Democrats who want to slug it out with the National Rifle Association this fall need to stop attacking the gun-rights group and start sounding a little more like it, advises new message testing from a group founded to enact tighter gun laws, reports Politico.. While Democrats think they have a winning election-year issue, a group led by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Az.) and her husband, Mark Kelly, is pushing to rebrand their effort, based on poll and focus-group data.
Representatives from a mix of progressive groups got a tutorial last week on how and how not to talk about guns. Leading the lesson were officials of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the campaign wing of the group Giffords and Kelly founded after the Sandy Hook massacre. Groups seeking tighter gun laws have been getting away from the “gun control” label since well before the group started testing for a new messaging strategy last year. Better options, they say, are “gun violence prevention” and “preventing gun tragedies.” “We’ve stepped away from a debate about guns that was sort of postured pro-gun or against-gun,” said the PAC’s Peter Ambler, “into one that’s centered around data-tested ideas like the background checks that we know increased public safety and save lives, but don’t sort of disapprove of the individual gun owner and don’t disapprove of the responsible use of firearms in society.” While Hillary Clinton promised to “keep taking on the NRA” in October, the Giffords-Kelly group advises instead stressing “the gun lobby” as a special interest out to “protect the profits” of manufacturers.