Gun Control Wolves Put on Sheep’s Clothing, Head from DC to the States

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Two months after taking a beating in the 2014 midterm elections, the gun control lobby is revamping its language and redirecting its energies toward what it views as vulnerable states.

On January 2, The New York Times (NYT) reported this repackaging effort includes a focus on advocating “gun safety” rather than “gun control.” The goals of curtailing the exercise of Second Amendment rights remains the same, but gun control groups are trying to find a less offensive, less obvious way to present those goals.

The Huffington Post touched on this in December when they appealed to pro-gun control media outlets to rethink their language by considering how words like “gun control” make the gun control lobby appear bound and determined to take away gun rights. According to HuffPo, “Media (and pollsters) are also unwittingly reinforcing that message every time they frame gun policy as a debate between gun rights and ‘gun control.'”

Beyond language, the NYT also reports that the gun control lobby is shifting its focus away from the federal level, instead looking for states where gun control can be pushed by circumventing lawmakers, as they did with Washington state’s I-594. They are currently considering Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Maine for such ballot initiatives.

They have had the idea of ballot initiatives before but have lacked the money to put their plans into action. But now, with tens of millions available from Michael Bloomberg and other one-percenters, the gun control lobby has the funding it needs to push for more regulations in more places.

Daniel Webster, of John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, suggests that even with the money and the changes in language, the push will be difficult, and he says gun control will have its best chance in states where new laws can be sold under the guise of reducing “domestic violence.” Webster asserts, “There is an uptick on that issue, even in red states and states with a lot of guns,” reports NYT.

The lesson? Beware. Gun control wolves are putting on sheep’s clothing.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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