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Flipping the Gun Rights Frame

January 18, 2013 1:05 pm ET
As the Washington lobby for the arms dealers and gun manufacturers and its political allies flip out over the President's executive actions to reduce gun violence in the wake of Newtown, it’s time to flip their frame. Call them out for undermining the rights that belong to all of us.

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CORE MESSAGE

What about the rights of the Newtown children?

Define: Our fundamental rights as Americans are at stake in this debate -- our right to life and liberty, our right to be safe in our homes and neighborhoods.

Explain: Any American who has lost a loved one to a bullet can explain what these rights mean: the right of our children to not be shot in their classrooms and the right of parents to not lose their sons and daughters to gun violence.

Illustrate: Gunmen denied the kids at Newtown, Virginia Tech, and Columbine the right to live in pursuit of happiness. Americans in the Atlanta megachurch and Oak Creek temple shooting were denied the right to worship freely. Moviegoers in Aurora were denied the right to assemble peaceably.

Discredit: Our founders recognized that rights come with responsibilities. That's why gun owners agree our 2nd Amendment right comes with the responsibility to keep dangerous guns out of dangerous hands.

Expose: NRA lobbyists see it differently: they want to deny us stronger gun laws so the gun industry can keep making money selling weapons to anyone. That's not freedom -- it's money and fear.


ATTACKS AND RESPONSE

ATTACK: "The President's executive orders on gun violence are an unconstitutional power grab."
RESPONSE:

  • What about the rights taken away from the children at Newtown, the students at V-Tech and Columbine, and the kids shot to death on street corners every day? The rights of American Sikhs in the Oak Creek temple shooting and moviegoers in the Aurora massacre?
  • NRA lobbyists are the ones threatening our fundamental rights as Americans to be safe in our homes and neighborhoods, our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The President is the one taking action to protect these rights.
  • The President is simply exercising his authority under the Constitution to take executive action, consistent with the 2nd Amendment.
  • But some Republicans in Congress are talking about impeachment -- instead of coming to the table to work with the President to prevent gun violence, along with faith leaders, law enforcement, parents, and responsible gun owners.


ATTACK: "The President's gun control plan is a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty."
RESPONSE:

  • Nice rallying cry for the NRA lobbyists to rile up their base, so they can raise more money for themselves and boost gun sales for the gun manufacturers.
  • NRA lobbyists are the ones threatening our fundamental rights as Americans to be safe in our homes and neighborhoods, our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • The President is the one taking action to protect our fundamental rights with public safety laws -- like a criminal background check for every gun sale and a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
  • These sound like common sense solutions, so no wonder they're popular with the American people.


ATTACK: "The Second Amendment says we have a right to guns."
RESPONSE:

  • Even Justice Scalia said "the 2nd Amendment right is not unlimited" -- "it's not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
  • Where does it say people have the right to stockpile military-style assault weapons and buy thousands of rounds of ammo off the Internet? We're talking about common sense laws to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.
  • Recklessly disregarding the gun violence that plagues so many people's lives is morally bankrupt and doesn't have anything to do with protecting freedom.

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. 
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Posted in - Guns - Crime

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