That was fast. Save for a few TV talking heads, chatter about new gun controls has faded away just a week after the anti-gun rage over Jared Loughner's extended-cartridge Glock 19. Duke professor Philip Cook told Salon it's likely because "Those who favor a modicum of gun regulation are on the defensive, as the Second Amendment Foundation and other such groups attack in the courts." Bellevue's SAF is indeed busy challenging gun laws in several states and launching hypocritical attacks on their foes. Opponents, meanwhile, are busy backpedaling in an increasingly pro-gun nation.
The two opposing lobbies are very different. The gun-rights lobby consists of a grass-roots membership who are gun enthusiasts. The gun-control lobby consists mainly of the family members of crime victims. And the number of gun enthusiasts dwarf the number of victims.
Over at SAF, headed by Alan Gottlieb (his e-mail handle is "gun nut"), they recently filed a challenge against a New Jersey law that requires citizens to show "justifiable need" to carry guns. "The way Garden State officials consistently abuse their authority to deny handgun licenses under existing statute is simply unconstitutional," says Gottlieb in a press release, "and our case will prove that."
SAF's strategy is to constantly challenge any laws, generating headlines and attracting more members in the process. Big targets are Gottlieb's specialty: Last October he sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the FBI over federal denial of rights to gun owners with misdemeanors. Earlier he took on Barack Obama, and won.
As usual, Gottlieb and other pro-gunners have seized on the victims mowed down in Tucson as an opportunity rather than a setback, even though he thinks it's "despicable" that anti-gunners tried to do the same. "We find it unconscionable that the gun prohibition lobby wasted no time at all in its attempt to exploit this hideous attack [in Tucson] as part of an effort to further its political agenda.
"When will these people stop dancing in the blood of crime victims in an attempt to resuscitate their relevance?" If you've ever met Gottlieb, then you know that after he issued that statement, he went to the computer to watch the new memberships roll in.