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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gun Ban Lobby Takes Note of Pro-Rights Success

NPR has this story today about the gun ban lobby learning from the pro-rights successes in 2013. As most of these stories do, the author points to the money that NRA can raise and spend on protecting our rights.  What the article does not say is that the gun ban lobby actually outspent the pro-rights side in advertising in 2013.  Much of what the NRA spent was on lobbying.  Bloomberg can match what the NRA spends, and more.  But simple money is not what motivates legislators.  Getting the votes to win elections and keep their jobs does.  Can Bloomberg's money do that?  It didn't in Colorado. 

Many in the gun ban lobby point to the recent Virginia election where all three anti-rights candidates won, and Bloomberg invested $3 million in the last couple of weeks of the campaign, as proof the tide is turning.  But the top of the Republican ticket ran a terrible campaign, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe avoided the subject until most polls showed him with a comfortable double digit lead.  It can be argued that his final margin of approximately two points rather than the more sizable margins indicated in late polls, was caused by his pivot to gun control.  It should also be noted that the two Northern Virginia House of Delegates races in which Bloomberg invested did not go his way.

The NPR story also talked about the other lesson learned by the gun ban lobby - that an energized grassroots  is what really makes a difference:
But 2013 also reminded everyone that sometimes money can't substitute for good old-fashioned grass-roots organizing. The NRA coordinated its base well in 2013, Glaze points out.  
"NRA has owned this issue for a generation. They've had the only political operation," he says. "They have the grass-roots strength, and we simply weren't there yet. But we're getting there."
The real question is, can the gun ban lobby create a grassroots movement of over 5 million dues paying members, and an even larger group of like minded people who are willing to act at a moment's notice?

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