According to a CNN Article: Gun Control is “Inevitable”

In a CNN article, Phillip Alpers believes there will be stricter gun control laws regardless of who wins the Presidential campaign. This a surprising claim, considering Trump has taken a firm stance on protecting the Second Amendment and has even been supported by the NRA. Throughout the article, Alpers attempts to use other examples like the Road system and public health campaigns to show that overtime gun legislation can change and will eventually save lives. Though Alpers does present evidence, it seems that these examples might be too polar, causing the audience to reject the message.

Flawed Reasoning – Must be Unified to Succeed

Firstly, Phillip Alpers uses the reasoning that legislation will eventually pass for gun control because other legislation was eventually passed for safer roads, tobacco reduction, and HIV/AIDS. He stated, “Other US-led successful public health campaigns…saved countless…lives, all in the face of years of denial and quasi-religious opposition from self-interested groups.” Though there are laws, like texting and driving, that have been enacted to prevent car accidents, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be laws enacted on gun control. Most people believe texting and driving is bad and should be stopped to ensure the safety of Americans; however, people have strict stances on gun control. Where there is a unified agreement on reducing tobacco and HIV/AIDS, there is not a unified agreement on gun control. This shows that Alpers’ reasoning is flawed.

Adequate Evidence – Follow in the Footsteps

However, Alpers does use adequate examples with regards to gun violence by referencing the actions of other nations. He stated, “Latin Americans…suffer gun death rates to make your toes curl. For this reason Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia joined Australia…in mounting massive national disarmament and firearm destruction programs, each followed by fewer gun deaths.” This seems to be sufficient evidence because in an article, “A new law banned guns above a .38 caliber…and added qualifications for buying a gun…The country saw a 13 percent reduction in gun deaths between 2003 and 2010.” Alpers urges the United States to follow the global trend and tighten down on firearms.

Alpert presents insufficient evidence about HIV/AIDS but does present a good example of other nations. Regardless of who is the next president, no one can tell if gun control will be enforced. However, in order for gun-related crimes to be controlled, we must have a unified agreement on the issue, and gradually make gun restrictions a norm.

Gun Control Legislation & Obama’s Emotional Appeal

In an address directly from the White House, President Barack Obama describes his vision for the country with regards to gun control legislation, particularly in the wake of the tragedies of recent history. He states that the United States faces a “gun control epidemic” and does not shy from emphasizing the extremity of the necessity for stricter gun control for American gun holders. He continues to remark that, “We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency…it doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close”. So how does he hope to add a new perspective on this issue that can be heard differently?

The answer is a major emotional trigger. He mentions individuals such as Zaevion Dobson in his heroic act to save girls from a gun rampage as well as a number of cities in reference to major violence tragedies of American history. He recalls the incidents in movie theaters, schools, and more. He emphasizes the young ages of the victims, the lack of safety in the most common public places, and the absence of “pursuit of happiness and liberty”. Eventually, he even moves to wipe a small tear from his eye. All of this goes to serve his attempt at generating an emotional connection to his audience.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders take to Twitter to respond to the President's remarks.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders take to Twitter to respond to the President’s remarks.

Only later does the true suggestion for legislation come. He calls for required background checks, stricter enforcement of laws, full disclosure about mental health of those pursuing ownership, and increased technology to better control who is firing the weapons.

The President’s strategy is ultimately very effective through the way that it slowly builds the captive audience’s attention and direct emotional connection to the speaker. There is no immediate mention of legislation or policy nor listing of statistics. He restates and connects all of the facts concerning the recent tragic gun-related attacks and builds a close conversational aspect of his speech. Despite the fact that the liberal agenda can frequently be fought by the GOP, there is no denying that the Republican candidates will have to overcome a lot of popular opinion concerning this “much needed” call to legislation from President Obama.

“He’s got a gun”

“He’s got a gun”

Gun control and gun rights have been a constant theme in this year’s election. Whether that be Trump telling Clinton to disarm her security guards or Clinton calling for the repeal of the District of Columbia v. Heller. On Friday night the issue of guns would finally hit home as Donald Trump would have his speech in Reno, Nevada interrupted by gun threats.

During Trump’s speech a member of the crowd would shout “gun” and set the audience into pandemonium. The suspect would be tackled to the ground by security and apprehended by the secret service. Trump would be rushed off the stage by security as well. It looked as if the speech would come to a grinding halt.

Trump was not done. After a short remission he would reemerge ready to continue his speech. Knowing Trump and his antics many expected a loud and condemning response from the Presidential candidate. Instead it as a short and precise reaction from Trump. He said “”Nobody said it was gonna be easy for us, but we will never be stopped”, and later followed up with “Nothing will stop us — we will make America great again!”


It is the precision and calm manor to this adversity that many did not expect from the republican candidate. Senator Clinton has worked tirelessly to paint the idea that Trump is unfit for office. That is the line of fire he would become irrational and hit the red button of doom. The opposite happen. Trump was faced with a threat, although after investigating no weapon would be found, and excelled with moving his campaign forward. Not only did he respond calmly, he managed to stay on track with his speech and work the incident to his advantage.

Battle Over Guns at State Level

This year’s presidential election between Democratic nominee, Senator Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has only had a minor theme of gun control. Hillary Clinton in favor of background checks of gun purchasers, and Donald Trump with “unwavering support” for the Second Amendment. According to Martin Kaste from NPR, “The real battle over guns, though, has been waged at the state level this year—with a new emphasis on ballot initiatives”.

Because legislation to “require criminal background checks for most gun sales died in the state House of Representatives” three years ago, gun control activists have found a way around by having background checks on state ballots. And well—it’s working. Gun control groups themselves have had to utilize persuasive communication and a key rhetorical device of Identification for the state ballot questions over background checks. J.T. Stepleton, a researcher with the National Institute on Money in State Politics claimed, “While the NRA has shifted its money into lobbying and independent expenditures for specific candidates, the gun control groups are putting more emphasis on ballot questions”. Trying out an initiative process, petitioners have been on a mission to “place new firearm restrictions on their state’s ballot” this year. Supporters of the Second Amendment have found tremendous financial support on gun control ballot measures, and the differences in monetary support for pro-gun-control committees compared to gun-rights committees is a difference as great as $11.4 million raised to promote gun control and a mere $2 million raised by gun activists.img_0339

Pro-gun groups have put forth money into opposing ballot initiatives, but the financial support that has been fundraised by gun-control groups is almost not even comparable. Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, explains, “They said we’re going to pivot, and go to the states and companies, and we’re going to get them to put laws and policies in place that point Congress and the Supreme Court in the direction that this nation is headed in—and that’s exactly what we’ve done”. This initiative from pro-gun-control groups has plenty of momentum, and it is only a matter of time until we either see laws greatly change—potentially saving countless lives—or backtracking into a non progressive carousel, while keeping laws and policies in the same place Congress and the Supreme Court have been for years.

Individual Rights vs. The Collective Good

The gun control debate is still occurring and it seems that Legislators are simply bickering, as opposed to getting anything done. A good example of this is when Democrats had a Sit-In for more than 24 hours on the House floor with no vote by Republicans on gun control. It seems that there is a misunderstanding on the issue of gun control, and Republicans are trying to protect individual rights, while Democrats are trying to ensure safety. It is crucial for legislators to begin viewing the issue from both perspectives so that something can be implemented to ensure citizen’s rights and safety.

Democrats: Humanitarian Perspective

According to an article by, Rep. John Lewis stated, “‘Time and time again we ask for compassion…Our people are sick and tired of a do nothing congress…”‘ It seems that Democrats are approaching gun control from a humanitarian perspective. While trying to push for this vote, “…lawmakers held photos of victims of gun violence,” as an aesthetic strategy to show Republicans that this is issue is about safety and not individual rights. In the same article, Nancy Pelosi further illustrates the humanitarian perspective when she said, “‘We have little time to save lives. What more important thing does any of us have to do than stay here and pass a law to save laws?” This clearly shows that Democratic Legislators are taking a humanitarian approach to gun control.

Republicans: Individual Rights

In terms of Republicans, they believe “…that American citizens have the right to own, carry, and use guns.” Also it is stated, “Republicans generally believe that changes in sociological norms have no bearing on the rights and freedoms defined by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” It is clear that Republicans are viewing this issue as an individual right that should not be altered in any way.

Overall, it seems that gun control is a black-and-white issue to Republicans; however, Democrats believe it is a gray area. Democrats believe that as society changes, so should the laws to protect the safety of Americans; while Republicans think gun control is a freedom that should not be altered in anyway. Both parties need to be open to both stances, so that laws can be implemented for the better of everyone.


“Gun Violence”: The Background of the Statistics

As we fall subject to the myriad of statistics that come pouring from news sources and politicians, we must stop and think about more than just the numbers and percentages. What is the framing of the fact really saying and is it really generating the true meaning of the number? Am I really absorbing the entire context behind a statistic or simply the surface-level rhetorically-aimed information that a politician or campaign wants me to believe?

A New York Times article posted June 2016, “Compare These Gun Death Rates: The US Is in A Different World”, covers the homicide rates in the United States in relation to other countries around the world. Blogger for Mises Wire Ryan McMaken describes this “tactic” of gun control advocates to incorrectly frame data in a way that can create a false stance in regards to the issue of gun rights in the country.

The New York Times graph, depicting the death toll rate in the US compared to other Western democracies.
The New York Times graph, depicting the death toll rate in the US compared to other Western democracies.

The Times article depicts a scale in which a number of countries are plotted on an axis in relation to their respective number of homicides by firearms. The US is in fact demonstrated as a far outlier with a high number. Though, McMaken attempts to debunk this depiction in demonstrating what a graph would show if instead countries were compared against overall homicide rates. He argues, that while the countries with increased legal ownership of firearms definitely has increased homicides due to firearms, they do not necessarily have overall increased general homicides. His point is that firearms also prevent homicides.

Here, McMaken demonstrates the actual low homicide rates of the states relative to other countries globally.
Here, McMaken demonstrates the actual low homicide rates of the states relative to other countries globally.

Through his research and efforts, McMaken attempts to describe the powerful phenomenon of the way that media rhetoric can impact our perception of these statistics and graphs. As a flippant reader and less context-aware reader of the New York Times, a simple gloss of the article would lead one to think of the “loose” gun control of the US as an incredibly dangerous and lethal component of our laws. In another frame, an opinion could drastically change. The persuasive ability of our definition of “gun homicides” vs. “homicides” in its very simple distinction has a powerful effect on the way that we as citizens can comprehend our belief in the issue and current state of the country. This raises even more interesting questions about the way that we intentionally listen to the policies describes by our candidates amidst this coming election which greatly points to a gun control clash.

Conspiracies and Social Media

untitledYou all know the daily ritual. Wake up, shower, make coffee, and check social media. Whether you realize it or not the average person spends 1 hour and 40 minutes on social media EVERYDAY! What does this mean for the 2016 election? It means that not only are candidates posting to social media but their supporter (including the extremists) are as well.

For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on Facebook. Facebook launched in 2004, blowing Myspace into the black hole of the internet. It then quickly became populated with young millennials and later by their parents. This is where the trouble starts. We have millennials, who for the most part are in support of Hillary Clinton and third party candidates, and their parents who may or may not support Trump. So we see the attack ads transform into attack blogs. These blogs, whether we read them or not, play an important role in the beliefs of the ignorant internet users.

Personally, I only click on a post to fully read the article about 30% of the time. This means that my brain has seen controversial images and headlines the other 70% of the time with no information to back up the claims. So I see posts like the one to the right and never think to fact check the blog itself.

By large the blogs are nasty. They name call and frame the opposition in a way that is extremely negative and most of the time untrue.

nonsisical-protect-toddlersWe, as consumers end up reading head lines that include phrases such as “nonsensical gun control tear”, “cheered on murder of black teen”, and “lying” without further exploring the information.

The thing is, this can work. Key word can. Headlines are created to be catchy, play on words, and stick in your memory. Those who are creating these Facebook posts about gun safety and 2nd Amendment rights really know what they are doing.

The blogs play up conspiracies already in play. What a better way to further an idea than with another article that will never need to be disproved? Just plant your witty title and a good picture and get the shares and likes.

Additionally, anyone who tries to disprove the information is part of the opposition. Why would you listen to your Clinton supporting friend when they try to tell you that your article is full of fallacies and not true? They are just wanting to ensure their candidate wins.

Thirdly, these articles ignore the complexity of human emotions. They frame their “enemy” as a villain. Why would Clinton react positively to anything related to gun violence? Her opinions in the debate are nonsensical.

Lastly, these posts are widespread! 1.6k, comments and 5.5k shares!

My advice is, if you are scrolling through and spending your almost 2 hours on social media each day, at least take the time to follow up on articles that you see concerning the upcoming election. Check the credibility of the website and read other articles that share the opposite view, that way you do not fall pray to the rhetoric of conspiracies.

“Gun Control”: What Exactly Have We Been Saying?

It is interesting that such a hot topic for debate among modern politics, particularly the 2016 election, can actually offer such a misunderstood dimension of the common argument points. When we talk about the Second Amendment and the issue of “gun control”, do we even really understand how this rhetoric can transform our views and ultimately lead to real legislation?

Greg Hartman of from the Polizette describes the enormous gap in the way that politicians talk about, and we respond to, the debate of citizen gun rights. Amidst the sensitivity of the age-old Constitutional right to bear arms, experts have advised liberal candidates to stray from the term “gun control” as it paints a negative, anti-freedom picture of those who are actually pursuing “gun safety”. This idea has particularly obvious benefits in that, in essence, every person can acknowledge an ultimate belief in safety, when some may have a problem with “control”. Cornell University’s Jonathon Schuldt notes that “Those who are for tougher gun restrictions should favor the ‘gun safety’ frame, which may be especially powerful in the wake of the recent tragedies.”


What is also compelling about this argument is the level to which we discuss Trump and Clinton and their respective stances on the Second Amendment. We so frequently talk about their policy and strikingly different views about legislation should they win the Presidency. Now, it is as if we take ten steps backwards just to see how the framing of the words can in themselves, direct some perceptions about the issue.

What isn’t new is Hartman’s discussion about politicians and candidates alike raising points about the alarming number of mass shootings in the country in recent years. Though, he moves to describe how a definition problem could also be in play. When the Washington Post stated that there is a mass shooting in the United States every day, it caused a heavy turbulence of response. Now, Hartman describes the difference in definition of “mass shooting”. Both included in this word association are the incidents of guns involved with robberies and gang activity as well as those involving Islamic extremism. Though we can all acknowledge that an case of gun violence is certainly one necessary to address when it comes to gun rights, the true definition of a “mass shooting” could really skew the way that candidates campaign and also pursue legislation. This notion of a mass shooting “epidemic” creates an undeniably fear and somewhat false sense of where the issue could really originate.


Schuldt’s description of these implications of misunderstood and misused terminology promotes a slight stretch in suggesting that these liberal policymakers are just trying to completely disarm citizens with the use of more extreme terminology. Though, I think that his article raises very interesting points to consider when we both discuss and absorb the debates concerning the Second Amendment. This rhetorical analysis gets right to the core in even studying the true meaning and definitional accuracy behind these commonly used terms. It also beckons towards the possibility of other major hot words that could also need some understanding.


Opposites Attract: William Weld and Gary Johnson

Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, has taken a stand on gun control and believes that “Restrictions on gun ownership will only encourage outlaws to have heavy ammunition and high calibre weapons.”Also, in terms of gun-free zones, he believes that the majority of shootings are happening because they are located in gun-free zones.

What is interesting, however, is Johnson’s Vice President William Weld. Johnson explicitly takes a conservative outlook on gun control, whereas, William Weld has taken the opposite stance in the past. In 1993, Weld urged bans on most assault weapons in Massachusetts and the sale of handguns to anyone under 21. He also proposed a five-day waiting period for all handgun purchases in Massachusetts to allow for background checks.

Now Weld states, “Today…I would make some different choices. Restricting Americans’ gun rights doesn’t make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms.”

Much like Trump defending himself against allegations of him groping women eleven years ago stating that he’s changed, Weld uses the same strategy. Weld states that, “Today, almost 25 years later, I would make some different choices.” Though this might have been an effective strategy if Weld wasn’t involved in politics, Weld took a stance on restricting gun rights and it’s not likely that his personal beliefs have changed. Weld did provide a defense stating, “…frankly, the people I represented were demanding action.” But this defense makes the public view Weld as noncommittal to his ideas and wavering in his stance on important issues.

Like Trump, it seems that the past plays a significant role in choosing to vote for a specific candidate. Because Weld actually took action in 1993 and urged an assault weapons ban, it’s likely that people will see Weld as a supporter of gun control and not an advocate for the Second Amendment. Weld’s defense could hinder the validity of the Johnson-Weld team because it would appear that the Libertarian candidate’s position on issues, like gun control, are only determined by what the public is saying at that particular time and not based on their beliefs.

Clinton’s views towards District of Colombia v. Heller

The third and final debate of this election was once again entertaining to say the least. It is hard for them not to be when two people dislike each other and disagree and absolutely everything the way the Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump do. Let us not forget that even though the debate seems more of a Saturday Night Live comedic spoof there are still very important issues being addressed by both candidates. During the debate both candidates were asked to address their views on the second amendment.


It was Senator Clinton’s response that “I support the second amendment” combined with her reiteration that District of Colombia v. Heller is incorrect that creates a vagueness in her stance on the subject. The District of Colombia v. Heller case ruled that citizens have a right to bear arms outside of the militia and maintain them with license in their homes for self-protection. If this ruling were to be incorrect as Clinton suggest, then citizens would not have the right to fire arms for self-defense. So what exactly does Clinton believe is wrong with the decision? The lack of a pronounced stand on what exactly she believes wrong with the decision that has many gun owners concerned.

(AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)


Clinton would attempt to use her life narrative to support her claim to supporting the second amendment. The use of storytelling rhetoric within her response (in regards to her life in Arkansas) is unsuccessful as long as there is no clarity on to what extent she believe the decision in the Heller case.


Ruling of District of Colombia v. Heller