By David Codrea, GUNS Magazine
Time was citizen disarmament zealots didn’t feel the need to hide their intentions. The goals of The National Coalition to Ban Handguns and Handgun Control, Inc. were pretty clear just by their names. That they now bill themselves respectively as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says much about their perceived need to mask what they’re really after. And nowhere is the need to disguise intent more apparent than the way the term “gun control” is being replaced with another term, “gun safety.” Who could be against that?
Likewise, Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns touts a name that could resonate, providing there wasn’t overwhelming evidence to show what they really want is to expand what’s declared “illegal,” including guns now owned and enjoyed by millions of Americans. And the Bloomberg-affiliated Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense for America is relying on people not understanding that when they use words like “sense,” what they really mean is they want total bans against ownership, something unmistakably demonstrated by their tantrum over a January federal court ruling that Chicago’s ordinance prohibiting gun stores was unconstitutional.
The problem for such groups is they’ve already established solid records of being flat-out anti-gun, and despite what Joe Biden calls “legitimate media” doing its best to help out with PR masked as “news,” they can’t distance themselves from their past and present allies and advocacy. Gun-grabbers, though, are nothing if not resourceful, at least in terms of being able to count on resources from foundations and elites to make up for their lack of grassroots support, and plenty of attempts to create Astroturf alternatives with the appearance of popular demand have been made.
One prominent failure was the American Hunters and Shooters Association (See Rights Watch “Beware of Moles, Jan. 2006), which billed itself as “a national grassroots organization committed to safe and responsible gun ownership” and “… a mainstream group … looking to belong to [an] association that doesn’t have a radical agenda.” Translated, that meant founding member John Rosenthal, also founder of the radically anti-gun Stop Handgun Violence, was free to posture as a voice for gun owners while pushing for increased restrictions and endorsing Barack Obama. Interestingly, despite public claims that the group had “25,000 members” (and then admitting in a 2005 deposition it “had fewer than 150 dues-paying individual members”), the AHSA website was taken down in 2010 and its president, former footballer Ray Schoenke, admitted they disbanded because of lack of membership.
A similar effort, the American Rifle and Pistol Association, also attempted to become an influence in 2013, but, per US News and World Report, gun owners took a close look and branded it a “false flag.” A quick look shows their website domain name expired in January, and they stopped updating their Facebook page in November of last year.
Still, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, and that’s precisely what those who want to con us out of our right to keep and bear arms would do when all else has failed. Enter Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly with Americans for Responsible Solutions, promising “commonsense solutions to protect our communities from gun violence.”
Next, Mark Kelly’s group, Evolve Together, MADD and a HuffPo blogger