It was pretty apparent when the judgement came down that the spin was going to be: “Look at this poor family, forced to pay $280,000 by the evil gun lobby who killed their son.” Well, that didn’t take long, did it? John Richardson over at No Lawyers, Only Guns and Money did some diggingÂ (with the help of an observant reader), and it turns out that the victims in this case are on the Brady payroll.
It would seem likely, in this case, that the Brady Center is going to pick up the tab for the lawsuit. I’d bet that if fundraising letters haven’t already gone out begging for donations to help the family out from under the thumb of the evil gun lobby, those fundraising letters are surely being prepared. Still, with these kinds of fees, it’s hard to imagine how filing frivolous suits like this is going to be a winning strategy for Brady in the long term. I suspect, however, that they are desperately trying to carve out a niche in a space increasingly dominated by Mike Bloomberg.
Dave Hardy wonders whether it’s a good thing to leave Mike Bloomberg with a monopoly over the gun control movement. I tend to think so. The greatest danger we face from Bloomberg is from his deep pockets. In any game where it comes down to who can spend more money, he’ll probably beat us (such as ballot measures). That money is going to be there regardless of whether the Brady Campaign and Brady Center continue to operate.
Bloomberg’s biggest liability is how well he self-vilifies, and how poorly he plays in flyover country. Shannon Watts’ organization once looked like it could be formidable, but goofs and gaffes she’s made have seriously sapped her organization of credibility. Meanwhile, the Brady Campaign and Center, though both shadows of their former selves, still achieved a great deal in the gun control movement. It would be good to see that slide into the dustbin of history.
I suspect, however, that the more likely future for Brady is along the VPC model, where the organization maintains a skeleton crew, funded largely by outside foundations, maybe even including Bloomberg. It would be better for Bloomberg to control the Brady organization, and keep it subservient, rather than letting it collapse, with all the bad headlines for gun control that will follow after such a well-regarded, pioneering organization folds up. That kind of thing would not go unnoticed in DC, either by policymakers or politicians.