As I watch the news programs give much voice to our issue these past few weeks, as a result of the horrible shooting in Roseburg, Oregon followed up quickly by two more college campus shootings, I am at first heartened by the fact that the sense of outrage and frustration voice by political leaders everywhere is evident. However, something bothers me, as the talking heads on TV, internet and the media, continue to call efforts to curb gun violence, ‘GUN CONTROL.’ Some make the point that polls show support for ‘GUN CONTROL’ has been steadily declining since the Sandy Hook shooting, hovering around 50%.
I wonder how can that be? Don’t we consistently have 90% of Americans in poll after poll supporting Universal Background checks, including a majority of gun owners? Doesn’t polling for reporting ‘lost or stolen guns’ show about the same level of support? Even banning assault weapons like AK-47’s and AR-15 semi-automatic weapons had 59% support in a Rasmussen poll from 2014.
So why is it that people voice less support for Gun Control? I have to believe it is the term itself. As trust in government is at an all time low, with the NRA and other gun rights organizations fanning the flames of government mistrust — that any Gun Control measure is a slippery slope towards ‘the government coming to take your guns away’, it is understandable that any phrase with the word ‘CONTROL’ is disdained. No one wants to be ‘CONTROLLED’ by the government. That is why when we, and talking head pundits continue to use this outdated term, we do a disservice to the cause of gun violence prevention.
In many ways, this issue is like ‘ObamaCare.’ The Republicans did so much negative attacking of the Affordable Care Act, giving it the disdainful monicker of ‘ObamaCare’, that when polling was done asking the public if they approved of Obamacare, the numbers were low. However, when individual parts of the Affordable Care Act were polled, like keeping children on the families’ plan through age 26, or preventing insurance companies from ever dropping someone, and not being denied due to medical condition, the polling was very highly favorable.
Let’s all take to heart the fact that words do make a difference, and use the term Gun Violence Prevention whenever we promote our issue with family, friends and the public, and gently correct others when they use the old ‘Gun Control’ term. After all, it is not about control, it is about prevention.