The video ad by States United to Prevent Gun Violence made me sigh. It’s about a store in New York City that sells the kinds of firearms used by people who accidentally or deliberately killed people. It shows potential customers entering the shop to buy a gun, and being shocked and saddened to learn that so-and-so used this model of firearm to kill so-and-so.
The ad is professional. It’s clever. It’s emotional.
It’s also one sided and misleading. But hey, that’s what ads are supposed to do. They promote your side and undermine the other guys. We don’t expect ads to be factual, logical and balanced.
Why doesn’t the gun community produce ads like that? Why do we rely on facts, logic, reason and statistics to advance our goals, instead of using half-truths, illogic, emotion and hysteria, like our opponents do? I strive to be thoughtful and reasonable, and so do the people and organizations I respect. Maybe it’s a mistake, and we’re setting ourselves up to fail.
The antis are wrong, but maybe they are smarter than we are.
In Canada, the Coalition for Gun Control abuses logic and facts to promote disarmament. Why doesn’t the gun community feel free to abuse logic and facts to promote freedom and rights of law-abiding gun owners?
Roughly 20,000 people use guns to kill themselves each year in the U.S., according to Wikipedia, and some 10,000 people use guns to kill other people each year. Those 30,000 suicides and homicides are sad and bad.
The anti-gun folks and their ads focus on criminality and accidents. Fine. But they leave out the majority of gun uses.
Men, women and children in the U.S. also use guns an estimated 65,000 – 2,500,000 times a year to protect themselves (data according to the same Wikipedia article). That’s not the number of times guns were fired or people were shot in a defensive situation, it’s the estimated number of times that a gun was used in personal defence, and in most cases, no shots are ever fired.
It means “good guys” in the U.S. use guns at least 3 times more often and perhaps as many as 250 times more often to prevent themselves from being assaulted, robbed, raped, kidnapped, and murdered than “bad guys” use guns to murder.
The ad leaves out cases like Reese, the 11-year-old girl in Michigan who used a shotgun to scare away two home invaders. Or these three women, who protected themselves in each of their homes.
Personal defence is just one potential “good” use of firearms, and there are lots of other good uses. Hunters use guns to kill animals and feed their families and villages. Competitors use guns to win matches, testing their skills and equipment. Soldiers use guns to protect their homelands and neutralize their enemies. Men and women, boys and girls, use guns to have fun and develop skill at the range.
There are a bazillion cases every day of people using guns safely, legally, responsibly and legitimately. Why do the antis leave those out?
And here I go again, trying to use facts and logic instead of emotion and half-truths.
Maybe the antis really are smarter.