We all know that slogans are as much a part of politics as speeches, yard signs, and attack ads. Some have been particularly memorable or successful.
- Barry Goldwater: In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right
- Ronald Reagan: It’s Morning in America
- Barack Obama: Hope and Change
- Donald Trump: Make America Great Again
- Joe Biden: I’m Not Donald Trump
Seriously though, some slogans work, others don’t. Some are memorable, others are not. But nobody has more successfully conveyed truth through slogans than those fighting for the rights of gun owners, who are now faced with uniform hostility across the full sweep of the federal government. It should hardly be necessary to repeat these fundamental truths – all related to immutable human behavior – which were every bit as true 100 or 500 years ago as they are today. But with innocent, law-abiding gun owners being targeted by those who have historically defended the rights of criminals with particular vigor, these simple slogans convey absolute truth – in less than ten words. Consider these oldies but goodies:
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. What words could better convey the reality that gun-related crime is caused by the shooter, not the weapon – by hearts and minds, not bullets? Would we feel better if, say, the ten deaths in Boulder – or the 58 in the Las Vegas Massacre – had resulted from a bomb instead of a gun, as was the case in, for example, Oklahoma City?
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. This is at the heart of the gun control issue. Would we respond to the break-in murder of a homeowner by saying that, since a gun was responsible for the death, we need to take guns away from homeowners? That is the practical effect of most gun control measures. Criminals are criminals because they don’t respect or obey the law. Yet we believe criminals will suddenly obey stiffer versions of laws they are already breaking with impunity? No, we can be certain that they will continue to break the law, just as those who have obeyed the law will continue to obey. Thus, it is quite obviously only law-abiding citizens who will be penalized by more gun control measures.
More guns less crime. The most succinct of the slogans, this cuts right to the bottom line – that more people carrying guns, most especially concealed guns, make for a safer society. Simple logic dictates that not knowing who is packing heat will make criminals less likely to ply their trade. And history has demonstrated that more concealed carry is to date the only policy that has succeeded in reducing gun-related crime.
(2.5 million) defensive uses every year. The most informative slogan of all. The numbers change from year to year, but this phrase actually doubles as a fact. That makes it particularly cogent because it drives home arguably the most critical point about the Second Amendment. It’s not about hunting or recreational shooting, as many on the left have tried to assert. It was placed in the Bill of Rights, and in such a prominent position, to assure arguably the most important element of individual freedom: the right to self-defense. From criminals and, yes, from tyrants. Among the very first acts of tyrants ranging from the British king during the American revolution to Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and the full panoply of historical tyrants, has been to disarm the citizens and leave them defenseless.
There are other simple but effective gun rights slogans, and the reason they work is that the logic is so self-evident, and to those who are intellectually honest, indisputable. But let’s ask one more question: Who would be hit the hardest by ramped-up gun control? Again, using simple logic, the answer would be high-crime neighborhoods, long the domain of the same Democrats now demanding fresh restrictions on the constitutional rights of their most loyal constituents. Do these gun-grabbers even realize, not to mention acknowledge, the desperate need for self-defense in Democrat-run neighborhoods where criminals disproportionately ply their trade?
This week, the man now apparently anointed to provide the daily entertainment in the Swamp with Trump gone, provided context to the entire argument – provoking cheers from the right and fury from the left. Said Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA):
“We have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people … The answer is not to get rid of all sober drivers, the answer is to concentrate on the problem … When a Muslim jihadist blows up a school full of school children, we are often told not to condemn all of the actions of those of the Muslim faith because of the actions of a few. So why doesn’t the same rule apply to the 100 million-plus gun owners in America who are exercising their constitutional right?”
Have we as a society reached the point where the uncomplicated, homespun, and irrefutable logic of this lovable, quotable teddy bear from the bayou can be dismissed as merely another manifestation of America’s white privilege and endemic racism?
We’ve seen the calls for more gun laws after every major tragedy in our lives, even though history has consistently demonstrated that more gun control would have done nothing – legally or behaviorally – to stop any of the perpetrators. But Democrats, who have forever assumed a strictly emotional stance on the issue, are holding the whip hand in Washington and trying to ride the wave of impulsive public opinion in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. But they will soon discover, as they have so many times in recent years, that Americans endowed with common sense support ramped-up gun control far more in principle than in practice.
Read more from Tim Donner.