Misinformed Moms March
May 13, 2001
The Million Mom March attracted a crowd of
150-200 May 13 at the Denver State Capitol. Below the steps, 140 civil arms
activists rallied for the right of self-defense, as the Second Amendment Sisters
held a separate event in Loveland.
The title "Million Mom March" is
misleading in two respects: first, there were never anywhere near a million
demonstrators or members of the group; and second, the group does not consist of
mothers. Instead, the group's flyer refers to the "thousands of mothers and
others who participated in the Million Mom March" (emphasis
added). I estimate about half the crowd May 13 was male. But I won't quibble:
just bear in mind that the "Million Moms" are neither of those things,
even though I'll use the title or an abbreviation.
The Million Moms were peaceful and
civic-minded. They waved carnations in unison to patriotic music. They listened
to fluffy platitudes from a string of impressive speakers. They waved pretty,
prefabricated signs with a pistol scribbled out and replaced by a bouquet of
And they spewed lie after lie after lie.
The first paragraph of the Million Mom flyer
handed out at the rally alleges:
Every day a dozen children die, and many more
are seriously injured, by guns. They are victims of homicide, suicide, and
unintentional shootings made easy by access to guns.
It's astounding that this lie is repeated after
it has been proven false so many times. The "twelve children"
statistic includes legal adults ages 18 and up. It also includes self-defense
In terms of homicide, the statistic is driven
largely by gang violence. Unfortunately, the Million Mom flyer obfuscates this
point, for its next paragraph reads, "This is personal, not political. We
are in this for one reason only: to keep our kids safe." The implication is
that the "twelve children" statistic is somehow relevant to most
parents. I would be willing to bet that exactly zero of the parents at the
Million Moms rally have children who are gang members. The group seemed to be
composed mostly of yuppies and the well-off middle class. It is indeed
unfortunate that the Million Moms waste everybody's time by proposing policies
which so obviously will fail to address the actual problem.
The statement that suicide
is "made easy by access to guns" is also a lie. Instead, people who
want to commit suicide can easily switch to other means. For instance, the
suicide rate in Japan is around 2.5 times higher than it is in the United
States. People in Japan don't shoot themselves, but they drown themselves or
substitute some other means. The Million Moms don't attempt to explain why they
think suicide by drowning or asphyxiation or car crash or whatever is an
improvement over suicide by shooting.
The Million Moms are long on flowery rhetoric
and platitudes, but short on specifics. Their flyer claims Million Mom members
have joined together to demand sensible gun laws
that protect our children.... We want reasonable, common sense, enforceable
laws.... We're calling on Congress to pass a law requiring licensing of
handgun owners and registration of all handguns.... We also want Congress to
establish strict oversight of the gun industry.... Many gun injuries and
deaths can be prevented by setting and enforcing gun safety standards.
Not once, not even for a single second, did the
Million Moms hear one shred of evidence or even a plausible theory as to how the
additional restrictions might improve public safety. Instead, their policies
would almost certainly increase violent crime rates. John
Lott has found that a slew of gun restrictions have raised the cost of
purchasing a gun for self-defense, in terms of dollars and red tape hassles, or
simply prevented the purchase of a defensive gun by some, thereby leaving some
people defenseless and giving criminals the advantage. Mandatory registration of
guns and their owners with the federal government would only serve to further
disarm law-abiding citizens, without impacting criminal behavior.
(Actually, if anything the Million Mom's
proposals will only serve to heighten criminal activity directly by creating a
violent black market such as currently exists for several drugs. If the Million
Moms are concerned about the gun homicide rate now, they should look at the
figures once they create a system of turf wars and gang trade in guns.)
In terms of BATF regulation of gun
manufacturing, unintentional firearm deaths have been declining steadily over
the past century. Guns are already supremely safe in and of themselves. When you
look at the details, the "Congressional oversight" of the gun industry
consists of letting the BATF ban any type of gun it wants at whim. Again, this
will help strip the law-abiding citizenry of their defensive guns and thereby
increase violent crime.
By the terms "sensible,"
"reasonable," and "common sense," the Million Moms
apparently mean, "completely unsubstantiated or demonstrably false."
The Million Moms distributed another flyer
titled, "Asking Saves Kids." (This program is discussed in http://www.co-freedom.com/2001/05/bigotedmoms.html.)
As noted in the linked article, all parents should want their children to play
where they are monitored by responsible adults. However, to target gun owners
for ostracization, given that more children die of burns, water, and choking, is
simply to display bigotry.
The flyer begins, "Over 40% of homes with
children have a gun." That's a good thing, as those children are kept safer
from violent criminals. (In fact, even children in homes without guns are kept
safer by those parents who choose to assume the responsibility of self-defense,
as criminals don't usually know which house might contain the gun. It's ironic
that the Million Moms free-load in this way off the gun owners who were
The back flap of the flyer offers a bit more
detail: "Over 40% of homes with children have a gun and many of those guns
are left unlocked and loaded." You've got to love the precision:
"many." A thoughtful reader might ask, "HOW many?" True,
some irresponsible parents keep guns loaded where young children can get to
them. That's bad parenting and probably criminal child abuse.
However, the vast majority of gun owners handle
their firearms responsibly. Given that more children ages 0-14 die every year
from fires than from unintentional gun shootings, one has to wonder why there is
no "Movement to End Match Violence." ("The Movement to End Gun
Violence" is listed on the flyer.) For comparison, consider the following
possible quote: "Over 90% of homes with children have matches and many of
those matches are left unlocked and near a striker." The fact that the
"Asking Saves Kids" program singles out gun owners has nothing to do
with safety and everything to do with politics.
The political message comes through loud and
ASK if they have a gun in the home. If there is
not a gun in the home... great! That's one less thing you have to worry about.
If there is a gun, make sure that the gun is stored unloaded and locked,
ideally in a gun safe, with ammunition locked separately.
This statement completely disregards the
demonstrated usefulness of guns for use in defense against violent criminals.
This is consistent with the policies of, say, Handgun Control, Inc., whose
leaders have said the only appropriate use of a gun is hunting and guns not so
intended should be banned.
The Orwellian overtones are no longer subtle.
The "Asking Saves Kids" program actively encourages parents to
ostracize gun owners. Project Exile actively encourages citizens to turn their
neighbors over to federal authorities if they are suspected of owning property
arbitrarily defined as illegal.
History of the last century demonstrates that
children are safest when they live in a free society, not one marred by reams of
arbitrarily written and enforced laws that serve only to harass honest citizens.
The Million Moms also distributed a report from
the United States Conference of Mayors (Wellington E. Webb, President). This
report, issued in April 2001 and titled "The Death Toll Since
On January 27 of this year, during the
Conference's Winter Meeting in Washington, the mayors unveiled a wall
identifying nearly 3,100 victims of gun violence from April 20 until the end
of 1999 in 100 cities. For each day following the Columbine incident it listed
the name and age of each person killed with a firearm -- a dramatic
illustration of the magnitude of the problem.
The group specifically advocates "gun
safety measures that would close existing legal loopholes and offer greater
protections for children." The first goal is clearly a reference to making
it illegal to purchase a gun at a gunshow from a private seller without first
registering with the federal government. The second goal is more ambiguous, but
perhaps it refers to letting the BATF "regulate" firearms.
Here's the extraordinary part. On December 20,
two names are listed from Arkansas: Damon Pearson and Ray Watson. In the back of
the report, "Circumstances Surrounding Certain Gun Violence Deaths"
In the early morning hours of December 20, Damon
Pearson, 22, went to a residence with the intent of shooting a rival crack
dealer. Using a large caliber handgun, Pearson shot at least seven rounds
through two doors and a window of the residence. Two of the rounds struck and
killed 46-year-old Ray Watson -- not the intended victim -- who was visiting a
woman living there. One of the women residents admitted firing one shot from a
large caliber handgun at Pearson as he was leaving the front yard; this shot
struck and killed him.
In other words, because of government policies
which created a violent black market in crack cocaine, in this case resulting in
an innocent death and the death of the murderer, Webb and his associates want to
pass more laws which require peaceable citizens to register with the federal
government to buy a gun!
Austrian Economist Ludwig von Mises (who fled
Europe when Hitler came to power) argued eloquently that socialist controls
breed more socialist controls. In this case, drug prohibition has created
relatively high rates of violence in America, a situation used as a pretext to
introduce gun prohibition.
Reading through Webb's report is a surreal
One speaker at the Million Mom rally was
Laurelyn Baker, who claimed American Indians support victim disarmament laws.
That would be news to Russell Means, the first director of the American Indian
Movement who will come to town this coming weekend for the Libertarian
convention. In his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread, Means
The National Guard should return to its original
mission -- militias assembled in time of need to protect states against
incursions by the federal government. If we honored the Second Amendment,
which guarantees us the right to bear arms, we the citizens would be better
armed than our government. It could never force us to do anything.
He adds, "As an Indian and a Libertarian,
I saw that unless something was done to awaken the people... America will be the
first country to become fascist democratically -- a process that has already
But of course the Million Moms are not
interested in the opinions of people like Russell Means. Instead, they want to
pretend they have the support of moms, American Indians, and everyone else but
those NASTY gun owners. The Colorado leader of the Million Moms repeated the
bigoted comment made by National President Mary Leigh Blek (see http://www.co-freedom.com/2001/05/bigotedmoms.html)
suggesting gun owners do not love children.
The good news is that most people seem to be
rejecting the lies and slanders of the Million Moms. Maybe by next year we'll
all be able to stay home with our families on Mothers' Day.
Other Reports on the Multi-trillion Mom March: http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com/MMM.