First, there’s a clear theme that they want the gun control groups to jump on board with a semi-automatic ban again. They really put a big focus on how they want anti-gun advocates to continually describe modern rifles as more dangerous than previous rifles owned by their grandparents.
By telling their supporters to stay away from facts and details, they keep them focused on the broader message so that they don’t end up in a Carolyn McCarthy moment.
She tries to follow the same kind of tactics they are endorsing, and she almost manages to get away with it twice. But the people who wrote this report know that their supporters will almost never be caught in a situation like this and hope that their followers will be able to get away from refusing to answer detailed questions.
However, this video is a great reminder that catching your opponents in moments like this can really hurt their credibility. If you’re ever at an event with a Q&A period with a gun ban supporter or if you yourself ever take one on in a debate, have a question like this in your mental file. Just ask what a specific part of a gun is and why it should be regulated. It’s such a simple question, and most of the antis, especially ones who read advice like in this report, will completely fall down on it.
As part of the AWB push, they also promote the idea that all “loopholes” must be closed with any proposed bills so that no supposedly “more deadly” guns can be sold again. Basically, they suggest to their supporters that they go BIG when it comes to promoting a gun ban. My assumption is that this is a way to try and inch the “compromise” line closer to their ultimate position. There’s a case to be made for that style of arguing, but those kinds of proposals are also what help us motivate more gun owners to act. So, for that reason, I really hope that all anti-gun groups follow this advice of being as extreme as possible.
One way they suggest getting people to buy into the messaging is through visuals. This is good advice for our side. But just so you know what you may be going up against, their advice to use visuals to scary looking rifles and guns to illustrate their call for gun control. Anti-gun advocates don’t want to talk specifics of bills at all, just find the scariest guns they can find and then claim that’s all they really want to ban. Don’t write it off, it works. That’s why I use eye-catching lists at gun shows targeted to my audience to highlight the kinds of things they want to regulate. It gets people who otherwise aren’t inclined to act to step up.
When Sebastian was reading the report, he noticed an interesting trend. While they warn off insulting NRA members, they actually embrace insulting concealed carry license holders. They refer to those who are licensed to carry their firearms outside of the home as “gun-toting vigilantes.” Even when they know that these folks have had the repeated background checks they hold in such high regard, they still argue that anti-gun advocates should frame the debate that these people licensed to carry in public are a danger to society.
I can’t fathom where this type of attack got the blessing of the report writers since they warned off similar individual attacks of NRA members. Consider the Pennsylvania numbers for concealed carry through the end of 2011 (the latest data available on the State Police website), there were 792,317 concealed carry licenses issued in between 2007-2011. In the 2010 census, there were only about 9.9 million people 18 and over in Pennsylvania. That means it’s safe to say that these folks suggest hurling personal insults to about 1 in 10 Pennsylvania voters. It’s no wonder they don’t want to talk politics since no politician would take the advice to piss off about 10% of the voting population with a few careless words.
On other specific policy debates, the report suggests staying away from actual legal principles like “duty to retreat.” They acknowledge that it is a real legal principle that comes into play in self-defense laws, but they ask people not to talk about it. Once a duty to retreat is mentioned, it would seem that law-abiding folks don’t like that concept as much. These anti-gunners don’t want to have to defend the fundamental argument they are making – that innocent victims should be blamed for not retreating properly when attacked by criminals.
The report also asks gun control proponents to avoid talking about details of their background check policies. They suggest that being weighed down by details of their proposals is a bad thing. Well, yeah, it is a bad thing for them. When details start coming out about their background check proposals, that’s when they start losing all of the gun owner support they claim they have. So, in order to keep that perceived support, they ask anti-gunners to just stay away from all details of proposals and keep voters in the dark.
Overall, these concepts aren’t anything new to those of us who have watched the language of anti-gun groups over the years. However, it is handy to see that they have been packaged in a way that will likely make its way around their lower level activists. If they use these strategies, now our people can have a better understanding of the tactics and how to defeat them.