Via Arizona Rifleman (who’s posting again, so read him!) comes this wonderful story of how the gun grabbers are withering on the vine. The headline is fantastic.
In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, gun control was ground zero in American politics, captivating the public and politicos alike. It flared again late last month after a gunman killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.
But now, as the first anniversary of Newtown approaches, the forces for gun control have little to celebrate, a lot to mourn and scant hope of change in the near term. On the front lines, activists say they are demoralized and adrift, the movement fraying at the roots as its leaders struggle to reignite a fading national moment for change.
I was happily reading Arizona Rifleman’s blog post on this when something jumped out and smacked me in the face like a wet fish.
That’s why, in late June and early July, Team Giffords—which includes Gabby, her husband Mark Kelly, her service dog Nelson, and a phalanx of operatives—toured seven states in seven days. Toting a suitcase of their own firearms, they preached “gun responsibilities,” and tried to engage hardline locals and gun rights politicians. At the same time, Mayors Against Illegal Guns ran a 100-day, 25-state summer bus tour, calling for an end to gun violence.
But the results of both tours were mixed at best. In state after state, major politicians ducked Giffords and Kelly, despite (or perhaps because of) ample advance notice of their arrival. In Alaska, Mark Begich, one of four Democrats who voted against closing the gun show loophole, was said to be vacationing on an island without cell service when the tour arrived. In North Dakota, “friends in the NRA” forced a last minute venue change, according to a Team Giffords advance man, who himself declined to be named for fear of mixing with gun-grabbers from Washington. And when members of MAIG arrived in Fargo, the mayor told them that guns were not a problem.
The grassroots side of the campaign struggled as well. At a MAIG event in Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Association organized a counter rally that drew twice the crowd. In Raleigh, N.C., when Giffords passed through, a gun blogger turned out two-dozen people shaking green signs that read: Guns Save Lives. But perhaps the most dramatic scenes were in Manchester and Dover, N.H., where protesters arrived “full battle rattle,” as one man noted on a Facebook page for the counter-protest, toting guns—including an AR-15—and forcing Giffords out a back exit after her speech.
I don’t know how to spell it, but you know that sound they use in cartoons when something screeches to a halt and crashes? That was what happened in my brain.
You see, I’m that “gun blogger” in Raleigh who “turned out two-dozen people shaking green signs that read: Guns Save Lives.” Of course, it wasn’t because all my blog readers turned up, it was because I was leading the Grass Roots North Carolina protest. It was GRNC who emailed all their members in Wake and Durham counties asking them to show up at an unknown (at the time) location with about 24 hours notice. We didn’t know where we were going to set up until 10 hours before the event where it was even going to be! Their secrecy was deliberate, because they didn’t want us to show up. Sadly (for them!) they failed. From my blog wrapup of that event…
Luckily, the media told us what was happening. We heard several variations, but the basics were that they would shoot sporting clays, have a round table discussion with gun owners, and meet with their supporters. The general consensus was that their round table discussion with gun owners would happen at “The Pit Authentic Barbecue” in downtown Raleigh at around 11AM. Paul Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina couldn’t make it, so he put me in charge and asked me to make it happen. With less than 10 hours notice, we wrangled a crowd of about 25-30 people.
(Read the whole thing for photos and even some news video coverage.)
And now, months later, NBC is citing us and one of a number of reasons that the Astroturf anti-gun movement is failing.
If you ever wonder, “What can I do to make a difference,” think about me and those 25-30 people standing on a sidewalk in July, sweating, and doing TV interviews. We made a difference. Just by showing up, we made a difference. We showed the world the difference between Astroturf anti-gun and grassroots gun rights. We taught them all a lesson that no matter how much money you have and no matter how nice the private jet you flit about the country on, we have the numbers, intensity, and votes to beat you.
I’ve asked the author for a correction, noting that the protest was a GRNC event More importantly, I’ve emailed all my fellow protestors to let them know that NBC is pointing to them as one of the reasons that Astroturf anti-gunners have failed. They won a great victory for us that day.