The Gun Control Movement Is Asking The NBA For Some Help–And They Got It

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 24, 2015 6:30 PM
The Gun Control Movement Is Asking The NBA For Some Help–And They Got It

The NBA is teaming up with Everytown for Gun Safety on gun violence. A new ad is set to reach millions of Americans during tomorrow’s games. As The New York Times wrote, this Christmas media blitz doesn’t include policy recommendations or the words “gun control.” Instead, it focuses on the bipartisan and noncontroversial goal of ending gun violence. Yet, we all know former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s stance on the Second Amendment, and that of his umbrella organizations he uses for anti-gun advocacy. The publication added that the NBA is not worried about the political consequences of weighing into one of the most intense debates in country, and that it was Spike Lee who brokered the partnership between the NBA and Everytown:

Players who appear in the first 30-second ad, which will run five times on Friday, speak in personal terms about the effects of gun violence on their lives. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors describes hearing of a 3-year-old’s shooting: “My daughter Riley’s that age,” he says. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers recalls the advice he heeded as a child: “My parents used to say, ‘A bullet doesn’t have a name on it.’”

The N.B.A. said it held little internal debate about working with Mr. Bloomberg’s group. “We know far too many people who have been caught up in gun violence in this country,” said Kathleen Behrens, the league’s president of social responsibility and player programs. “And we can do something about it.”

[…]

The Bloomberg-N.B.A. partnership was brokered by an unlikely figure: Spike Lee, a member of Everytown’s creative council, whose latest film, “Chi-Raq,” set on Chicago’s South Side, confronts gun violence with an unflinching eye.

Over breakfast at the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan in November, not long before the movie was released earlier this month, Mr. Lee proposed the idea for the ads to John Skipper, the president of ESPN, who then took it to Adam Silver, the N.B.A.’s commissioner. Mr. Lee insisted on the participation of Everytown, with which he collaborated on a protest march down Broadway after the film’s New York premiere.

In an interview, he sounded many of the themes that Mr. Bloomberg himself has emphasized in the past, saying it was time for “common sense anti-gun laws.”

“But because of the N.R.A., politicians and the gun manufacturers, we’re dying under that tyranny,” Mr. Lee said

Haven’t they tried this tactic before? In the wake of horrific Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children dead in 2012–the anti-gun crowd felt political winds blowing against the NRA and gun rights. They touted how their email lists have expanded and cited the polling showing the American people were behind them. That wasn’t the case. 

An expanded email list doesn’t mean there will be an increased level of advocacy. As for polling, it depends on how it’s worded. After Newtown, a solid majority favored a ban on semi-automatic weapons, but Americans have been dead set against a handgun ban since the 1980s. The point is that a handgun is a semiautomatic weapons system. The vast majority of firearms in the U.S. are semiautomatic. If explained, Americans would quickly learn that such a policy initiative is essentially a gun ban, which would not be palatable to the electorate.    

More Americans view guns as a solution to curbing crime. For the first time in 20 years, more Americans oppose an assault weapons ban than support it–and support for gun rights is at a 25-year high. Yes, there’s the Gallup poll showing 55 percent of Americans want stricter gun laws, but 56 percent also feel that more concealed firearms would make us safer. Again, it’s how the questions are framed. Loosening concealed carry laws is most certainly not in accordance with the left’s stricter gun laws agenda. 

In the end, the gun control movement found themselves at square one again. Support for stricter gun laws quickly returned to pre-Newtown levels by December of 2013–and that was after the anti-gun left exploited the deaths of these children to push their agenda. Gun control advocates seemed to have forgotten another problem with this debate; it splits the Democrats right down the middle.

No, I’m not pro-gun violence. No one is; it’s an absurd notion. No law-abiding gun owner is either, but this push to have a dialogue about it from the NBA when they’re partnered with a Bloomberg organization that is notoriously anti-gun isn’t fooling anyone. Yes, families and professional basketball players may be the faces of this media buy, but it’s the anti-gun left that is really doing the talking. They’re maneuvering to place the Second Amendment in the crosshairs. And if you think it’s not happening, just read Katie’s post about what Virginia’s Attorney General did concerning CCW reciprocity.

This campaign with the NBA is a rehash of what the gun control movement has been doing before; they’re just leaving some portions of the anti-gun script on the cutting room floor.