Special Edition: Kill-At-Will
When our laws allow paranoid strangers to gun down your family and walk free, no one is safe.
Connect: Gun laws should protect our rights and help keep us safe.
Define the laws: Kill-At-Will laws that let paranoid strangers shoot you and then walk free make it harder to protect our families and put our most fundamental rights in jeopardy.
Define them: Desperate for new political battles to raise money off of, the gun lobby is conspiring with corporate special interests to rewrite our gun laws across the country.
Illustrate: It's absurd. In some states, a stranger can bring a hidden, loaded gun into your business or church, pick a fight with you, and then legally shoot you by just saying they felt threatened.
Bottom line: Kill-At-Will laws put us all in the line of fire and invite people to shoot to kill. When our laws let paranoid strangers gun you or your loved one down, no one is safe.
Words to use ... Words to avoid
Kill-At-Will laws ... NOT: Stand Your Ground laws
Protect our families/keep them safe ... NOT: Gun control
Gun violence prevention ... NOT: Gun control
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ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
ATTACK: "Gun laws like Stand Your Ground and Concealed Carry allow us to protect ourselves wherever we go."
- When our laws start letting paranoid strangers shoot you or your family and then walk free, no one is safe.
- Are you really safer when killing you would be the shooter's way of making sure the police hears only their side of the story and then walking free by just saying they felt threatened?
- Just look at the Trayvon killing and Florida. There so-called "justifiable" killings tripled after its Kill-At-Will law went into effect and guns are being pulled out in neighbor disputes and house parties.
ATTACK: "Liberals are just trying to take away Americans' right to bear arms."
- The Second Amendment talks about the right to "bear arms." Where does it give people the right to go into our businesses, churches, or wherever they please with a loaded gun, shoot to kill, and then walk free by just saying they felt threatened?
- Even Justice Scalia said "the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapons whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
- Nobody but the arms dealers and their NRA lobbyists think these loophole-ridden laws are a good idea. The rest of us don't want an America where we could be in the line of fire wherever we go.
ATTACK: "Taking away our gun rights only harms law-abiding citizens because criminals will always be able to get guns."
- Of course the bad guys can keep getting guns when the NRA lobbyists have rewritten our laws with so many loopholes. The gun lobby weakens our gun laws, flooding the illegal market with firearms -- then complains that too many criminals have guns.
- When they're fighting for more loopholes that let terrorists and convicted murderers get military style semi-assault weapons and kill at will, it's no longer about guns for law-abiding Americans.
- For them, this is what it's about: showing their base that there are more political battles to be won, so they can keep fundraising and selling increasingly lethal military-style weapons.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Key Players
- The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the shadowy organization that's been working to rewrite our state laws on behalf of its corporate and special interest funders, including the NRA.
- The NRA has been described as a "lobbying, merchandising and marketing machine" that brings in more than $200 million a year.
- In the last four federal elections, the NRA could claim credit for only 4 wins out of the 1038 endorsements it made in Congressional races.
Yet despite the debunked myth of NRA electoral dominance, politicians continue to give in to their demands --
Who Can Have a Gun
- In most states, there are no background checks or even proper ID required for people who buy guns outside of gun shops. However, almost half the guns bought in America are bought somewhere other than a licensed gun shop.
- Due to these legal loopholes, nearly anyone can buy a gun from a private seller or at a gun show no questions asked, including terrorists and felons convicted of murder.
- In fact, in one undercover investigation of illegal online sales, more than 6 in 10 private gun sellers agreed to sell a firearm to a person they knew to be prohibited from buying because he said he couldn't pass a background check.
- As a result of an "overhaul of federal gun laws orchestrated by the NRA," every year thousands of felons -- including criminals convicted of first-degree murder and manslaughter -- are allowed to own guns again after getting freed from jail.
- Thanks to Florida's gun laws, Trayvon's killer still has the right to buy a new handgun instantly despite his arrest record and carry it loaded and hidden in 35 other states.
- There are virtually no restrictions on the type of weapons available for purchase by private individuals in America, including military-style semi-assault rifles and grenade launchers.
Where Can They Carry a Gun
- The NRA wrote Florida's Kill-At-Will law and bankrolled the politicians who pushed it through, making Florida the first in the nation to be a Kill-At-Will state. Now half the states have such laws.
- In the states with Kill-At-Will laws, the average number of "justifiable homicide" cases per year increased by more than 50% -- and tripled in Florida, where the Kill-At-Will law has been invoked as a legal defense in gang fights, neighbor disputes, and road rage.
- Examples of other places where the NRA believes virtually anyone should be able to carry a gun include --
- Even in the wake of the Virginia Tech and Columbine mass shootings, last year alone 18 states seriously considered and two passed legislation to allow concealed weapons on school campuses in some regard.
- Kansas, Mississippi and Utah now allow guns on school grounds, including elementary schools.
- Utah's law would also allow people to carry guns in buildings that house preschools and daycare centers.
- In Ohio, it's now legal to bring a concealed gun into a bar, even though law enforcement groups warned against mixing alcohol with guns.
- In Arizona and Wyoming people can now carry concealed weapons without any permit at all.
- The NRA has even opposed hospitals and nursing homes from banning guns on their premises and opposed adoption agencies from asking prospective parents if they keep a gun in the house.
- Republicans in Congress are now trying to make the weakest state gun laws the law of the nation -- meaning that even convicted murderers and rapists could mail-order a high-powered gun from Florida and stroll our streets virtually anywhere in the US, shoot to kill, and then walk free in "Kill-At-Will" states. And it would be all legal.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.