This digital ad by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence encourages people to visit their website, sign their petition, and join the fight to “Help us keep guns out of the wrong hands.” As a message to believers urging them to become more committed and get more involved, it is quite persuasive.
The sculptures are powerful, much more effective than statistics, vividly illustrating the horrible, human toll of handgun violence. The interviews with survivors are heartbreaking. Viewers sense the misery, fight a tear and are eager to do something to relieve the pain.
Given the placement of this video, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence doesn’t have to be concerned with the possible reactions of opponents.
As a message to opponents of handgun restrictions, the ad would have been counterproductive.
“If guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns.” is more than a slogan, it is a conviction. People who rail against handgun restrictions have a tremendous fear of handgun violence. This ad stokes that fear. It reminds viewers that there are a lot of guns out there in the hands of dangerous criminals. That’s exactly why opponents of handgun restrictions want to own their own gun and want keep it with them at all times. For them, guns are self-protection and this ad tells them they need protection.
Anyone fighting a political battle faces this situation. A message that fires up the base can terrify the opposition. Often a message calling believers into action only deepens the rift between the two sides on the issue.
If the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence wants to convert opponents of handgun restrictions, they’ll have to make the case that handgun restrictions make everybody safer and don’t threaten people’s ability to protect themselves.