In a surprising announcement Wednesday, the anti-gun Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence revealed that longtime President Dan Gross, who had been on the job since early 2012, has resigned and to replace him, the group now has two “co-presidents,” Kristin Brown and Avery Gardiner.
But will two heads be better than one?
Not according to one of the nation’s leading gun rights advocates. Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation doesn’t think so. He dismissed the change as more flash than substance.
“They are doubling down on the same old tired anti-gun rights mantra with the same old tired failed leadership,” he observed.
Brown previously was chief strategy officer for the Brady group and before that its national policy director. Gardiner was the Brady Center’s chief legal officer, “responsible for shaping and driving the organization’s legal strategy.”
“Some things never change unless they change the name of their organization which they have done before,” Gottlieb said. “But maybe now with two talking heads they will no longer be afraid to come out and debate.”
Gross, according to a short Wikipedia biography, campaigned for Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2016 presidential race. He was a co-founder of the Center to Prevent Youth Violence and became the Brady president after the two groups merged.
According to the Brady Campaign, Gross will “remain with the organization to assist with the transition.” He was described as “an important and influential leader in the gun violence prevention movement for many years.”
But under Gross, even with an anti-gun president in the White House, the gun prohibition lobby’s agenda seemed stalled. After Sandy Hook, Congress would not even pass legislation requiring so-called “universal background checks” for all firearm transfers nationwide, much less other things on the gun control “wish list” including permanent renewal of the “assault weapons” ban.
The Brady Campaign was named for the late Jim and Sarah Brady. Jim Brady was seriously wounded and permanently disabled during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. After that, Sarah Brady became an outspoken advocate for restrictive gun control.
In recent years, the Brady Campaign has been eclipsed by another gun prohibition lobbying organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, a so-called “astroturf” group financially supported by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Another anti-gun lobbying group – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – is something of an Everytown subsidiary.
Kevin Quinn, chairman of the Brady Campaign’s board, said the organization wants to “cut gun deaths in half by 2025.” That might be a challenge, since about two-thirds of firearm fatalities in any given year are suicides, and on that front, it is the gun rights organizations that have taken the lead.
The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association are involved in a suicide prevention project that officially launches this Saturday in Aberdeen, Wash. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Gun control groups are nowhere to be seen.
With Republican control on Capitol Hill and in a majority of governor’s offices, the Brady bunch is less of a threat politically, although that could change with next year’s mid-term elections.