Certain words hurt you when you talk about your rights and liberties. People who would deny your rights have done a good job of manipulating the language so far. Without even realizing it, you’re probably using terms that actually help the people who want to disarm you.

To preserve, protect and defend your rights in the critical debate on where power should reside in America, you need effective word choices. Try out some of the ideas in this chart the next time you deal with this subject. Then just give it a rest and watch where it goes. You’ll hear the litany, replete with flaws. Don’t rebut. Seize the moment, listen hard and learn—then just raise an eyebrow and think, “How ’bout that. Feller doesn’t even own a gun. It takes all kinds.” Then talk about something else. And boy, does the disjoint hang in their craw.

Winning The Gun Control Argument

They Win If You Say You Win If You Say
Pro gun Pro rights
Gun control Crime control
Reasonable gun control laws Illegal infringement laws
Anti-gun movement Anti-self-defense movement
Semi-automatic handgun Sidearm
Concealed carry Discreet carry or right to carry
Assault or lethal weapon Household firearms
Junk guns The affordability issue
High-capacity magazines Full-capacity magazines
Second Amendment Bill of Rights
Gun rights Civil rights or human rights
The powerful gun lobby Civil rights organizations
Common-sense legislation Dangerous utopian ideas
Anti-gun Anti-gun bigotry
Anti-gun Anti-gun prejudice
Anti-gun Anti-rights


When They Say You Say
Guns kill Guns save lives
Guns cause crime Guns stop crime
Guns are bad Guns are why America is still free
Assault weapons are bad Assault is a type of behavior
Guns are so dangerous Guns are supposed to be dangerous
Guns are too dangerous to own Take a safety class
People shouldn’t have guns Maybe you shouldn’t have one
People don’t need guns Only good people need guns
Guns should be totally outlawed Let’s try that with drugs first
Guns should just go away And dangerous people, too
They should take away all the guns Bad guys first
They should take away all the guns because they’re so dangerous Who exactly is “they” you would give the guns to?
Gun owners should be registered Bad guys first
Gun owners should be registered to help stop crime How would writing my name on a list help stop crime?
The purpose of a gun is to kill The purpose of a gun is to protect
We need more gun laws Criminal activity is already banned
I’m not against people having guns, and I support the Second Amendment What sort of guns should people have, and why?
Do you really have a gun? Of course, don’t you? Let’s go to the range for an hour

This article was originally published in “Combat Handguns” July/August 2018. To order a copy and subscribe, visit

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