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Old July 8, 2014, 07:58 AM   #1
darrenlobo
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Countering Gun Rights Haters on the Street and in the Press

This video of me blasting universal background checks is what readers first see when they land on the Delaware County Daily Times article “Gun rights activists, gun control advocates face off over background checks” about the Saturday, June 28, 2014 competing rallies. Gun rights haters can't be happy about that.

http://theinternationallibertarian.b...on-street.html
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Old July 8, 2014, 12:46 PM   #2
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Calling them "gun haters" really doesn't help. By their own rhetoric, they just want what they consider to be "sensible" reforms. Fighting that with accusatory and possibly inaccurate language isn't the way to go.
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:33 PM   #3
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Tom,

One has to appeal to emotion as well as present the facts. We need to pin a negative label on them & since they often exhibit anger hater seems like a good one.
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Old July 9, 2014, 12:20 AM   #4
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darrenlobo
....We need to pin a negative label on them...
That can backfire big time. Pinning a negative label on "them" will make "them" a victim in the eyes of many who are not in complete sympathy with "us." And "those" are the people we need to reach. And now we're bullies.
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:16 AM   #5
Glenn E. Meyer
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The problem is that for many folks 'guns' have a negative connotation.

That is the attitude that overwhelms trying to use 'gun haters'.

The basic problem that the choir doesn't get is that guns are implements of violence. You have to make a case why there is societal utility for them.

Our standard choir rhetoric that they are just tools or modern sporting rifles is incredibly naive if you understand the dynamics of opinion.
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:28 AM   #6
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The problem is that on the gun control side, the gun control advocates always seem to be the more presentable side. They're old ladies, moms, typical suburbanites. On the pro gun side, you have guys who openly tote assault rifles, overweight fellas who appear unkempt, tacticool guys in dark shades and black clothes and have menacing looking facial hair, and strangely, gentlemen sporting mullets, which only serve to play into a general stereo type about gun owners.

They aren't so much as gun haters, rather they are just protecting their interests, and their interests do not coincide with the use or ownership of firearms. Inflammatory language is good for fund raising and marshalling the base, but it is counterproductive for winning undecided voters and makes us seem like bullies and barbarians.

On a side note, I saw an open carry rally at the Texas capital, and at first, I couldn't tell if I was watching an open carry rally or a white supremacist rally, until I read the signs. Most people aren't going to read the signs. They're going to see a bunch of big white guys, dressed in black up and down, carrying black rifles, wearing leather, sporting logos that to the uninitiated seem rather hostile (like the Gadsden flag). What is so hard about wearing Sunday best?
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:28 AM   #7
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
...The basic problem that the choir doesn't get is that guns are implements of violence. You have to make a case why there is societal utility for them.

Our standard choir rhetoric that they are just tools or modern sporting rifles is incredibly naive if you understand the dynamics of opinion.
And many non-gun owners also have a negative view of gun owners. We tend to be seen, especially by urbanites, as hicks, rednecks, knuckle dragging Neanderthals. Hurling invective at our opposition reinforces those negative stereotypes.
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Old July 9, 2014, 04:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
. . . .The basic problem that the choir doesn't get is that guns are implements of violence. You have to make a case why there is societal utility for them.

Our standard choir rhetoric that they are just tools or modern sporting rifles is incredibly naive if you understand the dynamics of opinion.
I have a question on this, Glenn, given that you're the smartest guy in the room on the psychology behind forming & influencing opinions. Over the last couple of years, I've largely quit arguing that "guns are tools," for a couple of reasons:
1) It seems somewhat disingenuous to me. Guns are deadly weapons. That's why I carry one.
2) The 2A doesn't protect a Right to Keep and Bear Tools. It protects a right to Keep and Bear Arms.

I've yet to find myself in a serious debate with any antigunners about this (as antigunners are a rare breed in Arkansas), but I would be curious as to your opinion on taking the positions laid out above.
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Old July 9, 2014, 05:36 PM   #9
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"A gun is a tool, as good or as bad as the man who uses it." That line, near as I can remember it comes from the 1951 movie, Shane, probably the first adult western. I loved that old movie, and I loved that line. But I see what you mean about using the rhetorical position that a gun is a tool and how that comparison might not play well with an audience uneasy in the presence of guns. Oh, well, nobody ever said that learning something new was pain free.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:39 AM   #10
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there are really two different things at work here. First is that guns are tools, and very useful ones, which is why the police have them. Many of the gun control supporters recognize this, and they are not the fanatics about guns being evil.

They recognize that as a tool, guns can, and are used by men for evil, and their focus is on who is allowed to have a gun, and not so much on what guns people should be "allowed" to have.

Another portion of the anti gun crowd is made up of actual anti-gun bigots. They can ONLY see that guns are used for evil, and therefore must be evil, and anyone with one is at risk of becoming evil.

How they reconcile this view with the police and armed security having guns defies logic, to me. Somehow, getting a paycheck for wearing a gun makes them ok? I don't get that.

Attending a few weeks training, wearing a uniform, and getting paid to carry a gun does not, in my mind change anything about what a gun is, or could be.

We don't have a gun problem in this country, what problem we have, is a "shooting" problem. Too many people too willing to shoot other people for any, or no reason we can determine.

We have had guns since our founding. Many, many places and times in our history we have had high concentrations of gun owners. SO, that, in itself cannot be the cause.

Why are so many, so eager to use a gun on someone else today? The most sensible reason is that they don't fear the consequences. And that is something that has changed since the days of our predecessors.

You might suggest to the anti's that is someplace to look, to try and "fix" things.

They won't listen, but you can suggest it.
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Old July 10, 2014, 03:45 PM   #11
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Spats - this is the way I see the public opinion battle with those are not in the choir.

1. The tool argument does not work because of the intentionality of the instrument and its perceived uses. It's a problem of categorization.

Guns are seen primarily as weapons and lethal. They have lesser attributes as sporting instruments. However, the sporting instruments are derivative of their weapons use.

There are no tool uses, except in some exotic realms which folks know little of.

It's clear that the lethal core concept of the gun can evoke negative ideation in people. EBRs have been shown to do that even in some gun friendly samples.

It is debatable whether images of guns and possession of guns push one towards violence. There are studies that say yes and some that say no.

This is for 'normal' folks. For those who have mental illnesses that make them violence prone, the gun may channel their aggression.

Thus, the tool - inanimate argument doesn't really work.

If you look at other instruments - say a knife - it's core conceptualization is more closer to tool usage. We use them every day in nonviolent ways. Yes, some folks use them for violence but there are clear nonviolent uses - there are few for guns. Note that violence oriented knives have been limited as have guns. Switchblades, gravity knives, various sizes - have been legislated against.

2. One has to make a case on why one should have an instrument that is primarily lethal. Without going into long philosophical discussions, most governmental and religious proscriptions have practical implications for someone. Arguing having an EBR is a God Given Right won't be convincing to folks not in the choir as it doesn't speak to utility. There are too many God Given proclamations of dubious validity in various religions to accept this on faith.

Guns are protected by the 2nd as weapons that have utility to support our social structure. They are not supported as tools or sporting toys.

The utility for firearms ownership are:

a. Self-defense
b. Defense against organized enemies - domestic and foreign.
c. Defense against tyranny

To convince folks, you need to strike these cords - so you can justify having a fundamentally nasty instrumentality.

SD probably works for many but not all. However, SD arguments for EBRs have a tough road to hoe. We have seen in the Colorado debates how gun folk rhetoric on how many shots you need and the carry of smaller capacity guns implies you don't need an EBR. However, EBRs have the rampage risk.

Can we get past that conundrum?

One scenario that might work is a Katrina, lawless period. Power out, etc. h

b. and c. might give a way

Invasion - this can make you look like an idiot. The common threads are that the Japanese didn't invade us or the Germans didn't invade Switzerland because of some dudes with rifles.

They have no historical validity and if you make these arugments you will be vaporized.

One might argue the border problems but you have to be very clear to stay away from racist rants. That hasn't always been the case but ranchers on the border can make the case for needing significant SD weapons.

c. Defense against tyranny.

I regard this as crucial but not in the usual we need to be armed to prevent health care or some other tin foil hat presentation. We've seen the UN coming or 50,000 Chinese on the border. That makes you sound like like an idiot again. It will have no force and probably contributes to banning guns.

More compelling in my mind are the uses of firearms in the Civil Rights movement - a true struggle against government supported tyranny. Significant long arms were used.

A resurgence of government violence against minorities is possible in some extremis. Japanese, Native Americans, Blacks, workers in some industries, Jews - have all felt armed oppression by the government.

It could happen again.

Thus, I conclude tools and sports are dead ends. The modern sporting rifle argument folks have NO concept of modern concept formation. I've seen idiotic TV shows with the fuddy host holding an M4 and an AR saying how different they are. However, they share most features except the full auto capacity. That makes little difference to the non choir but the choir thinks it does. Ever see the argument that you can fire an AR really fast as a reason to think it isn't dangerous? Huh? The Colorado case pointed out that you can reload really fast with a 10 rounder, so why do you need a 15?

We argue that since you can be equally lethal with a 10, so lets have a 15! Who's going to buy that? Folks not in the choir don't like lethality.

It's like the post where someone got bent out of shape with saying the UCSB shooter had an arsenal because you have 400 rounds at home. He had the 400 rounds in 40 ten round mags read for the rampage. Well, since he could ramapage with 10s, let's have 15s. The non choir folks will say have 5!

Oops - carry a J with no reloads - that's a 5. At that's all I need - say it proud on the Internet.

Given you cannot split the core concept of a gun from lethality, the nice MSR , tool, sports, baloney is just baloney from a opinion change view.

That's my take and some may not like it.

PS - from later discussion:

One thing I didn't mention in my post in the innoculation effect.

If you make a weak or stupid argument, then further arguments (even if better) are ignored.

Call someone who doesn't like guns a bigot - and you have lost any further power to convince them. If anything, you have strengthened their belief.

Call an AR a modern sporting rifle while holding it next to a M4 and the argument that the former is nice is so unconvincing that further arguments for having them will be discarded.

Here's a gentleman with a modern sporting rifle.

You are not going to convince anyone not in the choir with that use of 'bigot'. Frank is correct.

One thing I didn't mention in my post in the innoculation effect.

If you make a weak or stupid argument, then further arguments (even if better) are ignored.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/loc...-s-5612344.php
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Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; July 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM.
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Old July 10, 2014, 10:03 PM   #12
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A couple of points in addition to the excellent analysis by Glenn:

First of all, guns are weapons, period. Even a single-shot Olympic target pistol in .22 short can kill. I agree, we simply look silly or naive trying to sell the "tools" theory. Moreover, we risk being perceived as hypocritical - "Guns are only tools so no big deal, but they're special because they're arms and so are protected by the 2nd Amendment."

An answer to the larger magazine issue is, that they're unreliable. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't every active shooter who used greater than a 30-rd magazine had to switch to a secondary weapon, because his AR jammed? I think Aurora was an example of this, where the shooter started off with a 100-rd drum, then had to switch to a shotgun. It might be helpful to point out that the military doesn't issue 50- or 100-rd drums, because they're unreliable.
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Old July 10, 2014, 10:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
First of all, guns are weapons, period. Even a single-shot Olympic target pistol in .22 short can kill. I agree, we simply look silly or naive trying to sell the "tools" theory.
True, and one of the rebuttals to the tool argument is that the .22 pistol is a direct descendant of weapons designed to kill.

Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't every active shooter who used greater than a 30-rd magazine had to switch to a secondary weapon, because his AR jammed?
That's true of Holmes in Aurora, but not with Lanza. We're not sure why he kept dumping half-full magazines.
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Old July 10, 2014, 10:15 PM   #14
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That's true of Holmes in Aurora, but not with Lanza. We're not sure why he kept dumping half-full magazines.
Didn't think he had other than "standard" 30-rd magazines. I could be wrong.
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:10 AM   #15
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IIRC, he had 30-rounders, but never emptied any of them completely. He seemed to have some compulsion about reloading.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:09 AM   #16
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the biggest and most influential way to debate is to be polite and respectful of the opposing view and not be the one that throws insults (or lose temper). Start throwing insults and you've lost even if you've won. These people don't "hate" your rights they hate their children being gunned down. I think its worth something to understand where they are coming from before calling them a hater.
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Old July 11, 2014, 10:26 AM   #17
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Understand that there are "knuckle dragging Neanderthal" bigots & fanatics on BOTH side of the issue.

If you are dealing with one of them, no amount of patient civility will influence their closed mind. It might, however influence bystanders who have not yet closed their minds.

Good Luck.
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:17 PM   #18
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I generally refer to the haters as bigots. (Which they are, as they tend to stereotype all gun owners. In fact, that is the classic definition of a bigot.)
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyvel
I generally refer to the haters as bigots. (Which they are, as they tend to stereotype all gun owners. In fact, that is the classic definition of a bigot.)
You're still not helping us win friends doing so.
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:34 PM   #20
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You are not going to convince anyone not in the choir with that use of 'bigot'. Frank is correct.

One thing I didn't mention in my post in the innoculation effect.

If you make a weak or stupid argument, then further arguments (even if better) are ignored.

Call someone who doesn't like guns a bigot - and you have lost any further power to convince them. If anything, you have strengthened their belief.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:37 PM   #21
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How do you guys classify a gun hater? I know people who support universal (including private sales) background checks, limits on mag capacity, more restrictive carry permit requirements, and some other restrictions while at the same time own guns and have owned them their entire life.

I'd say they have a somewhat narrow view of the 2nd amendment but would not call them a gun hater. These are the types I'd like to be persuaded to change their minds on at least some of the restrictions. Calling them gun haters or bigots isn't likely to persuade.

We shouldn't stereo type people who don't agree with us 100 percent anymore than they should stereo type us.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:48 PM   #22
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Even the 'us' has substantial disagreements.

It seems that many solid RKBA supporters have little use for the extreme Open Carry folks.

Substantial numbers of folks in the hunting/skeet domain have spoken against the EBR cultural segment

Folks are in favor of training for concealed carry while some aren't.

Various degrees of opinion exist on the level of mental health background checks.

The solid base consensus is that law abiding citizens (which may be checked in some manner) can own some kind of firearm for SD and some sports.

After that - there are various views. Unfortunately, as we see in every domain - extremes tend to be vocal and act out.
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Old July 11, 2014, 02:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Understand that there are "knuckle dragging Neanderthal" bigots & fanatics on BOTH side of the issue.
True my wife doesn't like firearms i have no problem with that. It certainly does not make here a bigot. Some of the rhetoric that comes from pro gun groups is as bad and sometimes worse than that from anti gun groups, and does firearms enthusiast no favours.

Quote:
I do agree that attempting to downplay their lethal capabilities by trying to use the label of "tool" to make them seem warmer and fuzzier is a silly argument
I would agree with that.

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Old July 11, 2014, 03:04 PM   #24
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While pointing out someones bigotry may not change their view, neither will reasoned debate because, well, they are bigots. I'm not really convinced that failing to confront bigotry is effective either.

And to nit-pick, not all tools are weapons, but weapons ARE tools- designed primarily to incapacitate or kill things. I do agree that attempting to downplay their lethal capabilities by trying to use the label of "tool" to make them seem warmer and fuzzier is a silly argument.
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Old July 11, 2014, 03:14 PM   #25
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"Even the 'us' has substantial disagreements."

I know what you mean. I don't know who the "us" really is but couldn't think of another term.
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