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Numbers Tell the Story: Students' Anti-Gun Movement Has Mostly Backfired

July 25, 2018 - 10:00am
March for Our Lives, Washington, March 24, 2018
March for Our Lives, Washington, March 24, 2018

In the wake of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we have been treated to a near-constant barrage of media coverage about the anti-gun movement. But has all that airtime been effective? Has it dissuaded Americans from gun ownership, resulted in changed laws and changed hearts and minds?

Certainly a few groups and causes have sprung up since the shooting, particularly with the influx of Hollywood celebrity donations in the immediate aftermath -- March For Our Lives, The National School Walkout, #NeverAgain -- which garnered support from existing anti-gun organizations such as Everytown, Moms Demand, and The Brady Campaign. Along with those were prominent speakers from the school, students David Hogg and Emma González being primary among guests on news networks. The term “The Parkland students” became a metonym for the gun control movement.

Yet, for all the media support, there has not been a tectonic shift in general-public opinion on guns. There have been excited reports on numerous new gun laws passed in states since February, but many of these are incremental changes (tightening of background checks, banning of bump-stocks) or they were the denial of bills loosening restrictions. Eleven states failed to pass laws that allowed concealed-carry without a permit; these are counted as gun control “wins.”

But as far as changing minds in large numbers, the major influence is seen on the opposite side of the debate.

While the press has favored gun control, and therefore report eagerly on any progress on that front, they have been less diligent on noting the pro-gun advances. This is because the numbers displaying support disrupts the narrative of changing the public perception. 

As I recently wrote, the heavily media-hyped book from David and Lauren Hogg has been suffering dismal sales figures. Another example typifying this one-sided reporting is in fundraising. We had heard plenty about how much financial support the various anti-groups were receiving. Yet in the month of March the NRA experienced a surge of support, so much that donations to the Second Amendment lobbying organization exceeded those of the gun control groups. 

For all the talk that David Hogg and the Parkland kids are having a huge influence, the NRA enjoyed record-setting donations in March. The organization collected nearly $2.4 million as a direct result of their messaging. In fact the following month of April was also the highest total of donations for the group in that month, as was May. A number of companies suspended partnerships with the NRA under pressure from the gun control lobby, and those promptly saw the NRA membership swell following their departure. 

But the non-profit fundraising is not the only barometer of public opinion on the subject. If minds were being swayed across the country regarding guns it is not being reflected in the marketplace. Since the Parkland student activism was launched their goal of fewer guns has had the opposite of the desired effect. 

While exact gun sales figures are not made available, there is a way of measuring that purchasing power. The FBI tabulates gun purchase background check data. In the past three months there has been a demonstrable spike in those applications. However, they give an incomplete picture of probable higher figures, as a single application could apply to the purchase of multiple guns.

It was with an amusing level of obliviousness that in April David Hogg began to encourage a boycott request on investment firms Vanguard, and Black Rock. The reasoning? The investment management companies have holdings in gun manufacturers. This means Hogg was recommending the groups drop businesses that were enjoying a surge in business as a direct result of his activism -- he wanted investors to sell off properties experiencing sales growth that he spurred. At Vanguard, they even noted that as they provided index funds that exclude firearms companies, they saw no appreciable growth in interest for those products.

Likewise, Hogg spearheaded a widely reported boycott of Fox News personality Laura Ingraham. While a number of advertisers did in fact pull out of promoting her program they eventually ended up shooting themselves in the foot -- so to speak. In the weeks following the controversy Ingraham saw significant growth in her audience over the preceding weeks. This was not a brief mushrooming in numbers due to curiosity; last month she enjoyed her highest ratings ever for the program.

Looked at statically, any of these indicators could be seen as interpretational. But taken in whole there is a clear indication that the perceived influence of the groups and individuals involved in the Parkland advocacy set have had an effect that settles somewhere between “muted”, to “negative impact”. Despite the press selling us on the successes of these movements the actual numbers reveal a populace that has yet to react in the way we are told we are reacting.

Brad Slager is a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer who wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.

 


READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS

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Comments

The author failed to mention sb7026 which was the biggest gun grab in Florida history signed by Rick Scott. This "law" is significant to young Florida adults.

...and why shouldn't it have "backfired"? No surprise there..! It was ALL about "demonstrating" children and their "Liberal-bent" (teachers & coaches) 'handlers' wallowing in their "15 minutes of fame"..! Whatever the "issue",.. it's ALWAYS "all about the children" ! ! ! (Give them ALL days off from school, and herd them (read "bus them") to a political demonstration)... [Cute, but nowhere authorized in the purpose & intent of the mandated Taxpayer funded "educational process". "Handlers" should be docked pay, and their 'child charges' should be recorded as ABSENT from school for EVERY DAY they failed to repair !

What do you mean no changed laws? You must not be 18-21 years old. We must stop voting republican (also know as democrats if they are out of the closet) and find real Americans if we want to save our rights.

Actually, I wrote "numerous" laws were passed.

Democrats and liberals have pooped in their nest and poisoned the waterhole. They have lost their message and are no longer relevant any longer. #goodbyebluewave

It was a REPUBLICAN legislature with a REPUBLICAN Governor which gave us sb 7026. Now adults under 21 cannot buy a gun in Florida. Don;t expect Republicans to protect your rights either.

I beg to differ. The assailant in st Petersburg violently and by surprise shoved an old man off his feet and onto the pavement. If you’re going to savagely assault senior citizens, be prepared for the consequences.

Surprisingly lackluster results for a group that received literally millions of dollars worth of free publicity in every media outlet in the state. Gee, I guess people don't take to kindly to high school kids telling them what kind of firearms they can own. Who would have thought.

I have donated to the NRA Action Fund and purchased 2 new firearms. (Although I have a CWP, I still had to go through a background check). Thanks gun control activists you are replacing Obama as the number one gun salesman.

It is comforting to find evidence that sanity is still out there...

I myself, recently had a gun movement on the bus going to PBSC school he day they were people that road the bus everyday for a year. I would have not known them to be that way looking like our Pres. Miss Parker. all were high on drugs and in it. He Black came in on the bus shouting ,I still am afraid.

Please rework this paragraph. I can't even tell what you are trying to say.

I guess he missed the new Florida gun law restrictions passed this yr here in Florida among other ones? ………….And likely stand your ground is going to be sharply curtailed as a license to kill by bullies picking fights...……….. So keep up this guns for everyone and repubs are going to get hurt...…………..And Putman saying a proud NRA sellout and other anti women, children policies, is going to lose...…….

I guess you missed me mentioning those in the piece. Commenting on the headline again -- always a joy to see.

Is this really surprising? At least not to those who don't drink their own Kool-Aid. This is where the far left disconnects with the 'regular' folks (a/k/a deplorables). It not about the NRA that supports law enforcement and safe competitive shooting practices. This so-called movement might have had a catchy sound bite at the beginning but rational fair-minded folks saw that the real issue is having firearms in the hands of unstable minds. Until the medical professional is held accountable to ferreting out and reporting those unable to cope with life issues, then this will continue to happened whether with a pistol, machete, knife or other deadly instrument. And embolden those with a counter position. But the left will never learn.

It was REPUBLICANS that passed sb7026 in Florida. Rick Scott, a REPUBLICAN signed it. This legislation represents the biggest gun grab in Florida history. Thinking it is only the "left" you have to worry about is disingenuous.

Yes, numbers tell the story . . . . . in the two months following Parkland, young voter registration in Florida increased by 8 percent (over 39,000) . . . . . . let's see what happens in November . . . . wonder which party they'll be voting for . . . . . .

Are the Russians surreptitiously contributing to the NRA so the NRA can, in turn, contribute to gun-nut Republicans running for office?

Sure, a country with severe gun restrictions is funding the NRA. When you make sense of that let us know.

What are you going to do if a big alligator is coming up your backyard and your little children are outside playing with the dog? Best to have a gun handy.

A simple anchor-style fence around your kids play area will suffice.

Do mean a fence like this one?-->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qp_bUYPrTg

Go check out the videos of gators scaling fences.

The medical profession can't even study the problem adequately because the collection of data and study of gun-related deaths is largely prohibited by Congress - so it is the NRA and its allies that prevent the very needed action being suggested by BocaBoomer. It's a shame since most Americans truly support responsible gun ownership and they also support strong background checks, restrictions on gun ownership for those with "unstable minds" and have concerns about military-styled weapons. The common sense NRA positions of my youth seem forever lost. It doesn't speak well about and for us. Very sad

This is a canard. The CDC has performed gun studies. The press is reticent to report on that detail, because their findings showed the use of guns to defend one's self and property exceeded the dangers.

You lost me with "support strong background checks" & "military-styled weapons" "Strong" background checks already occur. Every possible criminal database that can be looked at is currently looked at. What is a ""military-styled weapons"? You don't know what you are talking about.

Is this really surprising? At least not to those who don't drink their own Kool-Aid. This is where the far left disconnects with the 'regular' folks (a/k/a deplorables). It not about the NRA that supports law enforcement and safe competitive shooting practices. This so-called movement might have had a catchy sound bite at the beginning but rational fair-minded folks saw that the real issue is having firearms in the hands of unstable minds. Until the medical professional is held accountable to ferreting out and reporting those unable to cope with life issues, then this will continue to happened whether with a pistol, machete, knife or other deadly instrument. And embolden those with a counter position. But the left will never learn.

Problem. The "deplorables" and the "far left". You left out the bulk of Americans who vote. Put a constitutional amendment up to ban assault weapons (define them as you will). You will lose. Rational people do not choose to live in a shooting gallery. The old witch who is the public face of the NRA should think about the wasted lives. The idiot in St Pete who murdered a fellow human over a parking space (watch the video, the "assailant" was backing up, and not reaching for anything when he was administered the death penalty in front of his children) should be in jail. The sheriff is hiding behind the NRA's Stand Your Ground law. When you pull out your gun in a fit of illogical road rage, please remember the 3-year minimum mandatory prison sentence that accompanies a felony committed with a firearm. No gain time, it's day for day. Enjoy. That is the future you encourage for those who play with guns. Your position does nothing to keep guns away from the crazy, you only make it easier.

Total BS! This older handicapped man was violently shoved to the ground for no good reason and was certainly in danger of further violence. Normal people don't attack people like that for no reason. ESPECIALLY in front of their 5 yr old son. One solid kick to the head could have ended his life. Where would your outrage be if that happened instead of him fighting back? It wouldn't even be a story. The 5 yr old has nothing to do with the story. The attacker had no business teaching a 5 yr old that violently assaulting a handicapped person is an acceptable way of dealing with a slightly irritating situation. HEe should have just told the old guy to F--- off and been on his way. Hopefully the cycle of violence will be broken here and the child will no longer be learning to attack people for no reason.

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