A pair of left-leaning reporters complained in an op-ed and on social media that gun-rights activists are wrong to demand that they learn gun terminology before opining on gun policy.
Writing for the Washington Post this week, journalist Adam Weinstein complained that "The NRA and its allies use jargon to bully gun-control supporters."
"While debating the merits of various gun-control proposals, Second Amendment enthusiasts often diminish, or outright dismiss their views if they use imprecise firearms terminology," Weinstein wrote.
"Perhaps someone tweets about ‘assault-style' weapons, only to be told that there's no such thing," he continued. "Maybe they're reprimanded that an AR-15 is neither an assault rifle nor ‘high-powered.' Or they say something about ‘machine guns' when they really mean semiautomatic rifles."
Wesintein coined this phenomenon "gunsplaining" and complained that it is "always done in bad faith."
"Like mansplaining, it's less about adding to the discourse than smothering it," he added.
Vox reporter Zack Beauchamp agreed, arguing on Twitter that there is not a need for gun-control proponents to have knowledge of the terminology.
Saying you need to understand gun terminology to have opinions on gun policy is the equivalent of saying you need to understand the biology of a heroin overdose to have an opinion on the drug war
— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) March 6, 2018
Beauchamp's tweet was promptly "ratioed," with journalists and activists on the other side of the issue expressing their disagreement.
It’s not just terminology. When people say things like, "The AR-15 can fire 700 rounds a minute" or say handguns "are too slow" to stop a school shooter, they speak from a position of total ignorance. Why should we listen to them? https://t.co/OeYtwdLGJN
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) March 8, 2018
This analogy aside, we should always demand intellectual rigor and specificity from folks commenting with any authority on public affairs. And we do. https://t.co/Ud2VpcAnW4
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) March 8, 2018
Isn’t it your job to explain things? https://t.co/6IcGtMkHZ5
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) March 8, 2018