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Why They're Blocking Gun Laws

April 09, 2013 9:15 am ET
Americans of faith are joining others from all walks of life, including everyday NRA members, to call on Congress to pass common sense gun laws, but Republican leaders in the Senate are vowing to block the proposals sight-unseen. Expose what these lawmakers' actions mean and who they're really fighting for.

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CORE MESSAGE

Some lawmakers in Congress are actually fighting for the rights of criminals to easily gun down children.

Affirm support: Americans from all walks of life, from gun owners to faith leaders, are standing with families of gun violence victims to call on our leaders to lead.

Expose: But some Republicans in the Senate would rather stand with the criminals who would gun down our families, vowing to block any plan to prevent gun violence from ever getting a vote.

Warn: If we let these lawmakers get away with killing new gun laws, how many more children will be killed in the next massacre? If not Newtown, what does it take to get a vote?

Explain: A vote to approve common sense measures -- like requiring a background check for every gun sale and banning the assault weapon that killed the Newtown children -- is a vote to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Discredit: Opponents of gun violence prevention proposals are going to the mat. But it's not for gun owners or the American people. Or even their own constituents. It's for criminals.


ATTACKS AND RESPONSES


ATTACK: "Senator Graham's background checks bill would make sure mentally ill people can't get guns."
RESPONSE:

  • This legislation would actually put more guns in the hands of dangerously mentally ill people.
  • By changing the definition of who can qualify, anyone committed to a psychiatric hospital could go directly to a gun store immediately after discharge  -- and legally buy a murder or suicide weapon.
  • In fact, this proposal would allow seriously mentally ill people like Alice Boland -- who was charged in federal court for threatening the life of President Bush -- to get a gun.
  • Not only that, the legislation would force millions of the mental health records we do have in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to be tossed out and revisited. We need to make sure the system is complete, not create more cracks for people to fall through.


ATTACK: "These proposals to make private sellers complete the gun sale at a gun dealer's shop are a big burden."
RESPONSE:

  • Over 98% of Americans live within 10 miles of a gun dealer.
  • There are over 58,000 licensed gun dealers across the country -- as many as post offices, McDonald's, and Starbucks combined.
  • So compare the little inconvenience of a gun owner visiting a local gun shop to complete a private sale to the priceless life of a child. And if you're a gun owner in an exceptionally remote area, the proposals on the table include exemptions.
  • The bottom line is that getting an instant criminal background check and keeping a record with the dealer protects gun owners and sellers at virtually no inconvenience to them.


ATTACK: "These background check proposals ban private citizens from selling their guns or even giving them to family members."
RESPONSE:

  • Just like now, gun owners will be able to give their guns to family members. The legislative proposals on the table have exemptions to allow just that.
  • If gun owners want to temporarily lend out their guns for hunting or target shooting, the proposals on the table have exemptions to allow that, too.
  • Just like now, private citizens will still be able to sell their guns -- just not to criminals and other dangerous people who fail their background check. These people should not be allowed to get guns, period.

RESOURCES

Call for action: The White House Plan On Gun Violence; Action On Gun Violence, Not Just Words; and Newtown Was 3 Months Ago Today.

Define the opposition: NRA Lobbyists vs. Gun Owners and No Controversy...Except In Congress.

Flip their frame: Flipping the Gun Rights Frame.

Bolster support for the assault weapons ban: Assault Weapons Ban.

Push for universal background checks: Why Background Checks Protect Gun Owners and A Background Check For Every Gun Sale.

Rebut their attacks: ATTACKS & RESPONSES: Gun Violence and 1 Hearing, Many Myths About Gun Laws.

Discredit their approach (arming up our schools): Guns In Schools.

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.


 


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