Gun Control

November 13, 1987

Report Outline
Special Focus


The menacing image is blurry, as though seen through the fog of a nightmare. Its life-size face, grotesquely transformed by a sheer stocking over the head, seems close enough to smell.

Above the image, in heavy black letters, is a question: “SHOULD YOU SHOOT A RAPIST BEFORE HE CUTS YOUR THROAT?” Below the picture, blown up for maximum shock effect in a full-page media advertisement, a terse caption says that only 3 percent of rape attempts “are completed against armed victims.”

The ad is part of the National Rifle Association's (NRA's) latest media blitz in what has been called the Great American Gun War. The campaign theme: “Defend your right to defend yourself.”

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Gun Control
State, Local, and Intergovernmental Relations