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If you consider yourself an ardent defender of the Second Amendment, congratulations, you now work in sales and marketing. It’s time we realize this and act accordingly. When we are speaking to friends, family, and strangers, we need to be very careful and controlled in our choice of words, analogies, and demeanor. We are the ambassadors of freedom and we should seek to be as effective as possible.

Whenever a reporter asks for my opinion on “gun control”, I explain that I do my best to avoid the term due to its inherent bias and instead refer to “firearm related legislation.” Their term is designed to be manipulative at the root. They want it to sound like for you to be against whatever they arbitrarily deem “common sense gun control” must mean that you are against an orderly society.

This is the subtext that’s not often called out, and it has a greater impact than you might realize.

“The Purge: Anarchy” Source:

An example we’re all more aware of is the infamous term, “assault rifle/weapon” and now the more recent “assault(style) rifle/weapon” and of course, “weapon of war.” While you and I both know those names are beyond inaccurate, disingenuous, and designed to manipulate the clueless plebs in the middle, we need to remember that there is a great number of Americans who are those clueless plebs in the middle.

I don’t mean to disparage those middle-dwellers. I understand that most are simply too busy raising their families and trying to keep food on the table to study Edward Bernays and the history of linguistic manipulation and propaganda. Yet as politicians are keenly aware, it’s those masses in the middle whose opinions we fight to sway. They’re the swing voters who decide elections.

For those of us who have chosen to dedicate a portion of our lives to the defense of liberty, we need to remember to do our best to avoid the temptation of fallacious arguments and insults. Instead, we need to spend a lot more time honing our arguments and paying closer attention to what works and what doesn’t.

We’re up against billionaires, the media and entrenched statists with access to million-dollar ad campaigns and PR firms that eat, sleep, and breathe manipulation. We need to recognize our enemies for what they are, pay attention to their tactics, and adapt accordingly.

Make no mistake; the future of liberty depends upon your effectiveness in its defense.

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Piper Smith is the founder & executive director of Armed Equality.

Armed Equality National Discussion Group

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      • Let’s tell them what they really want to do. They don’t want “gun control”, they want gun confiscation. That would be me correcting the reporter. Let’s not pretend that it not the aim of 95% of them.

        Ambassador of freedom? No, freedom that is my birthright as an American citizen. I don’t have to tiptoe around like I’m scared.

        Best not even to talk to reporters anyway. They will cut our your best comments and make you look like an idiot to suit their agenda. Let them do that by themselves without any help from us.

    • Look at the damage the left has done to their cause by threatening murder and other vile things to folks that don’t agree with them.

      They helped put Trump in office.

  1. I don’t want chaos or blood in the streets. Owning a fire extinguisher does not mean I want a fire in my house. It simply does not make sense to compare Trump to Hitler or Lenin and not own a rifle or three. I also see how the rule of law has broken down in Baltimore and Chicago. We are rarely that far away from becoming a Latin American banana republic ala Mexico or Columbia with highly corrupt institutions where living standards roll backwards. “The Purge” is like every day in Chicago or Baltimore.

  2. Piper writes: An example we’re all more aware of is the infamous term, “assault rifle” and the more recent “assault-style rifle” and “weapon of war.”

    If we want to be precise in our language and terms, then “assault weapon” is, I think, the phrase you were looking for, not “assault rifle.” I know it’s being used more and more recently as interchangeable by the media, but really, they’re not, and it’s one bit of ground I don’t think we should linguistically concede. Simply, if they become interchangeable, then at a minimum just about every MSR is at yet further risk from existing legislation (or misinterpretation thereof).

    • The problem is, we have allowed the anti Second Amendment crowd to define the terms.
      A firearm is a tool which possesses no evil intent on its own. Assigning intent to an inanimate object is the epitome of insanity. Demonizing a weapon on “looks alone” also marks the accuser as an unstable individual who is also insane. Call them out on their illogic and insanity.
      Another dirty tactic the anti-Second Amendment crowd uses exposes children to potential and actual harm by putting them in “gun-free zones”. These people care not one wit about children, but uses them for their own nefarious purposes.
      We need to TAKE BACK the argument…
      When the antis blame the firearm for the actions of a criminal, state that: “a firearm is an inanimate object, subject only to the intent of the user. Firearms ARE used to preserve life and make a 90 lb. woman equal to a 200 lb. criminal”.
      When the antis attempt to justify their “gun free zones” counter their misguided argument with “you mean, criminal safety zones” or “victim disarmament zones”.
      State that “we protect our money, banks, politicians and celebrities, buildings and facilities with PEOPLE WITH GUNS, but protect our children with “gun-free zone” signs”.
      When the antis criticize AR-15s in general, counter with: “you mean the most popular rifle of the day, use able by even the smallest, weakest person as a means of self-defense. Besides, AR-15s are FUN to shoot”. Offer to take them to the range and supply them with an AR-15, ammunition and range time. I have made
      many converts this way.
      When the antis state that: “You don’t need an AR-15 to hunt with”, counter with “AR-15s ARE used for hunting, but in many states, are prohibited from being used to take large game because they are underpowered”.
      When the antis state that: “AR-15s are high powered rifles”, correct them by stating that “AR-15s with the .223 or 5.56mm cartridge are considered medium-powered weapons–NOT “high-powered” by any means”.
      When the antis state that: “you don’e need and AR-15”, counter with, “Who are YOU to consider what I need?”
      When the antis state that: “the Constitution was written during the time of muskets, and that the Second Amendment should only apply to “weapons of that time period”, state that: “by your logic, the First Amendment should not apply to modern-day telecommunications, internet, television, radio, public-address systems, books and newspapers produced on high-speed offset printing presses. Only “town-criers” and Benjamin Franklin type printing presses would be covered under the First Amendment”.
      When the antis state that “only law enforcement and government should possess firearms”, remind them of the latest school shooting, as well as Columbine, where “law enforcement” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while children were being murdered, citing “officer safety”, afraid to challenge the shooter, despite being armed to the hilt. The government-run murderous sieges at Ruby Ridge and Waco are also good examples of government (mis)use of firearms.
      This tome can be used to counter any argument against any infringement of our Second Amendment.

      • Excellent examples.

        It helps to have crafted your words to make exactly the point you want to make. In rhetoric and debate, the other players can get as much traction by flustering you as by making a point, often more. So *listen*. They have crafted their stuff to drag in assumptions, often stacked. And to make you too mad to think. And to drag you off onto a side-issue.

        This is why “You want blood in the streets.” is so maddening: It’s taken as an assumption, without evidence or debate. It drags in a stack of other assumptions. It’s an insult, making you too mad to think. And if you address it directly, you are dragged off into a side-issue. “Am not.” “Are too.” “Am not.” “Are too: look at you: you mad, bro?” And besides, now you’ve just spent three exchanges talking about whether you want blood in the streets, *fixing that idea in listeners’ minds.*

        So, craft your responses. You can even go “meta” and point at the rhetorical nonsense they’re spouting … but that’s a bit more of a high-wire act.

    • The terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” have become interchangeable in discourse; it’s too late to try to create the distinction. Even if we supposed we could create the distinction (giggle switch), what difference would it make? Do we hold that we have a right to an AR-15 but not the same right to an M-16? All this is nonsense.

      Instead of trying to teach hardware we ought to be trying to teach folks how to think. Ask, “What do you mean by ‘assault weapon’ (or ‘assault rifle’)?” In due course, they will be compelled to start to think about this question and struggle to come up with some definition. And, we carry on the conversation asking about their tentative answers.

      Some such answers will become recognizable as cosmetic; and once recognized, speak for themselves. Others, bayonet mounts and grenade launchers are substantive, but to no effect; recognizing this is useful. Magazine capacity is substantive and has some effect. Now, what is that effect?

      How is it that magazine size could – realistically – be controlled? There are millions of 30 round magazines and they won’t be destroyed. If controlled, does that mean that a home-owner would comply while a home invader would not comply? Will magazine limits reduce the number of gun suicides? Homicides? Mass shootings? Could compliant killers bring multiple guns or multiple magazines of suitably limited capacity? Given the death tolls of mass shootings, how many lives would be saved (waiting for cops to arrive) could be attributable to 2 magazine changes vs. no magazine change?

      Engaging in a thoughtful exploration of substantive considerations would be far more fruitful than a discussion of the distinction between exemplars AR-15 vs. M-16.

      • Engaging in a thoughtful conversation with the average anti isn’t going to happen, sorry.

        I still stand by not allowing the terms to become interchangeable. Nonsense like “fully semiautomatic” says the banners see value in fraying the meaning; you need to ask why.

        • The question is whether there is an audience with a fencesitter present. If you’re talking with an ardent anti-gunner one-on-one, then you’re probably right that it’s a waste of time. If there are others observing your conversation and they are not all fully committed to the other side, then presenting good, effective points can be worth the time.

  3. Very nice piece. Very typical conservative view. You seem to advocate taking a deep breath, thinking rationally about your gun debate and staying away from phrases that may be manipulated by others on the other side of the argument but there lies the problem. Those on the far left are not rational. They do not debate, they have not done their research so they scream and protest irrationally quite often. They also cannot see how they are being manipulated by billionaires and mass media. They show no signs of understanding historical fact. Those same people seem to be the ones who cannot appreciate the brilliance and sacrifice of other Americans in the past. Knowledge and research takes time which many do not have as you mention because they are busy putting ‘food on the table”. As one of those on the pro 2nd side, I often ask myself, “am I right or wrong?” My daydreams and fantasies with guns are always defensive. I see myself protecting my family, my neighbors never offensive. I never envision picking up my weapon to go attack. Should those daydreams ever change, perhaps that is a signal that I need to go back and research some more on my defense of the 2nd!

  4. This is why I quit renewing my membership in the NRA years ago. Sure, I’ll give them the $0.78 in change when I buy something at MidwayUSA or Cabela’s, but I couldn’t stand the language they were using anymore. Outside of Colion Noir, it seems like none of the “faces” of the NRA seemed to care about winning converts… it was about “winning the argument” in the sense of scoring some rhetorical point that riles up the base.

    Dana Loesch’s “curbstomping journalists” comment is a prime example. Sure, I scored points with people who already agreed with her… but how many people were won over to her side that didn’t already agree with her? If you’re in the middle or on the fence, and one of your anti-gun friends post that little blurb on Facebook, are you really going to be swayed to the pro-gun side by her comments?

    • There are no more “fence sitters”. US politics has polerized far too much for that. Timidity in the defense of freedom is no virtue.

      • Maybe in your little insular bubble, but there are plenty of people who are either on the fence or generally indifferent. Politics is hugely polarized to those who care… but a lot of folks simply have more important things in their mind to pay attention to than to politics 24/7, or they’re simply sick of the polarization and have tuned out.

        And there is a difference in being timid and being an ass about something. Again, how is calling journalist the rat bastards of the Earth and being happy with them being curbstomped going to win someone to our side?

        • Simple, NOT calling out rat bastard enemies of the people as enemies of the people encourages them to CONTINUE being enemies of the people.

        • “but a lot of folks simply have more important things in their mind to pay attention to than to politics 24/7, or they’re simply sick of the polarization and have tuned out.”

          Those folks don’t bother to make the effort to walk into the voting booth either.

        • Those folks don’t bother to make the effort to walk into the voting booth either.
          More or less.

    • I’m of mixed opinion about NRADana. There are messages for the persuadables, and messages for the persuaded, and they’re different.

      I am certain that a PR campaign works better with a mix of personas and messages. “Bomb throwers” and “reluctant converts” and everything in between.

      Wasn’t there a link hereabouts a few months ago to a handbook on messaging for different cohorts: something used in “activist” training and similar?

  5. Being “rational” has gotten us jack shit over the past 80 years. I say it’s time to flip the table.

    Ask them why they support a tyrannical government throwing people into concentration camps over a lump of metal.
    Ask them why they think drug cartels will magically stop selling guns like they stopped selling drugs… because you know, drugs are illegal.
    Ask them why the solution to crazy durka durkas in our country is disarming everyone rather thank not letting in the durka durkas in the first place.

    • The NRA failed when it allowed the National Firearms Act of 1934 to stand without offering opposition, the 1968 Gun Control Act, the “national instant check” system, the “no new machine gun for civilians” ban in 1986, the so-called “assault weapons ban in 1991, and other infringements on the Second Amendment. The next infringement will be a ban on “bump stocks” and other “rate increasing mechanisms”, that the NRA seems to want, offering feeble or no opposition, in the spirit of “compromise”.
      Let’s face it. What better way to increase membership than to “allow” infringements to be enacted and then push for a new membership drive. Yes, the NRA has done good, but its spirit of “compromise” will only lead to one thing…confiscation.
      If the NRA is truly the premier “gun rights” organization, it must reject ALL compromise…

      • Not exactly true! The NRA tried to “Snooker” (Put a fast one past) the US Supreme Court Justices, by a one word “Typo” in the Second Amendment. Which Justice Heartsill Ragon caught in a New York Minute, being a Constitutional versed Lawyer. The Second Amendment as written by the Founding Fathers reads as:

        “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.”

        NRA’s version of the Second Amendment reads as follows:

        “A well regulated Militia, being necessary [for] the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

        The one word misdirection of “to” to “for” redefined the meaning of the Second Amendment, which Justice Heartsill Ragon caught.

        • I am not seeing a difference between “to” and “for” in that context, how about you explain? WTF year are you talking about, I don’t recall Ragon and I’ve been around a few decades.

      • The NRA wasn’t even a civil rights organization till the early 70’s. It was the GCA passing that actually spurred the NRA to shift from a solely educational/training organization to a lobbying one. The NRA in the 30’s doesn’t even look like the same organization.

        • The NRA was not a civil rights supporter in California in the 1960’s. But in the south in the 1960’s the NRA was a supporter of gun civil rights for black people. History is complicated. It always has been.

    • pwrserge is exactly right. (Nobody fall of the interwebz that I’m agreeing here.)

      I’ll add that *how* you ask each of those questions; how you make each of those points matters.

      It varies with the conversation and the circumstances. But you can make those points by implication and assumption: “I’m for less gun bans, to keep innocent people alive more — what about you?” Or directly. You can make them loudly or softly. I think there’s also an important difference between the baggage of how you deliver a point itself. You can make a brutal point, calmly, reasonably.

      The points and counter-arguments don’t change. How you deliver them does.

    • While you’re at it, ask them why they support mandatory medical procedures for children which have not been properly evaluated for safety, and which are known to cause death and brain damage in an unknown number of children? Look forward to the 3rd grade ad hominem response from the forum communist pretending to support individual liberties.

      • Oh god… here comes the anti-vaxer bullshit again.

        Vaccines HAVE been “tested for safety”… the chances of them having ANY adverse side effects are astronomical. Japan STOPPED mandatory MMR vaccinations for a full decade. It had exactly ZERO impact on the “side-effects” you claim the MMR vaccine caused.

        Go away little luddite. Learn to science.

        • You’re a joke. You scream on this site about gun rights and how crazy the left is, yet it’s the ignorant hypocrites like yourself that guarantee the success of the the people attacking our rights. You’re either a liar or a dupe, either way, we lose.

        • … and you’re an illiterate fucktard who’s incapable of doing 5 minutes of research on Google. Your “argument” has been debunked hundreds of times by thousands of people. You aren’t even an MD, so you can’t even put together a fig leaf of an argument other than making up bullshit “rights” mentioned nowhere in the CotUS.

        • Debunked my ass. The only thing youve ever debunked is your own credibility. Hey genius, maybe you’re too lazy or too stupid to he aware of the 1986 Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Yeah, the vaccines were damaging that many children even then. Moron. By the way, the Constitution doesn’t give us rights, by why wouldna commitard know that anyway?

        • How dare the government pass a law that prevents pointless lawfare against the most tightly regulated industry on the planet? You do know what the burden of proof is in Vaccine settlement cases? Right? Hint: It’s not even “a preponderance of the evidence”

        • Do you ever lose interest in embarrassing yourself? Serious question. The Constitution does not grant the government the power to force medical procedures, you have us mixed up with your North Korean hero. Also the vaccine industry is tightly regulated by who and how? Can wait for another fairytale gem.

        • Um… medical quarantine and the like have been common law since the 1300s… What are you talking about?

          As for regulation… have you ever WORKED with the FDA? You can’t wipe your own ass as a company without getting 20 approval forms under 12 different standards in triplicate.

        • Watching the commitard make shit up as he goes along is some good fun. Quarantine does work by the way. It’s what beat smallpox. The smallpox vaccine killed more people than the actual infection.

        • The commitard who has never provided citations for any of his statements about vaccine safety, not one, despite dozen of requests for him to do so is now asking for a citation. Priceless. As you’ve said over and over again, google is your friend. Look up the data for yourself commitard, and skip the un referrenced, non-cited CDC statements.

        • Lol… the dozens of times I beat you over the head with dozens of papers from… you know… DOCTORS… don’t count as citations… ok luddite… go throw your wooden clogs into some more machinery.

        • Literally laughing, you’ve never cited a single study backing one of of your ridiculous opinions. Ed-op pieces don’t count as research commitard.

        • For real commitard, you’ve never posted a single evidence based research article, not once, not ever, showing conclusive evidence for vaccine safety. You have laughably posted a few opinion pieces; it’s likely you don’t understand the difffernce between opinions and the scientific method. But feel free to prove me wrong, and embarrass me, to post the research you feel conclusively shows vaccine safety. I’ve posted this to you at least several times and you are either unwilling or unable to do so. You should stick to firearms where you have demonstrated considerable knowledge and stop embarrassing yourself on the vaccine topic where you literally have no idea what you’re talking about.

  6. Why debate semantics with weasel words? No one on the other side thinks like this. To them we are the ENEMY. Why are we treating unpatriotic unamerican socialist thinkers with kid gloves? The only ‘converts’ we get only take up arms because we, the enemy, have them. I’m a PATRIOT, not a POLITICIAN!

    • And yet you’re being “Political”! As I recall through my History Lessons at school, the “Bill of Rights” were drafted and signed in to Law by “Politicians” that were also “Patriots”. You can’t have one without the other. If there was no Bill of Rights, what would you be supporting?/!

      • You want me to play semantics with you? Fine. Patriotism and being a politician are two different things. The Bill of Rights was actually drafted by REBELS who became LEADERS, not politicians. Politicians are all lying scumsucking baby-kissers from BOTH sides. Look at McCain and Graham…couple of lying, deceptive wishy washy RINOS that are NO friends to the POTG. Those are POLITICIANS, not PATRIOTS…big difference. Anything else to say, tell your therapist…no one wants to see your defense of treasonous scum.

  7. This is part of the reason that I avoid the term “gun-rights.” Instead I use “gun-owners rights.” It sounds similar; but it is very different.

      • Hmmmm. How can we put this still a bit better?
        – The right to Life;
        – The right to Defend one’s life;
        – The right to the Means to an effective defense of one’s life;
        – The right to keep and carry the means to defense wherever one would otherwise be defenseless.

  8. I wonder how many people reading this are thinking that it might be a good idea to try to meet gun-controllers half-way so that we can find some imagined “common ground” that will satisfy their “legitimate” concerns about the presence of guns in American society? Don’t count on it.

    Gun-Control is a lifestyle oriented social movement that is populated by an alienated demographic whose individuals share a collective frustration called “status-discontent”. Despite its attempts to appear conciliatory, the movement has entered an end-time phase that emphasizes “coercive reform”. After decades of trying, and failing, to convince Americans that their values about guns should be honored, gun-controllers now view gun owners and defenders of the 2nd Amendment—that’s us folks—as their cultural enemies who have to be coerced into honoring their values, representing their sense of status and position in society, and “behaving properly”. Make no mistake: the coercive phase of lifestyle-oriented social movements are inherently authoritarian. Calls for “commonsense dialogues about gun control” basically mean that People Of The Gun are expected to incrementally accede to the gun-control agenda.

    We can defend against gun-control arguments by not accepting their claim that their moral imperative somehow is superior to or somehow compliant with the 2nd Amendment. It isn’t. Not in the least. It’s worth keeping in mind that, with the 2nd Amendment and the US Constitution, we are the one’s who are arguing from a position of moral strength and not gun-controllers. All arguments should stem from this basic position.

    Often I see well intentioned people getting into shouting matches when their beliefs are challenged. It’s worth keeping in mind that losing your temper in a heated conversation is an automatic fail. If you start shouting you lose. So, when talking bout gun-rights to gun-controllers, don’t get mad.

    • Gun-Control is a lifestyle oriented social movement that is populated by an alienated demographic whose individuals share a collective frustration called “status-discontent”.

      This is the kind of thing that you want to build into your arguments as assumptions.

      “Oh, of course they’re proposing something we know doesn’t work again. It’s not about that … I think it makes them feel good, or something.”


    • Well reasoned. The Lifestyle-Oriented Social Movement is not amenable to persuasion. Our task is to address our arguments to the “silent majority”. Trump has done this successfully.

      This “silent majority” has yet to see much of a point in providing for its self-defense. Our job is to point out that government ALSO sees little point in providing for their self-defense. Congress-critters – of BOTH parties – are interested in ILLEGAL immigration. The free flow of immigrants provides low-wage workers for industry and easily-purchased votes for statists. Likewise, legislators are interested in minimizing prison populations to reduce the burden of taxation; or, rather, the spending of taxes on activities of little interest to their contributors. Similarly, legislators are not interested in spending on asylums for the protection and treatment of those too mentally ill to fend for themselves safely; these must remain at liberty in the community. The police are there to write tickets and – in times of emergency – to protect government assets and officials. There are simply not enough tax-dollars available to provide adequately for the security of the individual member of the silent majority.

      Very well. This is the way things are; and, it is the way things will continue to be for the time being. You, my fellow citizen, may be prepared to armor-up the door to your home; put bars on your windows. Yet, not yet ready to carry a gun. That’s fine; to each in her own time.

      While you continue to think about which additional steps you will take for your own security, we merely suggest that you not impede your neighbors efforts to provide for their own security. After all, your neighbor may be the last line in your own defense. Or, one day, you yourself might decide to become the last line in your own defense.

    • I wonder how many people reading this are thinking that it might be a good idea to try to meet gun-controllers half-way so that we can find some imagined “common ground” that will satisfy their “legitimate” concerns about the presence of guns in American society?
      Now keep re-iterating this process and see where it goes.

  9. If someone tells me they’re for gun control I’ll just say, “Oh, you’re for tyranny and slavery. Got it!” If they deny it I’ll tell them you can’t have freedom without arms/weapons of war. Anywhere you think you’re free and don’t have a gun to defend yourself your freedom is only an illusion kept up by your masters because it’s easier to control you when you’re docile and believe something that isn’t true. The Matrix has you, Neo! BTW, I saw a great t shirt on Tim Harmsen at the Military Arms Channel that said,”We haven’t played Cowboys and Gun grabbers, yet!” I believe it’s available at

  10. They won. It’s only a function of time. The population density is simply too great, the ignorance and stupidity too profoun. We can delay it for awhile but “assault weapons” bans are coming in every state.

  11. Can you give me an example of a hand held weapon (or most hand held objects) that has not been used as a “weapon of war”?

    • The phrase, “weapons of war” is primarily used for polemical purposes. As far as gun-controllers are concerned, the term really dosen’t have a lot of meaning beyond it’s emotional impact as a tool for advancing their agenda. They really aren’t interested in technical specifics demanding accuracy. They don’t care if an AR15 or semi-auto AK47 isn’t really a military arm. What’s important to the weapons-of-war narrative is whether or not a gun—any gun really—can be made to symbolize what someone might think was a actual weapon of war. Gun-control arguments tend to be circular and heavily based on symbolism. Beyond their intended emotional impact, the fact that they don’t actually discuss weapons used in war doesn’t much matter. Most gun-controllers don’t know the difference between a 10/22 Ruger and Ma Duce .50 caliber. And what’s more, they don’t care.

      • In response to the term “weapon of war” I suggest we ask:

        “What do you suppose the founding generation had in mind when they wrote ‘. . . necessary to the security of a free state . . . ‘?”

        Could it be that the “arms” which “the People” had a “right to keep and bear” were expected to be those sufficient to the purpose of the prefatory clause?

        • This is a point that I also rely on. It’s basically unassailable. I also like to point out that “shall not be abridged” means just that. The founders could not have been more clear in their intent. Ours was and is a revolutionary society. It is not a statist society. And attempts to make us a statist society are being met with stout resistance.

        • One of the traditional mistakes military thinkers make is to fight the war they wish to fight; ignoring the fight the enemy is fighting. Same thing applies to the argument today. POTG wish the enemy would fight the war on logic, reason, careful analysis, understanding of history, and belief that the second amendment has relevance today.

          Truth is, the notion that “the people” would ever have need to throw off tyranny is not only inconceivable in their minds, it is also inconceivable that there would ever come a time when it would be necessary.

          When you start with the proposition that government is the source of all good things, benefits and grace, then revolution is only something the completely unhinged could think about. Since it is then intuitively obvious that a war between “the people” and the government is impossible, then there is no rational defense of the idea that “the people” would need weapons serviceable in warfare (weapons of war). This reasoning is not really irrational, it is quite logical. Accept it, if there can be no reason for waging civil war, there can be no reason to have “weapons of war”. This renders the second amendment about as pertinent as the third. Since we live in a free state, there is no justification for weapons to ensure a free state. This is the war the enemy is fighting (no matter how large the number of sympathizers.

  12. “…we need to remember that there is a great majority of Americans who are those clueless plebs in the middle….They’re the swing voters who decide elections.”

    The author may be too young to know how we got here, regarding the second amendment restrictions. It was decades of speaking softly, respectfully and academically.

    The author, a manipulator of words (marketing) tells us that the clueless form a majority of some sort. Seems to overlook the near 50-50 divide between gun owners and gun haters. The “clueless middle” are unicorns. Unless, of course, one includes gun owners who do not interested in the political fight to retain our rights under the constitution. An assumption that is required because for 2A supporters, “in the middle” is that block of people who claim to have no opinion (undecided). That number is distressingly small.

    Now, with marketing, no matter how good or bad the campaign narrative, the key is broadcasting the message. For consumer goods, a company normally has full access to print and electronic media. Such does not apply when it comes to firearms and equipment. “The media” (the megaphone for marketing) will not permit “gun rights” marketeers to access the broadcast tools. Much has been made of the notion that gun owners can change the language of the gun control debate. Yeah, maybe, when talking to one of those unicorn “undecideds”. When talking to the committed anti-gun gang, no matter the words used by their enemies (that will always and forever be us), “the media” will use their terms to report to the public.

    And in the end, the author recommends persuasion in place of resistance. The use of different terms, and employment of “reasonable” debate against an emotionally rabid dog bent on destroying our constitution seems naive, at best. While I look forward to the proposed pro-gun campaign words, skepticism reigns because those campaign words remain prisoner of “the media”.

    • I tend to doubt that the “undifferentiated middle” the author thinks is out there is actually, in fact. present in the kinds of numbers that a accommodationist argument—if that’s what is being suggested—will have much success. A counter view, one which I believe is probably more accurate, is that American society is now heavily polarized around lynch-pin social issues like gun-control, to such an extent that there may be no actual middle ground any more. In the last election, sundry establishment Republican candidates assumed they were talking to an imagined unformed middle when, in fact, Trump recognized that there was an aroused conservative insurgency that handed the establishment candidates their heads . . . and elected Donald Trump as president.

      • In the last election, sundry establishment Republican candidates assumed they were talking to an imagined unformed middle when, in fact, Trump recognized that there was an aroused conservative insurgency that handed the establishment candidates their heads . . . and elected Donald Trump as president.

        Death of the middle ground theory.

    • It is a MISTAKE to believe that the “middle ground” is a minority small enough to be dismissed.

      The hide-bound gun-controllers number a small minority. Likewise, the hide-bound gun-rights advocates number a small minority. The bulk of the population is composed of individuals who are far MORE concerned with lots of OTHER issues.

      Democrats are mostly Progressives with a very long list of agenda items, each one characterized as “vital” to their cause. Abortion; . . . gun-control; . . . welfare. How can it be that each item on this long list is THE ONE ISSUE that is the make-or-break of the ENTIRE Progressive agenda? Isn’t it far more likely that the Progressives are “all about” solidarity? It is essential for each member of the Progressive coalition to maintain ranks and files so that the whole body works to keep their politicians in office; and, keep their politicians maintaining solidarity on each agenda item.

      Gun owners are mostly Republicans with a much shorter list of agenda items; some of more, and others of less, importance. No sense of solidarity here. Most gun owners are earning their own living minding their shops or farms. In many cases, the one or two guns in the family are heirlooms or used only occasionally for hunting or pest control.

      Gun rights advocates really ought to be most concerned with activating their base of gun-owners for whom gun rights is far down on the list of priorities. These gun owners must recognize that they must make gun rights a litmus test if they have any expectation of sustaining their interest in all their other priorities.

      Secondarily, gun rights advocates need to spread the message inside the traditional camps of the Progressives. Minorities; immigrants. Do Blacks remember the Jim Crow era? How the Freedom Marchers were defended by the Deacons for Defense and Justice et al.? Do immigrants from Latin America and Asia remember how their parents and grandparents were suppressed by criminals from the private and public sectors alike? Do they see that they are being preyed upon by criminals within their own communities and from neighboring communities? Do they really look upon the police as their sole source of meaningful defense?

      The Democrat party has made their priority clear: Illegal immigrants are the future; Blacks are the already captured-voters. Jobs are for immigrants; food stamps are for citizens. In the event of civil disorder, who will be able to take care for themselves? Who will rely on government?

      What are their leaders doing? Do their leaders rely exclusively on the police? Or, do they employ armed bodyguards? Why are their leaders so committed to dis-arming their constituents? Why do their leaders insist on maintaining felon-in-posession laws? Is there a “disparate impact” of the felon/misdemeanant/domestic-violence laws?

      We shouldn’t expect to see a lot of NAAGR (National Association for Gun Rights) t-shirts at Democrat Party rallies any time soon. Instead, we ought to think about kicking in our own $35 membership fee so they can do more outreach to their community.

      Gun-control is likely a weak pillar in the Progressive agenda among minorities and poorer white Democrats. Our mission ought to be thought of as further eroding this pillar until – one day – it can’t be sustained as part of the warp and weave of Progressive solidarity.

      • “Gun-control is likely a weak pillar in the Progressive agenda among minorities and poorer white Democrats.”

        Any notice that national reciprocity and hearing safety legislation stopped dead in their tracks after Parkland? There is a reason.

  13. The kourts have done so much damage to the 2nd amendment and helped so very little in practicality that it’s difficult for me to stomach when people say SCOTUS will save us from “AWB’s” , restrictive carry laws and the like. “This time will be different.” Always the same, but never any relief. I want you to be right but common sense and history will prove otherwise.

      • …when the “Conservatives” voted to ignore the Constitution because they feared they’d lose personal power to SCOTUS packing if they didn’t toe the Democrat party line.

        And now, surprise, surprise…the statist progressives are threatening to pack the court as soon as the Dems are in power again, to destroy the new conservative majority.

        • Which is why it’s our job to make sure that the DNC goes down in flames, not to make common cause with people who would put a 2nd Obama in the White House.

          If you voted for Hillary, I don’t want you on my side.

      • “The SCotUS hasn’t had a conservative majority since the 1930s.”

        A politically reliable conservative majority you mean…

  14. Well, I just found one of Bernays’ foundational books, a couple accessible scholarly articles by / about Lippman online for free, and more “organizing” and “persuading” books for “social change” than anyone can stand on Amazon.

    With a little digging you can find US, Nazi and Soviet propaganda handbooks. Or Chairman Mao’s stuff.

    There are techniques to manipulating mass opinions. Oddly, many people who have done this successfully cannot shut up about how they did it.

    Yes, we need to win the argument on the up-and-up, straight, just the facts and how things work. We also need to at least pause mass-hysteria attempts, to get people “all wee-wee’d up” n stampede them, via perhaps some unwasted “crisis”, into locking in something dumb.

  15. There it is: “Beautiful Trouble”, which among the rest breaks down messaging by which cohort you’re talking to.

    I’ve worked a lot with organizational change: change in functioning, operating organizations. One difference between that, and this “radical change” stuff, is org change within seeks to keep the organism function while you help it change, not blow it up. “Let’s get more effective / efficient / adaptive, while still making enough widgets that we all keep getting paid.”

    The radical change folks believe that their new arrangement will be stunningly better. “Imagine a world without guns.” The first problem isn’t what they’ve thought of but what they haven’t. “So, less killing with guns, more big guys with fists doing what they feel like to littler people who can’t stop it. That’s what you want?” The second problem is the transition — how do we get there.

  16. Conservative like the court in Miller that found we have no right to have short barrel shotguns? That was the 30’s

  17. It seem like more and more people are more worried about offending others than standing up for what they believe in. And more and more people dont realize how ineffective that is.
    Im not saying be a huge dick about it, whatever your talking about(guns, politics, weather) but if you have to pander to someone elses sensibilities to have a meaningful conversation/debate, its PROBABLY a lost cause, because they already believe the propaganda and arent going to change thier views either way.
    I say stand for what we believe in no matter what, no matter who we talk to.
    Feelings are irrelevant to civil and human rights.

  18. Everyone wants a permanently peaceful society/world. Well, guess what? There has never been such a thing since time began, and there never will be. Get use to it.

  19. Change the term and the context, use gun safety instead, gun control is about control. For example, I support the NRA because they are the biggest advocates of gun safety. I’m for common sense gun safety. We need to make our communities safe by teaching families gun safety and keeping all weapons out of the hands of criminals.

    • Sorry, no help. We could keep our communities safe by keeping the CRIMINALS out of them! Has anyone even suggested a “no criminals zone”?

  20. I thank God for this column which advises my fellow gun owners to tone down the rhetoric and, especially, the vociferous, mean-spiritedness that too often resembles the the insanity of the Left.

    Gentlemen, we’re in the catbird seat on gun rights. So, there’s no sense in emulating the Left with our rhetoric which will tend to alienate the rest of the public as groups like Antifa are certainly doing.

    I was in the military as were many of you. And, the most important thing anyone in my life ever said to me was from a Marine Master Sgt. who said that my only job as a Platoon commander was to THINK and act accordingly.

    Gentlemen, let’s let the Left implode as they certainly appear to be doing without our help. Let’s not dirty ourselves up in the process by shooting our mouths off and appearing to be as radical as the Left.

    There’s great value to our cause in appearing to be reserved, contemplative and JUST in our opinions, especially when they’re expressed on the Internet.


    • No. Again, timidity in the defense of liberty is no virtue.

      Quite frankly, making common cause with people who seek to destroy our society is retarded. Or would you welcome nutjobs like Redneck Revolt to our “big gun rights tent”?

      • David Walters was not saying to be timid when defending gun ownership rights. He is stating to use your intelligence and choose your words carefully. Do not use emotional hyperbole. We all know what the anti-gun mafias arguments are. Have counterpoints ready and a well thought out comment to counter the BS the other side will use. How you say something counts just as much as what you say. Learn to use language to your advantage.

        • “Do not use emotional hyperbole.”

          OK, how’s all that reason, logic and technical knowledge working out for us?

          The message of anti-gunners is short, direct, memorable and effective. Our answers are complex, technical, difficult to remember (RTKBA is only meaningful to the people who proclaim it). Anti-gunners sell peace of mind, we sell hard decisions and principles. Two entirely different conversations. Comfort sells, struggle is unattractive.

  21. Point about how the gays advanced their claims to rights is well taken. We need to take a lesson from them about PR.

    That said, we need to think about how to advance the argument. Which works better: 1) incrementalism; 2) extreme position? Were the gays most persuasive when they argued for non-discrimination in: lodging; restaurants; employment; marriage; wedding cakes? Which issue did they start on? Which issue enabled them to gain traction? Which seemed “a bridge too far”?

    I hold that arguing an extreme position puts an advocate in the position of a “non-starter”. Granted, IF we could SUCCESSFULLY persuade the listener that every man, woman and child had a God-given right to a nuclear bomb then it would follow that all other arms would be included. And, if the listener simply wanders off convinced that we need to be locked-up for our own protection then we have accomplished nothing whatsoever.

    Conversely, if we argue that an adult, law-abiding, citizen, mother has a right to bear a revolver in NYC in defense of herself and her children, then there is some potential to get traction in a debate. Can she do so? Yes, if she is a: billionaire; generous donor to the Democrat Party; celebrity; NYPD officer; pays a $16,000 bribe. Otherwise, no. If she is none of the above, is her “right” being “infringed”? OK, tentatively, merely for the sake of narrowing the discussion to the fine point of “need”, let’s concede a permitting scheme. Concede a training requirement; a live-fire qualification; a test on the law of lethal force. Let’s even concede an insurance policy for damage. Now, then, could any adult law-abiding citizen woman be entitled to a Shall-Issue permit? Inasmuch as she can not obtain a permit under such preconditions, is this not an “infringement”?

    Why is it that being a billionaire would meet a constitutionally-permissible standard of “need”? A large contribution to the Democrat Party? Celebrity? A badge? A bribe? What is the constitutional rationale for each of these meeting an objective standard of “need”?

    Naturally, this line of reasoning will have no impact on a statist. Yet, if the listener is at all open-minded, she is unlikely to leave such a discussion completely unaffected. Our objective ought to be to have some effect, however incremental.

    If our debate partner can NOT be persuaded of the merits of such a very incremental advance in liberty it’s hopeless to imagine that she will be persuaded of the wisdom of Constitutional Carry.

    We have a long road ahead of us with a more conservative SCOTUS. We should not be deluded into imagining that the next case the Supremes rule on will give us Vermont Carry nationwide. (Must be at least 16 years of age with no criminal record.) My expectation is that a conservative majority will lead the advance – but it will not be willing to get too far ahead of The People.

    Our task will be to move the debate among The People forward, increment by increment, so that they are prepared to accept the wisdom of the Court as it is doled out in small digestible morsels. The liberal Court cheerfully dispensed Obergefell’s right to gay marriage; a conservative Court will not so eagerly sanction Constitutional Carry.

    • “Conversely, if we argue that an adult, law-abiding, citizen, mother has a right to bear a revolver in NYC in defense of herself and her children, then there is some potential to get traction in a debate. ”

      As it happens, that avenue has been closed. “Women are more likely to be killed with the gun they possess, than they are likely to successfully defend themselves.” Also, it is anti-women to expect women to be responsible for defense against a man that should already be in jail, and already stopped by a TRO from possessing guns. These are the published, and established reasons that the public is given routinely. We gotta find some other compelling, emotional argument about defense, safety and protecting the children.

      Oh yeah, let’s not forget the kryptonite phrase, “If gun control saves one life/child….”

      • Counter the “if it saves one life” for why guns must be banned, argue for to the tens of thousands who die yearly in car crashes.

        Real easy to halve those deaths, a strictly enforced 35 mph national speed limit. What, just because you want to get somewhere just a few lousy minutes faster, that thousands of children will die? A child’s life means that little to you?

        Heartless bastard!


        • It has been a popular idea to divert the conversation from “gun safety” to “reduction of all risks”. However, the overwhelming number of safety concerns fall under the rubric of “need”. As in, “We need motor vehicles, but no one “needs” a gun.” So the logic proceeds that you need a car, but you don’t need a gun for anything in this modern society. Therefore, if you do not “need” a gun, then if “common sense gun control” saves even one life, then it is justified. Point being, emotion obliterates any analytical approach.

  22. What good does it do to win an argument against gun control bigots? They will never change their minds. We are not really talking to them but to any audience within earshot. They might think “Hmm. The issue isn’t as simple as I was led to believe.”

    What strategy should we use to fight this discrimination? We need to call it out for what it is — discrimination based on bigotry. We should wrap ourselves around the classic civil rights movement. The Birmingham bus boycott of 1954 began when a black woman refused to obey a local law that required blacks to sit at the back of the bus. Blacks would pay their fare at the front and then have to disembark, walk to the rear door, and get on there. Sometimes bus drivers would drive off as a joke. The laws against firearm possession are just as ridiculous.

  23. What we should be talking about is all the many ways of preventing violence that have nothing to do with guns.

    READ everything the US Secret Service has to say about preventing attacks. It is neither pro nor anti-gun, it is just about saving lives. Start here, it was all just updated:

    Next do what I did. Go to your school teachers, administrators, resource officers, local police and politicians. Ask them if they apply these methods. Ask how they handle bullying, troubled kids and threats. You do not have to talk for or against guns to make schools safer. That’s the wrong topic. The problem is human behavior and there’s been a lot of success on it.

    I’m not against arming school personnel or other approaches. What bugs me is the approaches that already work and have saved lives are ignored by all sides.

  24. I can imagine the same kind of discussions happening 245 years ago in numerous locations throughout the 13 colonies. Now we’re doing it all online from across the country and around the world. Funny how history repeats…

  25. “Nobody needs weapons of war!”

    The first weapons of war were fists, feet, and teeth. Guaranteed that phrase causes the goalpost wheels to spin frantically.

  26. “Help us out here, don’t just complain.”

    I have put forth ideas for success several times. They all require the end of tribalism among POTG. Just look at the vicious treatment dumped on people here. And we presume the vast majority are 2A supporters. The big name pro-gun groups are all operating independently, with no coherent messaging and attack plan (which I have recommended be changed by members). Create a pro-gun social media site (yeah, costs money, someone has to be in charge, and all these independent blogs are competition, nor cooperation; TTAG is the best one). Find a Daddy Warbucks who is fervently pro-gun to support counters to the children’s crusade out of Parkland (conservatives and Republicrats are supposed to be uber rich, and in control of all the politicians; where are the zillionaires?) Dinesh D’Souza gets his CDs distributed all over the place, some Christian organizations have created full-length movies that are swamped, where the heck are the pro-constitution folks?

    There is a war on, but constitutionalists and pro-gun people are still dozing. There have been reports here that some gun stores/ranges a putting on free handgun courses for teachers and first responders, but there is no wave happening. Are all the guntry club owners too focused on their belly buttons? Don’t they meet as a group somewhere? The big names in manufacturing, distribution and lobbying should be able to forge a monster program, but they seem to ignore recommendations they do so. We still believe there are vast number of unicorn undecideds we need to engage, while ignoring the silent members of the 100 million gun owners; 100 million. No politician can ignore those numbers.

    The anti-gun people are focused and committed, the pro-gun people seem fragmented, fractured, and so purist that cooperation and single-focus are impossible. I don’t know what is behind that, but there just has to be someone, somewhere who can identify the cause of inertia, and energize it.

  27. Every time you hear “Gun Control” correct people with “You mean Gun Ban and Confiscation”.

    They will try to assert “It’s not a Ban or confiscation”, then they will have to explain why their “Registration” is NOT for taking away guns.
    Make them expose themselves.

    • I have heard claims that registration will help with this, that, or the other thing. I have, more recently, heard claims that universal background checks will help with this, that, or the other thing. Both are absolutely false, and can be pretty easily shown as such, but you have to be ready (have thought it out for yourself) for each of the claimed benefits. I mean, be ready when UBC is advocated to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms, to ask if drug prohibition laws have prevented ANYONE, EVER, from obtaining drugs. The only mass killer in recent memory who did not pass these wonderful “background checks” was the Sandy Hook killer, and he murdered his freaking MOTHER in her SLEEP to obtain the guns. Do we think he would have hesitated to murder a neighbor, or a cop, to obtain them? The only actual goal of UBC is the registration it would require. Registration, a truly wonderful thing. If someone is shot, just refer to the registration and arrest the guy with the gun. People really think like that, had a guy challenge me once that if a .357 was used in a murder, just check out all the people with a .357, killer must be one of them. When I pointed out that would cover investigating tens of millions of people even before you consider that all .38 spl owners would have to be included as well, since they shoot the same bullet, he immediately switched to how much help it would be once the cops found the gun. When I asked why he thought a killer would leave a gun behind if it was registered to him, he pretended to not understand.
      If you register every individual part of a gun, along with every grain of gunpowder, primer, and bullet, then put it altogether and pull the trigger, it will still kill you, registration accomplishes nothing, except to facilitate confiscation. If you are being told something else, you are being lied to.

  28. Take fence sitters to the range, teach them the four rules and hand them a gun they can handle (don’t be that asshole who hands an S&W 500 to a 115lb novice.) An AR-15 and a more traditional looking self loading rifle like an SKS would be ideal to show there isn’t much functional difference. I’ve won over a number of people to supporting gun rights, or at the very least to not oppose gun rights using this method.

    Pick your battles. Don’t waste your time and energy arguing with anti-gun zealots in private messages. Make your arguments in front of an audience. You won’t win over an anti-gun zealot, but you might influence someone watching. Definitely deconstruct their emotional appeals and respond with calm rationality. Point out the gun laws we have and how absurd they are. Point out government studies that show gun control policies don’t impact homicide rates. Point out the racist roots of gun control in the U.S.

  29. Very thoughtful, accurate observations. My family and family friend group are overwhelming left-leaning, so I stick with rational, logical, neutral arguments over typical pro-gun rhetoric, because I recognize it would have no effect on that group. Know your audience is the first rule of public speaking and debate.

    Unfortunately, from reading the majority of the comments here, it appears many of my fellow 2A advocates have not realized that. Taking a belligerent, “the constitution is the only reason I need” stance does not help you change minds, it only helps calcify the opinions of people who currently oppose you… it makes you appear to be the nutjob they currently view you as.

    • “Taking a belligerent, “the constitution is the only reason I need” stance does not help you change minds,…”

      Please note, being “civil” about it is how the country devolved into what it is today.

  30. @ LarryinTX

    Really!/? The “Bill of Rights” was written in 1791 and NRA vs. National Firearms Act in 1934 is ~143-years. So for ~143-years the “We The People” understood the 2nd Amendment’s (i.e. “the right [of] the people to keep”) pretty good! At what point in the ~143-years, did “We The People” forget the “Meaning” of “OF” that required the NRA to step in a clarify i.e. “the right [for] the people to keep”) to “FOR” to “We The People”. If it meant FOR and not OF, I would have thought the “Founding Fathers” would have written it that way in the first place. The NRA was founded in 1871, where it made NO attempt to correct the error of “Founding Fathers” of the use of the word OF, to FOR…

  31. With reference to the constitution and traditions, I have the right to own, possess and use arms. Some portion of the population chooses to exercise that right, doing no harm to others. Another segment of the population chooses not to exercise that right. They too are exercising their rights by having made their choice. Seems a crying shame that some in the latter group are less than willing to extend to others, the courtesies they receive, that being the way the thing strikes me.


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