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Thursday, October 27, 2016

But even on social media, the NRA is way ahead of those working to prevent gun violence. They have nearly two million Facebook fans. The Brady Campaign has just about 50,000 and Americans for Responsible Solutions around 25,000.

So how about some pure grassroots, organic effort? Is anything popping up that can harness the awesome power of moms to use the web to organize and connect?

There are several parallel efforts at this point. One Million Moms and Dads Against Gun Violence has about 1,000 Facebook likes so far. One Million Moms for Gun Control has over 20,000 likes and is picking up steam.

Progressive entrepreneur David Bennahum has a vision of a million kids marching on Washington D.C., a living metaphor of what’s at stake in the gun debate. More than 7,000 people are following the Facebook page and the idea has created some controversy over whether parents should include their children in a political debate.

Bennahum told the American Prospect that he considers the whole movement an educational experience. “It’s an amazing teaching opportunity about the right to petition our government, freedom of assembly, and what it means to be an engaged citizen in a democracy,” he said.

It’s a powerful message with a nice start, but they’re still about a million kids away from the goal, at this point.

Here’s what I’m hoping: All these groups will decide on one date — maybe the anniversary of the shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, CO, as that’s a nice time of the year. They’ll reach out to some celebrities with some huge social media followings or find some other way to reach moms who are already engaged on the issue.

And most of all, I hope they’ll stop using the words “gun control,” as Jonathan Alter has suggested. It makes the issue about “freedom” and taking something away. By focusing on “gun safety” or opposing “gun violence,” the victims become the issue, not the gun owners, who, whether you like it or not, feel attacked.

NRA members agree with many of the things we can do to stop gun violence such as closing the gun show/private sales loophole. A large number even support bans on assault weapons and high-volume magazines. A focus on the dangers instead of the gun owners can create the kind of viral energy that’s going to be necessary to do anything to prevent some of the 30,000 gun deaths Americans suffer every year while we have a chance.



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  • Yinzer

    Nazi Germany actually had rather limited gun laws. In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq gun ownership was nearly universal. The UK and Australia have banned guns yet remain Free Democracies.

    Bottom line is that guns won’t stop tyranny when the Tyrants have more guns than you do.

    • Bob in Boston

      But look at the cost of gun control in the UK. Violent crime rates in the UK are FAR above those in the United States. A victim doesn’t care if they were shot with a rifle (which is extremely rare here in the United States – 3% of all gun related crimes, which includes people who were shot while *committing* the crime) versus much higher numbers for using blunt instruments, or even hands and feet.

      And the fact remains, if people aren’t allowed to defend themselves, then you are *guaranteeing* more deaths, even if they don’t happen with guns.

      Plus we already had an assault weapons ban and it had *zero* effect on the number of mass shootings, which actually went up slightly in 1994. The overall trend of violent crime in our country was down before 1994 assault weapons ban, during it, and after it expired – the AWB it had zero effect, which is why it was dropped. And we already require background checks for the vast majority of gun purchases, and it’s already a felony to possess a gun if you wouldn’t pass a background check.

      Plus you have to see where the majority of gun violence happens. Look to states like New York and Washington DC, and cities like Chicago – wherever you have strong gun bans already, you’ll also find the highest murder rates and the highest rates of violent crime.

      People need to realize that Connecticut already has tougher laws than most national gun control advocates are calling far, as do all states surrounding it, and you can see how well that worked. Criminals will always seek out “gun free” zones – that’s as plain as day if you look at the last few mass shootings. So any attempt to create *more* gun-free zones is definitely going to make the problem worse. We should be working to remove gun-free school zone legislation – that would be a great place to start.
      Then take the funding that currently goes to the BATFE, who literally sent guns to the Mexican cartels in operation Fast and Furious, and move it over to a national Mental Heath initiative, and to pay for free Concealed Carry training for teachers who volunteer to carry concealed. Those two things would *greatly* reduce our issue with no additional cost.

      We need to start thinking logically about this issue and not emotionally. We gun owners aren’t going to let you disarm us and prevent us from protecting our families, but we want to stop tragedies like Aurora and Sandy Hook as much as you do. But gun control isn’t going to fix anything and, like gun free school zones, may make things much worse.

      • stcroixcarp

        Bob, where did you get the information that violent crime rates are much higher in UK than here? You need to cite your sources.

        • TonyinMO

          It’s true, why don’t you try Google, you might learn something.

  • There is no question that the NRA dominates the debate on gun control, and has done so for decades. Their success, in my opinion, is not based on logic, it is successful because a large segment of our society supports gun ownership and views the tragedies derived from it as a small price to pay for the freedom to obtain an instrument (s) that allow us to calm our fears.
    Those that buy assault weapons and high capacity magazines don’t do it to protect themselves against robbers, rapists, or thugs. They do it because they are consumed by paranoia, and are convinced that our government – meaning all of us – will impose tyrany on ourselves if they are not armed to prevent it.
    A good example – albeit extremely embarrassing with anyone with a modicum of civility and common sense – is the interview between Piers Morgan and Alex Jones. Alex’s irrational and incoherent diatribe, his demeanor, and lack of class exemplifies the mindset of those determined to destroy our society to save it from itself.

    • sigrid28

      To let Alex Jones and his like go viral in the social media is a double-edged sword, as these NRA spokespersons convince other activists whose antics could also fill the airways, and so on and so forth. I live with a savvy Millennial, who looks on the Alex Jones hysteria with a combination of bewilderment and shock. The future is bleak for the NRA and its followers, as the Millennials and many who don’t share gun lovers’ paranoia will find them totally out-of-step and move on.

      On the other hand, Millennials, women, minorities, and progressives smart enough to understand that firearms do not have to be THE defining characteristic of our society love to sign petitions and just need to have a little time to get with that program. The Memo has done the movement a service in publishing this article.

      Democrats like me were saved by real facts on Nate Silver’s 538 site. Why can there not be such a site documenting factually every incident of gun violence in the U.S. on a daily basis? If promoted widely, such a website would speak to the majority of Americans who would like to curtail gun violence and protects its victims. It must be locked from commentary and simply provide a list for all to see, describing the effect of gun use on our way of life.

      • Gun ownership has been an integral part of our culture since we became a Republic. As an idealist I support a total ban on guns, I oppose the death penalty, and the only wars I support are those fought in self-defense. As a realist, I know the best we can hope for is a ban on assault weapons, high capacity magazines, better background checks, and more control over who is allowed to sell guns.
        A website listing all incidents involving gun violence would have a positive impact on concerned citizens willing to research and make decisions based on fact. Those suffering from paranoia, inclined to violent means, and those who are convinced their guns are needed to prevent tyranny and foreign attacks against our country will continue to buy guns and, every now and then, will kill innocent people, including small children because of our inability or unwillingness to deal with a critical issue for fear of offending constituents, friends, or relatives.
        As you know, this is not a new topic. Massacres have been taking place in the USA for decades. We weep and pray when they happen…and a few days later we buy a new weapons to fight the unknown or our demons.

        • sigrid28

          The problem for liberals is that it is so easy for us to get into a cynicism contest when we try to discuss curtailing gun violence. What I liked about this article is the suggestion that while gun advocates on the fringe form a united front because they remain fact-free, on the left–and center right–there exists a large, rather amorphous group, with open minds who may at least be curious. They can still be shocked and surprised.

          So we agree that the lunatic fringe is beyond reformation by reading a list of facts citing incidents of gun violence. A peculiarity of this constituency is the social isolation of its members, ready to act on fear and hysteria by purchasing more firearms and gun paraphernalia, and therefore easily manipulated by the NRA and its lobbyists. We’re in agreement: the core members of this group will probably never be convinced to change.

          A larger number of voters may, however, be susceptible to the influence of comprehensive list of citing incidents of gun violence. When voters change, so can their elected representatives. In addition, such a list is doable. It would be a way to document the influence of new legislation proposed by the Biden task force. In a small way, its existence might alleviate the pain of survivors of gun violence, offering visible proof that they and their loved ones are not forgotten.

        • jvaljon1

          Your first sentence is a complete lie, but it’s such a pervasive one that you’d have a hard time figuring out the truth. I sure didn’t, not until the subject of gun manufacture in the early days of the Republic, was broached during my college years, thusly:

          In the very beginning of this Republic, every able-bodied man was considered a conscript to the Revolutionary Force of his district. As they became available (a long, slow, laborious affair) each man was issued a ONE BALL MUSKET (two balls, whenever possible)–with Ball(s), Rod for cleaning, and a Measure (anywhere from 2 to 4 ounces to each) of Gunpowder, for same, with any overages to go to the Storehouse, for use later as needed…

          When the soldiers’ service was over, then his weapon was returned to the armory, although under his own name, and if there was another war, it would be re-issued to him. If in the meantime he had died, the weapon was safe in the armory and could be re-issued to another, newer army subject. This was important because at that time, while there were a couple of primitive assembly lines, there was still nothing like today’s. Since there were no assembly-lines like today; it took a LONG time to manufacture a gun, and in any case, the preference of the people was for an expert to make their weapon, so generally that was contracted out to the local blacksmith….at a hefty cost… so much, for the ‘integral’ part of the so-called ‘gun culture’ back in those times! You can still see guns in old Western movies, but that’s because it’s what people expected to see.

          What WAS pervasive and almost universally used for hunting, in the early days of the Republic (as well as for other pursuits)—was the TOMAHAWK. That was the weapon of choice for many reasons: but the main one was that they were far more numerous, way less complicated, and absolutely easier to manufacture than was the clumsy and cumbersome and (often!) deadly (to its owner!) gun. People would spend their free time practicing favorite moves with their weapon and, on Fair days, have contests of skill featuring champions who could throw their tomahawk further, faster and most accurate of all.

          Those qualities, plus the very important one of integrity of the tomahawk (not to fly apart in midair OR upon contact with the enemy) were what distinguished champions and their weapons. Thus together with knives of all sorts (including the famed Bowie knife) the tomahawk and knife were most often seen in the frontiersman’s belt: rather than the handgun or even more fantastic (for the time) rifle—direct descendant of the musket.

          Quite a difference from the “guns from the earliest time of the Republic” folk from the NRA, isn’t it? But that’s what happens when a subject is politicized the way that this has been—fact and truth, tend to go out the window. That’s why I don’t blame anyone who follows the ‘gun rights’ line with respect to our history as a nation and a people, for the misinformation that’s so pervasive out in the culture. I hope that I’ll see the subject taught more comprehensively in the nation’s institutes of learning, in the future. But that will have to wait until the superbly-financed and powerful propaganda arm of the NRA, has been broken for good.

      • Before President Obama spoke to the nation for the first time after the Newtown tragedy, he had set up such a timeline, which provided him with hourly data on shootings around the country. If the President would open this website to public use, it would be anextremely effective tool to convince millions around the country that guns cause more harm than good.
        When Gabby Giffords was shot in Tucson, AZ, there was a man just across the street, in a convenience store, who was armed. As soon as he heard the shooting, he left the store, pulled out his weapon and had the safety off. As soon as he neared the turmoil, he drew down on the first person he saw with a weapon. It just so happened to be the person who had disarmed Jared Loughner. So much for the NRA argument that the best counter for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

        • sigrid28

          I agree completely. We can only hope someone on the president’s staff reads our lowly comment thread, because reaching him or her via email, phone, or snail mail (takes six weeks for mail to go through security) would take an act of congress–and we all know how long THAT takes. If we cannot penetrate the walls protecting the president, we can at least pray that our suggestion goes from our lips, to God’s ears. There are a lot of lives at stake.

    • The only reason Piers had Alex Jones on his show is because he is a moron, his views are not the same as most gun owners and I for one am embarrassed by his rantings. To compare him to most gun owners is wrong.

  • docb

    The NRA leadership is a shill for the gun slaughter manufacturer’s ..The Memebership of 4 million are NOT CONTRIBUTING THE $221 MILLION that the Lapepe gaggle weld at regulation!

    They are puppet lobbyists for profit not for the members! Paper tigers..Shut them down or continue to have the BLOOD OF THE SLAUGHTERED CHILDREN ON YOUR HANDS!

    • TonyinMO

      The blood is on the hands of big pharma and the defunct legal system in this country that allows these people to walk the streets.

      I can’t understand why the left is going apoplectic over the idea of putting police officers into schools. This didn’t even originate with the National Rifle Association. I don’t remember liberals reacting this way when their beloved Bill Clinton announced grants that would put 400 officers in schools, and then requested an additional $60 million from Congress to fund more of the same. This is the height of hypocrisy, but what we’ve all come to expect from liberals at every turn.

      Finally, if one were really serious about solving a complex problem such as this, would you put the likes of Vice President Biden in charge of it?

      • docb

        The difference is the violent culture of our Nation today and the fact that there were armed guards at Columbine and a whole swat team at VTech and it did not stop the violence and slaughter!

        What caliber of guard would we get for close to minimum wage..What sheriff Apiao uses ..those with criminal and sexual assault records outside our schools with guns! I do not think that is the answer …just an NRA leadership diversion!

        To your question, yes!

        • TonyinMO

          Docb, There were no armed guards at Columbine and there was NO swat team a V Tech. YOU should be ashamed of yourself for posting such BS.

          Only a moron would put Biden in charge I guess that answers my doubts about you.

      • Replying to TonyinMO –

        I suppose you would prefer someone like Wayne LaPierre to head the commission?

        • TonyinMO

          I would prefer someone who would simply follow the constitution specifically the second amendment, someone without an agenda.

          Jim that would disqualify both Wayne LaPierre and Joe Biden and about 99% of the people in DC.

          What I want is to legalize the constitution and stick to it. I don’t want a bunch of @ssclowns meddling with the law of the land.

  • stcroixcarp

    To be pro gun control is to be pro life.

  • TonyinMO

    There are over 20,000 gun laws on the books nationwide. Does anyone really think more laws will keep lunatics and criminals in check?

  • ococoob

    NRA=Nuts Running the Asylum!

  • elw

    Good luck with that, I do agree it will help if they can drown out the paranoid, incoherent voices of gun owners who have visions of a catastrophic events that destroy society and drive people to lawlessness that requires everyone to have guns to protect themselves from others or from a Government that suddenly turns into a dictatorship and wants take everyone’s guns. The blogs are full of them and they all chant the same lines and fears.

  • bchrista

    You want to attack the NRA then you must attack the source go after the Lobbyist who live in the Halls of Congress and pass a law that being a lobbyist is illegal and since most of the lobbyist are exRepresentatives they need to go find another type of work and if found that they have not ceased dealing with the people in Washington, then it’s to the pokey they go plus a nice hefty fine, you can do a lot of things to a person and they won’t stop, but if you hit them in the pocket enough timesand keep finding reasons to harrass them they get the message, Our country would be off so much better without lobbyist, they are nothing but slimy leaches back stabbing bastards who will switch on anyone.they go to the highest bidder they have no loyality to anyone the dollar is their master. In fact if their was a law past the you couldn’t be a lobbyist for ten years after you left Washington it would be a boon to the country. Lobbyist are too closely associated with people in Washington so that forms a conflict and then keep a close eye on Bills introduced in Washington and any Bill that is not considered to be inline to keep the country moving forward needs a second look and if not inline for progressive issues should be rejected, the country has had to many set backs because of Bills that lobbyist have gotten Senators to introduce and passed lets stop the bullshitand if the Lobbyist don’t get the message punish them any way possible, Terroriest try to distroy you from outside lobbyist distroy you from within.

  • bchrista

    I agree with Dominick guns are an integral part of culture , however, the time has come to move ahead to a more advanced area in our lives the only reason people keep guns is deep down they are cowards they can’t face reality and having a gun makes them brave, although the majority of them would be too afraid to pull one if the situation presented itself it’s not like we see in the movies it takes a certain type of person to brandish a gun and use it even in a bad situation, you have to be on a different level to pull a gun and fire at another person because you have just taken a life, you have just stopped anything he’ll ever be, anything he’ll ever have, anything he would have ever accomplished as a human being, that most people will say was created by God not too many people want that on their minds for the rest of their lives remember that that person that fights you today to keep their guns may join you tomorrow in a line to get rid of guns if one of theirs becomes a victom to gun violence. those fools that preach that owning a gun keeps the government from taking over the country are so full of bullshit it’s unreal they are living in a fantasy world of old because they either live so far bavk in the woods that it takes a year to get updated because if they bothered to check the government could go into their underground shelter push a button and goodby nothing but them is left, however, citizen is valuable to maintain this country and they already control you anyway your very existance is in their hands freedom is really only in our minds, everyday we lose another right and don’t even know it, that the mistake we made when we allowed lawyers to be elected to those positions. for example the government passed a law that states you must be strapped in your car by a sear belt because it saves lives, tell it to the people that have died because of seat belts, for instance in Florida they won’t admit how many people have died because they were strapped in accidents, and going into a canal and not being able to undo the seatbelt and just within the last dew days a woman driving along in her pickup truck and some idiot crossed over into her lane and they were both killed instantly and her passenger is in the hospital in serious condition and a seatbelt didn’t save her and the other guy didn’t have a seatbelt on yet they both died, they only reason the law forced on the public is because it provides revenue so the commision to waste we just had a period where no tickets were issued and the cops were the loudest complainer.That’s how the government feels about you they look at you and all they see are dollar signs.

  • onedonewong

    Barak is in good company if he issues an executive order, he’ll fall in with all of his idols Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro. Thank goodness that our founders realized this could happen and gave us the 2nd amendment to protect our rights

  • mbee1

    What the heck is wrong with you peoples brains, why do you want somebody to have total control over you, it is like you are babies calling for mother. Stand up like citizens, our forefathers fought and died to give you liberty and you want to throw it away for an illusion. Senator Feinstein for example is either insane or power mad. She is Jewish, 30 million unarmed Jews just like her were killed by good Germans because they elected Hitler to office in a democratic election. If you think that could not happen here ask a black about driving black in America or a Japanese American old enough to remember WWII.