According to Shannon Watts, America’s gun-rights supporters have her and her gun-control group all wrong. During an October appearance on CBS’ “The Takeout,” the Moms Demand Action founder told host Major Garrett, “Often people think that because we’re doing this work, we’re anti-gun or we don’t support the Second Amendment. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
But nothing Watts said could be further from the truth.
Her ludicrous statement is just the latest in a decades-long effort to obscure gun-control advocates’ real goals.
Why is she so eager to avoid the term “gun control” when that’s what she fundamentally wants? Because the term “gun control” is unpopular and is correctly associated with efforts to register, ban and confiscate entire classes of firearms. Understanding this, gun-control advocates and their media lackeys have rebranded long-sought-after gun-control measures as “common-sense gun safety” or “gun reform.” A 2012 anti-gun messaging guide instructed gun-control advocates to “DO talk about preventing ‘gun violence’” but “DON’T talk about ‘gun control.’”
During the 2020 election cycle, Democratic presidential candidates have called for mandatory “buy-backs” of commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and been careful to avoid acknowledging that the policy amounts to firearms confiscation. Again, if the policy they want—confiscation—is so popular, why are these anti-gun groups and candidates avoiding the actual term for what they want?
But even in this climate of constant deception, Watts stands out for her duplicity. As a former public relations professional for General Electric and Monsanto, Watts should know better than to state such a brazen falsehood that is so easily disproven.
Her Twitter account is a ceaseless anti-gun screed. The former press agent has used this platform to express her support for nearly every conceivable gun-control measure—up to and including the confiscation of guns from law-abiding gun owners. In 2018, Watts criticized an online gun retailer for the lawful sale of bolt-action .22 rimfire rifles. Last May, the gun-control advocate appeared to endorse a ban on all center-fire rifle ammunition.
Earlier in 2019, Watts celebrated New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s push to ban several categories of firearms and confiscate them from licensed gun owners. She delighted that “It took New Zealand six DAYS to enact stronger gun laws” after the high-profile shooting in Christchurch. Lamenting our more deliberative legislative process, Watts complained, “New Zealand’s willingness to act swiftly after a national shooting tragedy stands in stark contrast to the U.S.” Remember this disdain whenever Shannon Watts reassures you of her commitment to American rights and freedoms.
Given the record, it is obvious she is anti-gun. However, Watts was speaking for more than herself during her interview with Garrett. With her use of “we,” she was also speaking for her gun-control group.
Moms Demand Action is a component of billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control organization Everytown for Gun Safety. Bloomberg created and funded Everytown in 2014, as what The New York Times called “a $50 million Challenge to the NRA,” In the same way that Everytown is inseparable from Bloomberg, Shannon Watts and her group are inseparable from Bloomberg.
Everytown’s founder and financier does not support the Second Amendment. While Bloomberg was mayor of New York City, the city joined an amicus brief for “Major American cities” in the U.S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) contending that the Second Amendment did not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms.
The brief stated, “the Second Amendment was not intended to vest armed power in citizens acting outside of any governmental military effort—either federal or state.”
Everytown has consistently participated in litigation with the goal of restricting Second Amendment rights. The group’s own website explains that Everytown “regularly files amicus briefs defending state and federal gun safety laws against Second Amendment challenges.” In August, Everytown filed such a brief in the crucial Second Amendment U.S. Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. Watts knows this, but misleads you anyway.
Anti-gun advocates like Shannon Watts misrepresent themselves in the manner she did on CBS because they truly believe deception works and is worth it. This is why the vigilance of NRA members must exceed the stubbornness of those who seek to deceive them. Every NRA member has an obligation to do what Watts didn’t do—inform all gun owners and others who value individual liberty about the true scope and character of the threat facing our Second Amendment rights.