The language of thingybobs ‘gun control’

Check out today’s Teatime Titbit: The language of thingybobs ‘gun control’

In the wake of the recent spate of shootings in the US I decided to look into exactly what the firearms laws are like in the States and despite all the rhetoric investigate whether there could be a compromise solution, which everyone could live with. For most people in Europe, I guess, it is a no-brainer: ‘Ban firearms’ full stop or period as the Americans tend to say.

As BBC US Correspondent Jon Sopel and author of “If only they didn’t speak English” (recommended read Amazon affiliate link) points out it is nowhere near so clear cut in the US especially as the NRA has such a powerful lobby and usually prevents any chance to the status Quo.

After a quick Google search I took a look at, which despite the ominous title gave a very matter-of-fact description of the laws concerning firearms in the US as a whole as well as in the individual states too. The English could be quite tricky to understand at times with ‘legalese’ as well as general crime vocab so I prepared a comprehensive word list & translations, which you can download at

My conclusion: The laws are as varied as there are states and range from (very) lenient (Mid-West States) to (very) restrictive (California, Hawaii). Due to the fact that individual state law overrides federal law, it is unlikely that there will ever be USA wide laws and even less likely that a restrictive mindset could win over when it comes to guns in the US.

In the wake of (infolge), spate of shootings (eine Serie von), to look into sth (etw untersuchen), despite (trotz), it is a no-brainer (hier: einfach lösbares Problem), full stop / period (Punkt), to point out (auf etw hinweisen), to be ‘clear cut’ (deutlich) NRA (NATIONAL RIRLE ASSOCIATION), to prevent (vermeiden), ominous (verdächtig), matter-of-fact (sachlich), legalese (Juristensprache), comprehensive (umfassend), conclusion (Schlussfolgerung), lenient (nachsichtig), to override (etw. aufheben), to be unlikely (unwahrscheinlich), mindset (Denkweise)

2 Gedanken zu „The language of thingybobs ‘gun control’

  1. Jenny Antworten

    What’s most shocking: the US weapons industry has discovered kids as target group, too. You can buy guns of all kind for example in pink with glitter or spiderman print on it.

    It’s ok if children, even the little ones that can’t speak properly yet and have just learned to walk, go out and play with their shotguns – hey, thus they breath fresh air, have a hobby in common with their moms and dads which strengthens their bond and they aren’t sitting in front of their PS, PC or TV all day long. Ok, every now and then grandpa or the little brother is shot dead but that, in terms of dying, may happen while playing football, too, if you’re tackled too hard. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!! SAY NO TO WEAPONS

    • Dave Preston Autor des BeitragsAntworten

      Yep, couldn’t agree more with you. Unfortunately in some parts of the US (rural/small town middle America) guns are much part of everyday life you will always be fighting an uphill battle – even if the huge lobby wasn’t around.

      Somethings we’ll just never understand!! Why is there such a big issue with fox hunting in the UK? For most Brits it’s a horrible ’sport‘ but in certain areas in certain circles it’s a way of life – regardless of what public opinion as a whole feels.

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