New name. New logo. New branding. But sadly, it’s the same old tired song.
Americans for Responsible Solutions, the anti-gun group founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut and retired Navy aviator Capt. Mark Kelly, is getting a new moniker.
Drum roll, please… presenting: Giffords.
That’s about all that’s new. Except that it’s a new year and new fundraising cycle with a new crop of anti-gun candidates for office. This song is the remake of an old tune. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence tried this same thing when they changed their name in 2001 from Handgun Crime, Inc. To remind everyone of the string of hits, in 2016, Giffords and Kelly endorsed Hillary Clinton, who shared their call for universal background checks. That doesn’t mean their Americans for Responsible Solutions Political Action Committee, now rebranded as Giffords PAC, didn’t get some success for their $13.4 million spent supporting anti-gun candidates. They backed N.H. Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan in her narrow electoral win for U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelley Ayotte.
The tune they’ll sing will be familiar enough because we’ve heard the refrain time and again. They’ll say we need universal background checks, just like they did when Kelly falsely claimed 40 percent of gun sales happen without background checks. In fact, Kelly’s gone so far as to flirt with the law when he attempted to buy an AR-15 and lied about in his ATF form that he was the intended recipient. In fact, the gun laws worked. The firearms dealer canceled the sale and refused to transfer the firearm.
None of that has slowed them. The name is changing but not the constant drumbeat. They’re calling for more background checks now, following the tragedy in Las Vegas, despite the murderer passing background checks for every firearm he purchased.
They’ll line up with the usual anti-gun voices, including Michael Bloomberg and his organization, Everytown for Gun Safety. That’s a close relationship – to the tune of $250,000 donated from the billionaire to Giffords and Kelly’s group.
They’ll also tell Americans they’re proud gun owners, but call for the defeat of elected leaders who disagree with their anti-gun ideology. Giffords and Kelly, though, might just be doing more of a remix of old songs than a rebrand. Kelley told Politico that Giffords is the politician in the family but played coy with his own answer if he’d seek elected office, answering only, “I would never say never.”
Larry Keane is the National Shooting Sports Foundation Sr. VP & General Counsel.