Lobbying for gun control in the United States often means proving how much you like firearms.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state recently passed some of the strictest gun control measures in the country, often reminds people he is a hunter. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who founded a gun control advocacy group after surviving a gunshot wound to the head, says she and her husband keep two guns in a safe at home. Vice President Joe Biden boasts that he owns two shotguns. And the White House recently released a photo of President Barack Obama skeet shooting at the Camp David presidential retreat, trying to silence skeptics of his claim in an interview that he has actually shot a gun.
The message is obvious: They, too, are a part of America’s gun culture. In a country where at least a third of households have firearms, it’s hard to impose stricter arms rules without support from gun owners. That means reassuring Americans that nobody is going to take away the guns they have legally acquired.
Gun rights groups scoffed at what they called clumsy and obvious attempts by Biden and Obama to ingratiate themselves with firearm owners even while trying to limit their rights.
“It’s transparent, cynical and hollow and gun owners see right through it,” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an association that represents gun manufacturers.
But gun control proponents have pressed on with such efforts ahead of a crucial Senate vote on legislation backed by the Obama administration in response to…