I read dozens of articles about civilian disarmament every day. Not one of them uses the term “civilian disarmament.” Why would they? Any journalist who described gun control as what it is – civilian disarmament – would stand accused of pro-gun rights bias. (Heaven forfend.) The correct term of art is “gun control.” Well, it was. Thanks to the well-paid efforts of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s spinmeisters and their mainstream media camp followers, journalists now report on “gun safety” legislation. This despite the obvious fact that . . .
American gun owners’ guns are safe; both safely stored and completely incapable of perpetrating “gun violence” on their own. (Yeah, I know, “gun violence.” As opposed to “knife violence” or “fist violence” or “vehicular violence.”) While the term “gun safety” hasn’t completely replaced “gun control” in the press, there’s not a Democrat politician in these here United States who talks about “gun control” anymore.
That’s because there’s political safety in talking about gun safety rather than gun control. Well, some. The chart above hails from a Washington Post article entitled Does the phrase ‘gun control’ hurt the push for new gun laws? The answer is yes. Yes it does. Interestingly, in the case cited, not much. An eight percent swing isn’t enormous in the world of political polling.
I suspect we’d see a similar disparity if Americans were asked about “gun control laws” vs. “gun safety laws.” Which would explain why gun control advocates are now promoting the term “gun reform”: they’re hoping the new term will move the needle towards greater support for the unsupportable. This despite the fact that Americans’ firearms are in no need of reformation – political, religious or practical.
Clearly, civilian disarmament proponents are playing silly buggers with words to try to sell gun control laws to less-than-entirely-motivated pro-gun rights voters. (Pro-gun control voters don’t require sneaky semantics.) And it’s not working. Saying that, the Post‘s Amber Phillips and other jobbing journos have drunk the anti-gun Kool-Aid. They believe you can use words to be pro-gun control without being pro-gun control. Like this:
As the National Journal was reminded in a tweet Tuesday about Republican businessman and former Colorado congressional candidate Ryan Frazier, being among the 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans who support background checks doesn’t mean you’re in favor of “gun control.”
When you lump these popular policies together or ask about stricter gun laws in general, support for new measures goes down — most notably among Republicans and independents.
So clearly, how you talk about these things can matter — in a big way. Much bigger, in fact, than saying “gun control” vs. “new gun laws.”
That’s some serious journalistic jiu jitsu. It also explains why presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton keeps talking about “universal background checks” when she hawks her position on “gun safety.” The majority of Americans support them!
Yes but – do the majority of Americans know what “universal background checks” means? If they could connect the dots between UBC’s and federal firearms registration and the likelihood of government firearms confiscation, I reckon support for UBC’s would wilt like a daisy in a blizzard. As Another Robert comments below, respondents probably think “universal background checks” refers to the current background check system.
Here’s a question. Do you believe all Americans should have to register their guns with the federal government? I’d like to think that the majority of Americans would reject that notion. But really, the crucial question is this: do Americans have an individual right to keep and bear arms without government infringement (a term that would also require explanation, sad to say)?
As our friend Bruce Krafft points out, so what? The right to keep and bear arms is a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right. As such, it’s subject neither to the democratic process nor arguments about social utility. No matter what you call it, no matter how many people support it, civilian disarmament is a clear and present danger to our gun rights. Word.