AP Photo/John Hanna
Ah, what I would give for a noble adversary.
I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. I mind them being jerks about it, but disagreement? Nope. Not at all. No one is going to agree with me on everything, so why bother getting worked up over it? Clearly, not everyone thinks this way, and I suppose that’s OK too. After all, isn’t that just another disagreement?
What I don’t like, however, is when someone tries to use language to manipulate people into supporting them and their ideas. It’s dishonest in the extreme. Yet that’s precisely what one Moms Demand Action leader went on the record doing.
It was no coincidence that the Lakeland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America met precisely on the anniversary of the July 20, 2012, shooting at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people died and 70 others were injured.
Group leader Leander Aulisio of Lakeland said he wanted to make one thing clear to the small group gathered around a large coffee table in the Mitchell’s Coffee House meeting room.
“We never talk about gun control,” Aulisio said. “We talk about gun violence prevention. Gun control is for somebody that has a gun in their hand. That’s gun control. We talk about gun violence prevention … we are not a gun control group.”
“It is whether you own a gun or not. Whether you handle guns or not is irrelevant,” he added.
Moms Demand Action volunteer Yasmin Barnes said, “It’s about safety.”
These are lies.
The phrase “gun control” has a specific meaning. While many pro-gun people have bumper stickers saying things like “Gun Control Is Hitting What You Aim At” or something similar, if you bring up gun control around those same people, they know precisely what you’re talking about. They know you’re referring to laws designed to restrict our right to keep and bear arms.
What Aulisio is trying to do here is manipulate the language to trick people into backing something they wouldn’t otherwise. If Moms Demand Action supported gun safety, they’d be willing to work with groups like the National Rifle Association on various forms of firearm safety education. That’s a big part of what the NRA has done over the years, after all. Yet Moms Demand Action continues to vilify the NRA and any other group that isn’t a gun control group.
Aulisio knows this. No one can be part of a group and rise to even a local leadership position and be oblivious to the language coming out of the national-level leadership, so he knows damn good and well what he’s doing.
The truth is that Moms Demand Action supports absolutely nothing but gun control efforts at federal and state levels. Claiming that the group is really about “gun safety” and not “gun control” is a disingenuous attempt to trick people into offering support for a group that seeks to curtail their own rights.
Aulisio tries to hold up his status as a concealed carry permit holder as some talisman, a beacon that he is truly “one of us.” We know better. Anyone who isn’t a criminal can buy a gun. Anyone can go through the steps and potentially get a permit (those can be a smidge trickier to obtain, after all, depending on where you’re at). It doesn’t mean you support gun rights or anything else. It damn sure doesn’t protect you from being called out on pathetic, manipulative tactics meant to confuse the debate and trick people into taking your anti-gun group seriously.
That, in my mind, is not only wrong, but it’s also unforgivable.