New group has emerged pledging “to propel cultural change and prevent unnecessary gun deaths in the United States.” And how does this group intend to propel cultural change? They can speak for themselves: “There is a middle ground where most Americans can agree. We’ve found that middle ground and are working to unite like-minded citizens. Behind the scenes, we are effecting real change to stem the tide of gun violence.”
This effort is the handiwork, so it seems, of some of the companies which in one way or another decided to cut links to the gun industry (read: the NRA) after the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High. This includes Delta Airlines and Hertz, who no longer offer discounts to NRA members, as well as Gucci which ponied up some big dough to support the March for our Lives demo in March, a bank that won’t underwrite Visa-Mastercard gun shop accounts, plus Dick’s and Walmart, the latter upping its age for all gun sales to twenty-one, the former pulling black guns out of some of their stores.
I happen to know one of the managers of the Hertz Rental at the Hartford Airport, and when I mentioned the company’s decision to drop its NRA discount, he stared at me in disbelief. Not that he was necessarily opposed to the decision, it’s that he had never been told this was going to happen and frankly, he couldn’t care less. So I went back to the Gun Safety Alliance website (that’s the name of this new group) and to my utter surprise discovered that not one single individual is identified with any of these companies that are now trying to ‘propel’ cultural change.
I happen to find anonymous advocacy websites offensive and I won’t donate a penny to any organization which refuses to identify the individuals whose so-called commitment to their cause doesn’t require them to give out their names. Want to reach Mike the Gun Guy? It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to send me a letter? The gun shop is located in Ware, MA and both the address and telephone number can be accessed at any time. And believe me, I have received many nasty and threatening communications from gun-troll land (as well as from some very dedicated gun-control activists) over the years. But I simply will not subscribe to the idea that I can or should advocate anything without telling my audience who I am.
My other objection to this new organization is their belief that they can ‘unite’ like-minded citizens’ who share their desire to reduce violence caused by guns. These happen to be code-words, no different from referring to ‘most’ gun owners as ‘responsible,’ or calling for ‘common sense’ gun safety laws. What about the non-gun owners? How many of them have demonstrated their responsible behavior by passing a background check? Even Pew Research admits that nearly half of all Americans want an end to gun-free zones. I guarantee you that this number includes just about every one of those ‘like-minded’ Americans who happen to own guns.
And then there’s the safe-storage issue that always rears its ugly head when the ‘responsible’ citizenry gets together to figure out how to reduce violence from guns. In 2016 it is estimated that at least 110,000 people were killed or injured because someone else shot them with a gun. In 2014 the number was 76,000 – gee, that’s only an increase in two years of some 45 percent. Know how many of these injuries and deaths would have been prevented if every gun owner practiced safe storage? Not one. There is not a single study which shows a differential in gun homicide or aggravated assault because people ‘safely stored’ their guns.
Want to propel a cultural change that will reduce gun violence? It’s very simple. Just find a way to reverse the culture of a majority of Americans who believe that owning a gun is more of a benefit than a risk. And when you figure that one out, please remember to sign your name.