The gun control lobby has come up with a new way to convince supporters of the Second Amendment to abandon their pro-gun stance. With the recent spate of high-profile school shootings, the left has reignited its crusade to bring about more anti-gun legislation. So far, the lobby’s tactics seem to have had little impact on overall public opinion. Now, it is trying a uniquely different approach.
Gun control activists have designed statues depicting frightened children as a visual tool intended to persuade Americans to reconsider their pro-gun views. Using visuals is an effective persuasion tool, but in this case, it will likely fail.
The statues – which were created using 3-D printers – were designed by an artist named Manuel Oliver, whose son died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He told The San Francisco Chronicle that his son “would think this statue is a really powerful way to get our message across.”
One of the statues, named “The Final Lockdown,” portrays a female high school student hiding under her desk. The other monuments follow a similar theme.
The statues are part of a national voter registration drive which advocates for candidates who support additional gun control legislation. Giffords Courage, a pro-gun control organization, founded by former lawmaker Gabby Giffords, has partnered with the group of “student leaders” who are distributing the statues.
Giffords, who survived a mass shooting at a campaign event in 2011, told The Chronicle that she is “proud of [young people] for making it clear to the gun lobby and the NRA that we will no longer tolerate a world where politicians vote against the public safety of the communities they represent.”
The statues will be placed in ten districts that have exhibited pro-2A attitudes. These include Parkland, FL; Denver; Minneapolis; Irvine, CA; Milwaukee; Houston; Sarasota; Spokane and Philadelphia.
Will The Statues Work?
The statues will certainly give people pause. They are a stark reminder of the children who have lost their lives in school shootings. However, they are unlikely to change many minds.
The assumption behind using this type of art is that those who do not support gun control are not emotionally affected by tragedies like the shooting at the high school in Parkland. It shows a misunderstanding of the motivation behind those who support the 2nd Amendment.
The reality is that those who support gun rights are just as emotionally affected by the deaths of children as those who push for gun control. The difference is that pro-gun Americans believe that there are more effective solutions that can prevent school shootings.
Americans who oppose additional gun legislation favor solutions such as improved security measures, armed officers on campus, and enforcing the laws already on the books. They are not convinced by the notion that more laws will solve the problem – the fact that existing procedures should have already prevented the Parkland high school shooter from obtaining a weapon lends credibility to this view. According to a Gallup poll conducted earlier this year, most Americans agree with conservative proposals on this issue.
These sculptures will elicit emotions, but they may not change opinions.
They could even inspire pro-gun Americans to double down on their views. The reason is obvious: There is no evidence that more laws will prevent mass-shooting deaths, but there have been several situations in which a law-abiding citizen with a gun has stopped a shooter.
While many on the left wish to bring about the confiscation of firearms, many others on the pro-gun control side simply want to prevent gun deaths. Unfortunately, their solutions are not likely to make a difference. Instead of immediately looking to the state to solve this problem, it would be more productive to develop grassroots solutions. Failing to do so may result in more deaths, an outcome that nobody on either side wants.
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