Proponents, including the president, are looking for a less politically charged term for firearm regulation, but none has managed to catch on.
Language in politics can be a powerful thing, shaping perceptions and framing the terms of debate. When President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the administration's new gun proposals Wednesday, they didn't use the words "gun control" a single time. Instead, they spoke over and over about "gun violence," "reducing gun violence," and "gun-violence legislation."
The terminology is the latest effort by gun-control activists to get rid of the term "gun control," the same way estate-tax opponents always talk about abolishing the "death tax," gay-marriage activists now prefer to talk about "marriage equality," and advocates for the rights of illegal immigrants carefully refer to them as "undocumented workers." Whether you see these terms as laudably neutral or Orwellian attempts at culture-shaping probably depends on your view of the issues involved.
"Gun control" has obvious liabilities -- as a phrase, it conjures images of confiscation, reinforcing the National Rifle Association's allegation that the government is coming to take away the firearms of law-abiding citizens. The problem is, after years of proposing a range of alternatives, activists haven't succeeded in getting anything other than "gun control" to lodge in the public or media consciousness.