The false promise of Sandy Hook Promise

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

In the wake of any significant mass shooting, you’re going to see organizations spring up. Most of them focus on gun control, or it at least seems that way. We got Giffords and March For Our Lives out of separate shootings, after all.


Yet Sandy Hook Promise tried to bill itself to be different.

Ostensibly a “middle of the road” group, it sincerely looked like some good might come out of the awful tragedy of Newtown.

Except, they’re not as different as they might like to appear. That’s based on a report from The Second Amendment Foundation’s Lee Williams.

On May 16, 2013, Assistant Attorney General Karen Gano sent a strong letter to Sandy Hook Promise, demanding information about the nonprofit’s mission and priorities, its organizational structure and leadership, whether the group was political in nature, and “Where do you stand with regards to laws regarding gun purchase and gun ownership?”

In his response, the group’s operations director, James S. Belden, explained that the nonprofit consisted of two distinct entities: The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) and the Sandy Hook Action Fund, a 501(c)(4).

“While both the Foundation and the Action Fund have a similar core mission – to heal communities impacted by gun violence and, ultimately, to eliminate gun violence by addressing its root causes – they work to achieve that mission in very different ways,” Belden wrote. “The Foundation provides research and public education regarding the causes, and prevention, of gun violence and helps impacted families and communities health through financial and other aid, while the Action Fund works to promote the end of gun violence through public education and advocacy.”

As to the nonprofit’s position on gun laws, Belden wrote, “We support the 2nd Amendment. We recognize an individual’s right to bear arms and support law-abiding citizens in the United States who own millions of firearms. We believe with rights comes responsibility that we will all bear to ensure the safety of individuals, communities and our nation.”

Around the same time, co-founder Barden told an interviewer, “You will never see Sandy Hook Promise advocating for anything that even compromises or at all infringes on anybody’s right to have their gun, ever.”


So far, so good, right?

I mean, the Sandy Hook killer wasn’t going to be stopped by gun control anyway. He murdered his own mother so as to gain access to her firearms. How do you stop someone that evil with a few laws, anyway?

Especially as he picked a target where he was extremely unlikely to meet any kind of resistance, much less armed resistance.

Focusing on other avenues to address the problem sounds like a good thing.

Except, that’s not what Sandy Hook Promis is really about.

Thus, the nonprofit’s position on the Second Amendment was muddled from the start, by design, which became SOP for the group. While the goal of other gun-control organizations is clear — total civilian disarmament — Sandy Hook Promise tends to skirt the issue, at least publicly, while raking in millions of dollars as a result of their nebulousness and doublespeak. However, a careful analysis of Sandy Hook Promise’s actions, programs and plans shows they’re just as rabid about disarming law-abiding Americans as any other member of the gun-ban industry. The difference is that the nonprofit confuses the issue – intentionally – and reaps great financial rewards.

What’s happening is that Sandy Hook Promise reportedly acts just the same as any other gun control group, all while pretending they’re anything but. They spent more on lobbying last year than anyone other than Everytown, yet act as if they’re not interested in taking your rights.


Yet Williams notes that if you dig on their website, you’ll find the legislative agenda for the organization, one they don’t put out front and center.

But users need to find their way to the Action Fund’s page to learn the specifics of the nonprofit’s gun-control agenda. The organization supports mandatory background checks on gun sales, extreme risk protection orders known as “Red Flags,” mandatory safe storage laws, and bans on “assault weapon,” homemade firearms they call “ghost guns,” and standard-capacity magazines.

Pretty much all gun control groups rely on a certain degree of subterfuge. They’re no longer about “gun control” but “gun safety” or “gun sense.” They want you to believe that they don’t want to take away your guns, just offer some “common sense” restrictions on “weapons of war” or other such things.

Yet the euphemisms are a polite fiction that we all understand. We know what they want and where they want to take us.

It’s far easier to respect them when they’re that explicit as opposed to pretending to be a middle-of-the-road organization not interested in infringing on our rights, all while supporting the standard infringements. Especially when they try to hide them on their website and create a web of confusing double-speak meant to trick the average person into supporting them when they might not donate to a gun control group.


Go and read all of Williams’ excellent and informative piece. There’s a lot more there than I touched on and it’s worth a look, and not just where he quotes our own Ryan Petty, either, though that’s good too.

Sandy Hook Promise isn’t the non-gun control group many of us might have hoped it to be. Based on the lies and misrepresentations, it’s more like a false promise.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member