A revealing article in the Washington Post has acknowledged something gun rights advocates have long asserted, that gun control proponents deliberately disguise their agenda by masking the names of their organizations.
The story focuses on an organization calling itself “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” (MDAGSA), but also alludes to the group recently spearheaded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, dubbed “Americans for Responsible Solutions.”
But, says the Washington Post, MDAGSA began life as “One Million Moms for Gun Control,” and changed that because the title included the term “gun control.”
“The group’s decision to drop ‘gun control’ from its name is consistent with the messaging strategies adopted by the White House, congressional Democrats,” the Post story explains, “and other groups pushing for stricter gun laws that prefer to use terms like ‘gun violence’ or ‘common-sense reforms’ instead of ‘gun control’.”
The Washington Post left out the most prominent, and misleading, buzz term currently in vogue: “gun safety.”
According to the Washington Post, MDAGSA founder Shannon Watts admitted to the newspaper earlier this week, “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from stakeholders that ‘gun control’ isn’t the best term to use because it can be polarizing…We don’t want to be polarizing — we want to be a nonpartisan organization. We’re not about overturning the Second Amendment or banning guns, but we also don’t believe that we should arm every citizen.”
Therein lays a contrast between gun control groups and gun rights organizations. Gun prohibitionists see things from a perspective of keeping at least some people disarmed, while gun rights organizations want to protect the right to keep and bear arms, regardless whether individuals choose to exercise it. The National Rifle Association or the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has never insisted that everyone should have a firearm, but they have adamantly maintained that the right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms should not be so heavily restricted that they are discouraged or even prevented from exercising that right.
Thursday afternoon’s hearing, before the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education – beginning at 5:30 in the J.A. Cherberg Senate office building, will consider two genuine “gun safety” measures. Senate Bill 5660 would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to develop a firearm safety accident prevention program for K-12 public schools. It has an opt-out provision for students whose parents don’t want them to learn about firearms safety.
Senate Joint Memorial 8006 resurrects an earlier measure, approved unanimously some 15 years ago – but never acted upon by the SPI, perhaps because it was not considered politically correct – that would allow the NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun avoidance program to be used in elementary schools.
Unlike so-called “gun safety” programs offered by anti-gun groups, which invariably promote a “guns are bad” message, firearms safety instruction and the Eddie Eagle’s gun avoidance effort promote knowledge about guns for older students and what younger children should do if they find one. Nobody in the firearms community is trying to mislead anyone about these programs. Indeed, gun rights activists insist that teaching youth about proper handling of firearms is a true “common-sense approach” while others use that term rather loosely.
As the Washington Post story noted, “Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama explicitly used the word ‘gun’ six times and ‘gun violence’ three times, but he never explicitly mentioned ‘gun control,’ instead using the term ‘common-sense reform’ when discussing how Congress should respond to the mass shooting.”
The subliminal message in the president’s speech, and in press releases from gun prohibition groups, is that if someone disagrees with their “common-sense” agenda, they lack good judgment. Likewise, “Americans for Responsible Solutions” supports limiting the sale of large capacity magazines and so-called “assault weapons.” In this case, “limiting” is a substitute for “banning,” but it is a more palatable term, apparently meant to allow people the fantasy of believing that this means only "some" restrictions rather than outright prohibitions, even though they understand in reality what is really going on.
Today’s hearings will afford Senate members and people on both sides of the gun rights issue to clarify where they really stand, and whether they are being deceptive or honest about what they promote.