In terms of numbers, Moms Demand Action For Gunsense In America and Everytown for Gun Safety are hardly worth your attention.
The National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis earlier this year was viewed as a personal affront to Moms Demand front-woman Shannon Watts. Watts hails from the wealthy Indy suburb of Zionville, where the average household income is over $108,000 a year and the population is whiter than an albino Klan meeting in a bleach factory.
Watts was determined to hold a massive counter-protest, drawing Moms Demand Action and Everytown For Gun Safety supporters from across the country, and turnout was… light, to put it mildly.
I know. I was there.
When you subtract her armed security guards and the driver of her armored SUV—Watts is more than a little hypocritical—the crowd numbered less than 150 sad souls, many of whom were brought in on Michael Bloomberg’s dime as either staff or speakers.
Perhaps that is the reason that Watts had to change her group’s name from the original One Million Moms For Gun Control.
150 Or So Moms For Gun Control, while accurate, just wasn’t going to get the job done.
Watts—a high-priced public relations executive that formerly worked for Democrat candidates and agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto—knows that gun control is a dying issue in the United States. The few gun control groups that haven’t closed their doors in recent years due to a lack of funding exist solely due to their being funded by a handful of ultra-rich liberal donors.
Because Watts can’t produce actual numbers at protest rallies—protests even in large metropolitan areas typically number between 4-20 people including paid staffers—Moms Demand has relied almost entirely upon social media, sympathetic mainstream media coverage, and left-wing political blogs to attempt the online bullying of retailers to ban firearms (open carried or concealed) in their stores.
On Facebook no one can tell how insignificant a protesting group really is, and so Moms Demand—which can’t boast of a single dues paying member—can digitally punch well above its weight.
Watts, using Michael Bloomberg’s $50 million donation to this vanity project, has hired high-end public relations firms to craft a strategy and slick advertising. They’ve used free and earned media wisely, if deceptively, and have parlayed the provocative photo of a single person into an assault on the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.
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This is Open Carry Tarrant County (Texas) group coordinator Kory Watkins, and the single nearly year-old tweet that Watts has exploited in an attempt to bully the nation’s largest supermarket chain.
If you look closely, you’ll note that the image is almost year old, taken in September of 2013. Long gun open carry protesters such as Watkins, facing overwhelming opposition from gun rights groups, stopped the controversial practice of carrying long guns in stores months ago.
So why is Shannon Watts and Moms Demand using a single image almost a year old, of a single person, depicting a practice that is no longer in use, to create a deceptive series of attack ads targeting the largest grocery chain and second largest retailer in the country with what is essentially cyber-bullying?
It’s quite simple, actually. Painfully so.
Moms Demand and Everytown know that the gun control movement is dying in the United States.
Paid membership in the National Rifle Association has soared to more than five million members for the first time ever, and shows no signs of stopping even as other pro-gun groups form and grow.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is reporting explosive growth in almost every kind of shooting sport, reflecting a growing gun culture.
Firearm manufacturers have been on a six-year run of explosive growth that is only just starting to slow. Ammunition manufacturers are still playing catch-up, as demand has surged and stayed at levels of consumption previously thought improbable.
Gun ranges are expanding and extending their hours. A new form of high-end shooting range, pithily dubbed “guntry clubs,” are sprouting up to support a newfound market of well-armed and well-heeled urban professionals.
That growth is especially strong in the young, urban, and female demographics that were once seen as the breeding ground of the next generation of gun control advocates. Unfortunately for gun control supporters, they’re seeing their “future” taking up semi-automatic pistols and AR-15s instead of protesting them.
This Millennial shift may be the end of the gun control movement, and everyone on both sides of the issue know it.
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Moms Demand’s social media blitz against Kroger (and previous attempts on other chains) is nothing more or less than an attempt to isolate and attack a private business to affect the sort of gun control through cyber-bullying that they have failed to accomplish through the legislative process.
It is a last-ditch attempt to save a foundering gun control movement in a nation that has taken to the shooting sports now more than ever before in American history.
As for Moms Demand Action, Shannon Watts, and their billionaire benefactor Michael Bloomberg, they remain firmly on the wrong side of history.
The Washington Times reports that more than 57,000 gun-friendly businesses have cropped up across the United States to a warm reception from the American people. Businesses that have banned the carrying of firearms have lost business, while businesses that overtly welcome firearms in their stories are often seeing explosive growth.
Kroger and its other brands, of course, aren’t to the point of overtly welcoming guns in their stores… at least not yet. Frankly, they’d rather not be involved in a debate about firearms at all. They simply want to follow existing laws, and continue growing their business.
Moms Demand is hoping that they can use social media to bully Kroger into a “no guns” policy that might give the dying gun control movement a tiny spark of hope that they may remain relevant, at least for a little longer.
It doesn’t appear that these “bully moms” will be successful in bullying Kroger into compliance in a United States that is, for the most part, more gun friendly than it has ever been before.