New rhetorical strategies for the anti-gun crowd

New rhetorical strategies for the anti-gun crowd June 26, 2015

Opponents of the Second Amendment, inspired by other rapid changes of public opinion, are formulating new ways of framing their arguments against the ownership of firearms:

  • Make gun ownership a public health issue, as with tobacco and drunk driving
  • Make gun ownership morally problematic, as with the Confederate flag
  • Adopt the language of  “liberty,” as in civil liberty, and “rights,” as in gay rights.  Freedom from guns.  The right not to bear arms.

See a columnist making all of these suggestions after the jump.

From E. J. Dionne, How America can free itself from guns – The Washington Post:

What’s needed is a long-term national effort to change popular attitudes toward handgun ownership. And we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns. . . .

The nation needs a public service offensive on behalf of the health and safety of us all. It could build on Sandy Hook Promise and other civic endeavors. If you doubt it could succeed, consider how quickly opinion changed on the Confederate battle flag.

My friend Guy Molyneux, a progressive pollster, laid out how it could happen. “We need to build a social movement devoted to the simple proposition that owning handguns makes us less safe, not more,” he told me. “The evidence is overwhelming that having a gun in your home increases the risks of suicide, domestic violence and fatal accidents, and yet the number one reason given for gun purchases is ‘personal safety.’ We need a public health campaign on the dangers of gun ownership, similar to the successful efforts against smoking and drunk driving.”. . .

“The best way to disarm the NRA rhetorically is to make the Second Amendment issue moot,” Molyneux said. “This is not about the government saying you cannot own a handgun. This is about society saying you should not have a gun, especially in a home with children.” . . .

The nation could ring out with the new slogans of liberty: “Not in my house.” “Not in our school.” “Not in my bar.” “Not in our church.” We’d be defending one of our most sacred rights: The right not to bear arms.

 


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