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Here at the Gun Rights Policy Conference there has been quite a bit of speechifyin’. Most of it is stuff we already know — the various gun rights organizations generally do a good job of keeping us in the loop, so I’ve been spending most of my time browsing Reddit and schmoozing with the other attendees rather than paying close attention to the substance of most of the speakers. But there’s been one notable theme I have picked up on while browsing amusing cat pictures: Michael Bloomberg . . .

In general things are going quite well. Even Calguns’ Brandon Combs was reporting progress in getting traditionally anti-gun populations to see the light. We seem to be gaining more ground than we are losing. But every single speech has referenced Michael Bloomberg as the one unknown quantity that has the possibility to reverse all the hard work these (real) grassroots movements have accomplished. They refer to it as the “Bloomberg problem,” but it goes much further than that.

Michael Bloomberg is definitely an issue. One filthy rich individual who feels the need to force his opinions on the American people using lies, deception, and more money than anyone else can bring to bear can have a significant impact no matter whether we’re talking about Bloomberg’s anti-gun jihad or the Koch brothers’ allegedly conservative agenda. All in all, the impact of Mayor Mike’s actions has generally been negligible on a national scale, but there have been some recent victories in local ballot initiatives that have revolved around using paid staffers to accumulate signatures and pulling bait-and-switch scams on those signing the petitions (for example, using a pro-marijuana petition with a gun control petition on the back side).

While that’s definitely an issue, the bigger fight that people are alluding to (without actually talking about) is that gun rights folks are getting the shaft in general when it comes to the PR game. Michael Bloomberg has tons of money to throw around on this one issue, but even if he wasn’t fabulously wealthy, his gun control lapdogs would still get more than their share of air time. That’s how Moms Demand Action started — one photogenic “mom” that the media latched onto and kept providing free press without any thought to a counterpoint.

True grassroots organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation or the Virginia Civil Defense League have huge followings and broad support, but they rarely appear on national TV. It’s much more appealing for those in charge of the media to invite paid spokespeople from the astroturf gun control movements rather than actual grassroots spokespeople who represent the views of the majority of Americans because those same views conflict with those in charge of the TV schedule.

There’s no doubt that gun rights folks still have a tough road ahead, but I think focusing completely on Michael Bloomberg is missing the point. Bloomberg is merely a symptom of the disease, a representation of the system of wealthy gatekeepers who prefer to try and force their own opinions on the American people rather than listening to what Americans have to say and possibly changing their own backwards views. That system isn’t likely to change overnight, but given the fact that the opinions of average Americans keep shifting in favor of gun rights we might see that tide start to turn among even the wealthy “elites.”

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  1. This battle should be fought online. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can “win” more air time in traditional media venues. More and more people get their news from internet based sources (eg TTAG) and spreading the word via social media is the most effective way to reach those who don’t know. Most efforts end up preaching to the choir. It is up to us to share news and info with our friends and family regarding all aspects of the firearms world. That and take someone new to the range! Do it often.

    • ^ This. Rob covered all the points.

      If we somehow end up with empathetic major television networks, we will certainly take advantage of it. Meanwhile, we have to make full use of the Internet and personal relationships.

      • The Mrs. and I took our neighbors to the range on Sunday. Other members were falling all over themselves in an effort to let the noobs try their rigs. At the end of the day, the gun club now has two new members. This is how it has to be. Getting new people into the activity and showing them there’s nothing to fear – and there never was.

    • All of Bloomy’s money can’t begin to touch the power of personal communications, so network through friends and family. Heck, just share pics of a range day or something. Come out of the gun safe.

      And by all means, take people shooting. All the talk in the world will never make an impression like hands-on experience.

      We don’t even need to evangelize; the truth will out. Just share shooting like you would any other hobby or interest.

      • No it’s subversion or conspiracy, but not treason. Treason is actively working against the USA during time of war. Look it up in the Constitution where it is clearly defined.

  2. My biggest fear is antibiotic resistant bacterial diseases. Bloomberg doesn’t hold a candle to them.

    • Salk warned of it in the ’50s, it was a fear in the ’60s, resistant strains started showing up in the ’70s. I’m afraid we’re well down that road, and there’s no turning back. The Feds are finally going to rein in some of these insane “anti-bacterial” soaps and such, but far too little, far too late. I think maybe the general public is finally getting the idea, but once again, far too late.

      Between this and hobbyist table-top genetic engineering (yup, quite real folks) something is bound to go wrong on a large scale. The only question is when, not if.

      • I’m shocked routine preventative administration of antibiotics to agricultural animals is still legal. Preventative use of antibiotics is the fastest way to destroy their effectiveness and is not a good idea when applying any long-term thinking. It is not only unhealthy, it is a crime against humanity. I mean it. It’s the active destruction of potent medicines. Hell, it’s a crime against sick animals, too.

      • “Between this and hobbyist table-top genetic engineering (yup, quite real folks) something is bound to go wrong on a large scale.”

        Or go right on a global scale for an evil minded individual or organization.

        Gene sequencing equipment can now be afforded by hobbyists. Defiantly by highly educated ideological terrorists.

        The good news is densely-populated Progressive-minded areas like big cities will be hit the hardest.


    • how about just going to the hospital?

      Hospital Deaths: Now comes a study in the issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study says.

      That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.

  3. If Bloomberg has money to burn, let’s help him burn it. Suppose some of us pose as anti-gunners and ask for his financial assistance to make a followup film to “Bowling for Columbine”, or to to create public firearm warning ads and commercials. The only difference is we will tell the truth and actually promote true firearms safety and responsibility.

    • Actually that’s not a bad idea. Generally its ideological suicide to let someone else frame your debate, but if we were to form a small group that used their terms and their media outlets to promote ACTUAL gun safety, we might get somewhere.

  4. Daughter is 23 and gets all her news from internet and Facebook news feeds. So Rob C above has a great point, especially concerning younger people. Much of the traditional media is clearly very much anti-2A; but as many have said here before, the pro-2A organizations need to find some spokespeople who are “attractive” without looking like some of the too cute models that are used in some of the pro-2A YouTube videos. Beer bellies and camo pants do not work against reasonably attractive Shannon, although when the camera pulls back on the 10 protesters they usually look like what they are — a small group of desperately unattractive women and a few men of questionable backbone engaging in a pathetic little protest. And as many others have said, open carry of AR’s into grocery stores by guys that do look like loonies does not work, either, because the MSM most loves to scare people. I can’t recall the sponsor, but there is a good series that features clean, middle class people, black, white, latino, older, younger, all employed or comfortably retired, all CCW holders ultimately showing the weapon, with the tag line “I Carry.” I think you covered this in a post some time ago. These are they types of faces and messages we need. I mention it here in the hopes that those readers who are much more savvy with social media than I am can try to get that point across to all the organization to which they belong or which they can influence.

    • “need to find some spokespeople who are “attractive”
      Dana Loesche
      S.E. Cupp
      Ann Coulter
      Jessie Duff
      Anette Wachter
      Sara Tipton
      Tori Nonaka
      Kirsten Joy Weiss
      Lena Miculek
      Michelle Viscusi

  5. Now that Bloomberg is long gone from his mayoralship, I just don’t see him… and that’s a good thing. His name pops up, but you don’t see HIM. That’s good because he promised $50mil to gun control groups… but that was a one-time commitment and the groups don’t really bring in money. They’re far from self-supporting. He may not wish to continue pumping that kind of money into the game and he may give up entirely. He funds charities (actual ones that help people) and gun control isn’t his only pet project, so he may actually end up giving up in the next couple years.

    • Actually, I hope he gets out there in more unscripted situations. The last two times that I am aware of that he was, and the topic of gun-control came up, he stated he believed minorities should own guns, and that he was dumping money into gun-control to ensure his place in heaven. Top that off with his soda ban, and it becomes obvious to a majority of people that he’s a billionaire eccentric narcissist without a feeling for reality.

      • “…he stated he believed minorities should own guns”

        Didn’t he say they should NOT own guns for some racist reason? I’m perfectly willing to admit I’m in the wrong here, but that’s how I remember it.

    • “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince people he didn’t exist.”

      Bloomburg knows better than to spend too much time in the limelight – he doesn’t WANT to be known, or heard of- he would prefer to operate from the shadows through AstroTurf puppet groups like MDA and everytown.

  6. … wealthy gatekeepers who prefer to try and force their own opinions on the American people …

    That is a symptom of pride and no amount of reasoning, marketing, or politicking will ever resolve it. In fact that is the very reason the Framers of our United States Constitution penned the Second Amendment.

    … we might see that tide start to turn among even the wealthy “elites.”

    Wishful thinking. Wealthy “elites” believe that their status entitles them, no, their status obligates them to dictate to other people. Again, that is pride. Just like deranged violent criminals, wealthy “elites” only respond to one thing: raw force. It is a sad and true fact of life.

  7. He needs to disarm his home security system and fore his armed security. Give away his up armored limousine. And walk around without a gaggle of body guards like the rest of us before he has an ounce of credibility. Otherwise he is just another billionaire siding with the criminal and corrupt. Those are the only two groups that benefit from disarming the people.

  8. One thing to keep in mind with Bloomberg and that is for some kind of financial genius he sure does spend money poorly. Although Shannon and company haven’t proven to be very effective at anything (how much good did she do for Monsanto) they haven’t proven to be an embarrassment. Look at his last gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, he just quietly folded that tent and abandoned it after several of his membership got sent to jail for various illegal activities. I think, more than anything he just views the money he spends on those projects as the entry fee to get him and his wife into all the good parties his Democrat buddies throw as the token “Republican.” That and although he might be a true believer, he also appears to be getting some good 503c tax deductions as the bonus to the good invites.

  9. If Bloomberg is the problem, then make him the face of the anti-2A cabal. In his last mayoral election in NYC, the bastard received only 51% of the vote, running against one guy nobody ever heard of and a Central Park pigeon. Let’s face it, a little NYC billionaire isn’t going to play well in most of the country. Nobody likes him, although there are lots of people who like his money.

  10. Fight on all fronts.

    Obviously the interwebs are where most PotG go to find news and commiserate. That does not mean we should ignore mainstream media.

    One thing the media loves is two talking heads going back and fourth, the more emotionally the better.

    One thing that Piers Morgan did very well was bring the same tired anti-gun points over and over again with different pro-gun guests.

    While I personally can’t stand Piers Morgan, it was always good to tune in (or web in rather) and see him get torn apart by someone who knew their way around some facts and statistics.

    Be ready to give an answer for your belifs in any forum. If a forum is decrying your belifs and won’t give you a space for discussion, point out the hypocrisy publicly. Shame their disdain for free expression and the dialectic.

    Stand ready.

  11. I used to think the Government was responsible for protecting our freedoms. I thought this was part of what made or country so great, but more and more I have realized that this is nonsense. The government does not protect rights, but takes them. It must in order to curb anarchy and provide for the common good. The problem then is that the government is a snowball rolling down at some speed toward total anarchy. I feel like history has born this out in basically every country in every time.

    It is only the people who can safeguard liberty. We must all respect one another’s freedoms, liberties, and yes privileges while performing our own duties. And if you believe in freedom without duty you don’t really understand freedom. We must all work together to hold the government in check. Here’s hoping I can be wrong and at some point America can reset back to a government with much less crappy law in the way. Without blood.

    In other words. I don’t give a hoot about Michael bloomburg or his money. I am more worried about my family, friends, and neighbors.

    • I don’t give a hoot about Michael bloomburg or his money. I am more worried about my family, friends, and neighbors.

      While that is all well and good, remember the maxim, “You may not care about politics, but politics cares about you.”

      Like it or not, you participation in politics would go a long way toward advancing the well-being of your family, friends, and neighbors.

        • We PotG should bear in mind that simply voting wisely serves the minimally-necessary objective. JUST VOTE! If you do nothing else. VOTE.

          Imagine the 45% of households that keep guns ALL VOTED; EVERY ELECTION; EVERY ADULT. Mom, daughter, Jr. AND DAD. Yes, granted, a lot of these folks are Fudds, don’t think beyond their shotguns, are MULTI-issue voters. Yet, if the ALL voted then their politicians will hesitate to piss them off.

          Tell your neighbor: “Look Elmer, I know you don’t feel strongly about most gun issues. Still, you do love the shotgun your dad left you. Just remember, some day your interests might be jeopardized, as they are in England. We need to remind the politicians that we gun-owners vote. And, at the same time, gun owners share a lot of similar interests: fiscal responsibility; crime; standards of personal conduct. We need to vote if we want to keep our politicians aware of all these other concerns as well.”

          Suppose the pollsters reported that 93% of voters in gun-keeping households vote. Politicians couldn’t be really sure just how they vote. Nevertheless, each politician must face the question: “Do you feel lucky?”

          Beyond the simple step of voting every 2 years, the next step is writing your Congress-critter. Get on Gun-Owners-of-America’s mailing list. They make writing a letter as PAINLESS as it could possibly be. Once a month or so they send you an e-mail announcing an issue and providing a link to a form letter addressed to your Representative or your 2 Senators, or both (according to the issue at hand). You fill-out your name and address (by which they identify your State and District and Congress-critters). A couple of clicks and your e-mails are sent. (So long as you don’t clear your cache you don’t even have to fill out your name and address the next time you respond.)

          If the flood of e-mails from PotG vastly outnumber the nose-count of Moms at demonstrations in the Congress-critter’s State/District then we will the popularity contest. For just a few keystrokes.

  12. Pro Constitution/2A must relate to the emotions which drive the promoted fear against them. A promotion of security and confidence must be generated to stir the emotions. The fear must be redirected to criminal element and away from the firearm owning citizen.

  13. “I think focusing completely on Michael Bloomberg is missing the point.”
    On the contrary; we must learn a lesson from Saul Alinsky. Bloomberg makes for a perfect lightning rod for us to personalize the persecution of ordinary Americans who want to protect themselves.

    Read the recipe and construct an archetype of the perfect character to illustrate the daemon. Rich media mogul who knows how to manipulate the masses. Surrounds himself with a Pretorian guard of “retired” NYPD cops who are exempt from the laws of 50 States, DC and Bermuda where he jets off to enjoy the weather. Creates Astroturf organizations (Mayors, Moms, Everytown) to disguise his true identity. Hires media pros (Shannon) to put a false persona in front of the public eye. Politician who changes his stripes to get elected and re-elected then goes on to try to control everyone’s personal decisions. What would you change about Bloomberg to create a more ready target for our opposition?

    We need to get behind the image-making now underway by the NRA. The NRA is not some K-street corporate lobbyist; it’s the nation’s oldest civil rights organization made up of 5 million dues-paying members. They are all-over America promoting gun-safety and training civilians and officers alike. They are in Washington to represent our collective interests. Their “We are the NRA” commercials will have a cumulative effect.

    We also need to learn how to pull-together and put-on a positive image for gun-ownership. Consider our rhetoric appearing on these pages and elsewhere. Is each statement each of us writes creating a positive image for gun ownership or undermining the cause?

    We also need to be bolder; get out of the closet and exhibit openly our support of gun-rights. I’d like to find an OC organization in PA where I live. In the mean time, I ware gun T-shirts while CC. I wore a shirt reading “I don’t call 911” into a med lab and the ladies in the lab immediately “made” me. I chatted with them openly making no secret of the fact that their perceptions were entirely accurate; all without ever displaying my gun. I think of it as “Virtual OC” – what are the hoplophobes going to do about that? It’s politically and socially unassailable.

    Its just 1 extremely rich and powerful guy against all of us: 45% of the households in America. An “army of Davids” against one Goliath. Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.

    It’s up to us; the PotG. Will we resist being herded – like a pride of boisterous cats? Or, will we find issues around which we can coalesce and demonstrate the force of numbers. In military matters, quality has a quality of its own.

  14. Sounds a bit like Bloomberg aspires to have the same clout as the newspaper magnate that fomented the war in Cuba.

  15. I like Bill Kohnke’s idea-and Curtis in Illinois. We could call it “Bullshite and Babes “…and don’t forget a billionaire is trying to BUY the presidency…I would think the malevolent midget is an EZ target.

  16. I just remind them that this is the same guy that banned large soft drinks in NYC.

    Authoritarian is far too mild a word.

  17. The 2nd Amendment was put into the Constitution so the people could protect themselves from a corrupt government. That is why it says “shall not infringe” so we can have what the government has to prevent a Holocaust. I believe the people should have what the government has including machine guns. The only gun control law there should be is that criminals can’t have any firearms. Thanks for your vote, pass the word.

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