It’s common to see gun controllers smear the entire gun industry and gun owners. It’s part of their schtick. Sometimes, however, you run into something on a whole different level that makes you wonder what you just saw. One such piece, an op-ed by Allison Anderman, a Senior Counsel at the gun control group Giffords Law Center, was published in Newsweek (archived links).
The Gun Industry Is in the Business of Hate
By Allison Anderman
The gun industry and the extremist politicians it supports have long fanned the flames of hate-based, radical ideologies. At the same time, firearms manufacturers oppose laws that would keep dangerous, radicalized individuals from accessing guns and support laws that allow easy access to military-style assault weapons.
The fact that a violent extremist targeted and murdered Black people using a Glock and an AR-15-style rifle bearing swastikas in a state the NAACP has declared is “engaged in an all-out attack on Black Americans,” is horrifying and devastating, but not surprising.
On Aug. 26, after being turned away from a historically Black college, the shooter—a young white man wearing a tactical vest and mask—went to a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida. There he slaughtered Angela Carr, a mother of three and grandmother of 16, who was dropping off Uber passengers in the parking lot. “She wasn’t even supposed to be there,” said Angela’s daughter. “She was shot in her car. She never even had a chance.”
The smear starts with a claim about industry opposition to laws to “keep dangerous, radicalized individuals from accessing guns.” The firearms community, and presumably the gun industry, believes in stripping Second Amendment rights from violent individuals after they have been convicted of a crime, or deemed a credible threat after the due process of law. That’s a rational, not a radical position to take.
As for “easy access to military-style assault weapons,” Anderman can’t define what that is, and it’s by design. She wants that meaningless phrase to be as vague as possible so it can be used to ban everything under the sun.
Note how Anderman doesn’t say how the Jacksonville attacker was “turned away from a historically Black college.” It was because of the presence of good guys with guns that the coward tucked tail and ran away, and it happened not just at the college, but also at a different dollar store that was his original target. (See: “Jacksonville update: Assailant avoided not one, but TWO secure targets before going to the third.”)
Palmetto State Armory, a North Carolina-based gun store, designed a line of “Big Igloo Aloha” AK-47 assault rifles marketed to the Boogaloo Bois, an anti-government extremist movement that advocates for a second civil war.
PSA regularly makes fun of gun control supporters. After NBC’s Ken Dilanian called the Secret Service about a “Let’s go Brandon!” AR-15 stripped lower receiver, PSA released a “PEACUCK-15” stripped lower receiver to make fun of Dilanian. All of it is legal and done in jest, partly to troll gun controllers and elicit the exact freakout reaction they play right into. Humor is protected speech.
The M&P15—which stands for military and police—became one of the best-selling rifles in America. The M&P15 was the gun used by Kyle Rittenhouse, the vigilante teenager who fatally shot two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020, as well as mass shooters in Parkland, Florida, and Highland Park, Illinois.
It’s incredible that even after almost 3 years, people like Anderman call the rioters who chased and attacked Kyle Rittenhouse “Black Lives Matter protesters,” and lump a case of lawful self-defense that resulted in an acquittal with genuine attacks in Parkland and Highland Park. Then again, leading media outlets still lie about how the George Zimmerman case was a “Stand Your Ground” case, how the Giffords attacker was motivated by politics, not schizophrenia, and how Michael Brown said, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”
Together, responsible gun owners around the country can use their purchasing power to reject the gun industry’s extremism and their votes to elect representatives who will take action to prevent these foreseeable deaths.
All Americans must rise to the occasion to protest with our voices and our votes every time a hate-fueled extremist capitalizes on America’s abysmal gun laws and the violent rhetoric of politicians and gun industry members.
Responsible gun owners around the country have indeed been using their purchasing power; they just bought another 1.1 million guns in August 2023, and that’s the 49th consecutive month of 1+ million gun sales.
As for “rising to the occasion to protest with our voices and our votes,” that’s fine, but every time a hate-fueled extremist tries to commit violence, there’s a better idea: shoot back and stop the threat immediately.
Allison Anderman has not realized this just yet, but in a country with 450 million guns and counting, there’s no disarming hate-fueled extremists. That leaves the option of being prepared, and for that, you have to #ArmLove because you’ll never #DisarmHate.