Late last year, Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns joined forces with Moms Demand Action, a grassroots group formed after Sandy Hook, to form Everytown for Gun Safety. Yesterday, Everytown showed up at a hotel in Indianapolis, not far from where the NRA is holding its yearly convention, and rolled out a potentially devastating ad that hurls the words of the NRA, the Gun Owners of America and other Second Amendment absolutists right back at them.
The new political ad, which airs in Indianapolis and Washington, DC, through the weekend, uses the pro-gun advocates' own words to make the case against them. "The presence of a firearm makes us all safer," intones 30-year-old Antonius Wiriadjaja, reciting the words of NRA figurehead Wayne LaPierre as he pulls up his T-shirt to reveal multiple scars. Wiriadjaja, whom I interviewed in Indianapolis, was shot in the chest in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on July 5, 2013. The intended target was a young pregnant woman who was being hunted by her domestic partner; Wiriadjaja was a bystander caught in crossfire. Others easily could have been hit, he said. Though the woman was not injured, the shooting occurred in broad daylight with children nearby. "There were two little girls and their mother and an elderly man very close to me when it happened." (The suspected shooter is in custody.)Watch the full ad here.
There's also a shorter, 30-second version edited for television here. Everytown is also encouraging supporters to share the full version of the ad with the luminaries due to speak at the NRA convention. That list includes some of the usual suspects--Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal--but also the likes of Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke and the Indianapolis Colts' Adam Vinatieri.
This strategy sounds like a real winner--using the survivors of gun violence and the families of victims to tell their stories. One of those survivors was Jennifer Longdon, a gun owner and self-described supporter of the Second Amendment who was paralyzed after her car was pockmarked with bullets in 2004. Her then-fiancé was with her and was carrying at the time--but it did him no good, and he was severely injured as well. "He was a good guy with a gun," Longdon said, "and it didn't help."
On the same day, Everytown also released a report called "Not Your Grandparents' NRA" that reveals just how far out of touch the NRA is. That's no secret to most of us here--indeed, a good number of the RKBAers here wouldn't touch the NRA as presently constituted with a ten-foot pole. But this report argues that there's a significant schism within the NRA. It seems to back up polling that shows Wayne LaPierre and his cronies are way out of step with rank-and-file NRA members.
Hopefully this new ad will bring us one step closer to the day LaPierre finally pays the piper for his extremist and all-too-often dangerous agenda.