AI-Generated Gun Control from the Grave

Gun Control Laws Regulation Bans iStock-RGBAlpha 504903970
A new message, but the same old goal: Gun control. iStock-RGBAlpha 504903970

The gun prohibition movement has entered a new and macabre realm, using AI-generated messages delivered in facsimiles of the voices of the dead, and the project is being defended by David Hogg, co-founder of March For Our Lives and one-time media darling following the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

As reported by NPR, one of the voices from beyond the grave is that of Joaquin Oliver, a Hogg classmate and victim of the tragic shooting.

Quoted by NPR, Hogg justifies the morbid messaging effort: “We have to interrupt people’s regularly scheduled programming as a movement to get their attention…And we have to use all the tools that we can at our disposal in an ethical way, of course, to get their attention in the first place. And if that means using AI to simulate the voices of people that have been stolen by gun violence, then so be it.”

The Guardian quotes the AI-generated imitation of Oliver’s voice: “I’m back today because my parents used AI to recreate my voice to call you. Other victims like me will be calling too, again and again, to demand action. How many calls will it take for you to care? How many dead voices will you hear before you finally listen?”

Apparently, more than one voice of the dead is part of this gun control crusade, which also involves a group called Change the Ref, started by Oliver’s parents, NPR reported. According to that report, here’s another AI-generated remark from the slain teen: “I’m back today because my parents used AI to recreate my voice to call you. Other victims like me will be calling too, again and again, to demand action. How many calls will it take for you to care? How many dead voices will you hear before you finally listen? Every day your inaction creates more voices. If you fail to act now, we’ll find somebody who will.”

According to NPR, all of the messages will be found on the Shotline, described as “an online platform…where users can individually send the AI-generated audio directly to the offices of members of Congress, demanding further action on gun violence prevention.”

One is compelled to wonder whether members of Congress will be impressed by such messaging or offended. Does this effort cross the invisible line separating “clever” from “grotesque?”

As noted by NPR, the Federal Communications Commission recently decided that AI-generated voices in robocalls violate the law on telecommunications. This happened after robocalls featuring an AI-generated voice imitation of President Joe Biden were used in New Hampshire to allegedly discourage voting in the recent primary.

The Guardian notes Oliver’s parents—Manny and Patricia—”have been relentless in their advocacy” for gun “reform” since the Feb. 14, 2018 attack, which claimed 17 lives. The killer in that incident was apprehended and is now in prison.

The campaign does raise questions about how far advocacy can push the proverbial envelope. For example, what if another entity in the Second Amendment community used artificial intelligence to recreate the voice of Carol Bowne, the New Jersey woman who was murdered in her driveway in June 2015 by a man against whom she had a restraining order? Bowne died while her pistol application, submitted on April 21, 2015, was gathering dust at the nearby Berlin Township Police Department.

How might the gun prohibition lobby react to an AI-generated female voice demanding an end to bureaucratic red tape and even waiting periods to purchase a firearm for personal protection?

Or what about an AI-generated message promoting armed school resource officers or armed teachers? Once Pandora’s box is opened, it is hard to close the lid.

However, sometimes, there is no need to fake a voice from someone, living or dead, to make a point. The textbook example of using someone’s own words against them can be found in the Second Amendment Foundation’s recent television ad featuring Biden admitting he is working to ban the sale of AR-15-type rifles and 9mm pistols. It is a devastating soundbite which neither Biden nor his campaign handlers can refute, and it was definitely not “out of context.”

“It is imperative for gun owners to become involved in our effort to organize, educate and litigate against Joe Biden’s gun prohibition agenda,” explained SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Heading into the 2024 election cycle, it is clear Biden is stepping up his campaign to crush the Second Amendment, and we will meet that challenge in courtrooms across the country, while we educate the public on the dangers of his anti-gun-rights agenda on the airwaves.”

There’s nothing artificial about Gottlieb’s approach.

Whether this new and bizarre gun control effort will succeed remains to be seen. But the contrast between using faked voices of the dead and highlighting the actual video and audio of Biden declaring his gun ban intentions will be easily distinguished.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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