Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis had it right in 1963 – coincidentally, the year that Colt introduced the AR-15 to the civilian market – when he named one of his band’s classic albums “Seven Steps To Heaven.” The release features exceptionally creative improvisations by Davis, tenor saxophonist George Coleman, pianists Victor Feldman and Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummers Frank Butler and Tony Williams.
Rolling Stone can count to seven too, but without the creativity of the legendary musicians in Davis’ innovative combo. In How to Beat the NRA in 7 (Not-So-Easy) Steps, the off-beat, out of tune magazine’s Tim Dickinson lays out a remarkably unimaginative seven-step plan to “empower gun-control advocates to stop bemoaning their helplessness, and start carrying the day.” To anyone who has followed our previous reporting on the gun control playbook entitled Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging, much of it will sound familiar.
The first step in Dickinson’s plan is to “commit to a generation-long battle.” But attempts to control people by limiting their ability to defend themselves has been a part of the American experience at least since the British tried to disarm the Massachusetts Militia at Concord on April 19, 1775.
Certainly, 143 years after its founding, the NRA still stands tall. Meanwhile, the National Coalition to Ban Handguns and the National Council to Control Handguns have had to change their names to Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Brady Campaign, respectively. They’ve had to stop trying to get handguns banned, and to shift their efforts to “assault weapons.” They’ve had to start referring to gun control as “gun safety.” And they’ve had the reins of the gun control movement wrested from them by Michael Bloomberg.
Next in Dickinson’s plan is “Think federally, act locally.” But anti-gun activist groups have few, if any, grassroots members, and the only activities that bind them are their hatred of guns and their snobbish and often mean-spirited attitude toward gun owners. By contrast, NRA members at the local level go to shooting ranges for competitions, training and recreation; attend gun shows; go hunting; participate in gun safety classes as students and teachers; attend Friends of the NRA Dinners; and participate in all phases of the political process.
Dickinson’s third and fourth steps are “Politicize disaster, unabashedly” and “Act, don’t dither.” But both have been standard operating procedure in gun control politics for as long as anyone can remember. FDR promoted the National Firearms Act with exaggerated claims that “Federal men are constantly facing machine-gun fire in the pursuit of gangsters.” Bill Clinton tried to justify Sen. Feinstein’s “assault weapon” ban by claiming that police officers were “under a hail of assault weapon attack.” And in 1989, after a high-profile crime involving a semi-automatic rifle, the San Jose Mercury News editorialized, “Now, while the horror of the Stockton schoolyard massacre still haunts us, Californians must demand of our legislators a law banning assault rifles.”
Twenty-three years later, within days of the awful crimes by a deranged murderer at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., Bloomberg, anti-gun U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), the Washington Post, and other gun control advocates demanded that Congress impose new gun control restrictions before any discussions on the subject could take place.
Whether Dickinson’s fifth step, “Bring Big Money to the Table,” is a new idea depends on how you define “big.” George Soros, the Joyce Foundation, Michael Bloomberg and others have been pouring millions of dollars into gun control efforts for years, not to mention the vast sums of cash that have been funneled to non-governmental organizations that campaigned for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. However, as we have noted, Soros and the Democracy Alliance are now working to funnel much larger sums of money to gun control activist groups and other “progressive” groups in advance of the November elections. And, as noted by Dickinson, Bloomberg has put $50 million into his “Everytown” gun control campaign.
That brings us to Dickinson’s sixth step, “Think bigger than mayors, moms and martyrs.” The idea here is that anti-gun groups should work better together. But as a Bloomberg.com article explained last year, there’s a lot of in-fighting going on between the various anti-gun groups, particularly over who should be in charge, a question that for the time being seems to have been answered by Bloomberg’s bottomless pocketbook.
Dickinson closes by recommending that gun control supporters “prepare for setbacks and paybacks,” meaning legislative defeats and the ousting of anti-gun politicians at the polls. To that, we can only say, if gun owners do our job on Election Day, Dickinson’s last piece of advice to the anti-gunners is the one to which they probably should pay the most heed.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Rolling Stone, the magazine’s apparent gun expert, Kristen Gwynne, identifies “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America”: pistols, revolvers, derringers, rifles and shotguns (please see related story). If Gwynne had remembered zip guns and pen guns, she could have expanded her list to “7,” like Dickinson’s. How clever THAT would have been!