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Deciphering the HCI/MMM Merger

by Angel Shamaya
Founder/Executive Director
KeepAndBearArms.com

The cat is now out of the bag.  Handgun Control, Inc. -- who wishes to now be called "The Brady Campaign", a wish I do not grant -- is taking the bankrupt (financially and morally) and misnamed "Million" Mom March under their socialist wing.

This makes a lot of sense, actually.  For a lot of reasons.

First, MMM was barely able to get 200 people to the mall in D.C. for their second attempt to whine our rights away on Mother's Day.  They make clever, emotion-rich sound bites, but they don't have much pull, truth be told.

Next, strident activists such as Jim March got them ousted from their San Francisco headquarters and exposed them for abusing public funds.  They need some shelter -- from themselves and their management. They need a Sugar Daddy.

Scott Harmon, a hardline constitutionalist from Texas, had some interesting observations today regarding the merger:

"Well, I suppose that is another brilliant strategic move. Let's see, MMM is bankrupt, has seen a dramatic fall in membership, and couldn't mount a fraction of the numbers of last year for this year's march. HCI has been vocal, but lacked money. This looks like good news for our side. By the time HCI tries to fund MMM, tries to integrate the dregs of the management team still there, and hold on to apolitical feel good mom's, who might join MMM, but who probably won't want to be dragged into the HCI morass, I guess they'll have a lot less time to hassle gun owners."

But more than all of that, we now know one thing for sure: We the Constitutionalists are winning. Why do I say that?  Consider the following:

1)  Handgun Control, Inc., who has supported bans but no longer openly admits to their full agenda publicly, just invested time, energy and money to change their name and their face: http://www.BradyCampaign.org.  Their new intended name is "Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence."  Gun control is a loser, so much so that the largest, oldest gun control organization can't keep their own, well-known name.

2)  MMM couldn't make it on its own, even with the backing of the media who has given them scads of free press from their "humble" beginnings. Something that sounds so good on the surface -- but isn't once you dig deeper -- is also a loser.  In the Handgun Control, Inc. press release announcing the merging of HCI and MMM, we find the following quote:

"This alliance sends a clear message that the gun control movement is uniting and targeted," said Sarah Brady.

Actually, the message is not that unification is taking place, but rather that dispersed units are forming into fuller units due to depletion -- much like when companies of troops in wartime lose enough members that they must band with other fragmented units in order to simply function.  Sarah's spinmeisters have a great sense of humor; surely some of the anti-constitution sheep are buying.

Then there is the internal HCI/MMM memo I received today that includes a letter allegedly written by Donna Dees-Thomases and Mary Leigh Blek.  This one offers all kinds of meaty insight into these folks who want to strip your gun cabinet clean and who are celebrating the fact that the federal government is violating federal law by keeping records of your gun purchases.  (The entire memo is contained in this page, below.)

In this memo, obtained by one of many moles hanging out on various HCI/MMM email lists, the following quotes are found:

1)  "The Brady Campaign and Brady Center Board of Trustees will be responsible for decision making for MMM..."

That's enlightening. Brady calling the shots for Blek and Dees-Thomases.

2)  "...to assist chapters and speak publicly for the Moms."

MMM needs Brady to speak for them now.

3)  "This alliance ties-in directly with the Brady Campaign and Brady Center's overall strategic plan to raise an army of supporters."

The kind of "army" these anti-rights people can raise is no match for the unorganized militia, should they push too far.  Let the mommies remember that.

4)  "No one likes to talk about the dreaded 501c3 and c4. So, for now, let's keep things as they are until the Brady Campaign has a chance to jump in and help us make these decisions."

Jim March likes to talk about it.

5)  "A summer "listening tour" is planned to get chapter input before final decisions are made."

Count on plenty of liberty advocates to be present at said events, "listening."

 

HCI/MMM Internal Memo Regarding Merger

Brady Campaign/Center Alliance with Million Mom March
Frequently Asked Questions - FOR INTERNAL USE
June 26, 2001

Q: Will the MMM chapters continue to exist? What does this mean for the structure of the organization?

Yes, MMM chapters will continue as they always have. Each chapter will have to sign a new agreement to work with the Brady Campaign and Brady Center, but each chapter will be autonomous in its decision-making capabilities under the guiding principles of the Brady Campaign and Center. Our goal is to facilitate a bottom-up culture of grassroots, while helping to provide guidance and tools from the national level.

Q: Who will be in charge of the MMM?

The Brady Campaign and Brady Center Board of Trustees will be responsible for decision making for MMM, just as they are for all of the Brady Campaign and Center's programs. We will be adding a total of three seats to our Board of Trustees to accommodate a voice for the MMM. One seat will be a full three-year term on the Brady Campaign, another a full three-year term on the Brady Center. In addition, a third leader of the MMM will serve a member-elected one-year term on the Brady Center, just as members elect a one-year Brady Campaign board.

Q: Will there be separate MMM staff working at the Brady Campaign and Brady Center?

We will be hiring staff dedicated to MMM activities, including a director to assist chapters and speak publicly for the Moms. All staff will be employees of the Brady Campaign and Brady Center and their efforts will be effectively integrated into all of our programmatic activities. In addition, as stated above, MMM leadership will have representation on our Board of Trustees to provide input and guidance from a grassroots perspective.

Q: Will there be any change in the number of employees at the Brady Campaign/Brady Center due to this alliance?

Yes. We will need to add some infrastructure to handle to thousands of requests for information, training, and advice that we will receive from this alliance. We will also need to set up better systems to help deliver quality training and tools to a large numbers of activists, including MMM, state allies, health professionals and Brady Campaign members.

Q: What are the benefits to the movement from this alliance?

This alliance will create a unified, cohesive, targeted and stronger gun violence prevention movement, which can ultimately match and surpass the gun lobby in our ability to affect change in Congress and in state Legislatures. This alliance ties-in directly with the Brady Campaign and Brady Center's overall strategic plan to raise an army of supporters. This alliance is the first major step in accomplishing that task. It is also critical that we don't waste our precious resources in the movement. With this alliance there will be no more duplicating of resources and organization infrastructure, as there was before.

Q: What happens to the independent state allies that the Brady Campaign has worked with for so many years?

This alliance between the Brady Campaign and MMM is about capacity building for the ENTIRE gun violence prevention movement, not just MMM. The Brady Campaign will continue to work with and help to build those independent state groups that we have worked closely with throughout the years. The systems that we will put in place to better deliver the necessary information, tools and trainings to the MMM activists will also be used to better help build the capacities of our state allies.

-----------------

Dear MOMS,

As always, thank you for your hard work and patience during this time of restructuring. We are getting closer to our goal of creating a strong national voice for gun policy change in this country.

HCI/MMM workshop

Forty chapter leaders attended the HCI workshop last week to meet with leaders of the Million Mom March and the Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) At this workshop, we announced internally the strategic alliance with the Brady Campaign after weeks of negotiations.

Don Mertic, our interim executive director, was there to assure us of a smooth transition. In the spirit of the MMM, Don is a volunteer working full time on the Million Mom March. He has years of experience in nonprofit management. Thank you, Don!

Kerry Gallivan from Join Together was there to answer questions about the chapter list serve and the MMM E- Newsletter. It was agreed that we all liked the increased communication and sharing. We hope to continue to foster and improve the communication with our leaders throughout this transition period and into the new era. Thank you, Kerry, Sally, Anara and Susan from Join Together for making this happen.

The Million Mom March marches on!

The moms (and others) in attendance were reassured that we will retain our Million Mom March name and our focus on building grassroots support for sensible gun laws and safe kids. This alliance was met with great enthusiasm and we have heard lots of support for this historic "joining of forces" from our chapters across the country.

A very lively discussion ensued at the workshop when we talked about the needs and structuring of the chapters in relationship to the National Office. No one likes to talk about the dreaded 501c3 and c4. So, for now, let's keep things as they are until the Brady Campaign has a chance to jump in and help us make these decisions.

WHO'S WHO

Mike Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign and Chris Carr who serves as their VP and Chief Operating Officer met with the moms and shared perspectives from the Brady Campaign. It was clear that they appreciate and value the MOMS in what we have brought to the movement and are eager to help meet chapter needs.

LISTENING TOUR

As always, our best ideas come from the chapter members in the field. We know you have ideas and opinions including those about the accounting system, chartering process, endorsement of candidates, and chapter legal relationships to National. We want to hear them! A summer "listening tour" is planned to get chapter input before final decisions are made. As soon as we can arrange schedules and meeting places there will be announcements made. We hope as many members as possible will be able to be at these gatherings.

FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT

A press conference is planned for 11 am, June 28th at the Crowne Plaza to announce the alliance to the general public. We expect that many of you will be getting calls from the press for comment, so talking points will be coming to you on another message. Any MMM members who wish to attend are wholeheartedly invited. Sarah Brady will be there!

NEW NATIONAL OFFICE

October 1 is the target date that we will have our new national office in place. You will receive a list of Brady Campaign staff assigned exclusively to the Million Mom March chapters. Names, job descriptions, phone numbers and email addresses will go out to all chapter presidents by the end of September.

INTERIM OFFICE

Please continue to send your ideas and concerns to national@millionmommarch.org and we will try our best to respond to you in a timely fashion. The general policies and accounting procedures remain the same as before with all checks and requisitions for chapter money going to the National Office in Chicago:

Don Mertic, Interim Executive Director Million Mom March - Attn. Gayle 3737 North Mozart Chicago, IL 60618 Phone: 773 588-0180 Ext. 1251 FAX 773 588-7762 E-Mail: merticd@uhlich.org

CHAPTER CHARTERING

For those chapters who have completed phase two, consider yourself fully chartered! One of the improvements in fostering growth of new chapters is to make the process easier.

Take a Break!

We have heard from many of you that you are looking forward to a slower pace during the summer. YOU ALL DESERVE IT! We know that this has been a very busy year and you will need the rest because we have a lot of work ahead when we LAUNCH in early fall!!

It is a pleasure and honor to be marching on with all of you,

Donna and Mary Leigh

PS a special thank you to Dana Quist, Rene Thompson and Claudette Perry for helping the MMM during this transition time.

 

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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. JUSTICE LEARNED HAND

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