A common theme I’ve been seeing floating around in the media is that gun control is back, baby! They’ve crossed “the threshold” and are on their way to victory. There’s a certain zeitgeist, and the pendulum is swinging back in their direction. Is it true? Even WaPo’s Dana Milbank thinks they are overstating their case, but agrees there’s some truth to it. How has the gun control movement revitalized itself? According to Milbank, gun control movement has seen revitalization by lowing their sights to win on more achievable issues like background checks.
But there is some truth to what he says. From the legislative debacle following Sandy Hook, the gun-control movement has retreated to a limited but pragmatic approach. Gone is the notion of “gun control,” replaced by “reducing gun deaths” or “gun violence prevention.” Gone, for now, are efforts to restrict any type of gun or ammunition. Instead, the movement has found a laser focus on background checks.
I can’t think of too many real movements that have revitalized themselves by thinking smaller, and thinking smaller is nothing new. None of the new terms Milbank points to are actually new. Gun control advocates have been trying to get away from the unpopular term “gun control” since at least the mid-1990s, and none of those efforts made any difference. Andrew McKelvey couldn’t sell “gun safety” any better than Sarah Brady could sell “handgun control.”
All of the articles I’ve seen have ignored the elephant in the room. I agree that the gun control movement is seeing some revitalization. I would agree they’ve recovered from their post-Heller blues. I do think that’s correct. But it’s almost entirely because Mike Bloomberg is willing to spend millions of dollars of his massive fortune to make that happen. Without Bloomberg’s money, the gun control movement would be going nowhere. All the victories the gun control movement has achieved have been bought and paid for by one multi-billionaire who thinks he can buy our Republic, and he may be right!