Why let them set the terms?


May 14, 2011, 06:58 AM
Bear with me, but in the debate about abortion the anti-abortion crowd finally picked the term pro-life. So why is we don't have a more accurate term for our cause that immediately puts our opponents on the defensive?

Let's face it gun rights is kind of silly. Guns have no rights, they're inanimate objects. Why do we not say we're pro-selfdefense, or pro freedom, or pro constitution instead? Or some other term. I'm open to suggestions.

But, my point is why do we not identify ourselves in such a way that those who would take our right look silly for the mere attempt? I mean they do, but why shouldn't that impression be given from the start of the conversation.

I say this because for many years I'm less of a gun guy and more of a freedom guy. I'm much less concerned with what's in a nightstand than the fact that there should be something in that nightstand to protect my freedom etc.

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May 14, 2011, 07:47 AM
...why do we not identify ourselves in such a way that those who would take our right look silly for the mere attempt?

Labels like that mean less than we think they do. For instance, after nearly 40 years the "Pro-life" folks haven't won. People can see beyond self imposed names and make up their minds on the real issues.

May 14, 2011, 07:56 AM
This thread is playing with fire!

Why not just Pro-gun?

May 14, 2011, 08:06 AM
political labels like "pro-life" and "assault clips" are used because those people know that is they only way that they can try to confuse their political stance. it stands right up there with ridiculous bill titles like "the bill to restore freedom to the US" or "Bill to save our children" it obscure the real intent because they think that people are stupid.

Kendal Black
May 14, 2011, 08:07 AM
The Swiss came up with something rather good: Pro-Tell, a reference to their folk hero, William Tell. Of course, Tell used a crossbow, not a gun, but the idea is there of the dignity and importance of the armed citizen.

All right, thinking caps on, everybody: Surely we can come up with something as evocative and meaningful. Let's kick it around a bit, see what ideas emerge.

May 14, 2011, 09:11 AM
"Anti-rape" has a certain flair. The anti-gun crowd certainly is pro-rape in their policy implications.

May 14, 2011, 09:20 AM
"pro individual freedom"
"pro self responsible"

Standing Wolf
May 14, 2011, 03:05 PM

May 14, 2011, 04:57 PM
I'm liking pro-self defense.

May 14, 2011, 05:03 PM
Pro-freedom, pro-liberty, pro-gun.

All three of those terms are short, truthful, and to the point.

May 14, 2011, 06:59 PM
Gun rights are also a pro-choice movement. People can choose if and how they arm themselves. Just as pro-choice doesn't force people to receive abortions, pro-gun doesn't force people to bear arms.

Ky Larry
May 14, 2011, 08:41 PM
I saw a young lady the other day who had on a t-shirt that read "PRO 2A."

May 15, 2011, 12:16 PM
No, the pro-life people haven't won in 40 years, but their self chosen label does give them a leg up in some areas of the debate. I don't want to discuss the abortion issue here though that was just an example.

My personal favorite so far is pro-self defense. It's hard for even the anti gun crowd to say we don't have the right to self defense. Some do of course, but those are so far out they won't be swayed anyway, and even the Brady Bunch doesn't try to deny a person's right to self defense. They may try to discredit gun ownership as a method of self defense but they typically don't say we don't have that right. If by our mere label we assert a right that they won't/can't deny then we automatically have them on the defensive.

My other reason for liking pro-self defense is that self defense is a God given right, and guns are merely the tools to most effectively assert right. Some day the technology may change and guns will all be museum pieces, and by defending our gun rights we may be cutting our noses off to spite our faces. By relabeling it as our right to self defense then we simply change from guns to whatevers without missing a beat and move on with the battle. Because you know that the change in technology will be a point in which those that would curtail our rights will attempt to assert their views.

Regardless good discussion so far.

May 15, 2011, 12:34 PM
"Pro-Self Defense"; thoughtful term. I prefer "Pro-2nd Amendment or Pro-2A". However, the gun control advocates are not now trying to take away the guns, they want to restrict who buys or owns guns. Of course the real issues are Freedom and Crime, as the gun control advocates "say" they are not trying to restrict your ability to own a firearm as long as you are willing to jump through all the government restriction hoops to get there. With crime, the adage that criminals don't obey the law anyway and will still get their weapons regardless, so it comes back to the freedom issue.

May 15, 2011, 01:16 PM
I'll stick with pro-gun. Trying to attach a more politically correct label to my beliefs is too ...uh, politically correct for me!:D

May 15, 2011, 01:45 PM
The problem with labels is that they over simplify things, which has a polarizing effect that gets you nowhere. "Pro Life" implies that anyone who believes in abortion rights is "anti life", which is simply not true.

May 15, 2011, 02:21 PM
The only labels I think fit anywhere near guns have dollar signs on them.

May 15, 2011, 11:05 PM
Pro-Gun = Pro-Life - YOURS!

May 16, 2011, 07:01 AM
Pro abortion-rights people don't accept the term "pro-life" as anything but a sanctimonious self-serving lie, to put it bluntly. It doesn't put their opponents on the defensive because nobody takes it seriously.

It's worth keeping in mind that anti-abortion forces have failed almost completely to get what they want in this country.

The spiteful polarizing provocation of their terminology has something to do with this, I would wager.

It's also worth remembering that if you use terminology that already has an accepted meaning, you run the risk of being santictimonious and therefore off-putting if you aren't careful.

For example, take the two, superficially similar statements "gun ownership is a civil right" and "I support civil rights."

Now, everything is fine if you do happen to support the struggle for civil rights, which in its contemporary stage is mostly a matter of equality for gays, and if you are a supporter of the Civil Rights Act and that sort of thing-- but if you're essentially just trying to be clever or cute, then it's counter productive.

The key to safeguarding gun rights is getting the liberal half of America on board with them, that's the only possible way to really make it bulletproof.

The best way to go about doing that is to convince them that gun rights are part of the broader equality and civil rights agenda that they hold so dear.

May 16, 2011, 07:05 AM
Labels mean everything.
They define the individual, like it or not.
Lately those labels have been used to demonize groups.
The redefine gun owners with a "good" label is a great idea.

The NRA loves the term "sportsmen"
Personally I hate it.

How about "proactive citizen"?


May 16, 2011, 11:28 AM
Labels do play to the psychological aspect however that may be (and usually is) drastically outweighed by the actual facts and arguments.

The new term "assualt clips" is doing nothing more than keeping consistent with the term assault Rifle and trying to get people to imagine scary black tactical rifles.

You can sit there and argue anti-gun (pro life) or pro gun (pro life) but it really comes down to the argument and facts.

Ask how many firearm crimes are committed by illegal firearm owners?

Show it wasn't a lack of laws but a failure of the system that prevented Columbine, VA Tech, and the event in AZ.

In the event a child kills a friend or sibling show that it was not because of the firearm but the lack of education or effort of the parent to keep it out of reach.

Idiotic articles and studies such as the recent USA Today / CDC study that determined there are more firearm homicides in inner cities than anywhere else in the nation need to be rebutted and ask to show more than just the finial number but the variables involved like were they legal owners and were they drug relations?

"Large metropolitan areas suffer about two-thirds of all firearm homicides in the United States, with inner cities most affected, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."


May 16, 2011, 11:36 AM
I just use "pro liberty."

Owen Sparks
May 16, 2011, 11:42 AM
Here is something germain that I posted a while back:

Let's call them what they are MODERN.


As most of us are aware, liberals tend to appeal to peoples emotions rather than using facts, reasons or logic to sway peoples opinions on gun issues.

"Assault weapon" is a term with a strong negative connotation. This phrase carries the presupposition that these weapons are suitable only for committing a criminal assault. Our enemies in Congress knew what they were doing when they named the Assault weapons bill.

Using loaded language to exploit the subtle shades of words meanings, neutral or even pleasant things can become unpleasant. Conceder the difference between:

fragrant and smelly a mobile home vs a trailer inexpensive vs cheap

Using this method it's easy to take something as innocuous as your scoped mini 14 ranch rifle and turn it into a high capacity semiautomatic assault rifle with no legitimate sporting purpose, the weapon of choice of disgruntled snipers.

Now how can we counter this? Let's look at some facts and reasons.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is to use "loaded" words and phrases.
Certain words have negative connotations that invoke an emotional response.

Suppose you read a news story that starts with the phrase "disgruntled former employee". You immediately start thinking "Another nut goes on a murderous rampage" simply because you have heard that word used so many times in that context even though the word disgruntled simply means disappointed and unhappy.

Even a purely technical term like "semi automatic" can evoke negative emotions in uninformed people whose primary exposure to that term has been in connection with story's about crime and mass murder.

Since the invention of the musket, men have endeavored to make firearms more accurate, handier, faster to load and to increase the number of shots.

Muskets have to have long barrels to get even marginal accuracy. With the advent of rifled bores, this was no longer true. Although long barrels were retained for military rifles because no one wanted to give up the extra reach they afforded in a bayonet charge. Also, with iron sights the farther apart they are the more accurately they can be aimed.

Now days bayonet charges are no longer in vogue and improved sighting systems make long cumbersome barrels unnecessary.

Traditional firearm stocks were made of wood. With the development of synthetic stocks more ergonomic shapes evolved. Pistol grip stocks feel more natural in the hand to many people but were difficult to make out of wood which tends to split along its grain. That's not a problem with plastic.

Since the invention of the self contained cartridge faster and easier ways to load have evolved. Semi automatic operation and detachable magazines eliminated down time.

To put it all into perspective, these so called assault weapons are simply


which are in use by every established military in the world. Just like the brown Bess musket was in 1776! (remember, everyone who ever lived lived in modern times)

So the next time you debate an anti gunner be sure to call these guns what they really are


Why Senator Foghorn, Do you really believe the second amendment is not meant to apply to modern firearms?

May 16, 2011, 12:02 PM
I like "Pro-2A"

but then we have to figure out how to make people realize the second amendment IS NOT ABOUT HUNTING, and this goes back the the NRA using the term "sportsmen". the term "sportsmen" needs to go away. The second amendment is about enabling ordinary citizens to outfit themselves with military weapons so that they can become soldiers at a moment's notice. AT THE VERY LEAST this means 3 round burst M16s(the most basic army infantry battle rifle) and anything less is a mockery of the second amendment.

so we've got some work to do.

May 16, 2011, 04:35 PM
Indeed, one big drawback of claiming to be pro-Second Amendment is that anyone can claim to be pro-second amendment, since there's a rather wide variety of beliefs about what the second amendment entails.

For example, someone who believes in gun registration and strict limits on the number of guns a person can own might be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment because he is committed to the idea of every citizen being able to keep and bear modern firearms for the purpose of self defense, hunting, etc.

Fortunately, in the era of Heller, we are freed from the notion that the 2A fails to protect any individual right to keep and bear arms. Up until Heller almost anyone, with almost any belief about guns, pro- or against, could honestly consider himself "Pro 2A."

What you've gotten down with your talk of m-16s is being "pro-machine gun ownership," and I have my doubts about whether that would be a very effective message.

May 16, 2011, 05:01 PM
I'm not really concerned with what you deem effective. I'm simply stating the TRUE purpose of the second amendment.

May 16, 2011, 05:08 PM
That's nice, but isn't this thread about constructing terminology in order to be effective?

May 16, 2011, 05:12 PM
I thought it was about a slogan/title. I like "pro-2A", with the reservations I indicated and why.

May 16, 2011, 06:09 PM
I thought it was about a slogan/title. I like "pro-2A", with the reservations I indicated and why.

That isn't an intrinsically positive slogan or title though. In fact it's less descriptive than "pro-gun-rights."

Much in the way that any abortion-rights supporter would tell his opponent that he's also "pro life," someone in favor of restrictive gun laws probably believes that he's also "pro-2nd amendment."

Remember- most people, and the supreme court, consider the second amendment to allow a broad range of restrictions on gun ownership.

May 17, 2011, 01:19 AM
Pro abortion-rights people don't accept the term "pro-life" as anything but a sanctimonious self-serving lie, to put it bluntly. It doesn't put their opponents on the defensive because nobody takes it seriously.

That would be a valid point if we were thinking we could convert the hard core anti's. Were not, and we never will. Indeed we shouldn't even be bothering. In reality were going for the undecided and others in the middle. The term I'm looking for here would one to appeal to them. Most of them could care less about the 2A since they still think it's about duck hunting, and if not they don't care to contemplate having to use the 2A to defend themselves against governmental tyranny. But, put in terms of defending themselves against a mugger or a rapist and suddenly they're more interested and more open. Which is why more and more I'm convinced that Pro Self Defense is the way to go.

May 17, 2011, 10:27 AM

It's not just about self-defense or hunting. It's about the common man maintaining his autonomy and the ability to protect himself, his family, his neighbors and his country from all enemies. Foreign and domestic. Be it foreign invaders or a tyrannical government. It's about the common man's ability to protect and perpetuate the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It is a critical part of our checks & balances. It's the last line of defense and the 2nd Amendment stands guard over the other 9.

May 17, 2011, 01:51 PM
Language has a lot of twists and turns. Here's a link to a section of a site that talks about using language effectively with the anti crowd. It's from Pink Pistols site, which for those who aren't aware of it-I wasn't 'til recently-is a site for members of the gay community who want to arm themselves. Give it a read, there's some very thoughtful stuff there that every pro gun/constitution/2nd ammendment/armed citizen person can use.


May 17, 2011, 02:02 PM
The best way to make converts is to take a kid shooting. The safety and confidence they learn there will go far toward shielding them from the propaganda of the anti's

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