The anti-gun crowd loves to distort the position of gun-owners. It’s most often the only way they can win the argument. Often times, the gun-conversation turns into a war of words and statistics. But when the anti-gunners put their Bloomberg funded “statistics,” that have been reported in Huffington Post and “fact-checked” by Snopes, up against FBI data, their argument takes nose dive. So, what is a good anti-gunner to do when they know they need to recruit people, but they don’t have the facts on their side?
They use what is called a “Strawman” argument. An anti-gun Strawman argument is a total distortion of what gun-owners actually think. It’s important to the anti-gun crowd to misrepresent the pro-gun position in a way that is easy to ridicule, mock and make look foolish. By distorting gun owners’ argument or position, it makes it easier to discredit. Here’s are some examples of distorted gun-owner’s positions or “Strawman” arguments.
The first one is a common argument, misrepresenting the pro-gun position for the sake of making gun-owners appear reckless. The second one is an actual posting found on Facebook for the purpose of making gun-owners appear irrational and fearful.
1. “You gun-owners want every teacher to be armed to the teeth. I’m sorry, but making teachers carry guns against their will in the classroom is dangerous.”
The reason this distorted representation is so dangerous, is that is implies that gun-owners want to pass out guns and force people, who wouldn’t know how to use them, to carry them around all day. This couldn’t be further from the truth and the anti-gun crowd knows this, but the perception of those listening to the argument is the target. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the argument is honest, as long as it paints a reckless picture of gun-owners in the minds of those who are watching but not paying close attention.
2. “I’m seeing so much on Facebook about Red Flag Laws. As it turns out, 100% of everything I’ve read on Facebook about Red Flag Laws is untrue. No, they cannot sneak into your house without your knowledge, search in the middle of the night while you sleep in your bed. This is false. The police will always make their presence known, and if there are people in the house, those people will be moved to one location or asked to leave the residence if not detained. They will not search your house while you are laying in bed. No, you are not subject to seizure of your guns for being a Trump supporter. This is false.”
This is a very clever “Strawman” because it implies that gun owners actually believe police will be sneaking around in their houses in the middle of the night while they sleep. Ask any gun-owner if they think like this and you will get a resounding no. This type of thought process is more likely a notion conjured up in the minds of anti-gunners. This statement paints a vivid picture of gun-owners being fearful, irrational and suspicious. Not a good look and the anti-gun crowd knows it. That’s why they do it.
When people are confronted with a Strawman argument, the natural inclination is to defend against it. The problem with defending against a false representation of your position is that it implies ownership of the position. That’s what the anti-gun crowd is trying to achieve. Because of our natural reaction to defend ourselves, the anti-gun crowd is able to position gun-owners the way they want, ultimately creating a false public perception. Unfortunately, gun-owners often fall into the trap when they defend the fake position the anti-gunner created.
By understanding this strategy, we are much less likely to argue a position that the anti-gunners fabricate. The best way to respond to the dishonest “Strawman” strategy is to avoid defending it while shining a spotlight on it for all to see.
A good response to a Strawman argument, may be:
“You either need to distort my position because you can’t win the argument with your lies, or you don’t really understand my position at all. Which one is it?”