The Saturday Night Live "Guns" skit was actually pretty funny, according to 83% of viewers who voted on it in an online poll. It is not hard to see why it received an 83% rating. Its message is completely ambiguous and will be taken different ways by different people. This is good comedy but bad politics for disarmists...
It aired on 11 October, 2015. The skit is being advertised as a way to promote Comedienne Amy Schumer's (yes, she is related to the infamous disarmist Charles Schumer) disarmist campaign. She obviously thinks that what the skit shows is so over the top as to advocate for much stricter limits on gun ownership.
What most of Americans see is a parody on how common and ubiquitous guns have been and become in American society. As anti-gun advocacy, the skit is a complete bust, and is likely counterproductive.
Link to Video
Most people are visual learners. In the video, guns are presented at happy, life enhancing events. A marriage proposal, a new love, life affirming exercise, a gift from a close family member, and the birth of a child.
The final image on the screen, the image that is meant to stay with the viewer, is one that Second Amendment Supporters have been hammering home for decades. It is the silhouette of a semi-automatic pistol, with the simple message:
GUNS WE'RE HERE TO STAY
It is a message that disheartens disarmists and gives joy to Second Amendment supporters.
What messages does the skit hammer home? Guns are common. Guns are associated with positive life events. Guns empower people. Guns are here to stay.
This is not a set of messages that will move those sitting on the fence into the disarmist camp. Hard corp hoplophobes, who have an irrational, visceral, emotional fear of guns will be horrified by the images in the skit, but it will not change their minds, and I doubt that it will compel them to action. It may well dishearten them.
To those in the middle, who are only somewhat informed about guns, the skit is mildly positive about guns, making fun of people who are a little careless about their handling of guns, but no more so than is seen in countless movies, TV shows, and cartoons. SNL skits, after all, are on the intellectual level of cartoons.
Among Second Amendment Supporters, the primary message will be the positive one, with a negative cartoon view of the poor gun handling that is shown in the skit. In the skit, people carelessly have fingers on triggers, point guns at people inadvertently, and fire guns into the air without concern.
About 30-40% of the American population are relatively knowledgeable gun owners. The percentage is tiny in New York City, native habitat to Amy Schumer and Senator Chuck Schumer, but much higher elsewhere in the country.
The Schumer's unfamiliarity with guns and gun owners is the cause of the failure of the skit as disarmist propaganda. Disarmists are famously ignorant of guns, existing gun law, and the gun culture. The disarmists promote, as fundamental assumptions of reality, premises that are demonstrably false or which have, at best, weak academic support.
Only the wilfully ignorant would expect this skit to promote more gun laws. It is a complete bust as disarmist propaganda, but is pretty funny as an insider look into the wilful ignorance of New York City politicians.
Count me in as part of the 83%. The joke is on Amy and Chuck Schumer.
Definition of disarmist
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Link to Gun Watch