The Rhetoric of Gun Control

62 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2010 Last revised: 15 Oct 2012

See all articles by Andrew Jay McClurg

Andrew Jay McClurg

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Date Written: June 25, 2010


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.

Suggested Citation

McClurg, Andrew Jay, The Rhetoric of Gun Control (June 25, 2010). American University Law Review, Vol. 42, 1992, University of Memphis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 33, Available at SSRN:

Andrew Jay McClurg (Contact Author)

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law ( email )

1 Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
United States

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