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Calguns offers insight into the recently leaked book Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging. [Press release after the jump.] The book’s been excoriated by the NRA and taken to task by TTAG. But we haven’t seen the image above, which pretty much encapsulates the anti-gunners’ underlying ethos. Gun owners are evil. End of conversation. The People of the Gun have their own gestalt: guns save life. What we need is a poster that makes that point with equal oomph. Send your attempts to [email protected].

San Diego, CA –-( Perception is reality. The media is the message. Gun control propagandists know this.

In the marketing of politics, messaging has always been important. It is more so every year. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as Motor Voter, brought to polling stations people previously so lacking in gumption that they did not register to vote. As a body, these individuals tend to be low-information voters, ones who do not research or think deeply on public policy. They are political sound bite consumers, easily swayed by empty rhetoric (ala “hope and change”) credible sounding memes, and electoral promises of government benefits.

This is at who the new gun control propaganda strategy is aimed.

Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging was recently leaked all over the Internet. Coauthored by a left-of-center political research firm and a K Street communications consultancy, this in-the-beltway book is a guide for gun control activist, designed to change their position and reframe the gun control debate. In parts one and two of this series, I explored the strategy laid-out in Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging as well as the false and fragile “facts” the book feeds gun control advocates.

Now let’s get to the more interesting aspect of the gun control lobby’s new game plan – their messaging and how you can stop it.

The Book’s Purpose

“This guide,” the new gun control playbook begins “is intended to help organizations and individuals choose effective arguments and language when communicating with the public on behalf of stronger public policies to prevent gun violence.” (emphasis mine unless otherwise noted) The book is a guide to shifting the framework of debates concerninggun control, and it begins be eliminating the very phrase. With “gun control” having proven itself as a failed concept in the 1970s and 1980s, the gun control movement is changing its very moniker in order to evade both its failed past and its manipulative future.

They have few choices. The 1990s and the early part of this century have seen greatly expanded freedom vis-à-vis private gun ownership along with a drop in violent crime, including gun crimes. It has also seen key victories where the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the right to own arms, incorporated that right against the states, and may soon institutionalize national concealed carry and universal reciprocity. The gun control movement has to change their strategy or face failure.

To do so they must reframe both the core of the debate and how it is communicated. Gone is the meme of “gun control”, now replaced with “gun violence prevention.” Gone too are substantive discussion involving crime statistics, which will be replaced with emotional bait-and-switch tactics. In short the gun control movement will use fear as an invasive emotional crowbar on low-information voters, then insert misleading or outright fraudulent “facts” to sway the undecided masses.

Strategy and Tactics

Their core strategy can be summed up as:

  •          Scare people with stories and images
  •          Avoid facts and statistics except as follow-through to fear
  •          Keep it simple
  •          Divide by changing the message for key audiences

The new gun control playbook is blunt about using fear and other emotions as tools to sway voters. “Alarming facts open the door to action. And powerful stories put feeling and emotional energy behind those facts.” (emphasis theirs) “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence.” “Tell stories with images and feelings.” “Emphasize that extraordinarily dangerous, military-style weapons are now within easy reach across America.”

In politics, this is not new. A state of fear has long been a primary tool for motivating people past logic, reflection and perspective. The book’s gun control propagandists are refreshingly transparent about their objectives. They are also clear in instructing followers to use a one-two punch; “start with the pain and anguish that gun violence brings into people’s lives” then “use statistics to reinforce an emotional argument.”

The book’s authors also advise…

Like what you have read so far? This is just part of several articels on the CalGunLaws Blog “Spinning Your Rights Away” a three part series that you can read here:

About: is an online research resource designed primarily for use by attorneys and interested firearm owners. strives to provide easy access to and facilitate understanding of the multitude of complex federal, state, and local firearm laws and ordinances, administrative and executive regulations, case law, and past and current litigation that defines the California firearms regulatory scheme in theory and practice. is designed and organized to make it easy to research the law and to locate source materials and related information. All of the articles are cross referenced. Note the two sections on the right: Related Items and Related Law. Related Items will take you to any article related to the one you are currently viewing. Related law takes you to the related law and statutes for the item you are looking at.

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  1. Nicely done, along with the links to further information.

    It occurs to me as well that one of the most highly rated shows on television is Mythbusters, based in the bay area of California, and that they are openly, unabashedly pro gun (and blowing stuff up) and that they are by any measure normal, everyday, non-baby eating people. It would be an interesting exercise to try to get some tie-in with them or some affiliation through the NRA or some other national group a la Colion Noir. The Mythbuster could be a huge positive source of information for the Pro gun ownership side.

    • I attended an organizing meeting for Friends of the NRA earlier this year and they were soliciting ideas for speakers at the fund raisers. The Mythbusters team was mentioned early on. What the NRA rep told us was not unexpected-the boys may appear pro gun but the producers are definitely not, and had rebuffed-very firmly-any efforts to get them involved. Which is a real shame, as they’d be a great draw.

  2. Gotta hand it to them they couldn’t win out right so they changed the game to guerrilla politics and until the POTG learn to counter guerrilla politics we will be on the losing end in the north east and Cali. On another note that poster kinda makes me think of the ranger up ranger school promos

  3. I wish I had artistic skills. I’d create a drawing showing a woman shielding a child in a closet/bedroom. In her hand she’d have a handgun. On the other side of the door, there would be a large goon in the process of kicking it in. The caption would read something like the addage: “When every second counts, police are only minutes away.”

    • They have no artistic skills… this image is a rip-off of the popular video game “Team Fortress 2”. Art style, color palette… the “monster” is derivative of the “Soldier” character in the game.

      Good Lord, these people can’t even be original when insulting their opposition.

    • I’ve been thinking lately that something along the lines of “survive until the police arrive” would be good.
      I’ve gotten the impression from debating some anti gun friends that they think it’s a binary choice between calling the police and using a gun and it did not occur to me until after that discussion that the gun only helps me be alive when the police show up. Also, that really is what the gun is for. Regardless of what happens in a defensive gun use, the police will be on their way either to collect the body of take a report of the intruder who ran off.

  4. I’ve got no artistic abilities whatsoever, but I’m sure someone can make a poster that shows a family inside and criminals outside. the text on the poster: When seconds count, the police are minutes away.

  5. Propaganda is propaganda. Now and then. For example, just look up “WWII Propaganda” and especially Japanese. That was most harmful to Japanese-American Citizens (helped the internment of AMERICAN citizens to be “justified” by the public) If you notice, it wasn’t just our enemies who attacked us that were vilified in the propaganda — it was ALL japanese, as a group.

    Look up Hitler’s propaganda tactics. He was a master at it. Look at the ridiculous lies he told about Jews (intertwined with fear tactics), while building up this idea of a superior race. And actually more Romanian gypsies (darker ethnicity) were killed in WWII than any other people group, how is that justified?? Ludicrous right? RIGHT. But what’s more ludicrous is that people FELL for it, and horrendous actions were justified. I deliberately mentioned the Japanese example, because its easy to say, “oh well. those crazy [enter ethnicity here], Americans can’t possibly fall for such obvious propaganda” but we already did….And while there were Japanese spies in America at the time (and we didn’t know who), the American people justified going against all of our rights as americans….as the propaganda just kept being pumped into the streets. Hence the internment camps of not so long ago. Remember, they were still American citizens, no matter their genetic code.

    My first reaction to this poster was to LAUGH. How crazy for anyone to ever believe something so illogical and ludicrous. I thought, we should just ignore this as wildly irrational and devoid of facts. But propaganda being propaganda….

    Maybe we should pay a little attention.

    Not in the negative, scared way. Just look at it for what it is. We shouldn’t pump out our own propaganda in return. We shouldn’t make them look like monsters. We shouldn’t return their volley of negativity with our own fear that someone may just irrationally believe it. NO.

    We should simply be who we are. And share who we really are with others. Our message should be pumped out into the streets, but not as propaganda. As rational truth, mixed with the true stories of the reality of who we are. We should share this truth gently and respectfully with others, especially those who are scared or who simply don’t understand what rights they have, and what its like to enjoy them fully. And we should do it with all the positive energy that the recreation and right of shooting brings us. Let them say what they will. But make sure we share who we are gently yet strongly.

    Esse Quam Videri. In the light of that truth, all those who spread falsity in themselves and about others, will be revealed in time.

    • Something that is very simple to do until ‘we’ can fight back is to openly mock their attempts at propaganda like the poster presented.

      Propaganda point delivered, openly laugh at it and call it out for what it is… propaganda. It is immediate, it is moderately effective, and it puts the person delivering said propaganda on the defensive for at least a moment. The lowest information people who will repeat what they are given will stop repeating it when they are challenged because they can’t say anything other than ‘but she said…’

      We need better propaganda, but we also need to fight right now.

    • What you (and by extension, they) are proposing is called >marketing.” Which is what the “anti” crowd is very good at because it’s many of their members’ profession if you take a step back to look.

      So why isn’t there more of this from the POTG? Surely WE have marketing, advertising and communication professionals in our ranks. Why aren’t WE selling the 2A like soap or corn flakes? We have instant name recognition in the NRA; why not turn that around? WE CAN IF WE WANT TO, instead of playing slo-mo craps in the courts.

      Let’s get ahead of the game for a change.
      WE CAN!

  6. That poster looks a whole lot like Nazi propaganda. If we were to sink to that level – as if that is advisabe – I’m thinking about a poster that has a scumbag man with a women pinned down underneath him. Insert signs of a struggle. The top caption should read “Don’t worry, the police should be here in about 7 minutes.” The bottom caption could read “Armed self defense. A whole lot faster than a call to 911.”

  7. Judging by both the use of the Blue-Team Soldier and the absurd text, I’m fairly certain that poster is supposed to be a parody of gun contol proponents,

  8. More Hate from Progressive Marxists against Constitutionalists
    More calls for Violence (note Sputtering Bomb Fuse) against Bitter Clingers
    More slams against the military and men in general
    “Hate and Kill” is their political argument, the path that these Peacenicks always resort to

  9. Manipulate emotions, bully people by questioning their character, misleading or omitted facts, and demonization of the opposition, this is how the liberals operate. It only works if it goes unanswered or we liv up to the caricature.

    We can’t let ourselves get insulated that we only talk to pro 2a supporters. We need to reach and befriend fence sitters or no strong opinion folks because if they know gun right supporters on a personal level, the caricature falls flat and the antis credibility gets destroyed. This is why we get so many great stories about folks being taken to the range for the first time and falling in love with it.

  10. Last week a progressive wished my 4 month old daughter dead for no other reason than my affiliation with a group whose political goals align with my own (the NRA).

    This week I’m a mutated fascist baby eater for no other reason save that I refuse to not take steps that would prevent my daughter from growing up without a father.

    If a person with a conservative viewpoint were to spew this level of hatred the progressives of the world would call for nothing short of their crucifixion. I’m ashamed to say that I live in a world where this type of overt evil is considered acceptable for achieving political goals.

    A great many of the “progressives” also support abortion. I don’t suppose that it would do any good to point out that since Roe vs. Wade more babies have been murdered in the name of progress than the total number of people killed in World War II.

    I will continue to own a firearm to provide a hobby, a balance to a life spent in a cubicle. I will continue to own a firearm to provide meat for my family’s table. I will continue to own a firearm to not be a victim of a progressive predator. And I will own a firearm because I will not allow reason and logic to become the victims of a doomed ideology of subservience.

    We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology. – Ronald Raegan

  11. My edit won’t work. On second thought, I don’t believe that we should be a-holes just because the anti’s are. Let just keep hitting people with the truth, and see how that works. If it comes down to conflict, which is damn likely, I’d take any of you honest pro-gun folks over anyone from the other side.

    • Yes, truth and our personal stories. While understanding the fear of the misinformed, and not mocking it. Connect to them personally, and share our experience respectfully.

      • The “cure” for fear is information. At its root, all fear is really just fear of the unknown. This is natural – we evolved or were put here that way. The caveman who wandered out into the scary dark forest at night got eaten by the scary dark monster and didn’t make any new little cavemen.

        • Well, yes. To rational minds, information works well.

          But fear is an emotion. And if its irrational fear, its well….irrational. So logic/information has already failed.

          Often “phobias” are irrational, with only some kind of vague connection to a path of logic, but not reality. A different path has to be taken to overcome.

          Just because someone with arachnophobia knows the spider on the wall is plastic, doesn’t always rid the feeling fear.

  12. I’d like to see the same image, but replace “Gun Owners” with “Gun Control Nuts” and change “Team Gun Control” to “Team Constitution” or so.

    And give the baby-eater a pasty or sallow complexion, or even vampire white.

    • Which brings to mind this old joke:

      A man walks into a cannibal restaurant and looks at the menu. “Excuse me,” he says to the waiter. “If an Englishman costs 50 beads, a German costs 50 beads and an Italian costs 50 beads, why on earth does a Frenchman cost 600 beads?”

      The waiter replies: “Have you ever tried to clean a Frenchman?”

      • A man walks into a cannibal restaurant and looks at the menu. “Excuse me,” he says to the waiter. “If a Republican costs 50 beads, an Independent costs 50 beads and a Libertarian costs 50 beads, why on earth does a Democrat cost 600 beads?”

        The waiter replies: “Have you ever tried to clean a Democrat?”
        A man walks into a cannibal restaurant and looks at the menu. “Excuse me,” he says to the waiter. “If an Easterner costs 50 beads, a Midwesterner costs 50 beads and a Westcoaster costs 50 beads, why on earth does a Redneck cost 600 beads?”

        The waiter replies: “Have you ever tried to clean a Redneck?”

  13. The only really new thing here (aside from the name shifting to “gun safety” or “gun violence prevention”) is that they put it in a playbook for everyone to see. They’ve been doing this successfully via the complicit mass media for decades.

    Until about 10 years ago, old media’s control over the public message was absolute; about 5 years ago, social media exploded, and while the traditional media is still very powerful, it doesn’t monolithically dominate the message like it used to.

    Now we have a voice. For the first time, we don’t have to rely entirely on orgs working with politicians behind closed doors. We’re actually on the court playing in the game of public opinion.

    It may leave a bad taste in our mouths (as an ethical person who somehow ended up in marketing, I’m familiar with the flavor), but our success will depend on how well we use these exact tactics against our adversaries. We, and all the organizations that we support, had better get cracking. Because if we lose this new, even bigger field of play, we could lose forever.

    • +1000

      I have relatives who grew up in Nazi Germany and family friends from Communist Czechoslovakia. They often say we youngsters take the internet for granted and should be much more worried about politicians who try to regulate it and “throw us back into the dark ages”. Until I met my IT desk friends at college, I had no idea just how powerful computers are as a tool to undermine the propaganda and plans of a corrupt government. It’s certainly a comforting thought, but without it we’re toast. The 1st amendment in the digital age should be preached and defended hand in hand with the 2nd Amendment by all gun owners, even if they’re technologically retarded like myself.

    • The State permits the Internet and social media to exist because it’s so easy to monitor, and social web sites collaborate with the government.

      When people join Linkedin or Facebook, they freely and willingly provide private information that the NSA might otherwise have to work to compile. Then the government requests or subpoenas the data. It’s quick, clean and cheap.

        • Indeed. The NSA may not have an over-abundance of intelligence, but somewhere along the line it must be reported how many Americans own firearms and ammo. Indeed, millions of those same uppity folks shockingly do not believe the mass media. Even worse, some may actually suspect that Obama and big government might not actually be the answer to increasing the security, prosperity, and freedom of our nation.

          Face it, we’re all on an NSA list. Mention freedom, liberty, or the 2A and you need to be “watched” by this administration. The flip side is that there are so many of us who appreciate freedom that it is simply not feasible to marginalize all of us. Therefore the civilian disarmament complex is forced to take a long series of inconvenient steps to accomplish their goals.

  14. Take pictures of people who do not fit the stereotype of gun owners ( they don’t need to be holding a gun as it takes away from the focus of the photo), with the caption, ” It’s my life. It’s my right.”. Very simple, yet powerfully thought provoking.

  15. There’s a lot of talk about them using fear. Fear is healthy, and using fear isn’t bad; we do it too.

    However, their fear is one sided, disproportionate, and is used to draw incomplete and incorrect conclusions.

  16. Until y’all are able to reframe and rename what is being called an “assault weapon” into something entirely different, for instance calling it a “defense mechanism” or a “woman’s equalizer”, “rape preventer”, “assault shaker”, or something much softer, you are going to lose the sound-bite wars.

  17. Aren’t most anti gun folks also pro choice?
    Guess which one kills more babies?
    By over a margin of 4000 to 1 pro choice kills more babies then all deaths by firearms.

    Who’s the real baby killers?

    • No, I’m pretty sure it’s still illegal to kill living, breathing people, even brand new screaming pooping ones. You know, human beings that you can actually see.

      In Genesis 2:7, it’s reported that “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” [emphasis mine]

      So, according to God Herself, the dividing line is breath.

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