A shameless group of guns rights organizations, apparently blind to its extraordinary lack of sensitivity and good taste, is declaring Dec. 14 — the anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School — “Guns Save Lives Day.”
The Second Amendment Foundation, a group based in Washington state, is organizing the day with help from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and DefendingGunRights.com.
An organization called Political Media, which describes itself on its website as a “Republican New Media consulting firm” is listed as a sponsor of the event.
According to a news release from SAF, the groups are holding the day on the anniversary of the shootings “because crazy people, criminals and gun control extremists prefer unarmed victims.”
Alan Gottlieb, the president of SAF, told the Seattle Times earlier this week that his organization doesn't “want the gun prohibition lobby to own that day.”
Here's a question Gottlieb would be wise to consider: Insomuch as anyone “owns” the day, shouldn't it be the victims' families and the people of Newtown?
As the organizers of Sandy Hook Promise put it in a statement issued to the Register: “The day, one year after our children and loved ones were murdered, is a day for parents to hug their children and people to embrace their families, not a day to talk about guns.”
Though he's apparently unsure what exactly gun rights groups will do, Gottlieb told the Times he's expecting 200 of them in all 50 states to take part in the day.
Here's a piece of advice to Gottlieb and other organizers:
Pick another day.
Using one of the darkest days in our state's history for political gain — especially when most of the victims' families and most local officials have come out on the opposite side of the political debate — shows a loathsome disregard for the overwhelming emotions sure to be present that day.
Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra said in an email that for the pro-gun groups to use the Sandy Hook tragedy for political gain is disrespectful to the Newtown community and “of particularly insensitive timing.”
“I respect their right to promote their beliefs regarding guns,” Llodra added. “I ask that they respect our community and not use us for their purposes.”
The website promoting the day of action says that “no one at Newtown should have been a victim and no one in the future should be victimized by laws that do not allow people to defend themselves.”
We agree wholeheartedly that no one in Newtown that day should have been a victim. But the notion that less strict gun control laws could have somehow prevented the Sandy Hook shootings is deeply flawed.
Insomuch as anything could have prevented the events of that awful day, it's stricter gun control laws that would have prevented Adam Lanza from having access to guns in the first place, or magazine limits that would have prevented him from firing 154 rounds in less than five minutes.
The website promoting the groups' day of action also asks supporters to sign a bizarre petition that has nothing to do with preventing future mass shootings, but focuses instead on the government's supposed intention to disarm citizens in an effort to take away their rights and impose a tyranny.
The Second Amendment Foundation says its mission is to “better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.”
Our view of the consequences of gun control is a whole lot different than the SAF's, but we respect the group's right to carry out its mission, no matter how fundamentally flawed and misguided it is.
We're horrified, though, they've chosen to exploit the anniversary of the shootings to further their agenda.