by Greg Camp ; Opinion
AmmoLand News welcomes Greg Camp to our list of the best and brightest Second Amendment contributors.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Emily Gaudette, writing for Newsweek, believes that the gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, should seek out celebrities that conservatives pay attention to in order to promote restrictions on gun rights.
In her article, “Hollywood liberals can’t stop the NRA: We need Taylor Swift, country stars, action heroes,” she suggests that stars such as Vin Diesel and the cast of Duck Dynasty would sway people who aren’t influenced by Melissa McCarthy or Julianne Moore.
One particular concern of her article is the bill that is crawling its way through the legislative process at present, the Hearing Protection Act. Now I don’t know Gaudette, so I can only speculate about her actual level and quality of knowledge about this subject, but I have seen that people who support restrictions on suppressors tend to think that such devices make guns silent, they invariably refer to the things as silencers, after all.
Or they believe that the cat-sneeze sound that accompanies a celebrity firing a gun in a movie is true in real life.
And yet, when such things are put to the test, as the Military Arms Channel has done with sound meters, the results are that the volume reduction is from around 160 dB—instantaneous hearing damage—to some 130 dB—loud, but safer to the ears of the person squeezing the trigger.
In other words, reality isn’t a movie. And the facts overcome faulty appeals to emotion—which is why the marketing paper by Frank O’Brien and others, “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging,” in 2012 advises telling stories and refusing to “let a dry recitation of the facts disguise the fact that you are deeply saddened and moved by the terrible human toll that gun violence claims.” Naturally this is the approach that a marketer recommends. The evidence doesn’t support gun control.
But ignorance about the facts in the subject of guns in America is to be expected from journalists, I’m sorry to say. They will research the intricacies of financial instruments and the search for quantum gravity, but feel that they already know everything they need to know about guns. That’s part of the reason that Ranjit Singh and I wrote Each One, Teach One in the hopes that reporters and commentators would dig deeper. But spreading knowledge is a slow process.
In promotion of that, I have two more points that would aid Gaudette in her understanding. Yes, gun ownership is lower among those who identify with the Democratic Party than those who call themselves Republicans, but there are a lot of Americans who side with the left wing who also exercise gun rights.
Making the lazy assumption that liberals don’t while conservatives do only deepens the divide in this country and drives away potential supporters, whichever side a person comes down on with regard to gun laws.
But of greater importance in terms of reasoning is the fallacy of appeal to authority that Gaudette engages in. This is the same error that we see in advertising all the time, the idea that, for example, Michael Jordan has any special wisdom about underwear that an ordinary person lacks. If I’m seeking understanding in the subject of basketball, he’s an expert. With regard to men’s garments, not so much. And the same
applies to celebrities and guns. That’s whether they oppose or support gun rights. Policy choices have to be based on facts and logic and on the effect that they will have on people, not on who is making an argument for or against.
The value in Gaudette’s article is that she reminds us to be careful in what sways our opinions. A working democracy depends on rational participants, citizens who think for themselves rather than following what they’re told from on high, regardless of what mountain the booming voice has occupied.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.