Masking Gun Control With Positive Messaging

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posted on July 29, 2016
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Americans have seen lots of failed remakes, from “New Coke” to “Godzilla 2000.”

But we’ve never seen the same unsellable product remade, reshaped and rebranded more times—with no improvement of its original formula—than we have with Hillary Clinton’s tired brand of gun prohibition.

As Politico has reported, the anti-gun “super PAC” Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) has released yet another new rebranding strategy for gun control. And at the Democratic National Convention this week, they’re giving it the hard sell, urging Democrats across the country to parrot and propagate their new, focus group-tested buzzwords and sound bites.

The anti-gun lobby has been doing this for years. But what’s new about this latest effort is just how dishonest and falsehearted it is. It’s false advertising at its most cynical and dangerous.

In a manifesto they sent to Democrat members of Congress titled “Making Our Communities Safer: A Guide to Understanding and Engaging Americans on the Need for Stronger Gun Laws,” ARS advises politicians to “talk about reducing crime, reducing gun violence, gun violence prevention or preventing gun tragedies.”

In other words, ARS urges lawmakers to talk about the supposed ends—but to conceal the prohibitionist means they plan to reach those illusory ends. 

To wit, ARS tells readers not to use the phrase “gun control,” or to attack the Second Amendment or the NRA by name, but instead to “attack the gun lobby” and to “talk about closing loopholes like criminal background checks, strong, responsible or common-sense gun laws.” 

“Strong.” “Responsible.” “Common sense.” Who could possibly oppose those ideas except people who eat kittens? 

“We just want to have common-sense gun legislation so our children are safe. You say s--t like that and then people will buy into it.” —Mary Bayer, alternate delegate for Hillary ClintonThis week, we’ve seen concrete examples of that strategy at the Democratic National Convention. 

Tuesday night, the ARS super PAC, together with “Vocal Majority”—which had staged an event earlier Tuesday hosting the mothers of murder victims at Philadelphia’s Logan Circle—presented a concert with musical acts Kesha and the Drive-By Truckers, where the founders of ARS, Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords, took the stage to press for more gun control—though they didn’t call it that. 

Wednesday night, Kelly and Giffords again spoke to the convention, where—joined by Democrats from across the country and leftist groups of every stripe—they called for more and more restrictions on your Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear arms. 

Yet this new strategic rebranding effort by the gun-ban lobby is predicated on falsehoods. 

In its manifesto, ARS advises politicians that they should hammer the notion that gun-related crime has increased to the point that it has become some “unacceptable ‘new normal’” in the U.S. 

Yet the truth, according to the FBI, is that crime using firearms, like all violent crime, is down—way down. In fact, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports for 2014—the latest full year for which statistics are available—shows that violent crime was lower than it had been in more than 40 years. As for high-profile mass shootings, Northeastern University Professor of Criminology James Alan Fox has said, “No matter how you cut it, there’s no epidemic.”

It just seems that way, thanks to the relentless coverage and endless lecturing we hear every day from the press and political class in this country. 

One thing you won’t hear from the media and political elites in this election season, however, is just how much Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and other gun-hating, freedom-fearing zealots are spending—through PACs, 527s and other shadowy groups—to influence this election, install Clinton as president, and tip the balance of the Supreme Court on the Second Amendment for a generation or more. 

But once in a while, they give us a glimpse of their game.

After reports emerged about the ARS super-PAC’s gun-control rebranding strategy, their briefing paper—the aforementioned “Making Our Communities Safer: A Guide to Understanding and Engaging Americans on the Need for Stronger Gun Laws”—was removed from their website.

But in an undercover video shot by Project Veritas at the Democratic Convention, Mary Bayer, an alternate delegate for Hillary Clinton, revealed just how much of an impact it has had, and will have, on the election and on your gun rights this year. 

Before admitting that Clinton “for sure” supports banning firearms, Bayer said that to impose such bans, “you’ve got to say ‘that’s common-sense gun legislation’” to ensure that Clinton “doesn’t take any positions that are too terribly extreme” and thereby lose the presidential election.

Explaining Clinton’s strategy of “bait and switch”—of saying one thing and then doing something far more extreme—Bayer said the messaging Clinton uses is crucial: “We just want to have common-sense gun legislation so our children are safe. You say s--t like that and then people will buy into it.”

You know, there’s an old saying that “You can slap lipstick on a pig, and you can slather over ugly, but the stupid still comes shining through.”

But in this year’s elections, you can slather over stupid, but the crooked still comes shining through. 

Clinton and company can rebrand, reposition and remake gun control all they like. And they can lie and weasel-word their true intentions from now until the elections. None of it can change the fact that their tried-and-failed bankrupt policies take away rights and put good people in more danger.

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