"Guns Save Lives" (?)

Something has been bothering me lately. Specifically, I've noticed a number of gunnies using "Guns Save Lives" in their SIG/tagline. I see the use of this slogan by any of us as being inconsistent with our position that the anti-gunners are illogically placing the focus of violence on the implement used as an instrumentality of a crime.

For example, when Sarah Brady or Josh Sugarman say "guns kill," we (correctly, IMNSHO) take them to task for placing the blame on an inanimate object. It isn't the gun that can properly take the credit in a murder case, it's the criminal -- the human being.

But lately I've been seeing "Guns Save Lives." No, they don't! Just as guns don't take lives, they don't save them, either. The two slogans are flip sides of the same coin.

In fact, I view the use of the "Guns Save Lives" slogan asave Lives" slogan as falling into the same mindset that infects the antis, i.e., attributing a morall value to an inanimate object.

In the context of defensive gun usage, whether the criminal being defended against is some street corner punk or a tyrant bent on creating a police state, the focus must remain on the actions of people, not the tool.

And here's a rebuttal from Chris Morhbacher:

Regarding your online piece... [1]http://users.erols.com/dsmjd/rkba/gunssave.htm

Being a new convert to the importance of individual gun rights, I respectfully disagree with your assertion that the "Guns Save Lives" slogan is improper.

No matter what "side" you're on, anyone with half a brain knows that guns are designed and built to shoot bullets quickly and accurately, and handguns in particular are meant to be aimed and fired at people at close to medium range. I know some will say "I just plink with it in the backyard" or "I use it to shoot rabbits" but the bald truth is that they are meant to be used for defense, and that overwhelmingly means defense against other people (the kind trying to kill you).

You are claiming that because the gun is basically an inanimate object, it should be regarded and referred to only in that sense, and therefore phrases suggesting a gun's "mindful intent" are unfair game because that's what the idiot anti-gunners do. Technically, you're right. However, if I may suggest a broader view...

People's beliefs and defenses for those beliefs I believe are better broached FIRST by using short memorable phrases, FOLLOWED by longer and sometimes boring facts. And the FACT is, people DO attach human properties to inanimate objects, ESPECIALLY to those objects whose sole purpose is to be USED by humans AGAINST other humans. Handguns definitely fall into that category. So catchy phrases that key into this common human trait are definitely effective.

The sight of a gun will always elicit SOME kind of strong response. For anti-gunners perhaps, and certainly for uninformed and gun-ignorant people such as myself just 4 months ago, the sight of a gun is an instrument of death, on a par with a hand grenade or a long sharp sword. As a new gun-rights advocate, I now regard them as "protective tools, orders of magnitude more comforting than a nearby phone, but with the threat of a mortal bite if handled carelessly for even a second". So for me.... yeah, the phrase "Guns Save Lives" really resonates strongly.

You also have to take into account that all the facts and figures in the world, do not ERASE the impact of phrases like "Guns Kill" in people's minds but only slowly erode that impact over time. Don't get me wrong, having the facts on our side is GREAT, but for that one critical bit of "emotional deprogramming" I firmly believe that properly conceived counter phrases are necessary. This is why I argue that an innate inconsistency is not grounds to dismiss a counter phrase, and may even be what allows that phrase to have the right effect.


--- Chris Mohrbacher

chrism @ lisco.com

New NRA and SAF member

---Actually, I had been coming around to this line of thinking for some time, but I hadn't updated this page. Chris's thoughtful letter provided the impetus I needed to get off my butt and update it. Thanks to Chris for writing such a great email. -- Dave M.

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