- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The White House just realized it had to at least pretend to listen to America’s 100 million gun owners. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. invited a representative from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to attend a White House meeting with anti-gun groups scheduled to take place Thursday.

Up to now, gun owners have been left out of President Obama’s task force seeking “solutions” to gun violence by the end of the month. The simultaneous high-profile media blitz is meant to ready the public for radical limits on the Second Amendment.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appears to be calling the shots. The billionaire is exploiting the second anniversary of the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords with a new TV advertisement running in 20 markets where there have been mass shootings, including Tucson, Ariz.; Roanoke, Va.; Denver; and Milwaukee, along with Washington, D.C.

It features the mother of a 9-year-old girl killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School saying, “I have one question for our political leaders. When will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby?” Hizzoner’s “Demand a Plan” initiative intends to impose government background checks on private sales, ban guns that have certain cosmetic features and outlaw “high-capacity” magazines.

Ms. Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, announced Tuesday they have started “Americans for Responsible Solutions” to raise money to fight gun-rights groups. “We saw from the NRA leadership’s defiant and unsympathetic response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre that winning even the most common-sense reforms will require a fight,” the couple wrote in a USA Today op-ed.

They were not specific regarding what laws they will be pushing, but they hinted at a shared agenda with Mr. Bloomberg by suggesting the need to do something about “weapons designed for the battlefield” on our streets.

James J. Baker, director of federal relations for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, will attend the White House confab. NRA President David Keene says his organization is facing the most brazen gun-grabbing push in recent memory.

“It has been clear since the Newtown tragedy that the anti-Second Amendment crowd sees what happened there as giving them their best shot in years of attaining at least some and perhaps most of their substantive goals,” Mr. Keene told The Washington Times. “They are better prepared for this effort than ever. They have the president, the media and the messaging expertise they haven’t had in the past — thanks largely to Mr. Bloomberg’s willingness to spend any amount he thinks they will need to coordinate and advance their activities.”

Recent polls show the public isn’t buying the gun-control arguments. “This is going to be a long and tough fight because if they cannot roll back Second Amendment rights this time, they may not get another chance for years or even decades,” Mr. Keene said.

Though the pro-gun organization will be outnumbered at Mr. Biden’s meeting, it’s really Mr. Bloomberg and his allies who are in the minority. The American public has seen crime fall as gun ownership and concealed-carry laws have been on the rise. With luck, this truth will combine with the NRA’s lobbying muscle to defeat Mr. Bloomberg’s well-funded schemes.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.