THE PARODY WEB SITE AND GUN LOBBY
Like gun control advocates
throughout the world, GCN has been the target of the abusive side of the gun
lobby. We have not sought to publicise this, but think it right that
our supporters are aware of the problem. Here are some examples of the abuse:
The home of a GCN member has been
the subject of a firearm attack. A single shot was fired into a bedroom
shattering the window, spraying the room with shards of glass and damaging
the plaster on the opposite interior wall. At the time of the attack it
would have been obvious that the family was at home: cars were in the
drive, the bedroom light was on, curtains open and a family member in the
bedroom. A car parked outside drove off at speed immediately after the
shot was fired.
Many pro-gun lobbyists seem unable to argue their case
without including vindictive personalised attacks against individuals who
put forward the opposite case. GCN receives a regular flow of these.
The tone of the messages can be threatening, aggressive, rude and
A pro-gun parody of
the Gun Control Network web site exists on the Internet. Some
of the content is relatively harmless, perhaps laughable, but much of it
is offensive. The site attempts to link gun control to tyrannical
leaders from the past. The most obnoxious element has been the inclusion
of photographs of female holocaust victims, which was linked to the
Million Mom March.
David and Özlem Grimason, who have campaigned for
tighter gun laws in Özlem's native Turkey following the shooting dead of
their son Alistair, have also been on the receiving end of abuse from the
gun lobby (see Home Page).
The following is a letter written by GCN's Mick North published in the
Sunday Herald on 23 January 2005.
Gun lobby bullies
THE PERSONALISED ATTACK by members of American
pro-gun groups on David and Özlem Grimason
(Grimasons Face Hate Campaign, January 16) came as no surprise.
Those of us who have campaigned for tighter gun control have come to
know that an abusive and bullying approach from US gun owners is the
norm. By resorting to such tactics, however, they reveal the extent
to which their obsession with owning lethal weapons has erased their
common humanity. Such irate comments about bereaved parents would be
worrying from any source, but to know they come from people who feel
the need to arm themselves with guns is profoundly disturbing.
The US gun lobby is intolerant of any criticism
of American-style wider gun ownership. Those who take a different
stance will always be, in their words, idiots and pathetic. In this
case they have not only vilified two courageous and grieving parents
but also turned statistics on their head.
In order to sustain
the flimsy argument that universal gun ownership makes for a safer
society, they seem driven to prove that gun control doesn’t work
anywhere in the world. Ignoring the scale of gun violence in their
own country they claim that gun control has failed in the UK (and
would in Turkey).
Never mentioned is
the quantum difference in gun violence between the US, where
shootings claim nearly 30,000 lives annually, and the UK: the latest
annual figure (2003) for the UK shows a total of 163 deaths
resulting from gunshot wounds. Such figures speak for themselves.
Many of us who
campaign for tight gun laws began doing so through personal tragedy.
Even without abuse from the gun lobby, this takes considerable
energy and resilience, especially for the recently bereaved. Those
readers who found themselves appalled by the latest example of the
brutish stance of the US gun lobby could help by sharing a burden,
which is often disproportionately carried by those whose lives have
been directly affected by gun violence.
We need more people
to stand up to the American gun owners and let them know in no
uncertain terms that we don’t believe in their “safer world” through
gun ownership. We would rather have our gun control than their gun