It only took 9 months since Sandy Hook for another nut to get his hands on an assault-style weapon and shoot the hell out of the place. The gun lobby will respectfully keep their mouths shut during the requisite mourning period. Then Wayne-o will hold a news conference and state that this incident again proves the need for more armed security at sensitive locations, ‘sensitive’ being defined as any place where human beings might get in the way of a bullet or two.
The gun control crowd, of course, doesn’t have to wait for the shock and revulsion to subside. Dianne already has faxed and emailed her requisite statement, ditto the President. I’m sure we’ll hear from Biden shortly and since the Brady Campaign has already issued a statement, Mike Bloomberg can't be far behind.
But that’s about as far as it’s going to go because the Colorado recall has effectively sapped any lingering energy from the diminishing number of members of Congress who are interested in gun control anyway. And the good news for the NRA/NSSF juggernaut is they know something that most of us don’t; namely, that beyond statements to the media, occasional testimony before unreported sessions of various Congressional subcommittees, and a once-every-other-decade attempt to pass some largely-ineffective Federal legislation, the gun control crowd doesn’t have any real strategy or commitment anyway.
What the gun control folks do have, in abundance, is a wealth of research that proves, conclusively, the link between the existence of several hundred million privately-owned guns and a level of gun violence that is ten, twenty or thirty times higher than gun violence rates in all other Western countries. The latest contribution comes from public health researchers at Boston University who have amassed a closet-full of data that basically makes it impossible to deny the degree to which gun violence rates correlate with gun ownership. The report, justpublished in the American Journal of Public Health, is being republished and touted by every liberal advocacy organization and then some.
There’s only one problem. When it comes to talking about guns, the NRA and the NSSF aren’t interested in facts or data. They’re interested in keeping their constituency – gun owners – ready and able to challenge anyone who is perceived as doing anything that might make them lose their guns. And when it comes to grass-roots campaigns, the pro-gun groups have the landscape all to themselves.
Every month the NSSF sponsors a major gun safety event, co-hosted by NRA-friendly Senators like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mark Pryor (D-AR.) Not to be outdone, the NRA has ramped up its Friends of NRA organization, which holds well-attended social events, complete with a meal, a raffle with guns as prizes, a speaker and other entertainment. So far there are 8 events scheduled for the remainder of the year in Pennsylvania, 21 in Texas. And for the remainder of 2013 there are probably more than 150 gun shows being held around the country, all of which feature NRA exhibits and membership displays. Will the gun shows have a total attendance in excess of one million? Yes. Do the gun control organizations ever hold grass-roots events? No.
There may be a link between gun ownership and gun violence, but there’s certainly no link between gun violence and attempts to control guns. And if you want to blame this on the “strength” and financial “power” of the NRA, go right ahead. But the next time you want to get together with a bunch of like-minded folks to talk about gun control, try contacting the Brady Campaign to see if they’ll sponsor the event. Just try.