Rhetorical Analysis of NRA Website

National Rifle Association (NRA) is a shooting sport promoter
organization in America. The sport of shooting pistols and rifles forms
the heart of NRA. It comprises of over 4million membership inclusive of
gun collectors, hunters, target shooters, police personnel, and
manufacturers of firearms. It has a newscast and a strong tale-marketing
department. NRA uses its website to capture the attention of its current
and potential membership. Its objective, since its inception, is to
encourage and promote rifle shooting from a scientific approach. The art
of rifle shooting requires some sportsmanship. As a result, NRA set a
practice rifle range. Its main targets are the America’s youths. For
this reason, it has been on the spot in the promotion of shooting
competitions in rifle clubs, universities, colleges, and military
The aim of rhetoric analysis is to establish the intentions of a
writer’s message. This is done by considering the language of the
writers, their goals, and their target audience. A rhetoric analysis
also looks at the writer`s ability to inspire the audience. This paper
seeks to give a rhetoric analysis of NRA website. This will be achieved
by identifying and discussing the qualifiers to gun ownership,
supporters of NRA, and gun warrants within the website in a close
reference to the verbal and the visual text. Logical fallacies arising
from the website message will be pointed out and analyzed.
Operated and owned by NRA, the website gives visitors and members an
opportunity of accessing live commentaries, news, legislative updates
and video resources. This way, the website makes it possible for the
organization to connect and reach its members. The authors of the
website are all members of NRA. Their audience is other gun owners and
those who wish to exercise the right to own arms in America. The
qualifiers of ownership of firearms are all American citizens as
specified in the America’s Constitution Bill of Rights. Through this
website, NRA contends that Americans have a right to possess and own
guns. The argument behind this is that NRA will not allow this right to
be infringed. The verbal text claims openly that the state and federal
government attempts to infringe upon this right through policy changes.
The site is, therefore, a representation of the bill of rights, Americas
constitution, and values of American people. The background of the
website carries the famous text of the second amendment. The convincing
slogan is that Americans should fight for freedom. The statement shows
that the American second amendment is being compromised. The implication
is that gun owners should get concerned and participate in this fight.
The background also displays a picture of the American flag and the bald
eagle. This is intended to convince the NRA members and potential
visitors of the royalty that it has for America. The visual outlook
pleases the viewer. The red, black, and grey color matches the cold
steel and blood related to use of guns. To make visitors eager and
entertained, the website uses videos. The use of these graphics
strengthens communication quality between NRA and the audience resulting
to a high support from society members.
The immediate logical fallacy arising from this is termed as argumentum
ad populum (appeal to people). It is also termed as an appeal to
democracy. NRA website appeal to the constitution of America which
represents democracy. What is contained in the constitution is the wish
of the majority. If the majority supports ownership of guns, it follows
that owning a gun is the right thing. This is bad reasoning. The
majority is not necessarily right. Just because a majority supports a
claim, it does not imply the right. Appeal to the values of American
people cannot be justified purely on grounds of the constitution. NRA
uses this logical fallacy to convince the masses who might not notice
the error in the argument.
NRA is supported via NRA Political Victory fund. This is its political
committee for action. This committee ranks politicians and candidates
depending on their records of voting in senate and their answers to NRA
questionnaire. In this course, NRA funds the campaigns of candidates who
support the organization. This information is displayed as part of the
Political Victory Fund mission statement. This mission statement intends
to capture the support of political candidates. This enables it to get
support in the legislature on matters regarding control of firearms by
the government. For instance, on 17th April 2013, President Obama
expressed his dissatisfaction with the senate. The senate had refused to
advance a law amendment that was meant to magnify federal background
checks on purchasers of guns and firearms.
In terms of warranties, NRA promises to repair the damaged gun safes.
This service is done for free. The gun safe is delivered at the
customer’s doorstep. This service is offered by NRA liberty
department. Customers are required to register their warranty online.
The appealing slogan in this section is that NRA backs every NRA safe
they sell. The intention of this section, just like the rest, is to
attract as many buyers as possible by promising them of a hassle free
However, it should be noted that NRA seeks to maximize its profits by
use of its website. Their main agenda is to do business with as many
people as possible. All the persuasive adverts are not meant to benefit
the customer. They are meant to increase the company’s sales.
The mass media has been involved in criticizing the negative publicity
portrayed by NRA to the society. However, a research done by Dr. Brian
Anse Patrick, at University of Michigan, showed that media criticism has
lead, not to a downfall of NRA, but to its benefit. More members have
joined the association than any time before. This shows the massive
support that NRA receives from the public. The level of NRA conviction
to the public is evidently high (Patrick, B. A. 2003 pp.10).
Patrick, B. A. (2003). The National Rifle Association and the media: The
motivating force of negative coverage. New York: Peter Lang.
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