America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 64

PARTING SHOT
Gun Speak
By Charles C.W. Cooke
S
eventy-fi ve years have passed
since George Orwell observed
that, when challenged by uncomfortable
facts, political advocates
often descend into " euphemism, question-begging
and sheer cloudy vagueness. " Th is is still
the best description of the rhetorical approach
being taken by the American gun-control
movement.
Over the last four decades, as support for
increasing restrictions has steadily eroded, America's
gun-control activists have attempted to redefi ne
or obfuscate almost every element within the debate.
Disfavored guns have been rebranded " assault
weapons " -not because such a designation means
anything useful or concrete, but because, as the anti-gun
activist Josh Sugarmann put it, the term takes advantage
of " the public's confusion over fully automatic machine
guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons " and helps
to " increase the chance of public support for restrictions
on these weapons. "
Over the same period, gun control has been relabeled
" gun safety " ; standard-issue magazines have been deemed
" high-capacity " magazines; fi rearms owned by prohibited
persons have become " illegal guns " ; mass-murderers
have been deemed " active shooters " ; deliberately crafted
laws have been transmuted into " loopholes " ; weapons that
happen to be black have been classifi ed as " military style " ;
confi scation drives have been termed " mandatory buybacks " ;
and everything-yes, everything-that the opponents
of the Second Amendment seek to do has been cast
as mere " common sense. "
One can get a good idea of the game that is being
played by comparing the changes in public-opinion polling
to the evolving names of America's largest gun-control
groups. Back in 1974, when Gallup was fi nding that
41% of Americans favored a ban on handguns, the organization
that is now called the Brady Campaign was called
the National Council to Control Handguns. Also, the
organization that is now called Th e Coalition to Stop Gun
Violence was called the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.
Over time, as polling changed, so did the names of
the groups that were calling for it. In 1980, the National
Council to Control Handguns was renamed Handgun
Control Inc. By 2001, it had become the Brady Campaign
to Prevent Gun Violence. Today, with support for a ban
64 SEPTEMBER 2021 I AMERICA'S 1ST
FREEDOM
on handguns at 25%-about the same number as believe
that we should " defund the police " -it is simply known as
Brady: United Against Gun Violence.
Th anks to a relentless pressure campaign, these euphemisms
have become standard in the media-and beyond.
Back in 2013, as the Obama administration geared up
for its big gun-control push, the Center for American
Progress sent a memo to politicians and journalists
alike explaining how they should talk about guns if they
wanted to " help. " Th e big piece of advice in the memo: To
describe everything Obama sought to do as mere " gun-violence
prevention. " Since then, the Center for American
Progress and similar anti-gun groups have so rigorously
policed the language in this area that the vast majority of
reporters have come to follow their advice without thinking
about it.
Th e results of this shift have not only been farcical, but
have also greatly diminished our understanding of reality.
It is now common for media outlets, such as CNN, to
describe any criminal event as a " mass shooting, " irrespective
of the circumstances or the setting. Th ere's been
a gang fi ght in Chicago? " Mass shooting. " We have news
of a family tragedy inside an apartment building? " Mass
shooting. " So imprecise has the media become, in fact,
that by the end of 2019 almost every American outlet was
repeating the claim made by the activist Gun Violence
Archive that there had been 418 mass shootings in the
United States that year. Th e real number, per the defi nition
used by the FBI, was six.
Off by a factor of 70. Orwellian mission accomplished,
I suppose.
Illustration: Gary Locke

America's First Freedom - September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - September 2021

Contents
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - Cover1
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - Cover2
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 1
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - Contents
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 3
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 4
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 5
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 6
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 7
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 8
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 9
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America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 11
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 12
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 13
America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 14
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America's First Freedom - September 2021 - 18
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