AP memo on ‘gun violence’ vs. ‘gun control’

Here’s an Associated Press memo for you, Old Cowpoke:

From: AP Standards
Sent: Wed 1/16/2013 5:44 PM

Some of our sharp-eyed editors, including Eileen Putman in Washington and Kristen Wyatt in Denver, have noted a tendency by gun-control advocates in the United States to speak of “gun violence” rather than “gun control.” That is, legislation they propose is about “curbing gun violence” rather than “controlling guns.”

Today's Sandusky Register

Today’s Sandusky Register

Gun advocates, in contrast, feel that gun legislation is mainly about controls with no guarantee of ending violence.

We think there’s room for both kinds of phrasing in our report. We should vary our terms from one script or story to another. But pay attention to the context: Obama didn’t unveil a “gun violence package,” but a package against gun violence.


Speaking of guns, two common mistakes we’re making on gun references can be easily avoided:

_ Remember that modern weapons use magazines, not “clips,” to hold bullets. The Stylebook explains that “clip” is normally associated with obsolete military rifles. The current debate in the U.S. is about how many bullets should be in a magazine.

_ Semi-automatic has a hyphen in it — an exception to our general use of “semi” without a hyphen. (A “fully automatic” weapon has no hyphen because we don’t hyphenate after “-ly” words.)

Tom Kent
Dave Minthorn