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Gun prohibitionists demand ‘something,’ but offer nothing

Michael Bloomberg's "Everytown for Gun Safety" is exploiting the Santa Barbara tragedy with an e-mail campaign this week.
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Three times this week, including earlier today, the gun prohibition lobby “Everytown for Gun Safety” has sent e-mails asking recipients to send postcards to Congress declaring “Not One More,” a phrase launched by Richard Martinez, who, according to today’s RT Network global news agency, “wants to close existing loopholes that make it easier for young people to purchase weapons.”

Martinez is the grieving father of one of last Friday’s Santa Barbara spree killing, and gun rights activists argue there is something of a gaping loophole in his message. The guns involved in the California killings were all purchased at retail, in California, where there are essentially no “loopholes” thanks to that state’s so-called “universal background check” requirement on all firearms transactions.

On Wednesday, Martinez was quoted on the blog, “slamming policymakers for their inability to stop the indiscriminate shooting deaths of Americans.” Likewise, he was quoted by the New York Daily News, complaining that members of Congress who called to console him “offered no solutions to mass killings like last Friday’s shooting and stabbing spree.”

Everytown for Gun Safety moved quickly to exploit the tragedy. On Tuesday, Everytown President John Feinblatt’s e-mail appeal rather swiftly capitalized on the “Not One More” theme from Martinez’ comments earlier at a memorial. One click from the e-mail recipient would send a postcard bearing the phrase to members of Congress.

Apparently not satisfied, yesterday Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider appeared on a similar Everytown e-mail appeal, pushing the same request. Earlier today, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who is bankrolling the Everytown effort, appeared in his own e-mail, again asking people to send the “Not One More” postcard.

All of these messages cite Martinez and his remarks. All of them call for Congress and state legislatures to enact tougher gun laws, but they do not specify what laws should be adopted. They all follow a script outlined in the gun control playbook first exposed by this column last summer.

On page 6 of “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging,” the guide advises, “Our first task is to draw a vivid portrait and make an emotional connection. We should rely on emotionally powerful language, feelings and images to bring home the terrible impact of gun violence.”

The firearms community is fast concluding that these messages avoid specifics because the crime happened in a state that has adopted nearly every restrictive gun law on the prohibition agenda, and the killer bought all of his guns in compliance with all of those laws – including background checks, waiting periods and limited magazine capacity – and the crime still occurred.

Perhaps Ralph Fascitelli, president of Washington CeaseFire, was far too candid yesterday with KVI morning host John Carlson by acknowledging, “I don’t think that there’s any law that would have prevented the tragedy in Santa Barbara.” He repeated that thought three times during the interview.

That won’t keep anti-gunners from pursuing their agenda. Expect some discussion of Santa Barbara at Monday’s kickoff of the Initiative 594 campaign in Seattle, sponsored by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. I-594 is the 18-page gun control measure wrapped around a “universal background check.”

Opponents of that measure think now would be a good time to start asking, “If it couldn’t prevent the Santa Barbara tragedy, why pass it here in Washington?” That’s not going to be easily answered.

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