Former head of Brady Campaign acknowledges gun owners are ‘unfairly demonized’


People attending the “Gun Rights Rally” in Washington, D.C. earlier this month got a bit more than they expected when Dan Gross, former president of the Brady Campaign, stepped up to the microphone to state, “I’m here because I’ve seen how all of you decent, responsible, law-abiding gun owners are relentlessly, and I believe unfairly, demonized.”

Dan Gross, former president of the Brady Campaign, is saying some surprising things these days.
(Photo: Dan Gross)

Jaws dropped, hands clapped and suddenly thousands of honest Second Amendment activists who have been besieged for decades by the gun prohibition lobby were vindicated. Dismissed as “paranoids” too often to track, gun owners can now say it’s not paranoia if they really are after you.

And anti-gun social bigots are after you. Gross continued, explaining, “I’m here because I’ve seen firsthand how an ideological hatred of guns and the people who own them is more important to some people than the actual goal of saving lives.”

Insider Online had the opportunity to chat with Gross two days later. He’s hooked up with Rob Pincus, the firearms trainer and Second Amendment activist, to launch the Center for Gun Rights and Responsibilities, which is more of a concept than a storefront operation.

Gross left the Brady Campaign about two years ago,and said when he departed, “I had a lot of issues with a lot of people who thought they were on my side.”

They would approach him with something of a wink and a smile, and tell him, “I think we should get rid of all the guns.”

“There’s nothing that pisses me off more than people who will…claim that they share my goals of making us all safer,” he said.

But then they reveal they have their own agendas.

Now he works as a consultant and communications specialist. About a year ago he attended a Pincus class in Massachusetts where they had an off-the-cuff conversation afterwards and found many areas where they agreed. From that conversation things gelled, and now they’re looking to launch their first project by the end of this year.

Ironic Timing

The timing of this week’s column is steeped with irony.

This Friday, Nov. 22, is the 56th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an event that launched the modern gun control movement. It initially targeted “mail order” firearms because assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, according to history, purchased the murder rifle via an advertisement in a magazine.

The assassination in Dallas occurred on a Friday. This year’s calendar duplicates 1963 — and is followed by a national election year.

Oswald was subsequently gunned down on live television 48 hours after Kennedy was killed. He was being transferred from police headquarters when a local nightlife figure, Jack Ruby, lunged forward and shot Oswald at virtually point-blank range.

For more than a half-century the gun control movement has evolved into the gun prohibition lobby. Second Amendment rights have been incrementally adopted, gradually eroding the right to keep and bear arms.

No Government Involvement

Surprises from Gross kept coming at the rally and during our conversation.

He believes gun owners, especially those licensed to carry concealed, need more training and believes this can be accomplished “without any involvement of the government.”

Gross believes good firearms safety training can be provided “without any involvement of the government.”
(Photo: Dan Gross)

No gun rights organization opposes competent training for firearms owners. What they dislike is training mandated by the government. Such training may be poorly designed and horribly executed. The National Rifle Association has, for decades, offered training in all the disciplines. It’s inexpensive, based on sound principles of safety and available all over the map.

There are private training opportunities as well. While some are questionable, the established schools — including facilities such as Gunsite Academy, Thunder Ranch, Firearms Academy of Seattle and many others — are first rate. And there are no bureaucrats lurking around in the shadows to mess with the training.

Targeting The Right People

Gross told his rally audience, and reiterated to Insider, that he does not believe in taking some guns, such as semi-auto rifles or handguns, away from all people. His philosophy is to find a way to take all guns away from some people.

Face it, he explained in our conversation, some people just should not have firearms. He’s talking about violent criminals and certifiably crazy people who, in another era, might have been institutionalized; the same types that gun owners don’t care to be armed, either.

Gross said gun control advocates go wrong when, by their actions and/or rhetoric, “make it too easy for the people on the other side to paint them as anti-gun.” Yet, he did acknowledge some of these people simply hate guns, admitting, “You immediately devolve into this unsolvable, emotional debate.”

“There are too many people on that side of the equation who make it very easy to color everyone on that side as wanting to ban guns,” he observed. “They say they were looking for common ground but then project that ideological hatred of guns. It made my job impossible.”

Gross is open to further conversations — it’s a start, he suggested.

Realizing that not every disagreement can be solved, his professed goal is to find the common ground upon which people like him and Pincus — representing the polar opposites — can agree.

More Irony

With so much good will floating around, along comes a story dripping with irony.

According to the Metro in Great Britain, “a mother who railed against gun violence shot her three children dead then killed herself after her divorce.” The story detailed how the woman, 39, murdered her children, ages 11, 9 and 7, in Deer Park, Texas. This happened just after her husband reportedly finalized their divorce.

ABC News’ local affiliate also covered the story, leaving out the part about gun control activism.

The SIG SAUER Super Target is the manufacturer’s first pneumatic air pistol.
(Photo: SIG SAUER)


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