A Common Sense Guide to Gun Control Terminology

Post-Sandy Hook, the gun control industry has kicked into high gear. As we’ve proven time and time again, gun control advocates base their arguments—such as they are—on dubious scientific studies. They shamelessly, artlessly cherry pick and twist data to bolster their appeal. And no wonder; the facts simply do not support gun control advocates’ anti-gun agenda. Which is why emotional appeals are their primary “weapon” in their endless fight to restrict Americans’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. To that end, the gun control industry creates videos like the one above and manipulates language itself. Here’s a guide to some of the euphemisms gun control advocates use to control the conversation about guns. See what they did there? Make the jump for more . . .

“A conversation about guns” – Both gun rights and gun control advocates abhor armed criminals, madmen and terrorists. And yet gun control advocates have no desire to discuss anything with gun rights advocates. Not gun safety. Not enforcement of current laws. Nada. What they really mean: listen to us not them.

“Assault rifle” – Technically, an “assault rifle” can switch between semi-automatic (one bullet per trigger squeeze) and fully automatic (multiple bullets per trigger squeeze). Also, any rifle that can be used to “assault” can be used to “defend.” What they really mean: ban all rifles that don’t look like traditional hunting rifles.

“Military style rifle” – There’s no technical definition for a “military-style” rifle. But gun control advocates know one when they see one: the AR-15. That said, any rifle without a wooden stock, and many with (e.g., the AK-47), qualify. What they really mean: ban all rifles that don’t look like traditional bolt-action hunting rifles. And some that do.

“Weapons of War” – America’s Founding Fathers created the Second Amendment to ensure that citizens would have access to firearms suitable for warfare (as opposed to, say, duck hunting). The gun control industry uses the term to attempt to capitalize on the Supreme Court’s opinion (expressed in Heller) that it’s OK to ban machine guns. What they really mean: ban all rifles that don’t look like traditional bolt-action hunting rifles.

“High Capacity Magazine or Clip” – The gun control industry uses the term “high capacity” magazines or “high-capacity clips” to mislead people into believing that standard capacity ammunition magazines (e.g., an AR-15’s 30-round magazine) are inherently dangerous. What they really mean: ban all ammunition magazines that hold more than 10-rounds.

“Gun Show Loophole” – While gun dealers must run an FBI background check on purchasers and record the transaction, Americans can buy and sell firearms to each other without running a check or notifying the government. Background checks don’t prevent crime but the gun control industry wants government supervision of private sales. What they really mean: the government should control, and then restrict, all firearms sales.

“Common sense gun control” – The dictionary definition of common sense: “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” The gun control industry uses the term to lead Americans into short-circuiting rational contemplation of the facts. What they really mean: support gun control—any gun control—because you feel bad about people being shot.

“I support the Second Amendment” –  The gun control industry wants laws that violate the Second Amendment (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”). But they know that won’t play in Peoria. So they add the word “but” after voicing their support. What they really mean: I want you to believe I support the Second Amendment even though I don’t.

“We Are Better Than This” – It’s the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s slogan of the moment. What they really mean: Americans need to transcend (i.e., ignore) their Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms in order to stop innocent people from being shot.

“Gun Violence” – Suicides account for around half of all firearms-related deaths. Accidents represent a fraction of the total. The majority of firearms-related homicides are related to criminal activity (usually connected to illegal drugs). The gun control industry lumps them all together to pin responsibility on an inanimate object (a gun). What they really mean: feel guilty for not supporting gun control.

Please add to the list below and I’ll add them above.


  1. avatar William says:

    I want a t-shirt that says, “NO YOU’RE NOT!”

  2. avatar IndyEric says:

    I wonder why they selected a bald OFWG for this ad…..

    1. avatar Lolinski says:

      You mean Ralph?

      PS: Nothing against Ralph, just couldn’t waste an opportunity like that.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I still have some of my mind and most of my hair. So nope, I’m not bald. As far as the rest, I plead the Fifth. Wild Turkey would be acceptible.

  3. avatar Lance says:

    You nailed it RF. We must always get past bad names the media which itself now is nothing more than a Brady Campaign voice boxes on TV. Im still happy polls mostly dont support the media’s wants in gun bans.

  4. avatar Randy Drescher says:

    “If only one person is saved”. That sure as sh.t doesn’t pertain to a lawfull gun owner, Randy

  5. avatar brian says:

    “We’re not going to take your guns away”

    Really means:

    “We’re going to force you to sell your guns to us so we can destroy them. See? We’re not taking them, you’re selling them to us. Or else.”

  6. avatar Casey T says:

    I would change “common sense gun control” to “common sense” which translates to restrictions on rights that are inherent that uneducated non-gun owners believe are fair. That’s really what they are.

    Also, I would add Brady Campaign, an organization that is dedicated to protecting the citizens of America through common sense measures that will keep everyone safe. When we really know that they are a group of lying, treasonous lowlifes who prey on the ignorant so as to try to subjugate the masses.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      The Brady returds are just trying to keep the money flowing from MAIG and the Joyce Foundation.

  7. avatar Mr aNINNYmouse says:

    Every time something like this:
    is out out, there needs to be a firm and loud debunking of the “data” and “findings”.

  8. avatar In Memphis says:

    Feel free to flame, Im about to ask for it with this one. I dont want to give the antis any ground at all and I know some of you use clips but please hear me out.

    Let them ban high capacity clips. Let it be written as such “clips” so when the law passes we can still have and buy new standard capacity magazines.

    Im not saying its a good idea or that I want them to ban anything, but if they MUST ban something then let their wrong use of terminology bite them in the @&&

    1. avatar Mr aNINNYmouse says:

      ….because their staff don’t troll this blog, of course.

      1. avatar In Memphis says:

        True Mr A, we agree on that. But these people have been using the wrong terms for a long time and while we continue to use the right terms their ignorance perseveres

        1. avatar Mr aNINNYmouse says:

          Well, that’s because it’s their intent that is important. Correct parlance is inconsequential to them. You know, because they care and are enlightened….

        2. avatar Mr aNINNYmouse says:

          …and ‘clips’ belong on paper, hair and n1pples….

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      They end-run the issue by calling them “high capacity feeding devices.” Which includes magazines and belts but probably not actual clips. Clips would more accurately be described as “loading devices,” since they do not feed the gun but only load the feeding devices.

      1. avatar In Memphis says:

        Good point Ralph thank you.

        Okay so whats with the constant use of the word clips then?

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          It’s a word the wingnuts use when they’re trying to sound like they know something.

        2. avatar AlphaGeek says:

          Hell, at this point I’m convinced it’s a deliberate misuse by would-be gun confiscators to piss off the opposition. It’s very similar to GOP mouthpieces calling their counterparts the “Democrat Party” simply to get under their skin.

  9. avatar Casey T says:

    So let me get this straight, the Aurora shooter uses a shotgun to perform most of the killing and yet we blame a rifle? Then, we want to disarm the country to make it safer? Then I ask how is there going to be a guarantee that nothing will happen to my daughter when she gets older? Who will guard her 24 hours per day without invading her privacy to ensure that she isn’t mugged or sexually assaulted when she is an adult? I know how she can be safe, it’s called being armed and that’s what will happen. At 21, she’s going to get a handgun for her birthday if she doesn’t already have one and will have been trained by her father, who is pretty darn good with a pistol. I look at everything in this world through what I want my daughter to grow up with, she isn’t ever fully safe and less so because of this anti gun agenda. These people are uninformed and ignorant and have no business rendering an opinion on this matter and while I respected their first amendment rights to express and demonstrate their ignorance, I feel the need to use mine to exclaim that one tragedy does not justify the creation of legislation that will result in thousands more. If they want to save just one more life, they need to shut up and get some education because some woman, man, child, etc will be hurt because their ability to protect them self will have subverted from this and that’s unacceptable. Yes, something terrible happened to those parents’ but look at the people you are helping, they ensured that your children had no protection.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      It doesn’t matter if they blame the rifle, the shotgun or the shooter’s toilet training. What they’re not doing is blaming the goddamned murderer. It galls me when wingnuts blame you, me and the NRA for something that a crazy [email protected] did with a gun.

  10. avatar Jack says:

    “Gun deaths”: Sounds like people murdered by guns, but actually means people killed by guns under any circumstances, including self-defense.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Each one of them should be wearing a T-shirt that says “I’m With Stupid.”

    1. avatar Casey T says:

      With an arrow pointing up.

  12. avatar blinkypete says:

    “Cop killer bullets” – any bullet fired from a gun we don’t like. They are generally hollow point, armor piercing and heat seeking.
    “Glock 7” an all plastic gun used by terrorists to take over Dulles National Airport, a plot luckily foiled by police officer John McLane. Despite a preemptive ban on all plastic guns, and the fact that they don’t exist, the Glock 7 and others still manage to pop up in news reports, specifically one from MSNBC recently.
    “That shoulder thing that goes up” – a barrel shroud, or an advanced shoulder mounted focused energy device used by a species of interstellar alien in the hunting of humans and another species of particularly impolite alien. Hey, at least it’s got a legitimate sporting use.

  13. avatar jkp says:

    “Enough!” — A phrase used when someone is sick of attempting to persuade her fellow citizens of the rightness of her political beliefs, and now simply prefers to pretend that the fight is over, when it has only just begun.

  14. avatar Wiregrass says:

    And if they succeed in banning weapons that don’t look like traditional bolt action hunting rifles, traditional bolt action hunting rifles will become “sniper rifles”.

    1. avatar إبليس says:

      No magnification greater than 4x?

      1. avatar Derek says:

        No legitimate hunter needs to shoot at 1000 yards. If you can’t get within 100 yards of a deer then you’re not a hunter.

        1. avatar Nathan says:

          100 yards = point blank range. No fun.

  15. avatar Paul M says:

    “Common sense gun control”
    Let’s break this down just a bit.

    Common Sense: If it were so damn common, everyone would have a little.

    Gun Control: Between my safe, and my trigger finger, I think I am covered.


  16. avatar Gyufygy says:

    Assault Weapons Ban: Modern Weapon Ban

  17. avatar Pulatso says:

    “Demand a Plan” – scream like a frightened child.

  18. avatar Swarf says:

    This doesn’t fit in to the catch phrase idea of this particular article, but one of the things I keep seeing in various papers that is bothering the hell out of me are the pleas not to stigmatize all mentally ill people because of the actions of a few nut jobs.

    Hello! Us law-abiding, non-murdering gun owners could use a little bit of that treatment, too. Where’s my article?

    1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

      SHHHH, (whispering) we are gun owners them people don’t celebrate us, after all WE are the problem, or is it my inanimate chunks of metal and plastic……….like there is any difference for them-between me and my guns that is……….

  19. avatar Bill F says:

    “Too many” = I don’t know how many and I’m too lazy to find out.

  20. avatar Friendly Neighborhood Gunsmith says:

    “Compromise” is a good one I hear a lot, usually accompanied by demands and claiming gun owners already have everything so they don’t need to get anything in return.

    “Public safety”
    “Legitimate hunters”
    “Gun crime” and “gun deaths” or “killed by guns”
    “Nobody needs a machinegun”
    “We need to take action” or any variant thereof

    I’m sure there are some more tropes I can dig up but there’s a good start to the new gun ban glossary.

  21. avatar Roll says:

    “gun control advocates base their arguments—such as they are—on dubious scientific studies”

    Not unless you use the “Piers Morgan method”; this is when you whine, shout, interrupt and bitch like a spoiled child who didnt get ice cream for dessert; until the person you are “debating” against is awestruck by your stupidity and lack of logical argument. Thats when you “win”.

  22. avatar Ralph says:

    High Powered Rifle: a rifle that fires any caliber larger than .22. If a .223 is “high power,” then what is a .308 or .30-06? A freakin’ cannon? Oh, wait. Chris Cuomo called Lanza’s .223 Bushmaster “a cannon” on The View, so that must mean that a .30-06 is a weapon of mass destruction.

    You can’t fix stoopid.

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      Does that make a shotgun with slugs a Destroyer of Worlds?

      1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

        I had someone tell me that a .50BMG rifle was an anti-tank weapon around the time they were banned in CA.

        Frankly, I think the biggest enemy to 2A rights is the movie industry depicting completely unrealistic yet believable-looking effects from various firearms. The problems range from .50BMG sniper rifles punching through heavy armor plate, to guys flying backwards when a couple rounds of 5.56 hit their load-bearing vests. Rifle rounds causing 155mm-howitzer-grade explosions are also a favorite.

        1. avatar Gyufygy says:

          Maybe for WW1-era tanks. -_-

  23. avatar Jan says:

    For some reason I see the husband standing there thinking to himself “why do I have to be here for this bs”.

  24. avatar DisThunder says:

    I want TTAG to market response t-shirts that say “WE ARE BETTER THAN YOU.” with a little TTAG logo on there somewhere.

    1. avatar Wiregrass says:

      I want one that says “A well regulated Militia: It’s not the cause, it’s the effect.

  25. avatar Derek says:

    “Gun Show Loophole”: A magical place, outside the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal law but still just outside of town (much like Narnia), where all laws even remotely regarding firearms are null and void.

    Assault/Military Style Weapon/Rifle or (my favorite) Semi-Automatic Machine Gun: A totally arbitrarily defined term used to describe any firearm we don’t like; all of them. Eg http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/05/01/bullet-button-used-to-get-around-california-gun-laws/ Notice the writer continues to call the CA Legal rifles Military Style and Assault Weapons even though CA bans rifles like that.

    “Legitimate Hunter”: A slightly less frightening sub-species of blood thirsty gun nut. They fantasize about killing Bambi and bunny rabbits instead of children and grandmas. They tend to shy away from gun control debates which makes it easier to divide and conquer as they don’t like to come to the aid of other types of gun nuts. They think we’ll leave them alone after we ban the machine guns… but we won’t.

  26. avatar revjen45 says:

    “Legitimate hunter” as opposed to one who doesn’t know who his daddy was?

  27. avatar LarryArnold says:

    “Gun safety organization”

    Guns will only be safe if you can’t have any.

  28. avatar pat says:

    Are there any liberals left on this forum (after the events of the last few weeks)? Man, being a liberal AND being for the 2nd amendment, I cant believe you aint switching sides. You dudes must be driven mad by your elected liberal officials when they make such comments.

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