Two well-financed gun prohibition lobbying groups have resorted to smearing gun owners, and particularly open carry proponents, with the broad brush of racism because a handful of apparent “militia” members showed up carrying rifles and handguns in Charlottesville Saturday allegedly to “intimidate and spread fear.”
The Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility and anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety launched email blasts this week.
This was the message from the Alliance, which is largely funded by wealthy Seattle-area elitists:
“Here at the Alliance, we were appalled to see these racists protected by individuals carrying semi-automatic weapons to intimidate citizens and law enforcement alike. The presence of these guns made an already volatile situation much more dangerous – and it’s terrifying to consider what could have happened.
“Time and again we see proof that hate-fueled rhetoric leads to tragedy. Yet thanks to the increasingly violent, insurrectionist language we see from the gun lobby, the most dangerous fringe elements of our society are emboldened to incite violence.”
Almost simultaneously, the Everytown group had this to say in their own email message:
“As if a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend weren’t reprehensible enough, a self-professed ‘militia group’ descended on the city openly carrying handguns and military-style rifles to intimidate and spread fear. Later, the day turned deadly when a white supremacist rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters…
“Open carry laws vary from state to state, and Virginia is among the 45 states that currently allow open carry of semi-automatic rifles. These laws enable hate-filled people like the white supremacists in Charlottesville to intimidate peaceful protesters, law enforcement, and local residents on their own terms — until someone pulls the trigger.”
But the Everytown group didn’t stop at just linking firearms and racism; they also tried to drag the National Rifle Association into the swamp by asserting:
“Everytown is fighting for commonsense gun safety policies that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and we won’t stop until our communities are kept safe from the NRA’s fear-driven, guns-everywhere agenda.”
Nobody was shot in Charlottesville. The fatality was the result of a car ramming into a crowd, and a suspect is in custody. There has been no indication he was armed.
Attempting to pile on, the Alliance group fired off another email blast, this one to raise money to help elect an anti-gun Democrat in a special legislative election in November.
This message declared, “Hundreds of people die by firearms every year in Washington state.” That’s a misleading statement, since a majority of those fatalities are suicides, but the reader might believe they’re all murders. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the entire state of Washington reported 209 homicides. Of those, 141 were committed with firearms. The FBI’s report for 2016 will be released next month.
An effort to curb suicide by enlisting the help of firearms dealers and gun range operators is now law in Washington, and it was championed by the firearms community. There has been scant publicity about the involvement of Second Amendment Foundation CEO Alan Gottlieb in that effort.