Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to Talk to People About the Upcoming "Assault Weapons" Ban

Well, by now you've seen it. The part that was first noticed on Obama's website has moved, part & parcel, to Whitehouse.gov (emphasis mine)

Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
So, how do we get the message out? How can we get people to realize they've been hoodwinked (bamboozled!) on this issue? I was meditating on this very issue this morning, and this is what I've come up with.

First, the "don't" list:

  1. Don't start out by telling them they are stupid. That includes phrases like "Do you know what an "assault weapon" is?"
  2. Don't get technical. Don't even get into the difference between automatic and semi-automatic. They don't care.
  3. Don't start out by claiming the politicians are lying. They are, but saying so isn't a good way to start.
  4. Don't, please for the love of all that is good in the world, don't tell them the Second Amendment was written so we could oppose our government once it became corrupt. No matter how true it is, don't say that. They'll think you're nuts.
Here's what to do. Have a "30 second commercial" in your head, ready to deploy at any time. It needs to be clear enough to make your point, but short enough to say while at the water cooler, in the elevator, etc.

So, what to say? Most likely, it will be in response to a statement like this:

GFW - "The President wants to ban 'assault weapons'. Sounds good to me, who needs those kind of guns anyway?"

Gunnie - "Actually, the kinds of guns the President is talking about banning are merely replicas of military guns. No military force anywhere has those kinds of weapons."

That might be all the time you have, but hopefully it will get them thinking. If you're lucky, it would lead to more discussion.

Anyone else have any "30 second commercials" they'd use?

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11 comments:

George said...

A few thoughts:

1) "Actually, most of those guns are less powerful then your average hunting rifle."

2) "Actually, the AR-15 is the best selling rifle in the country."

3) "Actually, those guns are rarely used in crime. Think about it...who goes to rob a liquor store carrying a rifle?"

Rustmeister said...

The less powerful angle is one I'd definitely follow up with, if a conversation ensued.

Hypnagogue said...

There's no such thing as a "military-style" weapon. The military has used every sort of civilian weapon and caliber, including bolt-action hunting rifles, pump-action shotguns, single-action revolvers -- even .22s. If you outlaw "military-style" weapons, you outlaw all weapons.

aczarnowski said...

You're probably talking to an urban elite if this comes up so, pretty please, do not use "Actually, most of those guns are less powerful then your average hunting rifle."

Your elevator companion almost certainly doesn't hunt. The obvious last word as the doors open will be "Then hunting rifles should probably be banned first." We need to stand together or surely we will all hang separately.

I find it much better to angle toward how often these guns are used in crimes (George's #3) or opine sarcastically that drive-by-bayonetings are a scourge to be cleaned up at all costs.

Outlining how well prohibition worked as a case against all ban type legislation has also worked but it takes knowing the guy across the table a bit better. The tactic is especially workable if the conversation ensues near cocktails.

George said...

My thought, aczarnowski, was that "hunting and sporting" use are the typical "reasonable" uses cited by out opponents.

I do like the line about drive-by bayonetings, though. :)

George said...

One more thought...I've had great success, especially with folks who are not really gun people with: "You are right...most of the time, you don't need a gun. But when you need a gun, you REALLY need a gun.

Arthur said...

"No military force anywhere has those kinds of weapons."

That's probably a loser.

Since AR-15's LOOK identical to M16's, they'll see M16's everywhere on the TV in the hands of soldiers and in the hands of private citizens.

saj said...

when asked "what does anyone need that kind of gun for?", i ask why we want to ban a gun that is rarely used in crime of any kind (less than 2% of violent crime according to atf's websight.) so why ban them? we all should be thinking about why a law is passed.
gun designs have always been influenced by the technology of military weapons. "assault weapons" only look like military weapons and are lighter and easier to maintain than older style guns.

i've had this conversation with a few supporters of awb. it may not change their minds but if you have a reasonable conversation with them it gets them thinking from a new direction.

azreel said...

Use the car analogy.

"We don't ban sports cars, but they go far over the speed limit and kill thousands every year. Why would we do that with cars OR guns? No one really NEEDS an "assault rifle, the same way no one NEEDS a Porcshe."

Rustmeister said...

Saj, not only will it (hopefully) get them thinking, it will also show them that those of us opposed to the AWB aren't all crazy survivalist types.

Me, I'm a sane survivalist type. =)

Anonymous said...

And here's the catalyst.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/24/miami.shooting/index.html