Facts are stubborn things. So when the facts are not in your favor, it’s not surprising that your message and strategy will need to continually change. For gun controllers – while that message may be incorrect on important facets of history, constitutional principles, Supreme Court doctrine, or even the will of the American people – $50 million dollars is quite an incentive to stay on script.
On July 31, 2014, the inaptly-named American Constitution Society for Law and Policy hosted a symposium entitled "The Second Amendment’s Past, Present & Future", featuring representatives from multiple gun control groups. Included were the Bloomberg franchises Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Everytown for Gun Safety. Also present were the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the recently-rechristened Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly the Legal Community Against Violence). All were showcasing their newly well-funded and energized approach to gun control, while being scrupulously careful to avoid language that would betray their true intentions.
Indeed, the attendees have consciously stricken from their vernacular the terms that most represent their agenda: “gun ban” and “gun control.” Instead, the idioms for the same intent include labels such as “reasonable restrictions,” “gun safety,” and “gun-violence prevention.” Take a look for yourself: http://www.acslaw.org/news/video/the-second-amendments-past-present-future-gun-safety-and-violence-prevention and http://www.acslaw.org/news/video/the-second-amendments-past-present-future-the-meaning-of-the-second-amendment.
While their message is contradictory, inaccurate, and often offensive to NRA and its members, what should not be ignored is the new excitement spurred by the full-up coffers. The collective, if grudging, admiration of NRA’s long-standing ability to educate and activate its membership and to convey important messages to the community and lawmakers is something the gun control groups are very much focused on emulating.
Yet while imitation is the best form of flattery, whether it will work for the participants of the symposium remains to be seen. Energy and money do not alter history or basic facts, nor do they generate fierce loyalty. Gun control groups face heavy odds competing with NRA on its own terms because they lack the continued passion and dedication of over five million NRA members committed to defending, protecting, and promoting freedom. As the November elections approach, that reality must be made clearer than ever to ensure the distinction remains intact.