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Commie front "moderate pro-gun" groups

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Legion489, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. Legion489

    Legion489 Shining the Light of Truth

    Why “Moderate” Pro-Gun Groups like ACRGO Always Fail

    Posted November 12, 2015 in Shooting, Legal Issues by Jon Stokes with 55 Comments

    Source: Flickr

    The minute I saw the press release for one Mark Carman’s viral video and his new “grassroots” “moderate” gun organization, I wanted to get down on my knees and pray to Our Lady of Perpetual Headdesk to please, please make it stop.

    I didn’t even have to watch the YouTube video or read a summary of it to know who this Carman fellow was supposed to be (“a regular Jesus-lovin’, gun-lovin’ bubba, just like you!”) and what he allegedly wants (just universal background checks, and maybe a bit more permitting) and what language he uses to frame his argument (“reasonable,” “responsible,” “safe,” “pro-Second Amendment but“).

    That’s because this is just the latest painfully obvious volley in a full-court press by gun control activists who haven’t been at all secretive about their new playbook, which combines an exclusive focus on universal background checks (this one is a first step that’s believed to be winnable) with language around safety, responsibility, and reasonableness.

    Carman’s viral video and the resulting new “moderate” gun org that he and his backers have launched is clearly inspired by the famous Santelli “Tea Party” kickoff, and the astroturf fumes from it are so strong that I’m about to pass out. It also can’t possibly be coincidence that Carman is a Grammy-nominated Christian music producer, and his proudly evangelical anti-gun video happens to be perfectly timed with the publicity blitz around the evangelical anti-gun documentary “Armor of Light.”

    And then there’s the prominent MoveOn.org button on the site, which is such a massive faux pas if you’re trying to reach any right-leaning demographic. I can only imagine that not a single right-winger was involved in putting this website together or vetting its contents.

    A Brief History of AstroFail
    The last really big effort like this that I recall was the now-defunct AHSA, founded by a former NFL player Ray Schoenke. You can learn all you need to know about AHSA from the fact that, per this WaPo piece, the founder attributes the group’s demise to “lack of support from the Obama administration,” instead of to lack of support from, you know, actual gun owners:

    Schoenke said that after Obama’s election, the organization, which he said was intended to bridge the gap between urban liberals and rural gun owners, closed down because of lack of support from the Obama administration. He said he did many events in support of the Obama campaign in 2008 but Obama never mentioned having ever handled a firearm.

    The main reason that these fake pro-gun groups keep cropping up is that there’s a perpetual fantasy on some parts of the left that goes something like this: if only there were a reasonable, non-insane alternative to the NRA, then everyday, sensible, non-extremist gun owners would surely turn out in droves to sign up. Thus, the reasoning then goes, why don’t we find a semi-celebrity spokesperson who also happens to be a gun owner and make one!

    Unfortunately for the people who think this way, the only NRA alternatives that have gotten any traction in recent years are even further toward the gun rights absolutist end of the spectrum than the NRA. If the folks who dream up and fund these “moderate” gun organizations had actually talked to real gun owners, then they’d find that most are concerned that the NRA is too squishy on gun rights, not too extreme, hence the growth of gun rights orgs that are even more stringent.

    But still, the fantasy persists, and partly because gun control crowd has correctly observed that there are plenty of NRA members who aren’t pleased with the organization for various reasons. The fact that it’s so closely aligned with cultural conservatives and the GOP rankles some. Others of us aren’t at all fond of LaPierre and think it’s time for him to go, and the scammy-feeling, conspiracy-mongering mass mailings that you end up getting as a result of your NRA membership are a turn-off for pretty much everybody.

    But what anti-gunners fail to comprehend is that nowhere on this list of NRA gripes is “the organization doesn’t support whatever largely symbolic and totally ineffective ‘compromise‘ that the anti-gun left is offering at the moment as a ‘first step’ on the path toward more gun control.”

    So orgs like the old AHSA and the new ACRGO are answers to a question that anti-gunners are asking (and anti-gunners are fantasizing that gun owners are asking, but no gun owners are actually asking): “Where can I find a less effective alternative to the NRA?” And this is the primary reason that they fail, every single time.

    The other big reason that so-called “reasonable” gun owner groups and “reasonable” gun control efforts fail is that gun people know from past experience that “reasonable” is, by design, a moving target. Once “universal background checks” are the law then “reasonable gun regulation” will be redefined to include magazine capacity limits, and then assault weapons bans, and then semi-auto bans, and so on. This is not an example of the “slippery slope” fallacy, either. Gun control people have been quite open about their strategy of “if we can just get this or that restriction passed as a first step, then we can do more later. It doesn’t matter if it’s not very effective, we just need to make a start”.

    Finally, another major factor in that these groups’ failure is that they’re straight-up astroturf, and everybody hates astroturf. There is literally no constituency out there that wants to be blatantly astroturfed at like this. Not a one. For all the faults of its leadership, and I personally have caught a lot of flack from AllOutdoor readers for my dislike of the NRA top brass, the NRA is one of the last genuinely grassroots political organizations left in this country.*

    *Rant: Do you know how much the dreaded, mighty gun lobby spent on lobbying congress in 2013? $2.3 million according to OpenSecrets.org. That’s chump change. Meanwhile, the top single donor in the environmental lobby spent $4.3M that same year. Again, the entire gun lobby spent $2.3M on lobbying. The NRA came it under $1M in donations. And after voting down the proposed gun control efforts in 2013 in the wake of Sandy Hook, the GOP not only hung on to every senate seat but picked up 9 formerly Dem senate seats on the next cycle.

    Given how little the NRA spends on lobbying and how effective it is at getting out the vote, it’s incredibly ironic that the NRA is being misrepresented as a deep-pocketed, industry lobbying group that’s corrupting democracy with money and frustrating the will of the people. Meanwhile, St. Bloomberg is actually the one with no grassroots support who’s out trying (and failing) to buy elections wholesale.

    Pro Tip: Stay Out of Family Business
    This new push to convince moderate evangelicals to lift the tent up just enough that the gun control camel can get his nose up under there is doomed to fail, not just with gun owners in general but also with evangelicals in specific. Whenever non-evangelicals (be they non-Christian secularists or liberal mainline Protestants) attempt to wade into intra-evangelical theological disputes, it’s like watching someone bring a knife to the final round of a national level 3-gun match.

    Progressives mistakenly believe that because some evangelicals agree with them on some issue or other, then they can get other evangelicals to join their cause and ultimately influence the whole evangelical movement by putting resources behind the faction that they favor. But what they don’t realize is that the merest whiff of external influence or support is enough to get their pet faction completely disqualified from the internal theological debate, regardless of the merits of their argument. Their kiss of support is the kiss of death.

    The reason that evangelicals act this way is not because they hate outsiders. Heck, the whole point of being an evangelical is that you want outsiders to join you. Rather, it’s because every theological argument that evangelicals have isn’t really about the thing that it’s ostensibly about–gays, abortion, guns, the role of women in church leadership, etc. These arguments are always first and foremost about identity. Who are “we” as the church, and how does God want us to live in the world?

    The way that evangelicals sort out their collective identity is that they form up in factions around various theological issues and sling scripture at one another. (“Where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name, there will be a fight,” is the old paraphrase of Matthew 18:20.) When liberals see evangelicals doing this, it’s like an Englishman seeing an Italian family yelling at each other over dinner. He thinks they’re about to stab each other, but actually they’re just being family together. This happens to be how they do it.

    Progressives see these evangelical family squabbles and think that they’re the Christian equivalent of wonky, consensus-seeking policy debates about narrow “issues,” but they’re nothing of the sort. This is a group of religious believers using an ancient text to work out deep existential questions around how they, as the Body of Christ, are called to live out their shared faith in the present world. Outsiders don’t even have a mental context for processing what they’re looking at there, much less the tools or standing to influence any part of it.

    Think about it: when you show up to a group of people who are trying to work out their collective identity amongst themselves, and you go “Hey, I’m an outsider who hates most of what you stand for and would never consider joining you, but I do have some very strong opinions about who you should all be as a community. I’m going to back the handful of you in this debate who agree with me.” What do you really expect to happen? What happens is you and yours get kicked to the curb.

    Thus it is with a very high degree of confidence that I can say that ACROG will make no inroads into either the evangelical or gun communities, nor will they make inroads into the intersection of the two. Sure, some Bloomberg money may keep them on life support for a decade, and they’ll join the growing collection of ZOMBIE astroturf gun control orgs that continue to exist (mainly so that their backers don’t have to lose face by shutting them down).

    NRA: The Original Moderate Pro-Gun Group
    I’m going to turn this into a separate post (probably), but I want to get this last point out there right now: at one time the gun control crowd had a moderate pro-gun organization to work with, an org that was willing to compromise and go against the gun rights absolutists in its ranks. That organization was the NRA.

    The reason for the anti-NRA sentiment among gun people that I mentioned above (that the NRA is soft on gun rights, hence a stronger org is needed) is that up until very recently the NRA was soft on gun rights. The NRA supported the original Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), and they compromised on a host of other gun control initiatives going all the way back to their support for the National Firearms Act of 1934.

    But the AWB was the last straw for rank-and-file gun owners. Why? Because it was a massive pain that even the New York Times admits did absolutely nothing to curb gun violence. In fact couldn’t it possibly have really been intended to do so given that only about two percent of gun deaths every year have ever been attributable to long guns, and assault rifles are only a fraction of long guns. By banning popular cosmetic features and specific models of semi-automatic long guns, the AWB succeeded in insulting, angering, and ultimately radicalizing gun owners while doing absolutely nothing about the drug-related handgun violence that accounts for the vast majority of gun homicides.

    When the AWB finally expired in 2004, thanks to a sunset clause that a few hard-liners had thankfully forced the NRA to demand by way of compromise, gun owners had had enough. “Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice… won’t get fooled again,” as the saying goes.

    Because gun control advocates at the peak of their early 90’s power and influence decided to spend all of their capital on a (farcical, totally ineffective) piece of feel-good regulation (that used aesthetic features to restrict guns that only law-abiding gun owners ever buy and criminals almost never use), they created tons of ill will with the very crowd that they’re now trying to reach with astroturf efforts like ACRGO, and they radicalized the NRA leadership by first radicalizing the rank-and-file so that they forced the organization to grow a spine.

    Before I go on, stop and let the madness of all this sink in: by some estimates the much-vilified AR-15 accounts for only about 14 percent of rifles, and rifles haven’t accounted for more than 350 gun deaths in any year since 2009 (the number declines every year, so in 1994 it would have been a bit higher). So the gun control lobby put up a major legislative fight, spent its political and financial capital, and burnt its bridges with “reasonable” gun owners in order to enact a partial ban on an extremely popular subcategory of firearms that accounts for at most about 50 deaths a year. And then after Sandy Hook (when the data was well and truly conclusive on just how pointless the original AWB had been and with gun control enjoying the kind of broad surge of public support that it hadn’t seen in some 25 years), the same cast of characters wasted all of that newfound momentum on trying to pass another assault weapons ban! This kind of irrational behavior is the very definition of insanity. And these folks accuse gun people of being irrational and driven solely by emotions.

    The whole gun control thing comes down to this: If you’re gonna kill the king, you gotta kill the king. If you loudly declare that you intend to kill the king, but end up only giving him a painful wedgie, then you’re just stupid and you’ve got it coming to you once the king recovers. Or at least, that’s the lesson that gun control advocates should have drawn from their past two decades of failure. But I think the lesson they’ve actually drawn is that you can’t openly threaten to kill the king; instead, you have to insist that you only want to give the king an itty bitty wedgie–not even a power wedgie or a swirly, just a little friendly wedgie, for his own good–so that you can get close enough to him to stick a knife in his back. But the king is still sore from that last wedgie that was supposed to kill him, and he’s on to your lame tricks, fool.

    Meanwhile, out in the real world, gun homicides continue their dramatic multi-decade decline, despite the post-AWB rise of the AR-15 and an increase in concealed carry’s legality and popularity, both of which were supposed to result in a wave of gun violence that never materialized, and support for gun ownership continues to rise.

    Original article found here: Why "Moderate" Pro-Gun Groups like ACRGO Always Fail - AllOutdoor.com
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