Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) delivered an emphatic message last week to the lefties who attended an event put on by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was in relation to the use of the words “gun control.” Her advice? Never use them. Ever.
Rep. Esty, who was participating in a discussion on, “The Pulse Nightclub Shooting One Year Later: Community Impacts and Policy Proposals to End Violence Against LGBTQ Communities,” cogently argued that government control over any aspect of one’s life is deal-breaker in the eyes of many Americans.
“I’d never say gun control, never ever, ever say that. Do you want the government taking control of your life, anybody in this room? For my brother and his husband – they don’t want control by government of their lives, that’s not been a good thing for the LGBTQ community, much of any of us as Americans we don’t want government control of our lives,” she said.
“We want the respect and rights and privileges and responsibilities of every other American. That’s what we want, right? That’s what we want and so that’s why we really should be talking about gun safety,” Esty continued.
Aside from shifting the narrative from “gun control” to “gun safety,” the other tactical maneuver she suggested was to go after the purse strings of the nation’s gun lobby.
“I learned to shoot in an NRA course, a camp, so did my boys. Like you, I’m a believer in the Second Amendment, but there’s a big difference between that and allowing anyone, anywhere, anytime, to be packing heat when they shouldn’t – and that is really where the battle lines are now,” she said.
“So we need to make that clear distinction, so elections have consequences and it’s important to support candidates who are not beholden to the gun lobby,” Esty explained. “So we need campaign finance reform to reduce the power of money, we need to increase activation of people who support common sense.”
What’s funny is that the NRA’s power doesn’t come from its war chest (unlike Everytown for Gun Safety, which owes its whole existence to the largess of billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg). It comes from its five million-plus members who are actively engaged in the political process.
So, saying a candidate is beholden to that nasty, evil gun lobby is the equivalent of saying that a candidate is beholden to his or her constituents, i.e. the voters!!! Isn’t that the way our political system is supposed to work? Elected officials must keep their promises to the voters who put them in office? Sounds about right to me.
But if there was any doubt about the money the NRA spends on candidates and lobbying, just look at what the organization spent in 2014 compared to other interest groups with memberships a fraction of the size. The NRA is bringing up the rear in terms of dollars spent. Yet it is still widely considered one of the most, if not the most, powerful lobbying groups in The District which only goes to show that politicians support the NRA because its power comes from the people.
The long and the short of it is the NRA isn’t going away. Gun owners aren’t going away. Anti-gunners can dress up gun control any way they like. They can call it “gun safety” or “responsible solutions” or “common sense gun reform” or whatever, but we know the truth. Policy measures that restrict 2A rights are nothing more than an attempt to do what Esty knows we fear, increase government control and reduce individual freedom. Plain and simple.