The Rhetoric of Gun Control
Andrew Jay McClurg
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
June 25, 2010
American University Law Review, Vol. 42, 1992
University of Memphis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 33
In a democratic, pluralistic society, action on any issue of social importance depends on acceptance of the action by many different audiences. Acceptance depends on the audiences being persuaded as to the rightness of the action. Persuasion depends on effective rhetoric.
Unfortunately, effective rhetoric is often fallacious and logically defective. A fallacy is a type of incorrect argument, and the study of fallacies is a sub-species of logic. A fallacious argument is one that appears to be correct and which may be very persuasive, but which proves on closer examination to be logically invalid.
In this article, the author asserts that fallacious argument dominates the gun control and gun rights debate on both sides. The author identifies and explains many specific examples of fallacious reasoning and argument in the gun debate, including fallacies of emotion, fallacies of diversion, and fallacies of proof.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 62Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 27, 2010 ; Last revised: October 15, 2012
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