Last Monday, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts interviewed Colin Goddard about a new documentary concerning the “gun show loophole” titled Living for 32. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence along with other supporters sponsored production of the documentary, which focuses in part on Goddard’s own experience with gun violence.
In recent months, Mr. Goddard has become an increasingly visible face in America’s gun control movement. He survived the massacre at Virginia Tech after being shot four times. He was present in the room when the gunman took his own life. Further, it was not until two years after the Virginia Tech Massacre when a Binghamton area man slaughtered 14 people at an immigration center that he began campaigning for gun control. He now works as the assistant director of legislative affairs in the Brady Campaign.
In the context of the interview, Goddard presented the Brady Campaign as “not anti-gun” but rather interested in “common sense” legislation. Specifically this means universal background check system on all gun sales, explicitly targeting gun shows (take a look at Guns.com exemplary piece on the gunshow loophole for some background). Goddard reiterates the organization’s support of the Second Amendment in the video below, saying, “And if you’re a law-abiding citizen [without] any sort of record, you will pass that background check every time, and you will walk away with your gun.”
In a very real sense, “the gun argument” has become so polarized in both actions and media portrayal that it has become unrepresentative of any one citizen’s beliefs. The blame, in part, is all of ours and can be found rooted in the notion, commonly expressed by both gun control and gun rights supporters, that “the other guys” favor propaganda over reason. A lack of respect for “the other guys'” right to think only makes conclusions impossible and, if anything, makes matters worse, as it breeds extremism with either camp trying to up the ante with more outrageous attacks (one of which was reported here by Guns.com). Hostess Robin Roberts acknowledges this enigma of how to reconcile gun control and gun rights groups after playing a clip of a young man going undercover at a gun show. Speaking briefly to the legitimate argument of gun rights groups, she muses, “How do we coexist?” The interview leaves what could be it’s most important question practically where it lays.
The Brady Campaign emerged in the 1980s out of Handgun Control, Inc. It got its legs (and name as of 2001) after the attempted assassination of then President Ronald Reagan in 1981 during which White House Press Secretary James Brady was also shot. In years following his shooting, Mr. Brady and his wife became ardent supporters of gun control and active in lobbying for stricter gun control legislation, most notably negligibly effective decade long ban on “assault weapons.”
And since the signing of this Brady Bill in 1993 the campaign has drawn, on its best of days, criticism, on its worst, revile, from gun rights groups. Usually groups, such as the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation, focus their ire on the organization’s once successful gun ban and proposed redrafting of the background check process. Many also point suggestively at the foundations list of supporters claiming that they are harborers of hidden agendas (Two notable creative and financial contributors to the documentary project are Maria Cuomo Cole and Kevin Breslin. As the names suggest, Miss Cuomo Cole is the daughter and sister of now two governors and the wife of fashion designer Kenneth Cole. Mr. Breslin is the son of legendary New York Times journalist Jimmy Breslin.)
No word on when the documentary will hit theaters, though it will be screened at Sundance and has reportedly been shortlisted for an Academy Award so don’t be surprised if you see the familiar fireworks displays over this flick after March. You can view the trailer below.