Activists have moved a planned nationwide pro-gun rights event from the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings to the day after.
The Second Amendment Foundation, as well as other gun rights organizations, will attempt to respond to what they perceive to be gun rights negativity on Dec. 15.
The organization’s communications director Dave Workman said the change took place to coincide with “Bill of Rights Day.”
“We understand this is a sensitive issue,” Workman said. “We were accused of exploiting it, so now we’re asking the other side not to exploit the tragic day either.”
Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said they’re using the anniversary to respond to what he sees as an anti-gun agenda. Guns can be used for good, he said, and the only way to reinforce that notion is to be present and communicate that to people.
“We work everyday with people who had to use guns to protect themselves against criminal attack,” Gottlieb said. “We want to push the agenda that lots of people are here today because of their right to bear arms.”
Violent crime in Gainesville decreased from 912 cases in 2011 to 851 in 2012, according to the FBI. Gun crimes also decreased, according to GPD.
Guns Save Lives Day will be a nationwide event that aims to give communities the opportunity to participate in teach-ins, rallies and self-defense classes, especially for teachers, Gottlieb said.
Not everyone is wild about the idea.
Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the actions of the pro-gun organizations seem insensitive.
“This will only feed the beast,” Everitt said. “Some people feel the need to do really wacky things. Gottlieb runs the risk of hurting really good people in the process of doing things for the very radical people.”
Gottlieb said the “anti-gun movement is screaming right now, but they’ve never talked directly to us.”
“Other groups are planning activities, so we wanted to act and respond,” Gottlieb said. “We wanted to participate in the dialogue, too.”
The event’s website also explains gun groups are joining together because “crazy people, criminals and gun control extremists prefer unarmed victims.”
People visiting the site have the option to sign an online petition to help “protect and restore” a person’s gun rights. In addition, the website explains the petition will help “honor these victims by doing everything within our power to prevent misguided gun control laws.”
Gottlieb and other supporting groups will have events all over the U.S. — about 200 local groups seeking to change opinions about guns and gun control.