One Pagers

NRA Lobbyists vs. Gun Owners

January 14, 2013 12:40 pm ET
Today is the one month anniversary of the Newtown elementary school massacre. As the White House Task Force works with law enforcement, faith leaders, parents, and gun violence prevention groups to strengthen our gun laws, the NRA's top officials are using the massacre to boost their membership. Put the NRA in its place: between law-abiding Americans and our safety.

Also see below for the basic vocabulary, Guns 101, and polling you need in this debate. Click
here for a list of Attacks & Responses.

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NRA lobbyists are using gun owners as cover to help criminals.

Connect: Let's cut through the rhetoric -- we need to know who the key players are in this debate and what they want.

Define: Here's the truth: NRA lobbyists use law-abiding gun owners as cover for the gun industry -- to make sure no new laws get in the way of selling weapons of war to criminals and madmen.

Illustrate: They oppose common-sense laws that gun owners and hunters, law enforcement, and the American people support -- like requiring a criminal background check for every gun sale.

Debunk: A responsible gun owner knows that you only need an AR-15 to kill a lot of people quickly, not to protect your home. An experienced hunter knows that you'll rarely get off even a third shot at a deer, much less a 31st. 

Discredit: The Washington gun lobby is using the Newtown massacre to raise money off of law-abiding gun owners so they can keep doing the bidding of companies that profit off of selling dangerous weapons to anyone.

Bottom line: If law-abiding gun owners are blamed for the crimes of madmen, it won't be despite NRA lobbyists. It will be because of NRA lobbyists.   


Words to use

Preventing gun violence / Gun violence prevention
Gun violence prevention advocates
Public safety laws
Stronger gun laws
Loophole-ridden laws
Private sale loophole
A criminal background check for every gun sale
NRA lobbyists (instead of just "the NRA")

Words to avoid

Gun control
Gun control advocates

"Stricter" gun laws
Lax gun regulations
Gun-show loophole


Adapted in part from "What journalists need to know about guns and gun control" ( and "A Non-Gun-Owner's Guide to Guns" (

Semi-automatic weapon = a gun that fires a single shot with every pull of the trigger, but automatically reloads between shots. The vast majority of firearms made today, including handguns, are semi-automatic, except for revolvers, a portion of shotguns, bolt-action rifles, and lever action rifles. Semi-automatic assault rifles can fire as fast as the user can pull the trigger.

Automatic weapon = a gun that fires when you pull the trigger and keeps firing until you release the trigger. A machine gun is an automatic weapon. The manufacture of new machine guns for civilian use has been banned since 1986.

Assault weapon = a semiautomatic firearm that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and has features generally associated with military weapons designed for combat. 

  • Those features may include pistol grips, collapsible or folding "stocks" (which allow the user both to “shoulder” the weapon for accuracy while in use and to make it compact when not in use), and barrel shrouds (which protect the shooter from burning his hand while holding the front of the gun, as the barrel heats up from the weapon’s firing), among others.

  • Currently, the precise legal definition of "assault weapon" varies among states with assault weapon restrictions. Click here for a picture at

Cartridge (a.k.a. round, shell, or ammunition) = comprises the bullet, the casing (what gets ejected when a bullet fires; usually made of brass), the propellant (gunpowder), and the primer (device for igniting the gunpowder). A cartridge without a bullet is called a blank.

Clip = a loading aid that holds bullets together side-by-side in a row, making them easier to load into a gun. Technically the bullets in a clip remain visible. Click here to see the difference between clips and magazines.

Magazine = a device that typically looks like a box, which completely surrounds the bullets and uses a spring to actively load the bullet into the gun. A drum magazine is cylindrical in shape. Most semi-automatic weapons use magazines.

High-capacity magazines = ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.  Currently, it is legal to buy magazines that can hold 100 or more rounds.


  • The NRA now has a negative favorability rating, with 45% of voters -- including nearly 60% of moderate voters -- having an unfavorable view and 40% of voters seeing it positively.
  • Polling shows that only 5% of adults are gun owners who say the NRA always reflects their views.
  • Voters have never supported weaker gun laws -- barely 10% of the electorate wants them.
  • Of self-described moderate voters, nearly 75% oppose proposals to arm teachers with guns and almost 65% support stronger gun laws.
  • Nearly 90% of NRA members -- actual gun owners -- agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
  • Nearly 75% of NRA members support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun.
  • The NRA rank and file also supports banning people on terror watch lists from buying guns (about 70%) and believe the law should require gun owners to alert police about lost or stolen guns (about 65%).
  • Even 90% of gun owners in swing states support requiring background checks on all gun sales, including private sales. (40% of gun sales -- six million guns a year -- are sold by unlicensed dealers who aren't required to conduct background checks under federal law.)

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.


Posted in - Guns - Crime

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