Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Gun Owners vs Stopping Gun Violence

Having analysed two organisations with extremely opposing views on the implications of the right to bear arms it has become very clear as to why gun control is still heavily contested. This issue seems to infiltrate every aspect of an Americans life, in politics, the justice system, upholding or dismissing familial traditions, identity, and how far gun legislation should govern the ability to protect material items and more importantly life itself.

The Gun Owners Association makes its position of defending the second ammendment explicit on its website. It illustrates their distrust in the government and police system of America and seems to rely on these fears to encourage support and raise funds to send briefs to the Supreme Court. In an article concerning 'current affairs' titled Senate Sentencing Reform Bill Could Crack Down on Gun Owners http://www.gunowners.org/alert10292015.htm written on October 30th 2015 the suspicion regarding the current presidency is immediately made clear. It states that 'Obama is trying to entrap law abiding gun owners'. As well as this emotive imagery is used when it emphasises that those worst affected include veterans and seniors, implying the importance of tradition and liberty in the GOAs ideology.
There is also a section called 'just for skeptics' with eight topic areas. Section 8 is entitled 'Arm Yourself With The Facts' accompanied by the tag line 'don't let emotions stand in the way of the truth'. This is rather ironic as the method for gaining support seems to be done by calling on personal and emotional subjects I.e sympathy for seniors and veterans. Similarly emotive language is used in one of the articles under this section where a transformative narrative is used. It details the heroism of one man who with the use of his gun and faith in God shot two terrorists during a church massacre in 1993. Although this happened in South Africa the GOA is made to look instrumental in Charl van Dyks actions as it states that having read an article written by an executive of the organisation he came to believe gun use was compatible with Christianity. Indeed Charl and the author imply that had he not '[he] may not have been alive to tell the story'. This article was written and posted on the 29th September 2008 - 15 years after the attack and during the presidential campaign. The book written by Charls van Dyk is described as 'quite relevant' to American citizens. Indeed the author of the article emphasises the importance of owning a weapon in the fight against terror 'Most terrorists are cowards. They don't like being shot at by their victims. Charl's story shows how citizens, with relatively little firepower, are capable of driving away guerrillas who are more fully armed'.

Comparatively, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's website appears to appeal to a more aware and modern audience and uses frequently posted evidence based arguments where comments are allowed. Indeed the CSGV want America to be free from gun violence as stressed in their 'About us' section :'CSGV’s guiding principle is simple. We believe that all Americans have a right to live in communities free from gun violence'. Even the use of 'Coalition' in its title demonstrates the importance of this principle which has not changed since its founding in 1974. Having a universalist stance means that freedom of speech is valued which is evidenced through the encouragement of Petition signing which is very different to the GOA's approach of using placements for monetary donations. It also makes a point of valuing opions from those who support their stance in controlling gun use via easier inclusion with links to social media pages. This simultaneously allows an individuals voice to be heard whilst also making that individual feel like part of a free community. 

Although having read in detail about these organisations and their beliefs and seeing the reasons to identify with both sides I feel far more comfortable with the increased gun control stance of the CSGV as unlike the GOA its principles and methods of gaining support feel far more legitimate and valid. 

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