Nearly two years later, Watts works full-time as the head of the group, now named Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, is a significant player in a coalition financed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But while polls suggest a majority of Americans still support an assault weapons ban, it is no longer one of Watts’ top priorities.
“We’ve very much changed our strategy to focus on public safety measures that will save the most lives,” she told ProPublica.
It’s not just that the ban proved to be what Watts calls a “nonstarter” politically, gaining fewer votes in the Senate post-Sandy Hook than background check legislation. It was also that as Watts spoke to experts and learned more about gun violence in the United States, she realized that pushing for a ban isn’t the best way to prevent gun deaths.
A 2004 Justice Department-funded evaluation found no clear evidence that the decade-long ban saved any lives. The guns categorized as “assault weapons” had only been used in about 2 percent of gun crimes before the ban. “Should it be renewed,” the report concluded, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
With more information, Watts decided that focusing on access to guns, not types of guns, was a smarter approach. She came to the same conclusion that other gun control groups had reached even before the Sandy Hook shootings: “Ultimately,” she said, “what’s going to save the most lives are background checks.“
I figure the author is your average journo with no real studies on the Gun Issue and only the bare narrative on the Violence issue. The Assault Weapons ban renewal that the Gun Control activists wanted via Senator Feinstein died at birth for being so over-reaching and onerous. Now if that was the only thing they tried to get passed during that time, the article would have made sense, but we do remember that when the desire for another AWB was quenched, they immediately latched to the Universal Background Checks which also failed to gain the necessary traction in Congress.
More than a year and a half after inception and with all the brain-power and cash influx, Shannon Watts and Moms Demand have proven to be a very unsuccessful lobby group. For a group that was founded by PR specialist and has access to the best PR companies in NY, the best Watts & Co. have been able to achieve was to have some corporations throw out a press release with non-binding resolutions about allowing guns in their properties and only after a barrage of publicity targeted at such companies. If that sounds familiar, it is because it is the preferred tactic of the Reverend Jesse Jackson way back when he was relevant and only because he played the Race Card. Some have accused Jackson of using this tactic more to line his coffers with cash rather than actual social justice and the betterment of race relations. You be the judge.
I don’t make the mistake of discounting Shannon and her group: They have the money and they have the Media Access we could only hope to have in a dream, but you can only push sizzle for so long before people demand to taste the steak and Moms Demand only have a soundtrack, not real meat on the grill.
We are the 12 hour full hog in the BBQ pit: Long and laborious but tasty and fulfilling. And we don’t get our picante sauce from NY City either.