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Reader Don N. writes:

Have you noticed the new moniker “law-enforcement-style shotgun”? I know you used it on TTAG earlier, but I think we are seeing a new piece of propaganda being born. I’ve seen it repeated in several articles the past few days. Propaganda trends are neat and if we expose them, then people may take offense to the propagandizers’ attempts at manipulating their perspectives . . .

The anti-gun media recognized their mistake calling a magazine a “clip” too late. Our response: “These are two distinct and different pieces of equipment – shows how much you know.”  But they couldn’t just switch the terminology they already invested in, because that may confuse the audience they were propagandizing, so now we have the new moniker, “magazine-clip”.  I’ve seen the ubiquity of this term increase rapidly over the past several months among the anti-gun media and politicians. It’s an attempt to counter the “shows how much you know” response while at the same time not losing their propaganda investment in the word “clip”.

A long time ago we had rifles, lever rifles, bolt action rifles and semi-automatic rifles. We then began to have “service rifles” and “battle rifles” and later “assault rifles”.  All technical terms with specific meanings. Then the propagandizers chose (out of malicious intent, ignorance or both) to call our semi-autos “assault rifles”.  We pointed out that they weren’t “assault rifles” and why they aren’t any more special or capable compared to other semi-automatic rifles. “Shows how much you know, again”.

But they’d already invested greatly in the propaganda, telling people that these were the same weapons the military uses. And to counter our “shows how much you know,” they coined the mew moniker, “military-style assault rifles”.  An attempt, again, to hide their ignorance, conflating civilian weapons with military capabilities to garner support from an uneducated public to prepare the ground to take our semi-automatic rifles away.

But how the heck do you make a pump shotgun sound scary?  A Remington 870? That’s grandpa’s shotgun. Dad had one, for God’s sake. That’s the gun even non-gun people have likely shot some clays with (and my, how fun that was!).  That’s a tough one because people are generally quite comfortable and familiar with pump shotguns. It required coining a new term, setting a new standard for contrivance; the “law enforcement-style shotgun”.

It fits nicely with their other recent incendiary term, “military-style assault rifle” in that it adds special qualifiers up front suggesting that these firearms need to be associated with special status, specially trained individuals and are only to be used for their specially sanctioned purposes. But to preempt complaints about the inaccuracy of the term, they again add “-style” as an excuse.  Exactly what is a “law-enforcement-style” shotty? Are the stocks black plastic instead of wood or camo?  “Law enforcement-style” is just the newest contrived term, again designed to garner support from the uneducated public to prepare the ground to take our shotguns away.

And while we’re at it, let’s open the debate and have a national conversation about reasonable, common-sense, rational, solutions. Along with any other adjectives and euphemisms  we can conjure up.  “Opening the debate” is a euphemism for “I want to ban your guns, iteratively over time”.  Calling it a debate suggests that we should have something to say to them and that both parties have something to gain. If we attend the “debate” and win, then we’ll just be invited to another “debate” where they’ll try again to beat us.  If we lose a “debate” we end up losing something, maybe small, and then we get invited to still another “Debate”.

Let’s also have a “national conversation”.  That sounds like we’re going to trade ideas and share perspectives to better understand each other. Who could be against that? But the discussion really boils down to “listen to us tell you that we want to ban your guns”. These “national conversations” imply there is something to be discussed. But I don’t have anything to discuss; they want to ban my guns and they’re going to keep telling me that over and over hoping to wear me down.

“Common sense and rationality.” Again, who can argue with that?  Is it though? What’s happening with these terms is that the propagandizers broadened the term “gun nut” to include anyone who owns a firearm and appreciates having it. Unfortunately, their name calling looked bad, so they had to figure out how to call someone crazy without actually calling them crazy. Simple: you call yourself and your own ideas “common sense and rational.” By implication, anyone who disagrees with you is, therefore, crazy. “Solutions”, even “seeking solutions”, these imply that there is a problem in the first place. In some areas there certainly are, but all of the “solutions” the gun-grabbers are talking about are aimed at solving the problem of legal gun ownership. But it sounds really enlightened. Until you pay attention.

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  1. This new term will cause a run on “LE style shotguns.” Partly from the crowd that thinks what LE has must be better, and partly from those who fear they will now be banned. Way to go media–for drumming up fresh interest in something that’s been around for a while. They’re affordable too. This publicity will bring a few more people into our fold.

  2. In my NRA Shotgun Instructor class we had former LEO’s who insisted there was a difference between a civilian shotgun, ie 5 or less round magazine and 24″+ barrel and a law enforcement shotgun, ie 18-20″ barrel and 7+ round magazine, or what is commonly known as a home defense shotgun.

    But this still begs the question, why the hell should the police be above civilians in regards to the arms they have access to?

    • I think the key is that the police ARE civilians. When we let them convince us that the police are more than civilians it moves us one step closer to living in a police state.

    • If you have a seven round tube, I don’t think you can actually saw it down much – not unless you want to tube protruding past the barrel.

      As such, I am going to assume that the Navy Yard killer had a 5-round mag.

    • Because police are still horrified by the gangsters of the 20s and nutjobs in the 80s & 90s they wanna be certain that no one short of the US army can out gun them no matter how remote the odds are that they encounter a squad sized element armed with full autos they still wanna be ready for it. kinda paranoid no?

      • Here’s a thought: how’bout instead of relying on whiz bang marketing gizmo gun that can be purchased likety split on the tax payers dime they start shooting better than the average civilian.

        I compete on a monthly basis in USPSA and IDPA, and I’ve seen very few LEO show up. Of those that do, maybe 1/4 of them break into the upper half of the match rankings. I know that USPSA and IDPA are tactics, but you would think a person who is A-OK by the snoozing public to carry a gun publically would be able to shoot accureate, fast and on the move.

        Vetrans are something else… They generally show up and shoot well, and work on improving. I only ever see the beter 1/4 of the LEO show up again…

    • Actually not an innaccurate term, just an archaic one. Wikipedia says a riot shotgun is “esigned or modified for use as a primarily defensive weapon, by the use of a short barrel and a larger magazine capacity than shotguns marketed for hunting”…so a modern HD shotgun, which is what he had.

  3. Every time I hear anyone say “common sense” in any context these days, I reflexively give my CCW a reassuring pat on the cylinder. That term is dead to me.

    • “Common sense” has always in my experience been considered a conflict in terms. “Common sense”, the half-truths of a deceitful society, fits right into the rhetoric of the gun grabbers’ propaganda.

      With how the anti’s have taken possession of the phrase as their battle cry, it has become a pejorative term to those who can think for themselves, and certainly to all who have had the term played on them by progressive liberal Democrats, no matter what the context.

      It’s a way for extremists who want to force their will onto others, to proclaim they must be right, without actually justifying their position.

  4. I think I’m going to duracoat all my shotguns hot pink. What self respecting lawman would call a pink shotgun a law enforcement type shotgun.

  5. Most of these idiots wouldn’t know a shotgun from a Winchester 1873 if they had big labels on them.

    The most common shotgun I’ve seen locked in a LEO’s rack is a shorter barreled pump with a wooden stock and short magazine. So I guess a turkey gun or even a duck gun is now a “Law Enforcement-Style Shotgun”. Gotta wonder what’s next.

  6. I’m sure glad that I have a Remington 11-87 “Field.” Otherwise they could call my semiautomatic shotgun a “military style” weapon that is only good for killing people. Since it is a field-type shotty it is only capable of killing Donald Duck.

    • Tell that to the Californians who will, this coming January, be the proud owners of Ruger assault-ranch (ranch-assault?) rifles.

    • If current liberal cartoonists were actually able to draw somewhat realistic, compelling, endearing cartoon ducks a la Donald, rather than the impressionistic propaganda loaded crap they produce for the kiddie shows these days you can bet they would try to make a sweet, loveable, little-bit quirky duck character and then Bambi-fy it in the minds of children and parents so they could vilify you for wanting to kill it with your “field shotgun”

      Never worked for rabbits because Bugs was a dick and Elmer couldn’t actually hit him anyway (always with a Joe Biden), but you can bet if they thought it would help their civilian disarmament case they would make the hunter an evil and cruel villain (probably a corporate CEO or conservative politician when he wasn’t hunting) and the duck as sweet, harmless and loveable as he could possibly be (probably with a wife and kids at home that he was trying to support on a minimum wage foraging-in-the-swamp job and food stamps).

      • Unless it is Donald being served up as Peking Duck at the DC area’s most famous Chinese restaurant “The Peking Gourmet.”

  7. I say if they’re foolish enough to demonize pump guns, we should encourage the mistake. If they want to awaken the Fudds and move them to the mall-ninja side of the fight, let them.

    • My thoughts exactly.

      There are a lot of gun owners who continue voting for gun grabbers because they believe them when they say “we don’t want to take your guns away.”

      Let them start coming after “law enforcement style shotguns.” And stay tuned for “law enforcement style handguns” or something. I’m sure at some point, a .357 magnum revolver will be used in a high-profile crime, and they’ll dream up some evil-sounding name for those too.

      Then every single gun owner will see that something of theirs is on the ban list too.

      • Magnum revolver? Just dredge up ‘Dirty Harry’ again. Not satisfied with a 9mm, some maniacs have to arm themselves with weapons twice as powerful as the pistols carried by the Army! These are weapons that are used to hunt bears, and we’re going to allow them on the streets of our cities? Are people so paranoid that they really think a bear is waiting around the corner for them?

        End sarcasm.

      • This has already happened in California, Massachusetts and NY, where the governments have imposed a ten round limit on “civilian” firearms, but exempted LEO from the same limit. Therefore everything in excess of ten rounds is a “military style” or “law enforcement style” firearm. [California and Massachusetts have gone beyond that, requiring various “safety” features as well, such as LCI, manual safeties, with more to come.]

        • 7 round limit in NY, not 10… just because NY wants to be special. (you can own a 10 round magazine but can only load 7 rounds in, because of the children)

    • Ah, but it’s just the synthetic, black stock that makes it evil. There’s no possible way a Remington 870 Express outfitted with wooden furniture could ever be used in a mass shooting.

      • I was watching “Gun Stories” the other day and they showed an AR-10 with a steel, color-hardened lower and upper and hand-rubbed wood furniture all around. It was gorgeous and not a piece of plastic on it anywhere. I suspect the antis would still classify it as a “military style assault rifle”.

        Scary Black Rifle may be the facetious term we use for these weapons, but all they really care about is that it’s a gun (I know, “This is my rifle, this is my gun…”) and they don’t want anybody but the authorities to have them. Recent events (Ft Hood, Navy Yard) have also proved that they don’t trust the military to have them on a regular basis either unless they are running around in someone else’s country.

        Here’s the link to that show:

  8. Just exactly which model 870 was used? Short-barrel? Adjustable stock? Somthing that made disassembly/reassembly a bit easier, apparently. Perchance we counter with the term “Home-defense style shotgun”?

    • That’s playing the game on their turf. The is *no* shotgun that should be off limits to any civilian, no matter its barrel length, mag capacity, color, grip style, sights…whatever.

    • Somthing that made disassembly/reassembly a bit easier, apparently.

      It’s pretty dead easy on any stock 870. Slide the action to the halfway point and unscrew the magazine tube cap – the barrel comes right off.

      • Exactly. News articles are using the term “sawed-off” which in the my mind means he cut the barrel down, when in reality it was probably a non-NFA 18″ barrel. Now the sheeple will see a normal HD shotgun with a normal barrel and think it’s a mass murder tool.

  9. We constantly come in second in the Great Semantic War. We need to get out front. Some suggestions :
    Joe Biden configured shotgun
    Womens defensive gun
    PETA approved harvesting tool
    SCOTUS Justice Scalia practice instrument get the idea. Beat em at their own game.

  10. Ttag has not been paying attention. The police and media, in their reports, will always attempt to spin the person they report on in a negative light.
    He wore the rifle tactically
    The rifle was tactically slung
    He wore a tactical holster
    He wore tactical boots
    Last year I read a report of a guy with tactical socks, no joke…
    Tactical paint
    Tactical assault rifle

  11. I don’t understand why they want to conform the country to fit them. They all say “England is better, because there are no guns, and universal health care, and no freedom of speech.”

    I say it sounds like the liberals already have a made to order paradise, why not move and stop screwing it up for the rest of us.

    One problem down, now how do we fix the lack of affordable ammo?

  12. I have a police style shotgun. A maverick 88 with short barrel and 7+1 capacity. It’s honest and above board about it’s purpose.

    Now my Mossberg 500 is a sneaky basterd. He transforms from an innocent looking fudd gun to a killer and the very quick change of the barrel.

    And if they did outlaw short barrels and folding stocks on a shotgun? Buy a fudd gun or two and a good hacksaw. Store them together until the Katrina moment happens.

  13. Thank you Dan for that well laid out expose of the grabbers’ use of rhetorically descriptive terms to demonize firearms in common use by the citizens of this country and to propagandize their efforts as anything other than a total gun grab.

  14. Time will tell, but I suspect the rise of the term “law enforcement-style shotgun” has less to do with gun grabbing and more to do with the fact that most “journalists” are clueless about guns and very lazy. So one guy called it an LE-style shotgun, and the rest copied him, out of laziness and and assumption (since they didn’t know any better) that it was an actual term that meant something. There might be a few grabbers out there who seized on it as an opportunity to make the gun sound more sinister or powerful, but I don’t think this one has “assault rifle” style staying power.

  15. I would have thought that they would resort to the label: Tactical Shotgun. Sounds like it is an official designation for trained military and law enforcement; which we, of course, shouldn’t have. /sarcasm

  16. “And if they did outlaw short barrels and folding stocks on a shotgun? Buy a fudd gun or two and a good hacksaw. Store them together until the Katrina moment happens”

    Or if it’s a single purpose Katrina moment gun, you could cut the barrel almost all the way through with a tube cutter. Then it could be easily snapped off in a moment of need.

  17. Putting a name on something is an essential step in any public relations campaign. Even Alinsky goes on and on about it in his playbook. Naming something affords the campaigner the ability to control the dialog. It’s done on both sides (think “Tea-Bagger,” “gun-grabber,” “99%,”); it’s absolutely necessary in order to prevail in the public debate of any topic. I believe we (people of the gun) could do a much better job when it comes to dreaming up (and deploying) clever nomenclature for things that are anti-liberty. But, it’s a tendency for firearm lovers to keep things quiet – and this may one day lead to the confiscation of our beloved assets.

    • @ ToddR,

      “…may one day lead to the confiscation of our beloved assets.”

      Like employer subsidized healthcare going away as part of one’s compensation!

      “Affordable Care Act”, anyone?

  18. Good post. Another bit of propaganda would be their aversion to even acknowledging that there are actually large numbers of citizens on the other side of the so-called debate or national discussion.

    Instead we hear about the evil NRA, the gun lobby and greedy gun manufacturers. It’s not citizens that recall elected officials and our elected officials are not taking directions from their constituents. Rather, it’s NRA money and lobbying that drives these issues.

  19. They use inflammatory labels partially out of abject ignorance and stupidity, but mostly because it makes them feel better. It gives them an emotional release because they dream of attacking us physically but lack both the means and the courage to do so.


    • I have a stock 870 Express, and it loads 4+1, not 5+1. I went and checked the manual online just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. Of course all the pictures shown by the Daily Fail article show an 870 with an extended magazine. So maybe they mean 5+1 using 3 1/2″ shells – but that sounds a little oversized for 12-pellet 00 buck, and why would he saw off the barrel when the mag tube is barely any shorter?

      I swear, couldn’t media outlets keep ONE gun-knowledgeable person on staff?

      • They might like to (doubtful), but where would they find such a person? Can you say “hostile work environment?”

        • You mean they couldn’t just let him out of the closet to proofread, then lock him back in when he’s done? After having spit on him and called him an “NRA baby killer”, of course. The forms must be observed.

    • Pretty sure their readers got the image of some testosterone-fueld, muscle-headed American wielding a 6-barreled shotgun. As was the intent.

  20. OMG! I am so incredibly surprised the YouTube Carolyn “thing that goes up” McCarthy video hasn’t been posted regarding these law-enforcement style shotguns!

  21. My Stevens M350 probably counts as a “police-style” shogun. I suppose I should turn it in for a safe, civillian shot gun, like a Mossburg 500.

  22. Thank you Dan…We’ve seen plenty of this type of insidious language now. The pattern is clear as day now for folks that have been paying attention. We need to do everything possible to wake up the low information folks to this evil. Turning the gun-braggers play book on them may work so some degree (I think we need to) but the truth is our greatest ally…
    It seems like we’re getting some traction now but we have a long way to go. Through knowledge, logic and persistence we will prevail… I like to say “They can’t really beat you if you don’t give up”. I personally never will give up on our rights…
    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every American Patriot that posts here. You folks Rock!!! I am truly in awe by the collective logic, wisdom, insight, creativity and true love for the greatest country this world has ever seen… The United States of America…. May God continue to bless every one of us… Carry on…

  23. Gun and Ammo companies aren’t helping. Look at a box of Federal HST and it says “law enforcement” in big letters.

    • +1 That’s a good point: maybe Federal Ammo should be making a line of ammo called “Enthusiast Grade”

    • Speer does the same thing with Gold Dot. They have the “Personal Protection” version and the “Law Enforcement Gold Dot Duty” version. It is the exact same ammo. The ballistics are exactly the same. The difference is that the LE comes in a 50 round box and the part number starts with a 5 while the Personal Protection version comes in a 20 round box and the part number starts with a 2. On their website they have the results of the FBI test protocol for the LE version but not the PP version. It is just marketing BS and does a disservice to us all by implying there is a difference between what LE needs and what everyone else needs for personal protection.

      Even though I don’t like the marketing BS, I buy the ammo because I trust it. I always buy the LE version because I can find it cheaper per round.

    • Many people buy law-enforcement marked ammo for defensive use (both carry and for home guns) because it eliminates one point of challenge by opposing counsel in prosecution or lawsuit. From a “using non-controversial ammo” point of view, assuming you’re not living under some ridiculous no-hollowpoints ban:

      LE-marked ammo > name brand ammo > generic ammo > hand-loaded ammo

      Personally, I don’t feel the need to use LE-marked ammo, but I do insist on running commercially available defensive loads which have been proven in the real world. Which, ironically, usually means stuff bought by LE agencies even if the ammo itself isn’t marked “law enforcement”.

      • We, the ammo buying public are to blame for the marketing that is aimed(pun, yes) at us. What do you buy, the pink federal shells? My wife buys these, boxes and boxes….

  24. Whenever I hear the old “we need to have a national conversation or debate..” routine, I say “Fine, I’ll start. We need to use some ‘common sense’ and put forth a real effort to determine which of the many ‘unreasonable’ gun control laws on the books now we should repeal first.”

  25. A “law enforcement style shotgun” sounds right to me.

    Like the one the police in Long Beach used to shoot a man holding a nozzle. Call it the money shot — the city had to pay the man’s estate $6.5 million.

    Or maybe like the one that brave police in Chicago used to kill a 95 year old man in his nursing home.

    Or the one the NYPD used on a 66 year old woman who was behind in her rent.

    Or maybe the one that the NOLA cops used at the Danziger Bridge.

    I’d prefer “LE style murder weapon,” but I’ll settle for LE style shotgun.

  26. Hat tip to Don. Nice article.
    We have already lost the fight that “evil features” do not increase the lethality of a firearm. Just look at DiFi’s list of “evil features” that make a Mini-014 into an EBR or “Assault Weapon”–folding stocks, forward grips, handguards, pistol grips and thumbhole stocks. If it “looks” evil, it must be so. Now we have a new “evil feature”–Black. Black is bad, evil, to be banned, therefore a gun painted black must be evil and dangerous, and therefore prohibited.

    • {shrug} I’d be perfectly willing to give up black if they’d STFU about the rest, though we know that’s not how this works. Mottled dark grays make better low-light camo anyway.

  27. Dan Z, this line is pure brilliance:

    ”Opening the debate” is a euphemism for “I want to ban your guns, iteratively over time”.

    If we had signature blocks on TTAG comments, that would be the new quote in mine. You nailed it.

    If you wanted to take that to its logical conclusion, you could expand it to “I want to ban your guns, iteratively over time, leaving you a monotonically decreasing range of self-defense options.”

  28. Few random thoughts.

    Riot gun is a very old term for short barrel sg used by police .

    I have a 10to 15 year old patch from Mossberg in the shape of a badge,that says, “Mossberg Law Enforcement Shotguns.”

    Nothing new here.

    The guys on the job who call the public civilians the most are former military….

  29. Also be on the lookout for “High Power Sniper Rifles”, AKA a bolt action rifle with a scope!
    And lets not forget “Military Style Bullets” AKA soft-point or hollow-point bullets!

    • Soft-point and hollow-point bullets are definitely NOT “military style”–the Geneva accords specifically prohibit their use by the military.

      • Hague Convention, not Geneva Convention, and they’re only prohibited for use by signatories against other signatories. The United States is not a signatory, though we generally abide by the rule.

  30. After Vice President Shotgun Joey Biden urged all Americans to go out and buy a ‘military grade’ ‘weapon of war since the US Civil War’ a 12 gauge shotgun, because elderly and women would be unlikely to be able to effectively use it in self defense, the Obamanation must now distinguish between good Shotgun Joey B 12 gauges and evil Shotgun Joey B 12 gauges.

  31. I think this is great. Now if some anti gunner would add a “high powered sniper rifle” meme maybe, just maybe, some of the “my gun is safe” crowd would finally realize its not just about AR-15s anymore.

  32. Never vote libtard (democrat) again. I hope many of you on this forum have learned the lesson.
    Don’t be a libtard….and certainly don’t vote for one.

      • Rather simplistic analogy, in todays (year of our lord 2013) two party system, don’t you think. Unless your calling Mitt Hitler or something. I just destroyed you.

      • To be to left of Hitler then the proposed candidate would have to be a communist. There would be no good option to vote for. Hitler was from the National (not Federal) Socialist Party. He was authoritarian and left.

        • >> Hitler was from the National (not Federal) Socialist Party.

          This is one of the stupidest things that I’ve read in the comments here in a long time. Hitler was from the National Socialist Party, yes – as in, a party that espoused both nationalist and socialist politics. It had nothing to do with being “federal” or not.

          Also, while his economics were more left leaning, he was certainly very much right-wing on most other issues. Which is precisely why his party was in a coalition with the local conservatives such as DNVP; and he got most of his money from aristocrats and big capital. OTOH, socialist and communist parties were his staunchest opponents.

          • Fascism is universally considered the farthest right in the spectrum, and Communism exists at the far left. That doesn’t mean there’s a tremendous difference; a better image than a line might be a clock face: if you go right or left from the twelve o’clock position, far right and far left can converge at six o’clock.

            It’s not a perfect example, but useful. A lot of people’s views just don’t fit on the line or the clock face. I consider myself among them.

        • “This is one of the stupidest things that I’ve read in the comments here in a long time.”

          Golly, then I must have accomplished something.

          William Burke has it more correct that there is no simple left/right straight line. A globe shape is more accurate. Left/Right is like East/West. The extremes go so far that they eventually meet on the other side. There is also the Libertarian/Authoritarian axis that is like the North and South polar axis.

          If a true centrist stand on the Equator at 0 Longitude then Hitler would be standing near the Arctic of Authoritarianism at 180 longitude. Stalin would be near him but he took the other way around the globe to get there.

        • the Nazis and the communists in pre-war Germany were both far left extremists, “Same dog different flea” , if they are your only choices be prepared to leave.

  33. Your use of the hyphen in incorrect. “Law enforcement-style” should be “Law-enforcement style”.

    • I disagree. If ‘style’ was the last word in the string, you might be right (though probably not for the common use reason below), but it’s not the last word. ‘Shotgun’ is. You’re not modifying ‘style’ with ‘law enforcement,’ you’re modifying ‘shotgun’ with ‘law enforcement-style.’

      Furthermore, the open compound ‘law enforcement’ is in common enough use that you you wouldn’t hyphenate it, just like you wouldn’t hyphenate ‘high school’ or ‘chocolate chip.’ If you were talking about a softball team that was akin to a high school type team, you would write it ‘high school-style softball team.’ All three terms (law enforcement, high school, and chocolate chip) are in common use acting as a single (open compound) word.

      An alternate possibility would be to hyphenate both word breaks, i.e. ‘law-enforcement-style shotgun’ or ‘high-school-style softball team,’ but as I noted above, the common usage rule makes this the less attractive option.

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