The Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety announced on Monday a new gambit for creating pressure on candidates to move, finally, in the direction of stricter gun laws: the group will offer them a survey. Everytown – one of several sane competitors playing the long game against the National Rifle Association’s stranglehold on violence in America – will make politicians put their positions on firearm restrictions, however convoluted, on the record. As the head of the organization, which has$50m in Bloomberg backing to the NRA’s untold millions, pronounced:“Now we’re going toe-to-toe with the gun lobby.”
This has the feel of a good idea, because it is one – one already employed, simply to opposite effect, by the NRA itself. Everytown isn’t offering a counterweight to the NRA’s rating system, it is duplicating it … just without the grades. What information could an anti-gun voter would find in the Everytown questionnaire that the NRA hasn’t ferreted out itself? It will tell you who to vote for as surely as a National Right-to-Life rating will direct a voter concerned about preserving the right to choose.
The NRA’s ratings are a symptom of its success, not the cause. And the idea that voters are just waiting to vote against pro-gun candidates – if they only knew who they were – badly misdiagnoses the disconnect between gun-control activists and Americans in general.