A recently leaked playbook provides details to proponents of strict gun control on how to most effectively strip gun rights from the American people. The tips include everything from using properly-crafted extreme language to taking full advantage of well-publicized gun crimes.
The guide repeatedly stresses the use of emotion, and actively encourages gun control proponents to leap onto gun crimes and start exploiting the crime’s emotional toll immediately – even before the facts are known.
“The smartest thing to do is avoid linking our message and arguments to any one set of partially-revealed facts. We shouldn’t assume the facts,” the report said, arguing that the core message about restricting gun rights is “independent of facts that may shift on us over time.”
In other words, do not let facts get in the way of the message. Before the smoke has left the gun, savagely start feeding off of the victims of the crime and exploit their emotional tragedies with calls for strict gun control. Focus on their misery. Take full advantage of their disaster.
The keys to advancing gun control, according to the report (emphasis mine):
- Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence
- Tell stories with images and feelings
- Claim moral authority and the mantle of freedom
- Emphasize that dangerous military-style weapons are easily accessible
- Emphasize America’s “weak” gun laws
- Challenge the NRA on OUR terms, not THEIRS
Clearly, Washington politicians are learning. Ignore the facts and instead focus on emotional arguments. Use terms like “military-style weapons”, even though those weapons are not used the wide majority of highly publicized gun crimes. Claim moral authority by arguing the destruction of gun rights can prevent the next massacre and put a stop to the worry that Americans have over gun crime. And whenever possible, exploit the victims of tragedies by plastering up images of crying mothers, scared children and the “pain and anguish” of gun violence. How lovely.
The report takes the emotional component of gun crime one step further. When arguing for new gun control laws, the report cautions against the removal of emotions from the discourse. ”An emotionally-driven conversation about what can be done to prevent incidents such as the one at hand is engaging,” it said, adding that a “dry” conversation about laws is “less engaging”. Never let laws get in the way of emotion.
The language used in the gun control debate is very important. The report advises against using the word “strict”. Instead, use the word “strong”. So instead of “stricter gun laws”, it’s “stronger gun laws”. And instead of using the term “gun control”, use “preventing gun violence”. In fact, do not use the word “but” either. Instead, use terms like “that’s why…”, “actually”, and “look”.
Further, use carefully chosen phrases that fully hit at the emotional core of the people and that get the most bang for your buck, like “reckless or loose gun laws”, “untrained people”, “shoot first”, “vigilantes”, and “gun show loophole”. Use terms that, even when they don’t apply (remember, don’t let facts get in the way of your emotionally-driven argument), immediately trigger a purely emotional, intellectually-hollow response. More gun laws!
Read the document for yourself and match these techniques against what YOUR POLITICIAN is telling you. Are they following the guide? Barack Obama sure is. Diane Feinstein is too – heck, she could have co-authored this study. Do not wait for the facts. Focus purely on the emotional component of gun crimes and always use words like “military-style”. Because when politics are involved, and as this very guide helps to reinforce, facts are meaningless when the destruction of constitutional rights are at stake.
The guide was produced by “Greenberg Quinlan Rosner”, a Washington-based research group, and provided to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility according to freely available public documents. The research group has conducted research for several other organizations like Mayors Against Illegal Drugs (MAIG), NPR and the Sierra Club.