We’ve recently posted on the PR components of our nation’s latest debate over gun control. Topics include the NRA‘s media strategies and a new campaign from Michael Bloomberg‘s advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which made waves with a viral video featuring A-list celebrities voicing support for the group’s “DemandAPlan” initiative.
Today brings news of another related campaign, this one created by the American politician who has the most direct experience with real-world gun violence. Exactly two years ago, former Arizona representative Gabriel “Gabby” Giffords was shot in the head by a mentally unstable individual who also killed six bystanders and wounded 12 others.
Giffords’s group, called Americans for Responsible Solutions, officially launched this morning with a web page and a USA Today op-ed. ARS hasn’t outlined many specific proposals, but its stated goal is to “launch a national dialogue and raise funds to counter influence of the gun lobby” in order to encourage Congress to pass relevant laws.
Like all things related to gun control, this initiative won’t advance without controversy: a Connecticut politician already took to her Facebook page to decry a recent visit by Giffords and her former astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, to family members of Sandy Hook shooting victims.
One point: the #DemandAPlan celebrity video received a good bit of backlash from unofficial groups opposed to gun control laws. The point these groups made, via various video hodgepodges, was that the stars who decried gun violence somehow simultaneously promoted said violence by acting in movies and shows that included scenes in which various characters died by gunfire.
We find this “hypocrisy” argument tenuous at best, but it does illustrate one advantage of the Giffords initiative: no one could legitimately make the same claim against her.
We honestly don’t have much faith in the ability of Americans for Responsible Solutions to bring about any form of definitive change, but we do believe that Ms. Giffords, like James Brady before her, could be a valuable public voice in the ongoing debate. Small steps.