On April 17 Rolling Stone columnist Andrew Leahey tried to counter pushback on Tim McGraw’s Sandy Hook Promise gun control fundraiser by mocking Breitbart News’s reporting and then downplaying the group’s anti-gun agenda.
After covering Billy Currington’s pullout from the event, Leahey described McGraw as a principled gun rights advocate who was standing his ground against a hate mob. “One champion of the Second Amendment who isn’t backing down is McGraw, a gun owner and recreational hunter,” he wrote.
Of course, to Leahey, the fact that McGraw faced any controversy at all is just the result of silly outrage from right-wingers–crediting this author as the source of McGraw’s “trouble.”
He described Breitbart News as “a conservative website whose recent headlines include ‘Zoinks!: Clinton Parks “Scooby” Van in Handicap Space — Just Behind Vacant Spot!’ and ‘Bruce Willis and Demi Moore Daughter: Nipples Represent Equality.'”
These titles have nothing to do with McGraw, Chase Bryant, or gun control. This tactic is purely a red herring to tarnish Breitbart’s credibility based on two tongue-in-cheek takes on news stories. Rolling Stone, which recently had to retract a massive article–yet did not punish any of the responsible staff–is not exactly in a great place to taunt others about journalistic credibility.
Then, Leahey tried to argue that Sandy Hook Promise–the beneficiary of the gun control fundraiser–is benign to begin with.
Sandy Hook Promise, whose mission statement is to “protect children from gun violence so no other parent experiences the loss of their child,” doesn’t see itself as an anti-gun organization. The NPO’s website lists mental wellness programs and “firearm safety and security” as its main areas of focus, even offering tips for proper gun storage (“Make sure your guns are stored unloaded and separate from ammunition”) in a downloadable PDF.
What Leahey didn’t mention is that Sandy Hook Promise endorses and rallies behind gun control measures in states around the union.
For example, he did not mention that Sandy Promise opposed Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act in 2014, an act which expands the number of places citizens with a concealed carry permit can carry a gun. This is a bill that allows law-abiding citizens to have guns at the ready for self-defense in more places, but Sandy Hook Promise opposed it.
Ironically, they particularly opposed the fact that the bill would allow teachers to be armed to defend students in case of attack. They voiced their opposition by citing concerns that armed teachers might endanger students.
Leahey did not mention that Sandy Hook Promise supports Oregon’s SB 941, which will open the door to legalized gun confiscation in that state. Oregon Live reported that laws on the books already ban gun possession by people who undergo inpatient care, but SB 941 broadens that policy so judges will “determine” whether an individual ordered to receive outpatient mental care is unfit for gun possession.
Nor did Leahey mention that Sandy Hook Promise supports the federal background check bill put forth by Democrats and supported by Gabby Giffords in early March. This is a push for gun control for the sake of gun control, which is why this author covered the announcement of the push with a column titled, “Gabby Giffords: Everyone Should Have To Pass Background Check My Attacker Passed.”
The headline, which drew the ire of left-wing media, is entirely accurate. Giffords’ attacker–Jared Loughner–passed a background check to acquire the gun with which he attacked her, yet Giffords, Capitol Hill Democrats, and Sandy Hook Promise are still pushing background checks as a way to curb gun violence.
Think about this– Jared and Amanda Miller (Las Vegas), Aaron Ybarra (Seattle Pacific University), Elliot Rodger (Santa Barabara), Ivan Lopez (Fort Hood 2014), Darion Marcus Aguilar (Maryland mall), Karl Halverson Pierson (Arapahoe High School), Paul Ciancia (LAX), Aaron Alexis (DC Navy Yard), James Holmes (Aurora theater), Jared Loughner (Tucson), Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood 2009), Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech), and Naveed Haq (Seattle), all passed background checks for their firearms.
Two gunmen that didn’t bother with background checks–Jacob Roberts (Clackamas Town Center) and Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook)–stole their weapons, so no amount of gun control would have stopped them.
The pattern is clear. Sandy Hook Promise is supporting gun control measures around the country which will ultimately place restrictions on law-abiding citizens–who don’t need to be controlled–rather than criminals. And, like Rolling Stone, McGraw is ignoring this very clear pattern in his decision to help their gun control fundraiser.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.