Legislators at every level can Dis the Deadly Myths, Close the Gender Gap, and Reclaim the Constitution by proposing sensible and reasonable policies that register and eventually disarm the public though no one is talking about handgun bans. But before they can undertake this task, they must acquire and retain popular support of the people who will favor common sense and reasonable gun prohibitions.
There are obvious benefits in taking advantage of high profile incidents that involve guns and using them to get media time for our cause. Since media outlets will be extensively covering these events in order to sell advertising, there is an opportunity to get exposure for your grassroots organization by providing statements as subject matter experts to these media outlets. These incidents prove popular in the comments sections of several web sites as well so writing op-eds and opinions for media outlets can create exposure for your cause and drive traffic to your web site.
Another popular subject that gains public attention is the NRA and the exposure of the NRA Tea Party Extremists Insurrectionists. In an effort to be thorough, media outlets often go directly to the NRA for comments when one of their members use a gun to have “Wild West” type shootouts over a parking spot or to compensate for some other shortcoming. Since the media is fair and balanced concerning guns, they also will reach out to Violence Policy Experts to get the real story. Writing articles that expose the tyranny of the NRA has proven to be popular in comments sections as well.
The Gun Policy Center recently undertook an exhaustive scientific study to gauge the popularity of articles concerning Violence Policy on Internet web sites. These articles were those written by Gun Policy Experts: Josh Sugarmann (Violence Policy Center), Josh Horwitz (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence), Dennis Henigan (Brady Campaign), and Paul Helmke (Brady Campaign). By tracking the comments sections of these article, we were able to gauge the popularity of the article by the amount of comments on each article.
The following chart shows the comments per article by the authors starting in July of 2010 to January of 2012, the last date for which data was available at the time of this study. The chart shows conclusively that articles that use high profile incidents or expose the tyranny of the NRA gain the most comments.
In the time period, Josh Sugarmann penned 20 articles on various subjects. The top two articles were on the subject of the Gabrielle Giffords tragedy and on the evil of the NRA. These articles gained 1,463 and 510 comments respectively versus just 8 comments on background checks and 6 on gun sales.
During the same time period, Josh Horwitz wrote 20 articles on various subjects and his story on the NRA gained 1,758 comments versus just 37 comments on his article about calling people Nazi’s.
Acting President of Brady Campaign and heartthrob Dennis Henigan penned 21 articles during the time frame. His two articles on the evils of the NRA and one article on the Norway shooting totaled 4409 comments versus just 235 comments from his two articles covering candles.
Former President of the Brady Campaign and Gun Policy powerhouse Paul Helmke wrote 20 articles during the time frame and his articles on the NRA and the Virginia Tech shooting (1,242 and 842 comments) far exceeded his articles on ATF laws and Plaxico Burris (28 and 8).
Though there are many messages that you can use to affect Violence Policy, the most popular by far are tragic and high profile events as well as exposure of the NRA Tea Party Extremists. Data conclusively suggests that you focus on these stories for your efforts to gain popular support and to end guns.