The NRA has a new enemy: On Friday, the Humans Rights Campaign announced that it was going to make fighting for tighter gun restrictions a part of its mission.
Because the HRC is one of the most successful lobbying groups in the country, this should be . . . interesting.
Shootings in America have fallen into a predictable pattern. First, the shooting happens. The mainstream media trips all over itself to get anything published, no matter how incorrect.
Then, we learn more about the shooter. Up to this point, it’s been called a “shooting.” If the shooter was Christian and didn’t have a funny foreign name, it remains a shooting. If the shooter wasn’t a Christian and/or had a funny foreign name, though, it gets upgraded to a “terrorist attack.”
The next few weeks are spent with liberals lamenting that if we had tighter gun control laws, it might never have happened. Conservatives, meanwhile, trot out their finest intellectual responses, arguing on Facebook, “criminals are going to break laws anyway, so why bother with laws at all?” and “MAH GUNS.”
Then everyone forgets about it until it happens again.
This is how you get over 50,000 incidents of gun violence in the United States with over 12,000 of them ending in death and over 20,000 ending in injury (in the past, I’ve made the mistake of confusing incidents of gun violence with deaths from gun violence; I’m correcting that now and I apologize for that mistake, but it’s still far too many no matter how you look at it, especially when over 600 of those deaths have been children under 11 years old).
But this time, it seems like something changed. The Senate almost immediately began moving to reinstate the assault weapons ban, and while that ban isn’t strong enough, it is overdue. So what happened? What did gunning down gay people inside of a club in Orlando achieve that gunning down children in an elementary school couldn’t?
While part of it was almost certainly the fact that enough voices have decried it for so long the government couldn’t help but notice, but part of it was also the victim.
Republicans, together with Christian homeschooling parents and communities, have worked hard to make sure that children have no representation with the government. There is no lobbying group for children, and the United States is the only country in the United Nations that hasn’t ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
So nobody was there to raise noise because of dead children. Not even pro-lifers cared enough to lobby on their behalf, presumably because they can’t use dead kindergarteners as an excuse to strip women of their rights.
But there is a lobbying group for gay rights, and following a vote on Thursday night, the Human Rights Campaign board of directors announced they’re going after the easy availability of guns after the shooting.
Chad Griffin, the Human Rights Campaign president, said of the vote:
Forty-nine members of our community were murdered on Sunday morning because of a toxic combination of two things: a deranged, unstable individual who had been conditioned to hate LGBTQ people, and easy access to military-style guns. It is imperative that we address both issues in order to mitigate safety risk to our community.
According to a statement the HRC posted on their website, the resolution they passed, “addresses both the epidemic of hate that has fueled anti-LGBTQ-motivated murder, assault and discrimination as well as common-sense gun violence prevention policies that would help keep the LGBTQ community safe.”
The HRC is one of the most effective lobbying groups, successfully challenging anti-LGBT laws in the courtroom as well as working with lawmakers to write provisions into laws that afford increased protection. The group said it believes, “that the safety of LGBTQ people in the United States requires the adoption of common-sense gun violence prevention measures, including limiting access to assault-style rifles, expanding background checks, and limiting the ability for suspected terrorists, and those with a history of domestic abuse to access guns.”
This is just the latest headache for the NRA, who were already reeling from the outburst of anger against them in the wake of the shooting. Democratic lawmakers are openly attacking the organization, which is something that’s unheard of in the months leading up to an election.
Maybe this will change things. I sincerely hope it does.
Feature image via First Monday