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Anti-Gunners Want Help from Whom?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gun bans, magazine bans, a background check expansion designed to pave the way for gun registration, and efforts to prevent people from carrying firearms for protection are all serious business. However, it's sometimes healthy to be able to see a little humor in things that are otherwise not humorous.

Take anti-gun activists' latest tactic, for example. Thus far unable to convince a majority of Americans or their elected representatives in Washington to impose the gun control package that President Obama has been pushing for more than a year, they've decided to ask for help from the corporate world.

When you finish laughing, we'll finish the story. . . .

Yes, we're talking about the same anti-gun activists that for years have spent a big chunk of their time trying to build support for gun control among the small percentage of Americans whose hair stands on end at the mere mention of the words "corporation" or "profit."

For example, take Josh Horwitz, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), an anti-gun group formed in 1974 as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. Over the last few years, Horwitz has written frequently on the left-wing Huffington Post website with rhetoric clearly designed to appeal to its capitalism-hating readers.

Consider the following examples. In February 2011, Horwitz ignored the NRA's efforts on behalf of Second Amendment rights, such as helping get Right-to-Carry laws passed in 36 additional states since NRA's Institute for Legislative Action was formed, writing that NRA's "sole motivation is profit for the gun industry."  In January 2012, he accused the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation of withholding data on gun sales (which neither organization has, because neither organization manufactures guns), saying "gun manufacturers have to understand what their dealers are selling in order to produce the proper amount of product and maximize profits." In October 2013, he wrote that "the NRA has to convince the average gun-owning civilian to buy his fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. gun in order to keep generating profit."

Finally, and the most absurd of the lot, in February 2012, Horwitz made the utterly ridiculous claim that "the gun industry has purposely and continuously manufactured firearms for one of its most important market segments: traffickers and prohibited purchasers (i.e., children, criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, domestic abusers, etc.). And all in the name of profit."

Now, despite its anti-corporate, anti-profit past, "the American gun control movement is going corporate," Ben Goad reported for The Hill this week. "Still reeling from the stinging legislative defeats of 2013, proponents of tougher firearm regulations are increasingly turning their focus to private sector campaigns."

NRA takes any threat to Second Amendment rights seriously, of course. Fortunately, however, anti-gun activists have thus far come up short in their attempt to buddy up to the corporate world they have heretofore derided.

Recently, after gun control supporters demanded that the undoubtedly profitable Starbucks corporation adopt a policy prohibiting customers from bringing firearms into its shops, Starbucks' CEO tried to make the question  go away by saying that he would prefer if customers did not do so. Even more recently, after demanding that Facebook adopt a policy prohibiting its members from posting "firearm for sale" notices on their pages, the social media giant said that it would block minors from seeing such notices, and that it would not allow its members to post notices for illegal firearm sales, but refused to ban firearm sales postings generally.

Highlighting the ongoing tension between Michael Bloomberg and the Brady Campaign over whether his beleaguered organization or theirs is going to lead the charge for gun control in the United States, a Bloomberg operative called Facebook's decision "absolutely a huge win," while the Brady Campaign said that "a mere warning to follow the law and community-based reporting will not do enough."

It remains to be seen how effective anti-gun groups will be at gaining the cooperation of the business world after using it as a punching bag to rally their faithful for so many years. In the meantime, so long as gun owners continue to conduct themselves appropriately when they carry their protective firearms, remembering that business establishments serve gun-owning and non-gun-owning customers alike, we're confident that the anti-gunners will continue to experience very little success.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.