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A consultant on how Democrats can reach gun owners in the coming campaign year . . .

Spencer Critchley, a California-based communications consultant who worked for President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, offered advice for the current field of Democratic White House aspirants.

“The gun debate isn’t really about the facts, it’s about competing views of freedom and culture, and I think Democrats need to grasp that if they want to be effective at reaching more gun owners—most of whom actually support reasonable gun safety measures,” Critchley told The Epoch Times.

“But you need to make a connection on emotion and shared values first,” added Critchley, who is a managing partner at the Boots Road Group.

“If you lead with data linking gun ownership and gun deaths, you send gun owners the message you think guns are just bad, and you’re not likely to get anywhere with them.

– Mark Tapscott in Data May Call Into Question Demands for New Gun Control Laws

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  1. Based on my personal experience, until I handled one, guns did seem to be magical objects. That feeling disappeared after 3 days.

    • As a ranch kid from Montana, who grew up shooting a Remington .22 pump at age six, to carrying a Ruger Bearcat on my hip in the saddle at age 12, that just doesn’t fit into my head at all.
      I cannot get myself to understand how a thinking, reasoning, adult human being can bring himself to assign magical powers to some piece of steel put together in a precise way. The way that we can train ourselves to feel, and measure, that precision down to the ten thousandth of an inch… that seems much more magical, at least to me.
      I’ve taken new people to the range and noticed the prejudice and bias disappear after a few days. But what I don’t understand is how that idea can take root in the first place. And if the idea has rooted into a mind, and been there for decades, how can it be dispelled so easily and quickly. Intuitively, it would seem that if it has been there for so long, it would be very strong and difficult to change, but that is not the way it works. Every non shooter I’ve taken out has been quickly infatuated.
      Could you write more about where you think the idea might have come from initially? Just out of idle curiosity. If you do not wish to, don’t bother.

      • I don’t think I can comprehend it myself. Now that I am on the other side, the past seems to me like a dream. I had toy guns as a child and bb guns later but there was something totally magical about firearms – ‘the real thing’. Maybe the whole magic is in guns being imaginary objects for too long – it’s like staying a child for your whole life. Not sure it helps explain anything, basically I am saying adults perceive certain things as children because they have been staying children in some areas of life. Can an adult explain how is it to be a child?

      • I have a theory that most Americans, and western nation first-world people at large, are so far removed from death, danger, and actual hazard that when objects or actions that fall under those categories are in front of them they don’t know how to act or react. Guns are something in Hollywood movies, video games, or cops and criminals hips. Reality is guns are a pretty old tech that is not terribly complicated, and operating one proficiently is pretty easily trainable. However, the vast majority of the population is urbanites that will never see, much less touch, a real firearm.

        • drunkEODguy,

          This is precisely it, with one crucial element – guns being constantly present and cultivated in the sphere of the imaginary – Hollywood movies, etc. Without the imaginary guns would have no magical powers.

        • Throw in the pervasive normalcy bias and these folks can’t fathom why any educated professional person would want a gun.

        • Everybody I know, both male and female fearful of guns is also fearful of, or incapable of doing things like changing the tire on their car or jump starting it. Yet they want to make the firearms rules for the rest of us competent humans. Usually insisting that nobody should have guns. Then we would all be safer.

      • I think the light begins to dawn. Its like a combination of never being able to even see one, and then the large role that firearm’s play in most movies (Hollywood… the land of dreams…). Combine the two and I begin to see. Having no real experience to draw on, the mind probably just fills that hole in with hollywood fantasy. Where an AK shoots for 6 minutes straight w/o a reload, SAAs can shoot one bad guy 50 times out of 5, etc. No wonder one begins to think of them as magical.
        This also explains how it can be dispelled so easily. Because now having some reality to draw upon, most brains probably get used to the idea that “Ohhhh…… that was just hollyweird…”, pretty quickly. With some real experience to contrast the fantasy world of tinseltown against, naturally the fantasy tarnishes real quick.
        Thanks to all, for the understanding. I think there might even be a gunner’s catch phrase in there somewhere. Some short, catchy little line that challenges an anti to lay off parroting the Demanding Wives and actually get some real knowledge for themselves. But it should also have some kind of an emotional hook to it, that the emotionally hysterical just cannot let pass. Something that is short, like two sentences max, that simultaneously challenges them to; learn instead of just repeat, makes them emotional, AND gives them hope that they might convert YOU, if they just learn a simple little thing for a small bit.
        But what? Any wordsmiths out there with any ideas? Something like; “Well, I’ve heard all of that on TV a thousand times, but how about we test it out on a real target range, instead of just talking about and repeating what we heard on TV?” But easier to remember and less confrontational….

      • I believe it is because humans are a visual animal and they see on TV how and what guns are supposed to do, and, because they do not actually educate themselves on the subject, they assign some sort of mythical status to the object. Much like a lot of us do as very young children when it comes to rockets/cars/dinosaurs etc. It is basically a very childish and simple outlook on life that tends to get re-enforced by the same media they watch.

      • I’m not the OP, but we didn’t have handguns in the house growing up. Just rifles and shotguns. First time I fired a handgun, I figured it would obediently pop into the bullseye. I was slightly mistaken.

  2. In other words, make yourself out to be a moderate during the election. You can let your true colors show after you’re elected, since no one can do anything about it for the next four years.

    • Yes, the proper way for Democrats to reach out to gun owners is to stop telling the truth about their intentions (i.e. lie) and hope we all have short memories.

        • Sad but true. His fan base is a special breed. Same could be said for the other side as well.

      • Well, we know what their intentions are, so they don’t fool us. There’s just a lot of fence-sitters out their that can be had.

        • Not any more. I haven’t talked to a fence sitter-in years. Almost everybody has a firm, unshakable opinion(that they mostly regard as facts…) now. The world is all polarized. There’s hardly anybody left in the middle.

        • Could not be further from the truth. Granted, there are many of us “fence sitters” but now days we would just rather watch them burn it down and rebuild it when the ashes settle, because nothing we do is going to change the polarity of a failed system aside from all out war.

  3. Spencer Critchley needed n bother as I don’t vote for DemocRats Socialists Fascist totalitarian or Marxists and half the supposedly conservative Republicans are nothing more than DemocRats,thus the term RINO.

  4. “…“But you need to make a connection on emotion and shared values first,” added Critchley, who is a managing partner at the Boots Road Group…..”

    Which shared values is the article referring to?

    Men competing as women in sports?

    Which bathroom to use?

    Wearing silly pink hats?

    ect ect

    Not my values.

      • “Hell is “ect”?”

        Abbreviation for “et cetera”.

        “Adverb : and others; and so forth; and so on (used to indicate that more of the same sort or class might have been mentioned, but for brevity have been omitted)”

        I like to have fun with it, for example, “Etc, etc, et-fucking-cetera…”

        • Except tha it should be “etc” not “etc”.
          Yeah, yeah. I’m a grammar and spelling nazi.

        • Literally, in Latin, “and the other things.” Et is one of the words for “and”. Cetera is from the adjective ceterus, – a, – um, meaning “the other” or “the rest”. It’s specifically the neuter plural and adjectives used like this perform like nouns, with their gender understood as part of the subject. Ceteri would be “the other men” and ceterae would be “the other women.” Those aren’t actually used, because for people, we use et al., from et alii, meaning “and the other men.”

  5. Emotionally driven liars who ignore data.
    And they’re supposed to be the party of science.

    • You just perfectly described a group of posters here. Gun grabbers have no monopoly on lying and using emotional arguments to advance freedom stealing Agendas.

    • Actually they are the part of Science!

      Sometimes it is written out as #Science or #TheScienceisSettled.

      I know it can be confusing…. if you just hit yourself in the head with hammer and then look at what they call Science! it becomes quite clear.

      • Except all your #Science theories fail miserably. The math doesn’t check out. What do scientists use to prove a theory? Math? Data? Experiments backed by numerical recordings?

  6. Good lord did that feller miss the mark. We’re tired of the emotional knee jerk bullshit already and here you tell em to go for more. You are either the worst consultant ever or the densest motherfucker on the planet and should be ashamed to reduce the global IQ. Somewhere is a tree working its ass off to produce the oxygen you waste, go find it and apologize.

    • That’s the best mind the mindless Left can come up with,a complete waste of their time and money,so be it.

      • True but the is that other oxygen thieves will believe him and we will get no where closer to an actual understanding. To borrow the phrase from the old Tales of the Gun.

        “The gun has played a critical role in history. An invention which has been praised and denounced, served hero and villain alike, and carries with it moral responsibility. To understand the gun is to better understand history.”

        Now if the left would just fucking understand that the gun is not the cause nor the perpetrator and that nothing they propose would actually solve a single damn issue, we’d be light years ahead of where we are now. Every single thing they propose would have no bearing on any future violence, it merely adds more hoops for normal folks to jump through in order to acquire a gun, please let’s try addressing the actual root causes of the violence (no I don’t mean that bullshit nebulous inequality they throw around either) let’s start to take mental health seriously, let’s start actually finding ways to counter gang influence in the inner city, and let’s start actually letting parents parent again.

  7. “. . . to be effective at reaching more gun owners—most of whom actually support reasonable gun safety measures,” Most gun owners – readers of TTAG excepted – probably would support reasonable gun safety measures IF they were convinced that the measures would have efficacy and economy. I.e., that they would work and the costs would be low enough to justify the benefits achieved.

    The difficulty here is that the gun-control advocates have NOT YET identified any proposal that has any real potential for efficacy; to say nothing about economy.

    The major obstacle (thanks to the founding generation) is the right of the People. As long as that right remains as ink on parchment it’s going to be very difficult to devise laws that will confine guns to the criminals and Praetorian guards of men-of-means. The average Jack and Jill have gun rights and that just isn’t going to change.

    The best the gun controllers could realistically hope for is to raise enough barriers to gun ownership that those not committed to keeping their guns will give them up. And, dissuade prospective gun owners to abandon their interest. So, we might suppose these could be 20% to 40% of gun owners. How many of these folks’ guns are involved in suicides, homicides or accidents? Likely, very few.

    Those that commit suicide by gun are probably mostly in traditional gun-owning families. These won’t give up their guns. So, suicides-by-gun probably won’t be much affected. Criminals are determined to have guns; so, they won’t be dissuaded by barriers directed at the law-abiding. Crazy people are especially determined; they won’t be dissuaded.

    Readers of TTAG understand very clearly the poor prospects for efficacy and economy. However, we are only a small fraction of the 100 million gun owners. Likely, half of gun owners don’t think much about gun-control or gun rights; so, they don’t think about the implications of “reasonable” “common sense” gun controls.

    And, of course, the hundred million non-gun-owning voters don’t think at all about the efficacy and economy of proposed gun controls. To communicate to these two groups of ‘don’t think much about gun controls’ we need to convey the futility of each proposal.

    – modest (“reasonable” and “common sense”) measures will have negligible effect;
    – dramatic measures (which could be effective after Civil War II) could be effective, but can’t get the 38 states to amend the Constitution.

    • “Reasonable gun-safety rules” can always be counted on to infringe upon my right to keep and bear arms. I don’t care if urban cosmopolites don’t feel safe around guns. I’m sorry but I just don’t care. My freedom and liberty as expressed in the 2nd Amendment is more important to me than their need to feel safe and secure.

    • But “reasonable” gun laws cannot exist. It is really, really simple:
      1) criminals by definition, DO NOT OBEY THE LAW.
      2) crimes are committed by criminals.
      Therefore I postulate: No laws restricting guns can ever have an effect on crime, because the criminals who cause said crime will not obey those laws, no matter how carefully crafted and ‘reasonable’ they might be. Any more than murders, rapists, and thieves obey the laws we already have against murder, rape, and theft.
      The only reasonable gun laws are the ones we already have had for centuries. Namely, use “due process” to decide when a certain individual has proven he will misuse his liberties to destroy the liberties of at least one other. Then restrict THAT ONE, by whatever means the Jury and Judge decide via due process.
      No system of restricting the law abiding can ever possibly have any effect on crime, because crimes are NOT committed by those who abide by the law.
      This is what “reasoning” looks like. Reason tells me that when one certain group of people become a societal problem, then restricting another, completely different, group is pretty stupid and extremely unlikely to ever show any positive results whatsoever. Just as all the gun Statutes since 1934 have proven. The more restrictions, the more crime.
      That’s known as “confirmation”. Reason tells me that no matter what might be proclaimed as the law in Mexico, it can have precious little effect on China. Reason also tells me that I need to crosscheck this some other way to be more certain my logic was correct. We can do this easily, since we have lots and lots of gun laws in the US, and also lots of statistical records. And the stats confirm the above reasoning, thus we can be quite sure, as sure as we can really be about anything, that gun laws do not effect crime. Other than perhaps positively, that is; less guns = more crime. But the stats aren’t quite so voluminous on that.

    • “…reasonable gun safety measures” simply do not legislatively exist. The belief that they do is the real divide.

  8. “…gun owners—most of whom actually support reasonable gun safety measures”

    Most? Most? Reasonable? Safety? Data please, sir. And please don’t pull it out of your ass (it would stink).

  9. Another democrat terrorist who openly admits the key to “winning the debate” is ignoring facts and focusing on emotions. I hope they succeed in banning everything they’re dreaming of. I’m not getting any younger.

  10. That’s the same false dichotomy the NRA has been pushing lately. It’s not so much a left/right struggle as it is a struggle over the amount of control authorities should have over those that choose to live like civilized human beings. That struggle is happening at both ends of the left/right political spectrum.

    • +++++
      Here is one who understands on a deeper than superficial level. Good job, Sir.
      The Dem/GOP choice is also a false dichotomy, since both parties are wholly owned subsidiaries of Omnicorp, Inc. (remember the original “Robocop”? 🙂 )As evidenced by the Rs siding all the time with the Ds against Trump. No matter what pablum flows out of their filthy pie holes, they all vote the way their masters tell them to.

  11. “If you lead with data linking gun ownership and gun deaths, you send gun owners the message you think guns are just bad, and you’re not likely to get anywhere with them.”

    The stone has already been set…there will be NO capitulation…

    • What data is Cranky there imaginining linking?

      It depends on what the definition of “linking” is, I suppose.

  12. For the grabbers, reasonable gun safety is whatever they say it is, and the only safe gun is a confiscated one.

  13. The Socialist progressive democrat would prefer you get a lawyer, after your loved ones were rapered and murdered. Instead of first getting a gun to defend themselves.
    They want lawyers AFTER the government ran over unarmed civilians, using armored vehicles, in socialist venezuela. They don’t want law abiding civilians with anti tank rifles using armor piercing exploding ammunition against those tyrannical government vehicles. Or a civilian owned bazooka or RPG.
    They would prefer you to call “Marvin the lawyer”.

    The US government originally wanted to use tanks against the unarmed “Bonus Army” protest in the 1930s. The decided to use horse mounted troops instead. That’s why you don’t see M3s running over defenseless american veterans in those high school history movies.

    John Hickenlooper Gets Boo’d At The California Democratic Convention 2019

  14. In other words, convince the politically naive gun owners that all the Democrats want is one tiny slice of the gun rights cake and they will be satisfied and won’t ask for more.

    • They are gluttons , they’ll take the rest of the cake leaving you with the small peice you were going to cut out for them. Then throw a fit if you don’t give them the last peice.

  15. The funny this is that he’s absolutely right. They’ve been toying with this tactic on gun control for awhile, looking for a hook that really starts to reel people in. That’s all they’re doing, looking for the right set of advertisements on this topic. At that point if we don’t have an effective counter we’re toast.

    I’ve been saying the same thing and just like when I say it *whoosh* right over the heads of a ton of people. You can see that right here in the comment section above.

    Emotion is what opens the door to sales. Just look up how they tell car salesmen to up their odds or go sit in a dealership and watch one of the good salesman work. What you sell is the question. We know what the grabbers selling and we know we don’t want it, like trying to sell a Ford to a hardcore Chevy guy. Other people however are open to suggestion and they’re the target audience. The very target audience is the one we talk right past by opening up with facts and logic instead of starting with an emotional hook.

    This guy understands advertising and is applying that the same way Democrats sold a lot of other shit while more conservative people balked at the idea that “salesmanship” would work for non-material items like “freedom” or “rights” and tore their hair out as Obama got reelected.

    Mr./Ms./Xi. Critchley is correct. We know he’s correct because the Geico Gecko is still a thing and that goddamn Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ad doesn’t go away. It’s time to recognize that. Whoever successfully weaponizes the emotional bait for the squishy middle of this country is going to win. If it’s not us, it will most assuredly be the grabbers.

    Cue all the people calling me a fudd.

    • “The statistic that convinces me is all the normal people going about their lives because a gun was handy to protect them.

      I think of it from time to time. I’m sure they do, too. 200,000 or more newly minted each year.

      Sadly, that’s mostly people who already get it. The ones who don’t, mostly don’t have guns when they need to protect themselves. I think of them sometimes, too. And of what might have been for some of them.

    • No Strych you’re absolutely right just watch Joe Verde on YouTube ( We need to start selling the sizzle, the scent of sautéed onions and mushrooms, the fluffy buttery mashed taters, and the ice cold beer instead of just the 24 oz porterhouse of gun ownership.

    • Why would anyone call you a Fudd?

      This has always been the problem. Gun rights are universal, and apply to everyone: man, woman, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, young, old, whatever. How do we get to understand that, and truly buy in?

      I don’t have any answers, but our rights won’t be safe until we figure it out.

  16. “But you need to make a connection on emotion and shared values first,” added Critchley, who is a managing partner at the Boots Road Group.

    In other words, manipulate them emotionally, then take their rights.

    • Works for every other product and service from cars to military service, why wouldn’t they use it for gun control?

      More importantly, why wouldn’t we use it to fight back?

      • We’ve talked about these issues before here and, while you’re probably correct that gun rights supports need to be better at “sales”, I think a fundamental issue that differentiates us and the gun-controlers is a difference between a collectivist tendency for ‘them’ and an individualist tendency for ‘us’. It is much easier to get a bunch of people who like the idea of centralized control and group policy making to rally around a cause and stay “on-message” than it is to get a bunch of people who want to be left alone to do so. We probably do need to sell our positions better but it is hard to do when a lot of gun owners (like me) are the type who don’t want to go to a meeting, much less work on a ‘group project’. If we can find someone who can “sell” gun-rights, I’ll support them with my votes and dollars but I’m probably not gonna join their club – I’d rather spend my free time out in the high country shooting a gun.

        This guy, Critchley, may be right that messaging, presentation and emotional connection is the way to sway some (many?, most?) people but he won’t be swaying me because I’m not interested enough in his ideas to listen to his pitch. I admit that this puts me at a disadvantage relative to knowing my enemy and I recognize that I am not representative of some unknown percentage of the population.

        • I agree. This is not a war over guns, it is a war over individual rights versus collective rights. Or put another way, it’s the ages old war of ‘good'(individual liberties) versus ‘evil'(only “approved” groups have “rights” and those are limited to whatever the authorities choose to give them at any given moment, and individuals are only to be fleeced for whatever they have that someone else wants).
          And, in my opinion, it’s almost over. Evil is now out of the closet, it can now easily be seen how ugly and destructive it is, and only the most evil(and/or ignorant) still cling to the idea of “socialism”, but these get crazier and stupider by the day. Yet another sign that they are at the end of their life at this time in history.
          I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next chapter in human history will be. This one is getting tiresome and boring.

        • Says the guy arguing for collectivist, government Control over the public’s health care. Priceless. Can’t make this shit up.

    • Yep, exactly how you mindlessly spam your vaccine posts……no data, no evidence based studies, just raw emotion.

  17. Translation: Gun grabbers lose on facts and transparency, so use emotion and euphemism.

    No thanks.

  18. For some reason, every time I see a big red button I have the sudden urge to push it. I somehow manage to control myself each time, but just barely.

  19. Ah yes…dumbocrat spin. EVERYONE is spinning the latest “mass” shooting. DeWayne Craddock is/was black. A bodybuilder. RUMORED to be Muslim. Was this murderous ranpage JIHAD? Did he even use a silencer?!?

    • You forgot that he did not identify as a govt employee, but as a typewriter. No typewriter bathrooms, so he resigned.

  20. In other news, apparently TTAG has done gun reviews on every gun ever made and will never do another and will only publish click bait from now on.

    • More like the new owners have discovered that clickbait pays better than ethics and integrity.

    • You could avoid the article, much like the comment section. Nobody is forcing you to be here.

    • If a person wants gun reviews, TFB is great for that. I come to TTAG to get a feel of where our future, as gun owners, might be headed. The click bait does lead to a few thought provoking comments. Just have to filter out the comments that don’t help us gun owners.

  21. “This isn’t Right or Left. It’s Life and Death.”

    Let’s ignore the issue of who’s life and death we’re talking about. Are we talking about the death of a law-abiding deplorable or the death of a criminal that selected the wrong victim? It doesn’t matter to the Leftist. Or maybe it does. Some are trying to promote the right to vote for prisoners behind bars.

    • I was,just reading tonight about a guy in Utica, NY who was charged with illegal possession of a firearm. He shot two intruders in his home; one died on site, the other died at the hospital.

  22. S. Critchley is from California & worked for #44 , who was the worst president this country ever had, ( but managed too sell a lot of guns because of his anti gun attitude), whose name is Obummer,,,, why would anyone believe him???let alone give him money too spew his 💩?

  23. In honor of that oriental gentleman, Ho Lee Chit, NO CHIT!!!! As the Democrats continue to demonstrate that they ARE anti-freedom with gun control, taxes, medical treatment and if some get their way, what you drive, how far you drive it, the temperature of the residence where they told you to live, and who you should vote for.

  24. I feel the Democratic Party has lost all integrity. They don’t represent my values and believe they are a treasonous bunch. The American People need to create a party that understands our Nation is a Republic and Constitutional Law rules the land. The Democrats have already shown their Tyrannical colors. To hell with them.

  25. NONE of those “reasonable” gun restrictions work on criminals, so why bother even having them?
    All but two mass shooters passed background checks and bought their guns legally, the other two stole them.

  26. I will not agree with ANY gun restriction that is not allowed in the Constitution.

    The law of the land, (Constitution), supersedes all other laws in any jurisdiction, and it very explicitly states:
    ” S H A L L N O T B E I N F R I N G E D”

    There is NO ambiguity in that phrase. That’s the only common-sense gun law in America.
    Why are millions of American citizens, judges and politicians so treasonous about this??? As you all well know, there are stiff penalties for treason. They need to be applied, and quickly…

  27. We, here, believe that it’s appropriate, and even admirable, for the victim of a violent crime to use force against his assailant in self defense. When you reject that, the only alternative is the British one which is to ban everything that can be used as a weapon. That’s the entire gun control debate in a nutshell.

  28. How many times do I have to beat you in the head,? Gunms don’t kill spiders, I do

  29. “…… reaching more gun owners—most of whom actually support reasonable gun safety measures,” What Mr. Critchley obviously doesn’t understand is just how wide the gulf is between we POTG and the gun-grabbers when it comes to the definition of what is “reasonable” and what is not. To the “grabbers” “gun safety” often means a complete abrogation of the Second Amendment; to POTG it means observance of the four cardinal rules of firearms handling safety. It is s chasm which will not likely ever be bridged. As for Yours Truly, I choose the sagacity of Benjamin Franklin when he said, “He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.”.

    • Ben could have added that the person he was talking about would lose his liberty immediately and his security shortly after.

  30. She lost all credibility at “shared values” and we’ve already seen list after list of “reasonable gun safety measures”. The not so secret, Secret has already come from their lips: a Stepped approch to total disarmament but at a pace as fast as it can be shoved down their (gun owners) throats.

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