By Larry Keane
of the National Shooting Sports Foundation
Gun control activists are lining their pockets with taxpayer-funded coronavirus economic relief while at the same time paying millions to antigun candidates who would crush the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.
The difficulty is deciding which is more infuriating, the wanton abuse of taxpayer-funded support for small businesses or the audacity of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence co-founders former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Arizona, Mark Kelly. Brady netted between $350,000 and $1 million, while Giffords grabbed between $150,000-$350,000. At the same time, Brady pledged $4 million for gun control in the 2020 election, and Giffords just announced a plan to spend $1.25 million in Colorado alone to support former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in his race against Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.
Since the coronavirus shutdowns began, background checks for gun sales skyrocketed to 5.4 million in the second quarter. NSSF estimated nearly 2.5 million are first-time buyers. At the same time, Brady solicitations for donations have been nonstop and Giffords spokesperson David Chipman has made multiple media appearances denigrating gun buyers.
American small businesses have done their best to navigate the unprecedented hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A near economic stall-out means millions have been temporarily laid off as businesses large and small shuttered. The firearm industry was hit as well, but most states followed Department of Homeland Security guidance deeming firearm-related businesses “essential” and, therefore, open. This was significant, as gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers employ more than 330,000 Americans and every employee has been critical during these uncertain times.
To help bridge the troubled waters for businesses, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provided Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for employers to keep workers on their payroll. Watchdogs have zeroed in on companies that received loans but could’ve gone without them. Brady and Giffords are using taxpayer dollars to keep their operations afloat, while spending millions to buy the gun control candidates they want, including Mark Kelly. Because money is fungible, American taxpayers are underwriting gun control organizations and their efforts to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of those taxpayers.
When asked about receiving PPP loans, Brady’s spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, “We just applied and were approved, obviously, under the same sort of criteria as others with concerns for payroll.”
Industry Real Solutions®
Through the difficult early months of 2020, the firearm industry has endured. Americans of all backgrounds and across party lines decided to take their safety and the protection of their families and property into their own hands. Local law enforcement has been stretched thin already throughout the coronavirus pandemic and now faces calls to defund police departments. Riots and looting broke out in cities across the country. Criminals were released from jails – and many quickly committed horrific crimes, including murdering children.
Firearm manufactures and retailers have kept Americans safe by providing important information and resources to gun buyers. Shooting ranges give gun owners opportunities to safely learn how to use their firearms and practice marksmanship. Industry employees supported each other and their communities.
The firearm industry will continue emphasizing efforts that have real impact on communities across the country. From Real Solutions and the problems of criminal and negligent misuse of firearms to #GUNVOTE® voter-education resources, the industry’s focus will remain on being responsible and safe stewards of firearm ownership and use, while also protecting taxpayer dollars in the process.