A national Second Amendment group based in Bellevue has decided to sponsor “Guns Save Lives Day” on Dec. 14 — the anniversary of last year’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
The 650,000-member Second Amendment Foundation, which announced the event Thursday with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and DefendGunRights.com, has not yet decided what it will entail. But Alan Gottlieb, the president of the group, said the goal is to show “there’s a good side of guns.”
“People every single day use guns to save lives,” Gottlieb said. “We don’t think anybody should have been a victim at Sandy Hook, and we don’t think anybody should be a victim in the future.”
Gottlieb estimated that some 200 gun-rights groups from all 50 states would participate in the event.
“Quite frankly, we don’t want the gun prohibition lobby to own that day,” he said. “So we’re starting early.”
Critics blasted the event as disrespectful.
Cheryl Stumbo, a victim of the Seattle Jewish Federation shooting on July 28, 2006, said that if gun-rights groups tried to sponsor a similar event on July 28, it would feel like “a slap in the face.”
“It’s an attempt to blame victims, and it shouldn’t be tolerated,” said Stumbo, the sponsor of a 2014 initiative campaign to require background checks for all gun sales, not just those by licensed dealers.
Earlier this week, supporters of the initiative submitted 250,000 of the roughly 325,000 signatures required to get on the ballot.
Gottlieb is the main spokesman for a rival ballot measure, also proposed for 2014, that would prevent Washington state from adopting background-check laws that are more strict than the federal standard.
Asked about the potential for his “Guns Save Lives Day” to offend victims, he said that the groups “are not planning on doing anything that’s insensitive whatsoever.
“We know that our opponents are going to try to use that day to push their agenda,” he said. “We’re going to show the American people that there’s a good side of guns.”