By David Codrea
“Moms Demand Action goes toe-to-toe with the NRA,” founder Shannon Watts wrote in a PR piece (hosted for free) in Newsweek, because evidently Michael Bloomberg’s money isn’t enough. “As Atlanta prepares for leaders from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to descend on the city for its annual meeting, volunteers for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are also arriving from across the country. For the fourth year in a row, moms, women, gun violence survivors, elected leaders and everyday Americans will show up and speak out as a counterweight to the nation’s largest gun lobby.”
It wasn’t much of a counterweight to the convention. Depending on who you listen to and which carefully-cropped photos you look at, the Astroturf Moms managed to attract anywhere from several dozen to a couple hundred supporters. For grassroots numbers, you’d need to go inside the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting, with attendance estimates exceeding 80,000.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution figured 200 people turned out at a park blocks away from the convention. The day before, a similar number staged a “die-in.” How many people at each rally were observers—as opposed to active participants—was never really made clear, but pro-gun writers were unimpressed.
“Bloomberg’s gun control rally against NRA fizzles in Atlanta,” BearingArms.com observed. “It was a less than impressive event. According to an officer providing security at the event, Mom’s Demand and Everytown brought just 75-100 people to Woodruff Park to ‘confront’ the NRA…”
That’s consistent with past public demonstrations, despite no shortage of Bloomberg money and media amplification. The people being transported in for organized protests are often outnumbered by gun owner rights advocates, who only hear about events at the last minute. Remember Bloomberg’s costly and highly-publicized “No More Names” bus tour? (See “Magical Misery Tour,” Nov. 2013 issue.)
Equally unimpressive was Watts’ Newsweek rant, probably because we’ve heard it all ad nauseam: Hyperbole and unfounded accusations are used to manipulate emotions rather than appeal to reason and to freedom.
“While NRA leaders deliver a desolate message of fear and paranoia to convention-goers, Moms Demand Action wants leaders in corporate boardrooms, in statehouses, in Congress and in the White House to know that we will never stop fighting for a safer America for our children and families,” Watts declares. There’s a bit of projection: Responsible gun owners who see for themselves the utility of firearms are the gullible sheep. Acolytes of a billionaire appealing to the elites for disarmament mandates are the free thinkers.
“This is no longer your grandparents’ NRA—an organization that used to represent sportsmen and hunters,” Watts continues. She knows perfectly well sporting and hunter safety programs always have—and still do—represent huge segments of Association focus.
That said, the Second Amendment ain’t about duck hunting or what you “need” to shoot a deer. Those are merely transparent deceptions the antis use to go after guns they want to see banned.
“Its agenda now consists of suppressing federal research on gun violence prevention; shunning any attempt at compromise on gun safety legislation; and publicly shaming gun dealers, policy makers and even everyday moms who dare to contradict its agenda,” Watts charges.
So when a Centers for Disease Control official says he wants to see guns treated like cigarettes, “dirty, deadly and banned,” and anti-gun radicals misuse taxpayer funds to swindle citizens out of their rights with “junk science,” NRA is wrong to object? Besides, spending restrictions do not ban research, but state “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the [CDC] may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
As for “compromise on gun safety,” that just means surrendering to demands for which there is no legitimate claim. Any concession is likely to have the same effect as throwing a scrap of meat to a pack of circling jackals in the hopes you’ll then be left alone. And as for shaming, anyone who wants to disarm their countrymen ought to be ashamed.
“Today’s NRA leadership has one goal—to sell as many guns to as many people as possible, no questions asked,” Watts accuses. Aside from the fact that they’re not in that business, that’s almost laughable.
“Under the guise of the Second Amendment, which provides citizens the freedom to keep and bear arms, NRA leaders are dedicated to lining the pockets of their largest donors: gun manufacturers,” Watts misinforms. “And it’s clear they will stop at nothing to do so—even if it means dismantling laws that keep guns out of dangerous hands and protect Americans from gun violence.”
Fairfax has been vocal about promoting the “enforce existing gun laws” line, targeted at prosecuting “illegal gun possession,” sometimes over the objection of “extremists’ like me, who are all for defying gun and magazine bans. And you’d think someone of national stature posing as an authority on the Second Amendment would understand that it does not “Provide citizens the freedom to keep and bear arms.” As the Supreme Court has consistently noted for over 140 years now, “The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed.’” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, ‘[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.’”
If you don’t believe her, she says she’s got a poll released by Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions, where “67 percent of gun owners agree” that NRA is wrong to lobby! I don’t believe her. Remember Question 1 in Nevada, the so-called “background check” bill where the antis claimed they had 80-percent support, but passed with less than 1 percent and failed in every country but populous Clark?
“Our nation’s gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than the average in other developed nations.” Watts asserts. She’s relying on an undefined term that conveniently omits countries like Russia and Mexico to make its case. She also fails to mention, as economist and author John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Institute demonstrates, that “More than half of last year’s murders occurred in only 2 percent of the nation’s counties.”
Those would be areas overwhelmingly ruled by gun-grabbers.
“But the NRA’s ultimate goal is to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act—legislation that would … override state laws and make the weakest link the law of the land,” Watts fumes. Her hysteria evokes nothing so much as the dead wrong warnings from an earlier generation of hand-wringers that concealed carry would lead to “blood in the streets over fender benders.” And the Second Amendment is “the weakest link”?
“Just as every family has the right to set its own rules, states have varying laws when it comes to who can carry concealed weapons in public,” Watts instructs. Obama tried that ploy too, with his “What works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne” appeal to “home rule.” (By the way, what does work in Chicago, having just surpassed 1,000 shootings for the year at this writing?)
The thing is, the Constitution is “the supreme Law of the Land,” and nationwide gun bans never seem to carve out exceptions based on local customs. By “home rule,” what they mean is to rule you in your home, everywhere and in Everytown. And the real conventions they’re breaking with are the ones established by the Founders.