Learning Pains at the Brady Campaign? Pain, Yes. Learning, No.

Posted on June 29, 2012

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Ever since the Brady Campaign was formed in 1974 as the National Council to Control Handguns, it has used over-the-top, fear-mongering, rabble-rousing rhetoric, in an effort to win support for banning all handguns, small handguns, or "assault weapons;" block Right-to-Carry and other laws protecting the right to use firearms for self-defense; and promote its cockamamie Second Amendment theories.

In one of its first pamphlets the group warned, "The number [of handguns] could build to 100 million by the year 2000 . . . . The consequences can be terrible to imagine--unless something is done." For decades, it insisted that the Second Amendment did not protect an individual right. Over the last 20-plus years, it predicted that Right-to-Carry laws would cause crime to go through the roof. It predicted that public safety would be in jeopardy if Congress allowed the Clinton "assault weapon" ban to expire. Today, it characterizes NRA-backed self-defense protection laws--commonly called "Castle Doctrine" or "Stand Your Ground"--as licenses to "shoot first and ask questions later."

And the result?  The Brady Campaign has lost, time and again.

Congress and the states ignored the group's demands to ban handguns, and the number of privately-owned handguns in America has reached approximately 100 million. Thirty-four states have ignored the group's doomsday rhetoric and adopted RTC laws, bringing the total number of RTC states to 41. Congress let the "assault weapon" ban expire, and the number of "assault weapons" has soared to an all-time high, including three million AR-15s. A majority of states have adopted self-defense protection laws.

Concurrently, the nation's total violent crime rate has dropped 18 of the last 20 years, to about a 41-year low. The nation's murder rate has dropped to about a 48-year low. Polls show that support for gun control has fallen, support for the Second Amendment has risen, and gun ownership is higher now than any time since 1993. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010).

The Brady Campaign's response? Go even further off the deep end.

On April 13, it
attacked Gov. Mitt Romney for speaking at the NRA's annual meeting in St. Louis, accusing him of "proudly aligning himself with a lobby that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans every year." On April 23 it said, "When exposed to the light, the NRA's agenda becomes toxic." On May 4, "The NRA will do everything in its power to assure the continued flow of guns from corrupt sellers to the illegal market." On June 19, "the NRA and the industry would rather reap profits selling guns to criminals and gun traffickers." And on June 22, it described a federal judge as a "renegade" for striking down Maryland's restrictive carry permit issuance system, saying, "we have seen time and again that allowing loaded, hidden handguns in public poses a dire threat to the safety of our families and our communities."

We've all heard the popular 19th century axiom, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." It's good advice in some circumstances, but the Brady Campaign would have been better off with the advice of W. C. Fields:  "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."

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