never learned how to think. All their decisions are based on how they ‘feel’ about an issue.

    We can win the war using feelings AND the facts. I fear that we will lose if we only use the facts.

    • avatarRKBA says:

      Yes! We need to supplement all the factual information with emotional adverts!

      Fight fire with fire, right?

      If emotional is all some of them will understand, then make some PSA’s with women and children whose lives were saved because they had a gun giving first hand accounts.

    • avatar16V says:

      Exactly. As Voltaire said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.”

      If you are debating, it does not matter if you have facts on your side when your opponent is not arguing facts. Moreover, it matters even less when the you are being judged on emotion. Everyone should learn from the success of those complete whack-jobs at MADD.

      So, the other guys have brought us to the court of Madison Avenue and public opinion. If we only show up in the court of logic and reason, we have missed the trial altogether.

  7. avatarConrad says:

    Well in light of the recent events in Colorado and probably Maryland, I will indeed be joining both the NRA and GOA, despite by biggest wish to stay independent. I’ll be damned if I let the country be weakened by the sheer ignorance and folly of the gun grabbers.

    Essentially what we need is another two years to really go to the polls and take these people out of office. Newtown could really not have come at a worse time in terms of the election cycle. In the meantime, everyone needs to do their part to convert a casual/moderate gun grabber into a 2nd Amendment supporter. Please also get your fellow gun owners to read and follow TTAG whom I highly respect.

    I’ll point out gunfacts.info as an excellent resource. If you do post, please be courteous and not show yourself as an extremist like the gun grabbers.

    The key points to communicate are:
    1. Statistics show that there is no correlation to availability of guns and the ability for the criminals to commit crime.
    2. There _is_ a statistical correlation to the availability of guns and the ability for the citizens to prevent and deter crime.
    3. Firearms are safe, there are fewer accidents with firearms than with automobiles by far. More children drown in swimming pools than are killed with firearms. But, WE CAN DO MORE TO INCREASE SAFETY (training and gun safes).
    4. Firearms kill people, but studies show that removing firearms does not decrease crime but increase it. Because: a) firearms are used by choice to defend against crime by the weakest of victims: women, elderly, children. b) police response rates average in minutes in the best of circumstances. c) the criminals _do_not_ care about short term incarceration, only being killed or never being released. d) UK has proven that removing firearms has increased crime in all categories, that UK cheats in counting statistics (counts only the incident instead of number of victims, and only counts with the successful conviction).
    5. The 2nd Amendment. Yes, this is actually the most important to people that get it. But sadly, most Americans do not anymore. The best way to convey it is as I have done below.

    Please keep up the good work. And come out voting the next election. Attached are my most recent posts below to the MSM comments and blogs:

    Every year, two and a half million people die in the United States; deaths by firearms account for less than thirty two thousand (suicide and assault). The amount of attention given in the media and by certain political groups against firearms simply isn’t proportional.

    This isn’t about saving lives, this is about getting rid of firearms.

    I urge everyone to _independently_ look at the data and see for yourself. Lookup the CDC stats on mortality and leading causes of death. Lookup the FBI stats on crime rates, and go to the websites of the other countries and see what happened to crime rates when guns were banned and removed in those countries.

    The real extremists are the ones that are taking away our most powerful tool to defend ourselves, prevent crime, and defend our country. These same extremists then claim they’re not after all our guns, just the big scary ones used for mass murders. Except that these mass murders are such statistical aberrations, these extremists are willing to punish the _millions_ of law abiding owners for the acts of a handful; when it was these same extremists that created the vacuum of defense against these mass murders and criminals that have killed more people instead of saving them, they then turn around to fan fear and cries for action.

    The American people are not fooled.

    The 2nd Amendment has always been an affirmation of individual and state sovereignty, as is the rest of the Bill of Rights in limiting the Federal government. Both the First and the Second Amendments are complementary, both support each other. Without the teeth, the words have no weight; and without words the teeth would otherwise be used except as a last resort. Weakening either one of the Amendments, weakens both.

    The gang culture is a society cancer.

    These children grow up with single parents. They can’t stay in school. They need to find a job to support their siblings and relatives, except there aren’t any in the area. The police don’t care and instead protect the areas of people with jobs. They listen to the psychopathic inner city indoctrinations in rap and hip-hop that belittle themselves.

    They turn to gangs for all the things they never had. They commit the crimes. They deal the drugs. They murder themselves and the innocent. They perpetuate the cycle of children raised in single family homes.

    They finally get caught. Incarcerated. Let out early, where they then commit more crimes and indoctrinate the next generation of gang members.

    Violence in video games and movies doesn’t create criminals. When children play video games or watch movies, they know they’re in make-believe world. All the rest is real.

    It’s time to stop the cycle.

    • avatarMmmtacos says:

      Excellent reply, I think those five points should be hammered home. I think I’ll use this information to refine my own argument. Brevity can be invaluable to a debate after all.

    • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

      @ Conrad – Your post is great. Unfortunately it is also a perfect example to show why gunnies are losing this ‘debate’. No way your average citizen will read through this entire post. You’ve got about 5 seconds to get their attention, and 15 seconds to make your point.

      You might not like the current rules of engagement, but their perception is our reality. This is the hand we have been dealt. Play it (or don’t, I suppose).

  8. avatarRKflorida says:

    That model is built like a pencil.

  9. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    Are we losing to the million mom march? If they were winning would they be this desperate? ny had to push through it laws fast & furiously for fear of rational discussion. I’m not saying we should let off, just keep on doing what we are because it seems to be working. We are going to have the losses, hopefully just temporary ones. Lastly, I’d buy Josefin a drink at the night club & even offer to rub her back for her, & to think there are some that thought I was a beast, Randy

  10. avatarLance says:

    I agree watch Cam and CO NRA news have daily DGU spot.

    • avatarPyratemime says:

      Which is great for those wanting to seek out NRA news sources. What we need is to get those stories into PSA style print, radio, and TV spots those outside the AI will see.

  11. avatarHeintron says:

    Greetings from Sweden. The land filled with beautiful people ;)

  12. avatarDavid says:

    How about a national ad campaign (like the Criminals Against Everyone Else’s Guns (MAIG)) showing would-be-victims who defended themselves?

    The Armed Citizen blog should should provide plenty of potential interviewees.

  13. avatarJMS says:

    TTAG could do this.

    Armed Citizen is a good source for culled DGU instances: http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/armed-citizen.aspx

    ^^^ they have thousands and thousands and thousands of examples, along with cited sources.

    • avatarChuck J says:

      I would suggest that people with the PR money to do so contact some of these people and find the ones that would be willing to tell their story. Also, I think a youtube campaign not unlike TTAG’s “I am a gun owner” campaign could be effective too. If I project like this is undertaken, I would suggest that the story be carefully vetted, as they will be under extreme scrutiny. Additionally, I wouldn’t put it past the antis to plant a false video story to try to discredit the whole idea.

      That said, I suspect that the NRA is focusing on the lobbying aspect of this fight to try to make sure we have the votes if it comes to that. Since, that is where the rubber meets the road as it realtes the the legislative process.

  14. avatarCZ-PA says:

    I assume everyone calling on the NRA to do this stuff is a life member and has made sizable donations, right?

    https://membership.nrahq.org/forms/signup.asp
    https://www.nraila.org/get-involved-locally/secure/donate.aspx
    http://www.saf.org/default.asp?p=safdonation

    Become a member, and make your voice heard within the organization.

  15. avatarJavier says:

    After all is said and done the pols are passing the dissarmament laws left and right. I’m in a state that doesn’t even hear us out at a hearing they already made up their mind to send it to assembly. When the crime rate climes the victims need to sue the politicians.

  16. avatarRalph says:

    If you think that the MSM is going to give any coverage to a pro-gun PR campaign, you’re insane. A PR campaign requires, at the very least, unbiased media. Otherwise, it gets no coverage, no traction, nothing. The media controls the message, period. And guess who controls the media.

    BTW, the NRA publishes DGU stories every month in the American Rifleman.

  17. avatarSkeev says:

    It’s not the made up minds that we need to be looking for, but the people who haven’t made their minds up.

    I’ve had numerous co-workers and numerous friends in the last couple months start a conversation with me that went like this, “So, you are into guns, what do think of this…” Fortunately, I’ve done well clearing their heads of the propaganda that they’ve heard and I’ve straightened out the misinformation the media has told them. Sadly, this is not something that’s really been handled well by the NRA in their press releases.

    When these people question the pro-gun view they know of two things, the NRA blames movies (about as well received as claiming Ozzy albums cause suicides) and the NRA is trying to encourage a class division. Both of these stances are turn offs to people in the middle. They really need to improve the message that they are sending.

  18. avatarAccur81 says:

    My DGUs are all on duty, but I am an NRA/FPC/SAF/NAGR member.

    We definitely need some DGUs. I think minority single moms would get a massive emotional response, particularly if they were in the inner city.

    • avatarCZ-PA says:

      Its disheartening how many people will spend $2,000 on a freakin’ WASR but won’t contribute a few bucks to the cause.

      Thanks for supporting all of those organizations. If every gun owner was like you, we’d be in much better shape right now.

  19. avatarJohn Adams says:

    We need to realize as gun owners that it is now past the time for emails and letters. It’s past the time for us to be sitting in our homes watching our rights, our fellow Americans rights, taken away. The opposition has us on our heels, and we do nothing but send empty letters and keep shallow hopes that our elected government will side with us. Our best ammunition of words and reason has become scarce. We need to protest. PEACEABLY!! We as owners, collectors, advocates, extremists, citizens all need to band together and protest.

    This week protesters marched on Washington, D.C. Against the keystone XL pipeline. A mere 40000 people marched for what they believe in. Yet we’re willing to sit quietly for what is right.

    If you agree spread the word. This needs to happen. We need to use our rights as citizens and protest. If we’re not willing to stand up for what we know is right, then we might as well lay down and perish under the weight of oppression.

    • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

      Agree. Perhaps part of the issue is that people who take personal responsibility for their well-being tend to be individualists, and therefore are less likely to be joiners. The press can ignore even a few thousand; we need to get 10′s of thousands assembled in DC, screaming our heads off. It’s much harder to assemble big packs of dogs than it is big flocks of sheep, but I fear we are lost if we don’t.

  20. avatarHighvoltage says:

    Anything coming from pro 2nd amendment groups will be dimply excused as propaganda, even when the supporting sources for actual DGU are cited.

    But when the purely emotional, non-fact-based anecdotal drivel put out by the NYT, and earlier today, CNN.com; it in the best cases is labeled as opinion or editorial pieces, and at the worst as factual reporting.

    The Antis label us as paranoid, and fear mongers, while at the same time employing a campaign of propaganda based on fear, gross exaggeration, and outright lies that prey on the naïveté of those that don’t share the same passion and interest in firearms, and the freedoms affirmed by our Constitution.

    The self defense issue aside (and that should be a no-brainer, and require no convincing to anyone with a modicum of common sense), when someone that isn’t a shooter hears about the ease that one can purchase thousands of rounds of ammunition via the Internet (prior to the current bare shelf situation), especially when it’s presented by the biased media in a sensationalized article, they are shocked. When I’ve explained to some of these same people after they’ve exclaimed to me how that shouldn’t be possible, or how no one needs that much ammo, that for those of us that enjoy spending an afternoon at the range target shooting, much like others might enjoy a round of golf, purchasing in bulk provides a significant savings, and makes sound economic sense. I make it a point not to bring up tyrannical governments, or any of those justifications, as they come across as paranoia, no matter how much the framers of the Constitution had those thoughts in mind when they wrote the 2nd amendment. I’ve had surprisingly positive responses from folks that moments earlier had been buying into the MSM’s rhetoric.

  21. avatarTommy Knocker says:

    Been thinking of late that there is a lack of voices in general on our side. There are 76 directors on the board of the NRA. I vote every year. Where are they? How about the CEOs of the gun companies. Where are they? The US and foreign ones. They ALL take our money. The stealth guys in Hollywood. They say they are 2A supporters. What about all the competitors? The state associations, ALL the local clubs. Where are they on tv radio or papers? You get the point?

    I am expecting more from prominent and powerful folks at this critical time.

  22. avatarDon says:

    Hell yes we do. They’ve been burying pro 2A folks with anecdotes and they’re winning. Anecdotes seem to have power, so use them. I’m sick of seeing DGUs in every local newspaper or website but NEVER on nationally.

  23. avatarJustLeaveLawfulGunOwnersAlone says:

    Reddit is keeping track of a lot of DGU’s

    http://www.reddit.com/r/dgu/

  24. avatarAharon says:

    Most of the creative media and PR put out by the NRA looks like something you’d get out of a can of Spam.

    • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

      I’m starting to think the NRA is a false flag operation designed to give gunnies the illusion of hope while working through inaction to support the gun banning agenda.

      It would be hard to act in a more inept manner even if you made a plan to be ineffective.

      Even worse, the NRA offers false hope while sucking up discretionary dollars in the form of dues and donations, money that could be put to better use.

      Curse the NRA. No way will I support that organization if it stays on its current trajectory.

      • avatarRalph says:

        No way will I support that organization if it stays on its current trajectory.

        Then turn them all in, because the NRA is the only force standing between you and the gungrabbers. Ask yourself why the gungrabbers hate the NRA so much, and then ask yourself why you’re buying into the gunbrabber bullsh!t.

  25. avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

    I’m starting to think the NRA is a false flag operation designed to give gunnies the illusion of hope while working through inaction to support the gun banning agenda.

    It would be hard to act in a more inept manner even if you were trying (and had a plan) to be ineffective.

    Even worse, the NRA offers false hope while sucking up discretionary dollars in the form of dues and donations that could be put to better use by a more forward-thinking and proactive organization.

    Curse the NRA. No way will I support them until they change their current trajectory.

  26. avatarGw says:

    Gun Report?
    Every day in America thousands of rounds of ammunition are discharged by law-abiding American Citizens on privately-owned land and public property, for hunting, plinking, trap, skeet, target shooting and various other sporting and training purposes. All under circumstances in which no law is broken, no-one is injured and no-ones ’Rights’ are violated. There’s no valid comparison which can possibly be made between the countless lawful uses of firearms by law-abiding American Citizens and the relatively few incidents in which firearms are used as tools in actual criminal acts.
    Firearm ownership is as American as Mom and Apple pie.
    If I may offer some possibly helpful suggestions for promo’s to counter the chronic and incessant propaganda campaign being waged by the Anti-Rights, Anti-American, Ban-the-Gun factions and their familiars in gov’t.— consider getting the film crews out to events in which youths are having a great time being taught how to safely handle and shoot firearms, and sporting events involving the ladies.
    With regard to DGU’s the ‘no-shots-fired’ circumstances are unarguably the most desirable, for obvious reasons.

  27. avatarMy Name Is Bob says:

    They need to start doing DGU PSA’s ASAP. (Whoa, way too many acronyms).

  28. avatarDave says:

    My feeling is that we are going to lose some this year no matter what. The background checks seem like a done deal, and the Senate seems to be softening on the magazine limits too. Maybe the thing to do is to get some pro-gun Congressmen add some pro-gun provisions to whatever bill emerges in the House. Like national carry.

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