Americans for Responsible Solutions

Taking a new approach to gun safety advocacy.

The Challenge

In 2014, Precision Strategies partnered with Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, to test a new approach to gun safety advocacy. Rather than communicating with voters on the need for comprehensive gun safety laws through a crisis-driven, political lens, we wanted to try a below-the-radar, education campaign targeting “conflicted” voters on the gaps in existing gun laws and highlighting the best solutions to fill them.

Conflicted voters oppose new gun laws, but are confused about what laws are already on the books in their states. Through an education campaign, we aimed to move these voters up the ladder of engagement—from conflicted about additional gun laws, to supportive of filling the gaps, and ultimately to advocacy in favor of them—in Oregon and Delaware.

 

Our Work

Precision developed a campaign-style approach to educating, persuading and shifting the opinion of conflicted voters using tested tactics.

Using insights from opinion research, Precision’s data analytics team built out a modeled universe of “conflicted” and “supportive” voters in each state.  Our paid advertising team used this model to target individuals directly online.

The digital advertising campaign brought “conflicted” voters through a digital funnel in support of common-sense legislative proposals—first raising awareness of the gaps in gun laws through a quiz-themed framework, then persuading voters on the need for commonsense legislation, and then finally converting voters into gun safety advocates.

To persuade conflicted voters of the need for commonsense gun laws in their state, Precision identified local voices—veterans, domestic violence advocates, law enforcement and other key influencers—to deliver messaging in online video ads about the gaps in gun safety laws and the best solutions to fill them.

Precision tested a number of advocacy methods with our conflicted voters, mobilizing them to call, email and petition their legislators and later—when the bills passed—inviting them to sign a digital Thank You card, addressed to the legislators and Governor who fought to pass commonsense gun laws.

 

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, gun prevention legislation passed in both states. In May of 2015, Oregon passed a law to expand background checks for all gun sales. And early in the summer of 2015, Oregon and Delaware each passed a law to prevent those convicted of domestic abuse in the state from possessing guns.

As a result of the paid digital campaign, 24,191 “conflicted” Oregonians chose to take our quiz, ARS grew its Facebook presence in Oregon by 881%, and thousands were converted from “conflicted” to advocates for common sense gun safety laws in the state.