More On Handling Q&As
With The Press

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Some interactions with the press or even customers can look more like a chess match — especially if
an audience is present. If the other side takes a pawn, counter with a knight or bishop.

Earlier this year — in February 2021 — we offered some suggestions in this column for dealing with the press, and indeed, with anyone who had questions about our industry. At the end of the article, I suggested if the information proved helpful, readers should so advise the editor and we would make a follow-up article happen.

Readers did … so we will. Here goes.

Refuting The Gun Registration Argument

One of the long-standard lines of the anti-gunners is, “We all agree criminals shouldn’t have guns, so why are you against gun registration?”

We’ve already shared other useful answers, but for those who came in late, they include the facts like these. First, “Criminals are by definition lawbreakers, and if they’re willing to commit such major crimes as armed robbery and murder, they certainly won’t blink an eye at the lesser offense of illegally possessing an unregistered firearm.”

Second, “Any prosecutor will tell you the great majority of criminal prosecutions end in a plea bargain. When a felon in possession has committed a serious crime such as aggravated assault, armed robbery or murder, the lesser offenses are plea bargained away. Among the first of the lesser charges to go is ‘felon in possession of a firearm’ and, in such jurisdictions where it’s an issue, ‘unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm.’”

But the third reason gun registration is useless against real criminals is the real knockout punch: “The only people who will be punished for not registering the gun are the law-abiding citizens who have committed no other crime! The genuine criminal, often an already convicted felon, cannot be punished for not registering his illegally possessed firearm!”

Your opponents (or even an impartial reporter) will of course ask, “Why is that?” Your answer is simple: “For the felon to register his gun would be for him to admit he is a felon in possession of a firearm, a separate crime in and of itself. (It violates his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination!)”

This principle was written in stone by the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Haynes v. United States. Look it up. Share it. Here’s the link: supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/390/85.

A Matter Of Credibility

Let me digress briefly into the reality of debate. In various forms of argumentation, people assume if I make a specious argument that seems persuasive at first but then you shoot it down, you and I have a tie score so far — like pawn takes pawn in a chess game.

It isn’t.

When impartial observers see this exchange, the one who argued a point and the one who proved him wrong aren’t seen as equal at all. The one who brought up a point based on wrong information or understanding has made a damn fool of himself, and lost credibility, while the one who proved the truth has established more credibility for himself or herself. Far from the equal balance of “pawn takes pawn,” it’s more a case of they start off taking a pawn, but then you take a knight or a bishop. You’re ahead in the game.

But if the first “false statement that sounds good” goes unanswered, falsehood has won a pawn and truth has won nothing, and falsehood is ahead in the score by just “that” much.

Example: We in the gun owners’ civil rights movement are well aware the semi-auto AR-15 rifle was introduced commercially as a sporting arm for hunting lightweight animals, and the standard definition of “assault rifle” in the world of military ordnance has always been a selective-fire rifle, less powerful than a conventional main battle rifle such as an 8mm Mauser, a .30-06 M1 Garand, etc. … and capable of fully automatic fire!

A powerful, mic-drop statement is, “Show me a nation anywhere in the world that issues the semi-automatic AR-15 as a standard, primary combat rifle for its rank and file infantry!” (Hint: The last time I checked, there were none. A few nations may have a relatively miniscule number of semi-auto rifles in use by snipers and “designated marksmen.”)

Now, there are some on our side who feel issues like this are semantic arguments and beside the point. I respectfully — but strongly — disagree. When we speak to open-minded people who haven’t taken one side or the other in this polarized debate — when we can show them when the gun-banners don’t even know the proper words for that which they want to ban — they literally don’t know what they’re talking about!

And common sense tells anyone who possesses it people who haven’t researched an issue enough to even use the right words for it, are people who have little or no credibility on the issue.

Getting Personal

Anyone who has followed this polarizing debate knows how often the prohibitionists go argumentum ad hominem, smearing the person instead of their argument. And it is common knowledge people usually only do that when they know their argument is weak. (“Basket of deplorables,” “clinging to their guns and Bibles” and “members of the terrorist organization, the NRA” are all examples of argumentum ad hominem.)

Now, one of our side’s big arguments against draconian background checks is a huge number of mass murderers had gone under the radar before they exploded and legally bought their murder weapons. The prohibitionists have twisted this of late into a new trope: “Those gun nuts claim to be Good Guys With Guns … until they’re not.”

In various forms of argumentation, people assume if I make a specious argument that seems persuasive at first but then you shoot it down, you and I have a tie score so far — like pawn takes pawn in a chess game.

When it gets this hostile, I like to go personal too, and ask the unanswerable question to expose the prohibitionist. The question is, “Do you think you are capable of going crazy at any moment and murdering innocent people?”

When they invariably reply “No, of course I’m not,” you drop the bomb: “Then how dare you imply everyone reading or listening to this discussion is?”

People who are revealed to be insulting their audience rarely win debates. And, in the end, the other side’s arguments (by and large) do insult the intelligence of any well-informed listener with common sense … once someone like you has, in fact, “well informed” them.

I hope the above proves useful to you, and once again, if you want more just let the editor know.

Dealers, if you want to hear more tips from Mas on dealing with the press and other naysayers, let us know: [email protected].

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