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'Gun Safety Symposium' Promises Kinder, Gentler Citizen Disarmament

'Gun Safety Symposium' Promises Kinder, Gentler Citizen Disarmament

(wk1003mike / Shutterstock photo)

“New voice in the American gun debate to hold conference bringing together gun owners & non-gun owners,” a “media advisory” announced. “97percent will host its inaugural conference – ‘Bridging the Divide: Understanding How Gun Owners and Non-Gun Owners Can Come Together for Real Reform.’"

Who?

“97 percent is a bipartisan group of gun owners and non-gun owners representing the vast majority of Americans who believe in gun safety and responsible gun ownership,” the “advisory” claims. “97percent is taking back the conversation from the extreme voices in the gun debate. Working with everyday Americans, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, 97percent is identifying pragmatic solutions to reduce gun violence in America.”

We’ll see about that. And it still doesn’t answer “who?”

The man behind the curtain is Adam Miller, self-described on his LinkedIn profile as a “Tech founder, social entrepreneur and philanthropist.” 97 percent was “launched” via 1p.org, a “social impact” entity Miller has created “to address some of the most intractable problems facing our one planet.”

Claims of bipartisanship aside, per the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets website for tracking money in politics, Miller’s donations to Democrat candidates and groups over the years have enabled the party anti-gun platform and infringement agenda. And per the nonprofit data reporting site Guidestar, the 1P Foundation’s 2018 IRS Form 990-PF reported net assets of just under 18M. They have the money to make a dent.


Can We All Get Along?

“I’m a heartless, gun-toting nutjob,” a woman holding a baby in a kitchen says to the camera.

“I’m an evil, gun-hating socialist,” a man carrying a bucket of branches “admits.”

The intent, per 97percent’s professionally produced ad spot is to illustrate the divisiveness of name-calling.

“The gun debate is pitting us against each other,” a narrator recites. “But 97percent of all Americans support criminal background checks. Together we can find common ground.”

“97percent is taking back the conversation from the extreme voices in the gun debate,” the “media advisory” elaborated. “Working with everyday Americans, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, 97percent is identifying pragmatic solutions to reduce gun violence in America.”

So basically, they expect gun owners to give up stuff and in exchange won’t call them “ammosexuals” and racists, or accuse them of compensating for being underendowed? But if you disagree with them or their findings, your voice is “extreme”?

I’d buy the “everyday Americans” claim more if every one of the characters featured in the commercial didn’t come across like actors performing under direction and off a script. We’ve seen that before, from the “Average Joe” hunter in an Everytown ad to phony “gun purchasers” having an anti-gun epiphany in a fake gun store set up by Ceasefire USA – all presented as real and representative gun owners.

And we’re to just accept on their say-so that 97 percent of all Americans support imposing prior restraints on a fundamental right ending private transfers (which is what they’re really talking about without coming out and saying so)? We can’t really tell who they polled to come up with that number, and more importantly, there is no way to determine if the opinions are informed.


Here’s a clue to the candor we can expect: They call themselves a “pro-second amendment organization” yet exist to provide inroads for expansion of infringements. And we can see their strategy is counting on executive Director Matthew Littman’s assertion that “40% of the 2020 spike in new gun owners were women, and 90% of gun owners do not view guns as part of their identity.”

Littman serves as emcee for much of the symposium, appearing on camera with a Biden photo in the background. He has been identified by CNN as “a Democratic strategist,” and quoted by them saying of “universal background checks” that “it’s ridiculous that it hasn’t happened. Absolutely ridiculous.”

For a group trying to mandate a “pragmatic solution to reduce gun violence,” they say remarkably little about how they intend to get actual criminals to comply. Nor do they acknowledge an admission from no less a source than the National Institute of Justice’s 2013 “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies” report, that admitted: “Universal background check … Effectiveness depends on the ability to reduce straw purchasing, requiring gun registration…”

Why might that be?

And who feels like finding “common ground” with an elite-funded group holding so much back, and all the “compromises” seem to go one way?

Get with the Program

But on with the show, or in this case, the symposium.

The “pragmatic solutions” being claimed included the afore-mentioned “Universal background checks,” including “red flag laws,” and “gun safety technology.” The panelists included politicians (gun-grabbers all, including the token “Republican” squish added for “bipartisanship” creds), “gun violence” victims, an actor, “smart gun” startup entrepreneurs, a “former NRA lobbyist” (again for the illusion of balance), and assorted university “researchers.”

In the interest of complete disclosure, I was offered a spot on one of the panels and declined to participate for several reasons: Firearms News asked me to cover the conference and I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to inject myself into the story. That’s what I’m doing here, so let me get through with this and then move on.

I wasn’t asked until a couple hours before the symposium was scheduled to begin. Everyone else had been lined up for some time and was coming on prepared, many with slide show presentations to address specific topics I would not have had time to research and respond to. A good rule of thumb: Always scout the terrain and assess the opposition, its placements, and its strengths before engaging. Limiting my participation to one panel wouldn’t have worked anyway, as I ended up with multiple objections to all of them. I’d have probably gotten booted for being disruptive in the process, and again, my function was to observe and record, and then turn that into an article about what the 97 percent participants were saying.




On with the Show

The symposium lasted six hours and I took 28 pages of handwritten notes, meaning I can’t possibly cover anything but highlights here. Those who want to see it for themselves can go to the 97 percent website (www.97-percent.com) and click on the “Watch our recent conference here” link at the top of the page and then register.

The webinar was structured into numerous sections, beginning with Miller trying to set a tone of “pragmatism over polemics” that the various agenda-driven panelists would not be able to maintain.

A “keynote” address was then given by former LAPD Chief and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, a quintessential “Only One” who never saw a gun he didn’t want to grab. That’s a term I use to describe LEOs who consider themselves the only ones who should be armed, derived from a widely viewed video of a DEA agent who made that claim to a classroom full of students and then shot himself in the leg while holstering his Glock.

That appellation especially pertains to Bratton, who, per a 2005 California Rifle and Pistol Association report, “needed a [carry concealed weapon] permit because when he became Chief of LAPD he was not a sworn California peace officer legally entitled to carry a firearm.  Bratton got a CCW, despite the fact that his ‘good cause’ justification for needing a CCW was completely inadequate under LAPD's current standards as applied to ordinary citizens.”

A Game Changer

Bratton’s “keynote” was followed with “Gun Owners and How They Can Be Part of the Solution,” featuring Dr. Joy Losee from the University of Dayton and Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University.

Losee explained the political divide over gun ownership, with such revelations as Democrats are mostly for policies that “decrease” guns, like so-called “assault weapon” bans, while Republicans are mostly for policies that “increase” them, like concealed carry laws. She and her colleagues focused on proposals to allow for campus carry in Florida centered around a survey of “12,148 University of Florida faculty, staff, and students.”

There’s a representative sample to draw wider conclusions from.

Siegel went straight to the bottom line. Why does he want to bring in gun owners?

“If we were in a legislative hearing, and we had five or six gun owners get up, one after the other, and all testified in support of gun violence prevention legislation… it would be a game changer,” Siegel gushed. That’s presuming there aren’t those of us ready to rebut anything phony Astroturf groups like Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Biden, or the Giffords-sponsored Gun Owners for Safety have to parrot (see “'Fudds for Biden' Continues Democrat Tradition of Lying to Gun Owners in the 2nd Amendment section of the Firearms News website.)

He compared what they need to do here to the fight against tobacco, and the way smokers were recruited to do the work of the prohibitionists. In other words, Siegel has let slip that the name of the game is “Divide and Conquer,” and conveniently doesn’t mention how the Centers for Disease Control’s funding for anti-gun politicking (not for “gun research” despite anti-gun group lies) was cut after Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Control and Prevention (NCIPC) told The Washington Post: “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned."

It’s no surprise Siegel endorsed treating guns as a “public health issue,” asserted no one wants to take guns away (despite any number of statements I’ve documented over the years, indicating that is exactly the goal, from Sen. Thomas Dodd, author of the 1968 Gun Control Act, who publicly wished for “abolishing all guns” and to “destroy them all.”

Instead, even while admitting Beto O’Rourke said “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47” to wild Democrat cheers and applause, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens advocated repealing the Second Amendment, Siegel disparages gun owner fears as “propaganda,” blames fear of the “slippery slope” on the NRA, and calls it a “myth.”

That’s a hell of a way to tell gun owners you respect their values and want to bring them to the table.

Did We Mention Trump Supporters are Racists?

Next up was “Guns, Race, and Social Justice,” presented by Charles E. Cobb, Jr., Veteran of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Dr. Caroline Light of Harvard University, and Abené Clayton from The Guardian newspaper's “Guns & Lies” series.

Cobb started off showing he understood the historical need for blacks to arm due to racist persecution and disarmament laws. So, his opinion of why blacks are currently arming is revealing: “What you’re seeing now is a reaction to the way President Trump encouraged, and I say this all the time, encouraged anti-black terrorism in this country.”

In other words, blacks are buying guns because Republicans are the equivalent of KKK night riders. Littman, Light, and Clayton grinning and nodding in agreement is all I needed to see to realize the stated goal of finding “common ground” with gun owners by not calling them names and respecting their values is just words.

Light then let everyone know how “Stand Your Ground” laws are basically more “white privilege” for “concentrating the right disproportionately into already empowered hands” under “larger backdrop of white supremacy, racial capitalism, settler colonialism and hetero patriarchy.”

Alrighty then.

Clayton’s main focus was on the “eugenics energy” she was getting off observations that “gun violence happen[s]” in places like Oakland and L.A. Making observations about urban violence off-limits by playing the race card is one way to scare people off from looking at the root causes. It signals its verboten to even look at it as an indicator of populations most directly affected by and responsive to a continuing history of redistributionist government policies. And that means it will only get worse.

What Works?

“Now all of us agree we have a gun violence problem,” Dr. James Shepperd from the University of Florida asserted at the beginning of the next panel, “Which Policies Actually Help Save Lives (And Why Don’t We Have Them)?”

I don’t agree. Five million NRA members have shown themselves to be the most heavily armed and remarkably peaceable people on the planet. We have a “some people can’t be trusted with freedom” problem, and that won’t be solved by infringing on the rights of people who can.

Shepperd focused on psychological differences on group identity and safety perceptions. What he revealed was telling and raised an important distinction for us to understand: “Sport shooters” who do not buy guns for protection align more closely on gun law views and crime estimates with non-gun owners than they do with citizens who buy guns for self-defense.

His “solution”?

“We must stop demonizing the outgroup,” he advocates. “We need policies that respect the opposing view of guns. Policies must attempt to satisfy all people’s, not just some people’s, safety needs.”

Kumbaya. And good luck convincing the prohibitionists.

Next up was Dr. Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins University, who presented on background checks with a “The Stronger the Better” theme. Basically, he says that they deter criminals from getting guns, a contention exhorted by no shortage of academics working off of grants, but that somehow escapes the notice of the criminals responsible for headlines we see coming from places like Baltimore or Chicago. His bottom line: End private sales, extend waiting periods, require licensing/permits from law enforcement agencies, and impose “extreme risk protection orders.” The public across all groups, including gun owners, overwhelmingly support these infringements, he assures us.

Understand this is the same researcher who, 10 years ago, praised additional ATF reporting requirements for so-called “assault weapons” in four states bordering Mexico without a nod to Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking,” and who opined “[Gun violence] is not just some political issue, it's a public health issue. It can, and should, be addressed as such. We look at the problem as if it were an infectious disease, or a point source of pollution."

Not that gun owners should feel insulted or anything…

Claire Boine of Boston University broke things down into four categories, law regulating what firearms can be purchased, who can purchase them, when they can be used and why they can be purchased. If I wanted to add another page to this I’d tackle what her research says would work, but in this case,  it serves us better to focus on her results that disagree with the conclusions of other panelists: Laws regulating “what,” including “assault weapons,” “high capacity magazines” and “one gun a month” limits “have no effect on overall homicide.” That and “firearm trafficking laws…have no effect on homicide.”

The “main lessons from this study,” Boine concluded: “Past violence is the biggest predictor of violence; mental health is not a predictor of violence.” To that end, she recommends “violent misdemeanor, universal background checks [and] red flag laws … coupled with enforcement” as the most likely to be successful, meaning those are all areas where gun rights advocates need to educate less informed gun owners and the public.


BOHICA

It’s interesting that the title of the next panel, “Legislative Perspectives - What's Possible in a Biden Administration?” could just as well have been called “What We Think We Can Get Away With.” That’s hardly a surprise, since every one of the legislators participating is a confirmed gun-grabber.

Seth Moulton used his Marine combat veteran status as his bona fides for being a “gun safety” authority, ruing that licenses are required to drive but not to own guns, which he said are “literally designed to kill people.” When specifically asked how gun owners who feel they’re being talked down to should be approached, he cited Japan as a country that has effective background check laws for gun ownership. He said he is qualified to carry grenades, but we don’t do that in this country, and “if you need an assault rifle to kill a deer, you don’t need an assault rifle, you need some shooting lessons. What we’re talking about here is pretty reasonable.”

That includes banning what he deceptively calls “weapons of war,” conflating semiautos with the military weapons the Founders knew to be “the birthright of an American.”

Former Rep. Steve Israel plugged a novel he wrote “about the ridiculous and absurd power of the gun lobby,” called due process-denying infringements like “no fly/no buy” “common sense,” and that “voter intensity” is what he says explains the disconnect between claims of 80% support for such measures and real-world election results.  He also talked “message testing,” claiming Republicans target the gut and Democrats message to “the pre-frontal cortex and rationality.” He also advocated “big but” messaging, that is, beginning propaganda with “I support the Second Amendment BUT…”

Rep. Haley Stevens noted how she refused to scale back on HR 8, a bill that would essentially end private sales, because “I ran to drive the NRA crazy.”

Next up was Eric Swalwell, who set his sights on “ghost guns” and backing up restraining orders against a citizen who hasn’t necessarily been convicted of a crime with a federal bill to “take guns away from abusers.” As an aside, Swalwell’s inclusion on a panel presumably set up to identify ways to advance laws without attacking political opponents’ values is instructive: He’s the politician who demands a mandatory “buyback” of “assault weapons” and suggested citizen noncompliance with that would result in “a short war [because] the government has nukes.” He’s also the guy who responded to Ted Cruz bemoaning “vicious partisan rhetoric” over the January Capitol disturbance by tweeting “You incited a riot and your Nazi friends with their Confederate flags killed a cop,” literally none of which is true.

No name-calling, right?

Moms Demand Action member and former lobbyist Rep. Lucy McBath advocated for bringing in the demographic of “law-abiding gun owners and hunters and gun enthusiasts and skeet shooters,” confirming the plan is to divide and conquer, breaking the sporting purposes owners away from rights advocates. “Bringing them into these discussions really helps us understand better ways to infiltrate…”

“It’s going to be an expansive number of policies, it’s not one policy,” McBath admitted, confirming the goal is to advance disarmament edicts like “five-day waiting periods” incrementally. “So it’s like chipping away at this huge, dangerous culture that we have just one piece of legislation at a time.”

Any questions?

Former Congressman Charlie Dent, the lone “Republican” in the lineup, talked about how they “expanded the instant check system to include private sales of all pistols” when he was in the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania legislature with a Republican governor. “We brought everybody into the room, including the NRA and the gun control groups at the time, and we worked out an agreement.”

They worked it out with everyone except gun owners who believe in “shall not be infringed.”

Back to the Future

Money man Adam Miller returned to moderate “Technology & Guns - Is the Future Finally Here?” The panelists were Kai Kloepfer, Founder and CEO of Biofire, and Timothy Oh, Founder and CEO of Vara Technology.

We’re talking biometric “smart guns” and a fingerprint-reading holster device that is bolted down. This isn’t the place to review the products, analyze how they work and discuss concerns – that has been done before with ventures like Armatix from a few years back. I haven’t seen a product I would consider buying because I find anything that impedes a gun from functioning as designed to be unacceptable. But if you want one, that should be your choice, except the real impediment to bringing such products to market is and has been insatiable Democrat disarmament demands.

“Basically, the Childproof Handgun Law of 2002 says that once ‘personalized handguns are available’ anywhere in the country, all handguns sold in New Jersey must be smart guns within 30 months,” NPR reported. What “commonsense gun safety” Democrat wouldn’t demand to expand on that for everywhere? And require a “buyback” for non-compliant guns? And since we’re talking electronics, how about a remote “shutoff switch” to keep police safe?

It’s Personal

Actor Jason George “moderated” the next segment, “Personal Stories from Gun Violence Victims - It's Not What You'd Expect.” Also on the panel were activist and author Fred Guttenberg, and author Taylor Schumann.

George started out with some personal stories. His cousin, he said, “was murdered  by a gun” (not by a murderer?), “family members were threatened by a spouse,” [and] “a close family friend … murdered the mother of his child and the man she was with in a bit of rage…”

Guttenberg’s daughter was a victim of the Parkland murderer, that is, a killer who took advantage of the target opportunities guaranteed by “gun-free zones,” where armed police took shelter rather than confront the slaughtering wolf in the fold.

“I want to be clear,” he said, “I don’t want to take anyone’s guns away.”

Perhaps not, but he exerts no control over those who do, and the incremental infringements he supports will bring them closer to that goal by removing obstacles and clearing the way.

“Background checks matter, waiting periods matter,” he insists, not that either one of those would have affected the outcome at Parkland. “Red flag laws matter.”

Schuman, who portrays herself as a former pro-gun stalwart, survived a pump-action shotgun attacker at a community college (with a “no weapons” policy) located in a mall. What got the shooter to surrender was an armed off-duty police officer. So now she wants “things like safe storage and waiting periods.”

It doesn’t matter if logically these don’t connect. Survivors like Guttenberg and Schuman have gone through horrible experiences that we can only thank God we have not had to endure, and the emotional appeal is what makes their messages powerful. It’s only human to sympathize with their personal tragedies. But those do not give them carte blanche for going after those of us who believe armed citizens could have made a difference in both instances, and that choice should not be stripped from us by an all-powerful state.

That’s why Guttenberg crosses a line when he asserts “I talk now about gun violence all the time, not as a Second Amendment issue, it’s not. Doing something about it, there’s a gun lobby that’s put out that big lie for a lot of years, it’s not, it is a public health issue…”

The Big Lie (große Lüge) was a term coined by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf  for "colossal untruths" that are accepted by the public because no one would believe anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

He’s equating Second Amendment defenders with that as part of a project that says it respects gun owner values and won’t resort to insults.

Is anyone else sensing a big lie?

Enter the Spinmeisters

Last up was “What's possible - where do we go from here?” moderated by Alex Barrio of the Center for American Progress. Per Discover the Networks, it’s a “think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta [with] extremely close ties to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and George Soros.”

If you think that might make suspect his participation in an effort that promises to treat political opponents respectfully, you’d be right to assume the smiles are agenda-driven. Instead, check things like Twitter accounts, where Barrio tweets more heartfelt stuff like “Every conservative is the whiniest baby on the planet.”

The panel consisted of John Goodwin, a former NRA lobbyist (there to provide the illusion of balance); former Brady President Richard Aborn; “author commentator and activist” (and Democrat politician) Bakari Sellers; and “political advisor and reform advocate” Mark McKinnon. He’s an ostensible “Republican” due to his work on campaigns for “moderates” George W. Bush and John McCain, but who also helped the campaign of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, who gun owners with long memories will recall used the power of that office to not allow Texans to vote on a concealed carry referendum.

They all started out trying to sound reasonable, talking about areas where gun owners and those who want more laws can find “common ground.” But it soon became apparent that a big part of the strategy is to disparage gun owners who believe that letting gun-grabbers progress brings them a step closer to their end game.

“Part of the problem is that gun proponents … believe that any reform at all is a problem, and that as soon as you let in any reform, they’re gonna come take your guns away,” McKinnon laughed.  “This is obviously a steep hill and a big rock, and it’s going to take incremental progress,” he then contradicted himself.

“When we were pushing Brady first in Congress, and we were really beginning to pick up some momentum, I think the NRA got concerned where we were going and started proffering this argument that we were not out there just to pass Brady and assault weapons and large magazines, but we were really out there to ban all guns,” Aborn chimed in.

Kind of like what Nelson “Pete” Shields (the head of Handgun Control, Inc., which “evolved” into Brady to mask its intentions and expand its goals) advocated in 1976 when he said the plan was to “take one step at a time [to] make possession of all handguns… totally illegal”?

“The ‘slippery slope’ arguments are always what seem to trip up any commonsense reform,” Goodwin echoed. “If the NRA or gun owners say ‘Oh, well if we give an inch on background checks or on red flag laws, we’re going to end up losing a mile.’ And it’s a little disingenuous, it’s dishonest, slippery slope arguments, you know, there are commonsense things we can do that is not going to lead to large scale gun confiscation, bans on guns, like not everything is the first step (chuckle) to the demise of gun ownership and the Second Amendment in America. I think that’s the first thing is using credible arguments against any of these slippery slope arguments.”

Good luck finding any.  We’ve already discussed Sen. Dodd and Pete Shields. We could add Nancy Pelosi publicly stated she hoped the slippery slope would lead to bans on more than “bump stocks.” A former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has advocated repealing the Second Amendment, and that has been echoed by major media sources. Rep. Major Owens actually introduced repeal legislation in the Nineties.

Goodwin also complained about gun owners pointing out the ignorance or gun banners who don’t know what they’re talking about. He apparently never heard of the Violence Policy Center, in 1988, outlining “public confusion” between semi- and full-auto as something to be exploited, or Rep. Carolyn McCarthy calling barrel shrouds “the shoulder thing that goes up,” or the New York Assemblywoman out to ban .50 caliber rifles because “some of these bullets have an incendiary device on the tip of it, which is a heat-seeking device, so you don’t shoot deer with a bullet that size. If you do, you cook it at the same time.”

Hearing such nonsense from a former NRA lobbyist makes fair the question of who is doing the hiring over there, and recalls others, like the late Robert Ricker, who went from NRA lawyer to gun-grabber with the switch of a pay source.

The discussion then switched to “systemic racism” with gun laws “over-enforced in black communities.”

Sellers asserted “black on black crime is a myth,” and deemed any belief otherwise to be “relatively ignorant.” He says whites kill each other “at the same if not higher rates.” Either he is confusing rates with total numbers or the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report is wrong, but in any case, if he’s then going to turn around and blame “lax” Indiana gun laws for Chicago’s weekly homicides, he’s never going to look at how destructive “progressive” policies have essentially guaranteed the headlines will continue.

Like Yogi Berra Said, ‘It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again’

“[T]here is no new thing under the sun,” the book of Ecclesiastes tells us, and in the case of 97Percent and its “kinder, gentler” citizen disarmament outreach to gun owners, those words were appropriately prophetic. We’ve seen it all before, Astroturf groups funded by elites that ostensibly spoke for “reasonable” gun owners.

15-plus years ago, it was the American Hunters and Shooters Association, touted by idiotic “sporting use” type “gun writers” as representing “the middle ground.” What they didn’t tell their readers was that AHSA was bankrolled by Boston real estate developer John Rosenthal, founder of "Stop Handgun Violence," as big a gun-grabber as you will find, and who “built a massive billboard on a parking garage along the Mass Pike near Fenway Park, with gun violence prevention messages such as ‘Assault weapons have stopping power. Fortunately, so does your vote.’”

Their Board of Directors included honchos from Crime Guns Solutions, ex-BATF careerists who worked to give ammo to the gun maker lawsuits. CGS exec Gerald Nunziato had this to say: "“If it wasn’t for criminals, there wouldn’t be a gun industry in this country. The only people [NRA and other gun-rights groups are] protecting are criminals."

AHSA had ties with a Democrat consulting group, DCS, whose clients included Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers. And their executive director was the aforementioned NRA lawyer Robert Ricker, who went from accusing those suing gun manufacturers to being in it for the money to helping sue gun makers.

That’s some “third way.”

So Where DO We Go from Here?

The question asked in the last panel’s presentation title is a good one for gun owner advocates to be asking ourselves. How will we be prepared to meet this strategy that relies on longtime “Fudds” chronically blind to the freedom principles, and new gun owners who don’t know any better?

We need to start with basic Sun Tzu, to “know the enemy and know yourself,” and by that, I mean go over to 97percent’s website and carve out the time to watch the panels yourself—as I indicated early on, this article, while long, can only convey a fraction of all that was said.

Isn’t “enemy” too strong a word? Many supporters of infringements are sincere, and actually believe that a due-process red flag law here and a waiting period there, and a prior restraint/registration-enabling “background check” and elimination of private sales combined with semiauto and magazine bans and restrictions on bearing will help make us all safer. They honestly believe the “slippery slope” argument is unfounded, even paranoid, but they nonetheless demand all those edicts and more.

But OK, I’ll “compromise.” We can call those people “useful idiots. Because, deny it if they like, the minds behind the incremental diktats, the ones who intend to rule with a “monopoly of violence” do intend total disarmament.

As the saying goes, it’s not about guns, it’s about freedom, and that’s not debatable. Not that the antis who know that won’t try.

“Equating guns with freedom is a toxic myth that hurts us all,” a recent Daily Beast headline reads. “Convincing people that more guns mean more freedom is just one of several ways the right wing cons Americans with dubious alternate realities.”

Look for this meme to spread, along with the term “unreliable narrators” to discredit and “cancel” anyone arguing that slaves don’t own guns. Ultimately all the “commonsense gun safety” emphasis is a smokescreen to help remove obstacles, and what it’s really about is what Chairman Mao taught, understood and applied:

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

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