They came. They roared. They're being ignored. The top lieutenants of the Million Mom March have been put in their proper place: far back, out of sight, on the margins of national debate and the presidential campaign.
Led by Democratic political operative Donna Dees-Thomases, gun-control advocates in tennis shoes descended on Washington, D.C., in May, intent on turning election 2000 into a referendum on arms. Democrats were convinced the maternal lobbying effort would give Vice President Al Gore, their gun-grabbing candidate for the White House, unstoppable momentum. The Million Mom March's political arm raised $1 million for anti-gun candidates. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., boasted that his party would capitalize on gun-control sentiment and "hang" the issue around Republicans' "necks on Election Day."
Looks like Gore, Kennedy, and their noose-wielding allies got entangled in their own extremism. The Million Mom Marchers' call for "sensible gun laws" -- government restriction upon restriction cloaked in moderate rhetoric -- has been rejected by the majority of Americans who support the constitutional right to bear arms.
It finally dawned on the bright lights of the Gore campaign that you can't demonize thousands and thousands of gun-owning voters in swing states and expect their support on election day. Gore, who once promised to "do whatever it takes" to enact the major proposals of the gun prohibition agenda, used to rail against the National Rifle Association. During the primary, he bragged of helping "to pass the toughest new gun-control measures in a generation." He vociferously endorsed the MMM platform, which includes requiring every handgun buyer to obtain a photo license and pass a safety test; limiting handgun purchases to one a month; and closing the so-called "gun-show loophole."
Now Gore has thrown off his anti-gun marching shoes in favor of hunting boots and buffalo plaid. Epiphany! It's not just right-wingers who care about the Second Amendment. It's Gore's own base -- union members, lunch-bucket Democrats, armed citizens in suburban hamlets in Ohio and Pennsylvania, sportsmen in liberal Wisconsin, riflewomen in the Nader-lands of Oregon and Washington state.
The garrulous Gore turned reticent when asked during the final debate about his gun-control agenda. Instead of elaborating on the copious details of his plan to regulate gun ownership to death, he hurriedly assured the undecideds that he and George W. Bush "agree on some things" and that "none of my proposals would have any effect on hunters or sportsmen or people who use rifles." Then, as gun-control advocates are fond of doing, Gore hastily changed the topic.
The Million Mom lobby wields a large arsenal of sad tales and emotional appeals, but they don't have a hankie big enough to conceal the facts about gun ownership. Armed Americans prevent crimes an estimated two million times a year. The chance of serious injury from an attack is more than twice as great for women offering no resistance than for those resisting with a gun. One additional woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women by about three to four times more than one additional man carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for men.
"We all own firearms or know someone who does. I used one to save my life from an attacker," Debra Collins, Colorado State Coordinator for Second Amendment Sisters, notes. "The anti-gun factions constantly say if it saves one life it's worth it. Well, my firearm saved one life -- mine -- and I promise you my mother thinks it was worth it."
And so, apparently, does the megaphone of the Million Mom March -- left-leaning talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell. It's worth recalling that while she voiced opposition to concealed handgun laws in May and told Cokie Roberts that "I also think you shouldn't buy a gun anywhere," O'Donnell soon after hired for her children a bodyguard who applied for a concealed gun permit.
Personal actions speak louder than political words. The marginalization of the Million Mom Marchers did not come at the hands of the NRA, but at the hands of howling gun-control hypocrites themselves.