First appeared in America’s 1st Freedom magazine, July 2014
In April, a headline in The New York Times read, “Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the NRA.” While it’s not the first time the infamous former mayor of the Big Apple has flexed his money muscle to battle the National Rifle Association, it’s certainly a significant sum.
In a joint attack on Second Amendment rights, Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action group is now joining forces in a supposed “grassroots” movement—Everytown for Gun Safety—with the aim of targeting America’s mothers. (Note that the group, funded from the top down by Bloomberg’s millions, apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of “grassroots.”)
Why target moms? The answer is because we are powerful. In our homes, we determine how our money is spent, what our children eat and ultimately how they live. We sculpt our children’s hearts and minds, help them establish their core beliefs and groom them to be responsible adults. Influence us, and you influence the entire household. Affect us, and you have the ability to affect the future.On paper, Everytown’s goals actually seem similar to the NRA’s goals. Digging deeper, however, you realize the Everytown concept is a two-pronged push.
Bloomberg knows what it’s like to have such power. But where moms teach, nurture and strive to lead children down a successful path, Bloomberg has taken a much more aggressive route. He forced his opinions and beliefs on New York City residents in their day-to-day lives, from how they purchase their favorite soda to limiting ways to protect themselves from crime and violence with his gun-control agenda. Now he wants to force his beliefs on the rest of the country.
At first glance, Everytown for Gun Safety sounds reasonable. Borrowing a page from President Barack Obama’s social media savvy, the group uses hashtags like #gunsense and #gunsafety to expand its reach and to drive its points home. After all, who doesn’t want to end gun violence? Who doesn’t want people, especially children, to be safe around guns?
Unfortunately, Everytown for Gun Safety would have moms throughout the nation believe that NRA’s 5 million members represent the “who doesn’t want” in these questions.
On paper, Everytown’s goals actually seem similar to the NRA’s goals. Digging deeper, however, you realize the Everytown concept is a two-pronged push. The organization’s selling point is the creation of a utopia where no child is ever hurt by a gun. How they hope to achieve this—through the removal of firearms from our lives—is the catch.
One of the group’s first publicity efforts, for example, was a commercial posted on its website that depicts an innocent game of hide and seek that ends with a girl accidentally shooting her brother, followed by their mom’s anguished reaction. This sort of emotional manipulation isn’t meant to promote “gun safety,” which after all presupposes the presence of guns. It’s meant to provoke gun phobia and avoidance.
While the emotional impact of such portrayals is undeniable, the facts tell a different story. The number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high, upwards of 300 million, and is rising by about 10 million per year. Meanwhile, the firearm accident death rate has fallen to an all-time low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94 percent since the all-time high in 1904. Since 1930, the annual number of firearm accident deaths has decreased 81 percent, while the U.S. population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has quintupled. Among children, such deaths have decreased 89 percent since 1975. Today, the odds are a million to one against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident. Any mom who disagrees with that message must face the onslaught of guilt-laced rhetoric that insinuates she has violated some unwritten code of motherhood.
Throughout this time, of course, the NRA has been hard at work promoting gun safety and responsibility through educational efforts like the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program and hands-on training courses for adults.
Yet in the Times piece, Bloomberg is quoted as saying: “You’ve got to work at it piece by piece. One mom and another mom. You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough.’”
And that’s what they plan to do. Moms Demand Action is starting right in the home. In their Mother’s Day week agenda, they pushed moms to host house parties celebrating motherhood. They wanted to see front doors open, welcoming women in with cookies and crafts.
But the underlying message is dark. If tracing hands and making bows doesn’t sell the message, then the next step is to strike terror into a mother’s heart. Their goal, clearly stated by Bloomberg, is to “wear us down.” They will force their point that, through our inaction, something horrific with a firearm will happen to us and to our children. We must, therefore, agree with them, belong to the group and take action. Any mom who disagrees with that message must face the onslaught of guilt-laced rhetoric that insinuates she has violated some unwritten code of motherhood.
What Bloomberg and Moms Demand Action underestimate, however, is a mother’s uncanny ability to see through their agenda. No matter our background or level of education, the second we become mothers we live in constant concern for our children. From their first fever, to each playground mishap, to each time they get behind the wheel for a drive and beyond, the desire to protect them burns within us.
As naive as it is to think that by simply eliminating guns we will end gun violence, we know that it is equally naive to think we can protect children from everything. Deep down, we acknowledge our treasured little ones will likely struggle, and that through experience they will learn, adapt and thrive.
We feel a need to shelter our children, but we also know how important it is to educate them and help them develop life skills. Where our opponents wish to remove the proverbial apple of knowledge from our lives, their attempt is as ridiculous as trying to eliminate the danger of flame. Just like fire, guns have potential for good. Yet handled irresponsibly or with malicious intent, the firearm’s capability for harm can be catastrophic.
Not only are we NRA Moms responsible, every shred of our being longs for our children to be all they dream to be. A firearm is merely a tool, a means to prevent personal and political harm. This concept is one that gun control advocates seemingly cannot understand.A firearm is merely a tool, a means to prevent personal and political harm. This concept is one that gun control advocates seemingly cannot understand.
Nor can they grasp that, without freedom, true progress is impossible. In a world where creativity is not allowed to flourish, ideals are not achieved and beliefs are stifled, our children simply cannot—will not—reach their full potential.
This understanding flows through the heart of every NRA Mom. Although we feel every wound, shed every tear with them and struggle with this ever-constant concern for our children, we choose to empower them. We give them the tools with which to secure their freedom and defend their very lives. We stress firearm safety from when they are little to when they are ready to take their first shots. We are accountable, and we take the responsibility of gun ownership very seriously. And it’s working. The evidence shows that American gun owners are behaving more responsibly than ever.
The truth is simple, and we all know it. Despite our opponents’ attempts to vilify the National Rifle Association, the fact remains that the NRA is dedicated to safe, responsible firearm ownership. So steadfast is our organization that we produce and provide firearm safety materials, classes and organized shooting sports, as well as resources for schools and parents to educate children. We want Americans to respect firearms and make responsible choices about them, not simply to fear them.
Everytown for Gun Safety’s hashtag terms are not theirs—they belong to us. We live by them. #Gunsafety is not restriction of firearm ownership; it starts with the simple rules that every gun owner should know, understand and abide by. #Gunsense is keeping firearms out of the hands of violent criminals and prosecuting those who misuse them—not the elimination of our right to keep and bear arms.
The NRA Mom is determined. She understands the all-important role she serves in her children’s lives. She teaches her children firearm safety at all ages. She instills a sense of self worth and encourages her young ones to reach their full potential.
Most of all, the NRA Mom stands up for freedom—and the Second Amendment rights that guarantee all of our other freedoms.