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New playbook, same goal: Masking gun control

A new challenge is emerging for gun rights advocates including Alan Gottlieb and Phil Shave.
A new challenge is emerging for gun rights advocates including Alan Gottlieb and Phil Shave.
Dave Workman

While maybe a half-million people will line Seattle’s streets today celebrating the Seahawks Super Bowl win, a “webinar” offered by the Progressive Majority Action Fund will provide tips to gun control proponents, including those in the Pacific Northwest, on how to push their anti-gun agenda.

The 90-minute webinar – an online seminar – begins at noon Pacific/3 p.m. Eastern. It is being described as “a lively and interactive discussion about how to argue for gun legislation” led by Bernie Horn, “one of the lead lobbyists for the passage of the Brady Law and the federal ban on assault weapons.”

The Progressive Majority is a Washington, D.C.-based group with a far-reaching liberal agenda and they identify a lineup of candidates, including about 40 in Washington State, who are running for various state and local offices.

They’ve even produced a copyrighted guide, co-authored by Mr. Horn and Progressive Majority President Gloria Totten, for these candidates they call “Voicing Our Values: A Message Guide for Candidates” and there’s an addendum dealing strictly with pushing the gun control agenda. It is reminiscent of a gun control playbook discovered accidentally online last summer by Bellevue gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb and exposed first here.

The Progressive Majority Action Fund claims, “We turn grassroots activists into progressive champions.” They stress the importance of avoiding the term “gun control” and instead counsel would-be politicians to use the phrase “Preventing gun violence.”

Their multi-section addendum to the Message Guide is rather detailed. The sections are headlined:

  • Gun Messaging
  • How to introduce your argument
  • About Background Checks
  • About Military-Style Assault Weapons
  • About High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines
  • How to rebut common pro-gun arguments
  • Sources for more detailed talking points

All of this is rather ironic when one reads the “Declaration of Progressive Values” that contains as its lead item: “First, progressives are resolved to safeguard our individual freedoms. For two centuries, America has been defined by its commitment to freedom. We must fervently guard our constitutional and human rights, and keep government out of our private lives.”

Apparently, that principle applies to everything but the right to keep and bear arms, which is affirmed and protected by what scholar Sanford Levinson called “The Embarrassing Second Amendment.”

On their website, the Progressive Majority explains what they are all about, and includes this paragraph: “Civil Rights: Every individual's civil rights must be protected; discrimination and harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical and developmental ability should be banned.”

There is nothing about prohibiting infringement of the right to keep and bear arms. Indeed, their talking points in the Message Guide addendum appear to be all about how to push such infringements with clever semantics.

All of this translates to more challenging times ahead for gun rights advocates as the 2014 election cycle shifts gears.


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