- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2013

Saturday marks the first anniversary of one of the saddest days in American history. A homicidal maniac, Adam Lanza, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 young children and six teachers.

While the families of the victims and the Newtown, Conn., community have asked the media to stay away during the memorial, gun-control activists are shamelessly using Dec. 14 to push their own agenda.

President Obama’s political arm, Organizing for Action, is encouraging its supporters to host a “Newtown anniversary event” on SaturdayActivists will be provided with training, tools and information about the White House’s “Gun Violence Prevention” campaign.

The same day, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Moms Demand Action have scheduled 50 events around the country to declare that they will “never again listen to
those who say it’s too soon after a senseless tragedy like Sandy Hook to discuss gun reform.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s group seems to use the mothers as a more palatable front for its radical politics. For the public relations blitz, the two groups released a new TV ad — paid for by Hizzoner — that shows what appears to be a young male entering an unlocked elementary school with a rifle in his bag. Shock value trumps decency.

These publicity events continue a terrible pattern of exploitation that started the day of the Newtown tragedy. Mr. Bloomberg didn’t pause after news of the children killed before releasing a statement that same day calling on the president to send a bill immediately to Congress to “fix this problem.”

Just 48 hours after the shooting, Mr. Obama asked at a prayer vigil in Connecticut: “Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of freedom?”

That was a scare tactic. Mass shootings — defined as four or more people killed by a stranger in a public place — are not happening every year to children.

The fact is that mass shootings, while shocking and terrifying, have neither increased or decreased during the past 30 years, according to the Congressional Research Service. They account for an average of 18 deaths a year. In 2012, the FBI reports, there were 8,855 homicides by firearms in the United States.

Nevertheless, Mr. Obama tasked Vice President Joe Biden five days after Newtown to come up with “concrete proposals” for gun control within a month.

The White House gun-control agenda announced in January included resurrecting the bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines, mandating government background checks for all firearms exchanges and 23 executive actions that did not require congressional approval.

The politicians and gun-control advocates who used Sandy Hook to push for long-desired political goals have two advantages in the battle over the Second Amendment. Mr. Obama is safely in a second term, and Mr. Bloomberg is willing to spend tens of millions of his billions to enact his agenda.

While not able to obliterate the Constitution, they have been successful in passing new gun-control laws in some states. Yet, not one of these statutes will do a single thing to decrease violence nor prevent another shooting like Newtown.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was first out of the gate. In January, he signed into law a ban on magazines that hold more than seven rounds (the lowest number in the nation) and a so-called “assault-weapons ban” that prohibited rifles from having even one feature like a collapsible stock. Reportedly, Mr. Bloomberg’s staff wrote the actual legislation.

Over the following few months, Mr. Obama campaigned around the country for gun control while Mr. Bloomberg spent tens of millions of dollars on ads supporting the false narrative that these laws would make people safer.

In fact, extensive studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by Harvard University have proved that no gun-control law has ever reduced violence.

Within the year, major firearms laws passed in Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, California and Colorado. While all these statutes are being challenged in court as unconstitutional, it will take a long time to work through the system.

This year has shown how easy it is to lose basic rights in the face of big money and power.

However, gun grabbers were not able to win on Capitol Hill, despite having the upper hand because they were on the wrong side of the public will. Mr. Bloomberg blew through more than $12 million in three weeks leading up to the Senate vote in April.

Still, the Senate amendment known as Manchin-Toomey that would have required federal approval for every private firearm exchange fell six votes short of passage. The bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines did not even receive a majority vote.

Despite these losses, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross told reporters this week that it was wrong to think that “Manchin-Toomey is won and done.” He added, “That’s not how it worked with the original Brady gun law. It took six votes over seven years. We’re on the right trajectory here.”

But Americans’ desire for more restrictions on gun rights, which went up after Newtown, has fallen back to previous levels over the course of the year. A CNN poll released Dec. 4 shows that support for stricter gun-control laws fell from 55 percent in January to 49 percent in November.

None of us can know the pain the Newtown victims’ families are going through this week. That grieving community has asked for privacy and should get it.

This is not a time for rallies, politicking or public relations. This is a time to pray for the souls of the departed and for God’s grace to comfort the mourners.

Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).

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