Framing the question on gun violence

Often our perceptions and bias are evident in our arguments for gun rights or gun control. Greg Camp for writes a little about the framing of arguments:

The debate over gun rights vs. gun control often gets mired in a battle of statistics….and while those of us who support gun ownership and carry can win by the numbers, we have to recognize that many people aren’t persuaded by data.  A good story that plays on the emotions or an appeal to our basic values will sway far more than will spreadsheets.

This is, in fact, the argument made by Preventing Gun Violence through Effective Messaging, a marketing strategy written by Frank O’Brien and others, written to help gun control advocates stay on-message.  That document has already been addressed on this site, but for my purposes, I want us to listen to the advice being offered.

Aristotle told us that an effective argument is composed of logos, pathos, and ethos.  The first of those is fine for geometry, but in matters of politics and individual rights, our emotions (pathos) and our perceptions of the debaters (ethos) shape the way we approach the subject and the conclusions we come to….

….Listen for assumptions when safety comes up in the discussion.  To a gun control advocate, the promise that a long list of new laws will save lives is an article of faith.  Anyone who questions that belief is regarded as irrational, someone who doesn’t care about The Children

Read the rest of the article at