Giffords expands fearmongering to US elections

Image by MikeGunner from Pixabay

I’m constantly amazed at our media.

You see, while they would never take a report from, say, the NRA and discuss it uncritically, they routinely do that with groups like Giffords.


If a pro-gun group released a study that argued something positive with regard to gun rights, reporters would be beating the bush to find “experts” to counter the study’s claims. If an anti-gun group does something like that, though, they just accept it at face value.

The latest example of this is a case where Giffords partnered with a progressive non-profit to try and scare the American public about guns and our elections.

A report released Monday highlights how state laws across the U.S. fail to protect voters and election workers from the “growing risk of gun violence” tied to increasing firearm deregulation and sales as well as American political leaders fomenting distrust in democracy.

“The 2024 election will unfold in a transformed legal environment,” warns Guns and Voting, the new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and Giffords—a gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who survived being shot in the head.

The publication explains that “in 2010, only two states let people carry concealed firearms in public without a permit or background check. Now, 27 states allow ‘permitless carry.’ While other states have strengthened gun regulations during this period, the Supreme Court has threatened their ability to do so.”


Of course, permitless carry gets Giffords all in a tizzy, but the truth is that we’re not seeing some massive upsurge in criminal activity as a result of it. Why? Because the criminals were carrying without a permit already. Now it just means law-abiding citizens don’t have to.

Unsurprisingly, though, despite all the protests we saw in the wake of the election of Donald Trump in 2016, there’s really only one group to be concerned about.

“Meanwhile, American democracy has been facing new and unnerving pressure as the result of a growing election denial movement,” the report notes. “In 2020, states expanded voting by mail and early voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Endeavoring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump and his allies launched massive disinformation campaigns targeting this expanded access to voting, claiming that the election was ‘rigged’ and that election administration officials were engaged in fraud.”

“This election denial movement has spread beyond Trump and reached into state and local elections, fueled by conspiracy theories about mail voting, drop boxes, election officials, poll workers, and ballot counting,” the report continues. “From its inception, threats of political violence marked this movement. The most prominent example, of course, was the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.”


Let’s note that despite being the political demographic most likely to own firearms, the only person shot was an unarmed protestor.

Now, I’m not getting into whether or not the election was stolen in 2020. What I will note is that the violence that followed Trump’s election in 2016 was also at a time when we were hearing all about Russian collusion and how the election was stolen.

Funny how that doesn’t make it into this report.

Regardless, let’s get to the meat of the issue. What we’ve seen up until now is just laying the groundwork for what’s to come, which we all know is gun control.

“With more guns and more political polarization and violence, states need strong laws to limit risk,” the new report argues. “In Bruen, the Supreme Court recognized that prohibitions on guns in ‘sensitive places’—and specifically in ‘polling places’—were ‘presumptively lawful.’ Yet today only 12 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit both open and concealed carry of firearms at poll sites.”

“Ironically, the states with the strongest gun regulations—which had restricted the ability to carry guns in public generally, rather than prohibiting guns in particular locations—were made most vulnerable in the wake of Bruen,” the publication warns. “In fact, only one of the six states that had their laws struck down by the decision specifically prohibited guns in polling places at the time of the decision.”

After laying out in detail the recent changes in U.S. gun control legislation, how disinformation has sown the seeds of political violence, and increases in extremism and gun violence—including mass shootings—the report offers policy recommendations.

“States should broadly prohibit firearms, including concealed carry, at and around all voting sites—including drop boxes—and places where votes are being counted and elections are being administered,” the document asserts. “In addition to prohibiting guns wherever protected voting or election activity occurs, states can strengthen voter intimidation laws.”


Shocking, right?

However, this is Giffords we’re talking about here. They’re a hammer constantly looking for a nail. In this case, despite there having been no examples of lawfully carrying individuals engaged in any kind of violence at polling places, their default is to try and restrict people’s rights because they think it might happen.


See, what they’re trying to do is reverse the course on gun rights. They’re losing and they feel they need to switch things around so they can gain some momentum. Giffords fundraises off of wins, after all, and if the courts give them setbacks, it’s harder to do that.

The media, in turn, helps facilitate this by presenting “reports” like this as actual scholarship rather than fearmongering in academic drag.

There’s actually no evidence that lawfully carrying a firearm is a threat to the democratic process. Those who are worried about people who are lawfully carrying should learn to get over it rather than pretend it’s some infringement on their right to vote or some form of intimidation.

Luckily, most people aren’t that cowardly.

Giffords would also do well to remember that while January 6th might not have been a historical highlight, it’s hardly the first election-based violence we’ve seen. Pretending that didn’t happen doesn’t help make the anti-gun case, either.


It just reminds us that if we don’t have guns, we don’t have anything because people like this will excuse any act of violence against us, and then blame us if we punch back.

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