Within hours of the press release issued by Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the fledgling anti-gun group that was hatched following the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords (and now run by her husband Mark Kelly), that the two were headed to Saratoga Springs Arms Fair in New York on Sunday, the media splashed headlines as if it were a major event. ABC News said “Giffords to Attend 1st Gun Show Since Shooting” followed by the New York Daily News: “Gabby Giffords to attend first gun show since being shot in the head.” Newsmax announced “Gabby Giffords to Attend Gun Show.”
A favorite of the mainstream media because of her atrocious voting record (Freedom Index Rating of 13 out of 100) while a member of the House of Representatives from Arizona’s 8th District from 2007 until the shooting in January 2011 and their anti-Second Amendment stance, the media took special pains to make a big deal out of nothing. The press release issued by Kelly gave the media plenty of ammunition(!):
At the federal level we still have no requirement for background checks at gun shows, but states like New York are fixing the loophole. [New York’s] model helps keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them – like criminals and the dangerously mentally ill – without infringing on our Second Amendment rights.
This is a chance for Gabby and I (sic) to visit New York’s largest arms fair and highlight this background checks system which we believe can serve as a template for gun shows around the country.
ABC News made sure that the message was delivered. Giffords and Kelly are attending the show along with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to celebrate the “voluntary agreement” Schneiderman wrung out of hapless gun show owners in New York and imposed upon citizens attending gun shows in the state, calling them “stringent new rules to track sales” of guns. Newsmax expanded on just how the Second Amendment is being protected and defended in New York:
Under the agreements worked out by Schneiderman, all firearms are tagged at the entrances to gun shows. Operators must provide computer stations for sellers to do national background checks. Guns are checked as they are taken away through a limited number of exits to make sure background checks are performed. No buyers can leave a show without documentation of a proper sale.
Freedoms guaranteed under the Second Amendment were further expanded as gun show operators must “voluntarily” alert local police departments of the location and hours of the shows so they can send cruisers to patrol the parking areas around the shows to assure that no private sales are taking place there. In addition:
Schneiderman also has a staff member at each gun show to work with operators to monitor compliance with the new gun control “agreement.”
In other words, in New York, members of the staff of the Attorney General’s office will be attending and enforcing the agreement through careful monitoring and tracking of individual sales. Just like it’s guaranteed in the Second Amendment.
Delighted with all the attention the press release generated, Mark Kelly took advantage and announced that in the ten months since his group began, it has raised “over $11 million from 130,000 donors” and “we would like to spend in the 2014 elections what the NRA spent in 2012” – approximately $19 million. He proclaimed “we’ve got the resources to be effective for the 2014 elections.”
To out-influence the NRA is going to take some doing. The NRA has nearly a century of influencing legislation and lobbying members of congress, both at the state and federal level. Its membership just hit 5 million in May of
this year, and its budget is approaching a quarter of a billion dollars. It is held in high esteem and regard not only among gun owners but the general public as well. In six out of seven surveys conducted by Gallup since 1993 the majority of Americans held a favorable opinion of the organization, and recent polls are showing both Republicans and Democrats holding similar favorable opinions.
In its history notable members of the NRA have included eight presidents of the United States, two vice-presidents, two chief justices of the U.S. Supreme Court along with numerous members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Liberals such as Whoopi Goldberg, Roy Innis and James Earl Jones held memberships, along with NBA player Karl Malone, screen writer John Milius [Red Dawn], actor Chuck Norris, musician Ted Nugent, former Governor Sarah Palin and actor Tom Selleck.
The fledgling organization is swimming upstream. Despite Democratic control of the Senate the Obama administration was unable to pass anti-gun legislation, and the recent recall of two anti-gun liberal Democrats in Colorado have also encouraged gun owners.
What the ARS lacks in financial and membership firepower it also lacks in experience. For instance, when anti-gun billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Eli Broad contributed $600,000 to the war chest of those supporting the Colorado legislators – bringing the total to more than $3 million and outspending the opponents more than five-to-one – pro-gun shoe-leather activists more than made up for the discrepancy, and Colorado now has two new state senators hopefully more sympathetic to the Second Amendment and its adherents. The point being that even if ARS is able to attract significant out of state financial support from billionaires, it’s not likely to make much difference.
The ARS also has a public relations problem. Back in March Mark Kelly tried to score political points by attempting to buy an “assault rifle” for himself – the same kind of firearm he was railing against – but his plan backfired and revealed him to be a hypocrite of the first order.
The ado that the mainstream media made over the ARS’ press release reminds one of the 1955 cold war satire by Leonard Wibberley titled “The Mouse that Roared” where the tiny European Duchy of Grand Fenwick decides to declare war on the United States. In that satire, the Duchy wins. In the real world, the newly hatched Americans for Responsible Solutions is likely to disappear from view altogether as a result of suffering from excessive hubris and hypocrisy in an increasingly unwelcome environment.