Words Matter in Gun Debate: Control Advocates Prefer “Violence Prevention”


Advocates on both sides of the gun issue disagree on the terms of the discussion–the words they use to describe it, says NPR. Ask “gun control advocates” to describe what this debate is about, and they’ll say “control” really isn’t the word they prefer. “We find that it’s one of those terms that has some baggage,” says Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “We talk about gun violence prevention, because that’s what it is.” “Gun control” suggests big government telling Americans what to do. “Violence prevention” – well, that’s something everybody could support in theory. “I’ve seen polling in which the phrase ‘gun violence prevention’ tests a good 17, 20 points higher than the term ‘gun control,'” Glaze says. On the other side of the debate, National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulandandam says, “For us, it’s a debate over gun rights.” The NRA talks about defending the Second Amendment and protecting the Constitution. Those are deeply held American ideals.

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