When kicking a nest of vipers, there’s bound to be some hissing. That’s what happens when the light of truth shines into the darkest corners.
That’s what’s happening right now with gun control groups. They’re clamoring about, raising all sorts of noise about how it’s unfair, not right, plain dangerous and irresponsible that government would dare allow for commerce in firearms to be considered essential.
That’s not what they’re really mad about, though. Don’t be fooled. The real frustration is they know that they’re losing the argument and Americans are seeing them for what they really are.
The COVID-19 pandemic has the rest of America donning face masks, but it’s torn the mask off gun control groups. Lobbyists like Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Brady Campaign, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence have all claimed to respect the Second Amendment and be in favor of only “common-sense” gun laws. They used to say they just wanted universal background checks or closing so-called loopholes.
Not anymore. They’ve completely ditched the rhetorical facade. Now, they’re on a tirade to stigmatize gun ownership. It’s the vocalizations of a cornered beast.
More than 2.3 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm in March. That’s the biggest month on record. It was also largely unexpected.
When Americans became concerned about their safety, they reacted by taking responsibility for their own safety. Governors and mayors emptied jails and police departments were affected by infection, thinning the ranks of those who keep communities safe.
Rather than be a victim, Americans voted with their feet and with their wallets. Many retailers reported the bulk of these buyers were first-time gun buyers. Weeks ago, these were people who maybe never considered owning a gun. The gun control argument was esoteric. It didn’t apply.
But that changed when the gun buyers were faced with a new reality. Gun control debates quickly went from something rhetorical to existential. Personal and family safety became a real concern and they took responsibility.
That’s what got the gun control community all riled up. They lost the fence sitters. The ones who previously didn’t balk at their call for stricter laws and incremental grabs at freedoms suddenly abandoned them.
They walked away from the empty promises and joined over 100 million law-abiding gun owners who own, carry and use their firearms safely, legally and responsibly every day.
Smear and Pillory
Gun control groups won’t admit defeat, though. Instead, they villainize and stigmatize. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown’s lawyers quickly dashed off a memo denouncing governors who dared to respect American rights by keeping gun retailers open during a health crisis.
Everytown’s John Feinblatt complained that the Trump administration wouldn’t bend to their view that rights protected under the Constitution are “special privileges” to be yanked at governmental whims.
“It is both shameful and nonsensical for the federal government to deem gun stores essential, a special privilege that millions of other shuttered small businesses can only dream about,” Feinblatt wrote.
When that’s not enough, they move to scare tactics. In the same column, Feinblatt started with the unfounded milquetoast claim, “Owning a gun does not make you any safer from it.” He wasn’t alone.
Brady Campaign’s Kris Brown likened gun ownership to coronavirus, a disease in search of a cure. “We will get a vaccine, we will get immunization for this in the longer term but there is no immunization for that gun that is now sitting in that person’s home” Brown told Newsweek.
Moms Demand Action leader Shannon Watts dismissed the notion of individual self-protection, instead painting gun owners as potential spouse and child abusers, mentally unstable and irresponsible.
Gifford’s David Chipman, a former agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said families should spend money on groceries and deadbolts for doors, rather than a firearm.
“It’s adding gasoline to a fire,” Chipman said in an interview. “My fear is that in a race to protect themselves from this pandemic, some people might be bringing a different danger right through their front door.”
Interestingly, Chipman is an admitted gun owner, but hasn’t volunteered to surrender his own personal firearms.
So, as Chipman demonstrates by his own actions, it’s not the gun that’s the problem. It’s that they’re not scaring people to not buy them.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.