The gun control lobby in the US is constantly pushing for new regulations and expansion of the existing laws, usually under the guise of being concerned about recent events. The movements themselves are rather splintered but as responsible gun owners it’s important to keep yourself educated on those who are seeking to restrict your rights.
Keeping yourself educated means more than just knowing the names and goals of the organizations. It also means knowing something about the people behind them, where the bulk of their funding is coming from, and being able to anticipate where they might try to advance in the future if they achieve their current goals.
After all, the gun control lobby is quick to hide real goals wrapped within seemingly moderate attempts to alter the legislation of firearms.
Everytown for Gun Safety
Everytown for Gun Safety is a large lobbying body which is primarily backed financially by the billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who’s stated goal was to produce a lobbying body to match the NRA in size.
The group is actually comprised of two existing lobbying bodies, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) and Moms Demand Action, which makes it something of a “super-group” of lobbying power.
Their stated goals are pretty simple:
Universal background checks for firearms
A complete national ban on those with a record of domestic violence on owning firearms
Support of safety technology for firearms in order to prevent accidents
Stronger penalties for those who participate in the illegal arms trade
They’re actually fairly common sense goals and not very divisive. Of particular note is the fact that Everytown doesn’t support bans on the so-called “assault weapons” but instead seems to be focusing on actual gun safety issues not connected to the aesthetic features of firearms.
That’s not an uncommon strategy, however, and it’s no indication of where the group will go in the future. The bans on semi-automatic weapons with certain features is a hot button topic and commonly considered to be something of a red herring by those who are familiar with firearms but not necessarily in favor of unrestricted 2nd Amendment rights.
There is one hot button issue which pushes past the realm of common sense prohibitions the group supports, however, which puts them firmly in a bad camp with the majority of firearm enthusiasts: the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment.
The Tiahrt Amendment
The Tiahrt Amendment, named for the Congressman who sponsored it, was passed in 2003 and prohibits the ATF from sharing information from its firearms database with anyone outside of a specific criminal investigation. Even in those instances the law protects the privacy of gun owners from anyone other than law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor of the case in question.
The repealing of this law has been rebuffed repeatedly, but it’s one of the most valuable bits of privacy for gun owners.
The push for altering this law was primarily from the MAIG group before the founding of Everytown, but it remains a primary concern for many gun owners.
The group is primarily funded by Michael Bloomberg. He utilized $50 million dollars of his personal company in order to found the group, and it was intentionally made to serve as a gun control lobby in direct opposition to the NRA.
As a billionaire and former mayor of New York City he wields considerable influence in the political realms.
The advisory board of the organization is comprised primarily of influential individuals, with many of them being mayors or former mayors as well as extremely wealthy people like Warren Buffett.
Overall, the group wields quite a bit of power due to the incredible financial backing and power of the members of the advisory board.
Those involved also include leaders from both of the large bodies which were melded in order to create the board in the first place.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
While it’s one of the primary constituents of the larger Everytown group, Moms Demand Action is also a powerful entity in its own right.
The group was founded in the immediate wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, literally the day afterwards. In contrast to the larger organization, Moms Demand Action is a much more stringent gun control lobbying body.
The group considers itself to be a “grassroots” organization and was originally founded as a Facebook group with a stated goal of “reducing gun violence in America through common sense gun reforms.”
Despite having been absorbed into the larger body of Everytown in 2014, they still seem to be active on some fronts.
A quick purview of the kind of information they press and their hot-button topics shows them to be in definite favor of fairly strict gun control measures, including a hardline stance on concealed carry reciprocity.
The biggest individual behind this group is Shannon Watts. She was a former communications executive and consultant which placed her in an excellent position, especially since the initial formation of the group was through social media in the form of a Facebook group.
Currently she is active on Twitter as well as publishing articles on Medium and working for the Huffington Post. She wields considerable influence, especially considering her social media savvy and has even entertained thoughts of running for Congress although she bowed out before running.
Her tweets, and those of her organization, show a clear stance in favor of gun control:
" Gun control acts on gun violence the way antibiotics act on infections —imperfectly but with massive efficacy." https://t.co/MerVSTWFQC
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 2, 2017
— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) December 9, 2017
Funding for the Gun Control Lobby
The bulk of Everytown’s funding comes from their advisory board, which is a departure from most gun control groups which are funded through collections.
The Brady Campaign, as an example, had a total funding of $3.3 million in 2012. By contrast, Everytown’s funding has reached an astounding $39.5 million.
Within 2017 they have actively utilized $910,000 of the $1.39 million dollars which have been used in Washington to support gun control. They also use some of their contributions in order to prop up Democrat politicians who are in favor of gun control, so the money spent by the company is clearly going all over the place.
Indeed, at this point nearly all of the funding which is behind gun control efforts is coming through Everytown, with only small amounts of funding being passed into the process by groups which formerly wielded the majority of power like the Brady Campaign.
There is one problem with Everytown, however, which is that the source of their donations is almost entirely obfuscated. With an income numbering in the tens of millions per year, it’s speculated that the wealthy members of the board are likely the primary backers but it’s currently unknown to the public at large.
If you’re looking to keep abreast of gun control laws, then it’s important to understand the lobbying bodies which are the primary driving force behind them. The merger which created Everytown represents one of the biggest threats to gun rights around, but whether they’re “pro-gun safety” or merely anti-gun remains to be seen in the long term.