Editor’s note: This just in from the National Shooting Sports Foundation:
By Larry Keane,
Antigun billionaire Michael Bloomberg is at it again. He’s throwing around money and demanding things, not even noticing that Americans aren’t listening to gun control mantras. Instead, they’re arming themselves at historic rates.
Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund is dropping $3 million to recruit “grass roots volunteers” to run for elected offices ranging from school boards to Congress in the 2021-2022 election cycle in a new program called Demand a Seat. That’s in addition to the gun control work of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action.
That’s a lot of demanding. It’s also a lot of money. It looks like Bloomberg’s getting an early down payment on buying himself potted plants in public offices instead of grassroots. It’s a strategy that Bloomberg likes. Everything looks green when it’s papered over with piles of cash.
Look at the last election cycle. Bloomberg’s Everytown pledged $60 million in the 2020 Congressional and Presidential races. He raised the stakes when he burned $500 million on his own flirtation with buying the presidential ticket for himself. He also sprinkled in $100 million into Florida as insurance money to make sure President Joe Biden delivers on an antigun agenda.
At the same time, he – and gun control Congressional allies – are ignoring that over 8.4 million people bought a gun for the first time in 2020. There were 21 million background checks for a gun sale last year, a record number. In 2021, there have been over 11 million background checks for gun sales, tracking closely with last year’s pace.
More Cheddar, Please
So far, President Biden knows where his bread is buttered. He nominated former Everytown gun control alum David Chipman for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and President Biden’s Department of Justice issued two proposed rules to clamp down on Second Amendment rights. The first proposed rule would ban home-built firearms by redefining frames and receivers and the other would ban braces on AR-pistols, disenfranchising wounded veterans for whom they were originally designed and make the owners of untold millions of these devices into felons overnight.
At just $3 million, it almost seems like Bloomberg’s getting bargain basement pricing. For that kind of money, Bloomberg expects to buy 200 “gun violence” survivors and activists to run for elected office and get more engaged in politics, volunteers training to “build and run winning campaigns as a gun safety candidate.” The Demand a Seat website says, “The program will provide educational training on the nuts and bolts of building and running successful campaigns.”
The Demand a Seat program will feature training with Atlanta’s Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former New Orleans Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former Moms Demand volunteer and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) and former Republican Rep. David Jolly of Florida, although The Hill noted Jolly has since left the Republican party.
Bloomberg and Everytown might be misreading the tea leaves. Although President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took The White House, Congressional races in 2020 didn’t provide a gun control mandate. The U.S. House of Representatives is narrowly led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the U.S. Senate is evenly split. Since the election, gun sales have skyrocketed and now includes more African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.
Gun control bills that were rammed through with no debate in the House are stalled in the Senate. President Biden’s nomination of gun control activist and lobbyist Chipman as ATF director is stalled and the outlook is looking worse as more allegations of racist remarks and failures to disclose speaking with Communist Chinese media are coming to light.
Looking ahead, gun control advocates know their chances in the 2022 midterms are evaporating. Census results mean districts are being redrawn and Congressional seats are moving away from Democratic gun control districts to Republican pro-Second Amendment districts. The party in The White House typically suffers Congressional losses.
On top of that, gun control groups, including Everytown, Brady United and Giffords, are all targeting NSSF because the firearm industry trade association has pointed out the obvious when it comes to Chipman. He’s a gun control advocate, not a serious contender to run the ATF. It would be putting the fox in charge of the hen house and he would implement gun control through regulations that Congress hasn’t authorized. He’s testified to that in Congress before. He’s never held executive-level leadership and he’s denigrated gun owners as “Tiger King” and zombie apocalypse preppers. With more reports that serious allegations of racially-charged remarks were made, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is demanding the Department of Justice completed investigation and another hearing.
That’s got gun control fuming. It’s also got them geared up. November 2022 is already in their sights and with as much defense as the firearm industry has employed in the first year of the Biden administration, Everytown’s “Demand a Seat” announcement is a reminder there’s nothing Bloomberg won’t buy to achieve his gun control agenda.
Larry Keane is the senior vice-president for government and public affairs, assistant secretary and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.