The latest ad to come out of the Noam Bramson campaign is titled “Our Pain”. It is an emotionally charged appeal to liberal and left of center voters in Westchester County who are favorable to ever expanding firearm restrictions. Bramson’s campaign states that “this shouldn’t be about politics”. However, this is exactly what his ad is about. Politics. After all it is a political ad during a political campaign. How could it be about anything other than politics?
Mayor Bramson is making it about national leftist talking point politics. The entire 33 second ad is filled with political gun control code words, and stereotypes of gun owners. Most disgracefully the ad insinuates that Rob Astorino is somehow responsible for the actions of criminals that commit gun violence against innocents, and that there is a correlation between gun violence and the former Westchester county gun show.
It goes without saying that tragic incidences of gun related violence are a genuine problem. The magnitude of the problem or the role gun shows play in general will not be discussed here. However, the impact on the lives of the victims and their families cannot be dismissed or taken lightly by anyone. These crimes leave very real and lasting pain for thousands of people and their suffering should never be exploited for political points.
This is exactly what Bramson has done with his “Our Pain” ad.
Bramson shamelessly uses the families of victims of gun violence to give the impression that but for Rob Astorino and gun shows their loved ones would be alive today.
More implausibly, the ad conveys the impression that gun shows at the Westchester County Center between 2010 and 2012 have placed county residents in danger.
The ad begins with an empty room that morphs into a liberal's fantasy of what a gun show looks like with a voice over stating that gun shows were banned in Westchester and that Astorino brought them back.
The actors portraying patrons at Bramson's mock gun show are all white middle aged men -- with a few white women in there for good measure. Another liberal fantasy of what occurs at a gun show, echoing Michael Moore’s idiotic statement that “90% of all gun owners are scared white people”. The set is filled with hunting gear and camo and even shirts from the popular TV show “Duck Dynasty”. to give the impression that these events are only for “backwards, bitter, country folk” “clinging to their guns and religion” in spite of liberal progress in the Golden Apple suburb of NYC.
Anyone who ever attend a gun show at the Westchester County Center knows this could not be further from the truth; the people who attended the shows represented the true diversity of the county’s residents and of gun owners across the nation, every color, socioeconomic status and age group were present. After all, the right to keep and bear arms is an American birthright that applies to all equally.
The ad then goes on to say that the shows (in other words, Astorino) made it easier for “criminals and the mentally ill to buy guns”, implying that the citizens who go to gun shows are criminal and mentally ill people. According to Bramson’s talking points you must be either a criminal or mentally ill to want to exercise your second amendment right enshrined in our constitution that he swore an oath to uphold.
As background info to the video on his website, Bramson’s campaign links to an undercover investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that determined some sellers at some upstate NY gun shows did not always follow the NICS Background Checks law when selling to people at the shows.
What Bramson fails to tell you is that Westchester County was never under investigation and that none of the sellers at the county gun show were ever found to have broken any Federal, State or Local firearms laws. This is according to the very announcement Bramson campaign links on their website. Even Attorney General Schneiderman concedes in one of the announcements linked by the Bramson campaign that “ Since most people who operate and attend gun shows are law abiding citizens, my office has had nothing but positive responses to these new safety standards.””
Bramson is left to reach by inserting a misleading claim that the operator of the show was party to the AG deal leaving out that the operator was being cited as a responsible gun show operator by Schneiderman because they were one of 23 parties, representing 80% of New York State gun show operators that AGREED to follow and enforce the new safety standards required by the Attorney General. In other words, the gun show operator was agreeing to enforce the very policies lauded by Bramson elsewhere.
The assertion by Bramson that illegal activity occurred is entirely misleading and unfounded even going based on information from his own sources.
More troubling are the testimonials featured in the ad.
This critique of the testimonials is in no way to minimize the pain and loss these individuals have suffered but they are given completely out of context.
None of them occurred during the time the gun show was operating.
Two out of the four cases did not even occur in Westchester County.
One occurred in Missouri - a woman was shot after she interrupted an armed burglary in her home.
Another occurred at a Harlem Block party.
Of the 2 cases from Westchester, one pre-dates even the 1994 Federal Assault weapons ban.
All four of the murders were committed or suspected of having been committed by minors using handguns, by definition illegal weapons.
In all of the cases there was a history of criminal and possible gang activity among the perpetrators.
There is no evidence whatsoever that any of the weapons used even originated from any gun show, let alone the Westchester County gun show.
The criminals who perpetrated these acts of violence were breaking the law by acquiring the weapon at the times they committed the acts, they would have been breaking the law had the acts been committed during the time the gun show was allowed in Westchester, and they would still be breaking the law now under the new NYSAFE act. So nothing about the legality of these acts or the ease in which they were committed has changed and County Executive Astorino has most certainly NOT made it easier for criminals to acquire the means to commit crimes.
As to the assertion that these testimonials are purely nonpolitical, three of the four people in the ad are associated with gun control advocacy groups.
Chris Foye of Brooklyn, NY is the father of Christopher Owens. Christopher was killed by a stray bullet during a Harlem Block Party. Foye is the founder of The Chris S. Owens Foundation which is closely associated to Rev. Al Sharpton’s “National Action Network”, and Mayor Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” a group primarily composed of democratic mayors of which Mayor Bramson is a member. Foye is an active participant in Mayor Bloomberg’s national campaign, he has filmed several public service announcements in connection with MAIG’s “demand a plan” campaign. Foye was also invited to the white house by Micelle Obama as part of the Presidents push for Gun Control back in February. The Chris S. Owens Foundation’s Facebook page even has a photo album for the shooting of Mayor Bramson’s “our pain” ad titled “Chris Foye on Set Westchester Gun Show Ban Campaign”.
Lois Schaffer of Great Neck, Long Island whose daughter Susan Schaffer was a victim of teenage burglars who stole a gun from previous robberies and killed her daughter is a member of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and organization that prides themselves in being instrumental in the passing of the NYSAFE act and advocates for further national restrictions on the Second Amendment. In fact by her own admission she has always been a gun control advocate and was a member of NYAGV even before her daughter’s tragic murder. During her testimony to the Connecticut legislative hearing on gun control after Newtown she states that she has “always supported gun control” and that “shooting animals for sustenance may be acceptable”. She also mentions that the meaning of the second amendment “has been twisted”. In her testimony she urges CT to adopt the same type of restrictions as in the NYSAFE act. The only pitfall to the act as she describes it is that it limits magazine capacity from 10 to 7 because “just one bullet can be lethal. But it is a step in the right direction.” would the destination then be the elimination of an individual’s unalienable right to bear arms for self-defense?
Gisela Marin of Tarrytown, NY is the mother of Jessica Santos, the 19 year old college student that was fatally wounded during a random drive by shooting perpetrated by a 17 year old Yonkers Teen with a history of delinquency. An illegal Handgun was also used in this shooting. Marin is the founder of the Jessica N Santos Foundation. The foundation holds events in her Daughters memory and in the memory of victims of gun violence. These events also push for more gun control legislation.
Mrs. Wilma Frank of Mt. Vernon, NY is mother of Andre Frank. Frank was fatally wounded in 1992 during a street altercation with a group of teens he and his friends had problems with in High School. Since then she has been advocating for the prevention of gun violence in Mount Vernon. Mrs. Frank is the only person in the ad who is not a political activist. She has committed herself to preventing youth from ruining their lives and the lives of others by committing acts of violence. Her son's case was recently revisited in 2011. The assailant’s conviction was overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct because the prosecution failed to present Andre’s killer with evidence that could have served in his defense. This information was brought to light because a FOIL request made by the defendant’s mother indicated through eye witness testimony that there was a rifle or a shotgun with the group that Andre Frank was a part of when they confronted the other group of boys. The entire case of The People v Hairston can be found here and it is well worth the read.
Each of these individuals is undoubtedly well-intentioned people who have suffered a tragic loss in their lives. They are now motivated to bring about changes they believe is necessary to prevent others from going through the same pain and heartache and no one can fault them for that. But let's be clear. Despite Bramson's claim that "it's not about politics" this ad is about nothing other than politics and is using the tragic murder of four people to score political points with his Democratic base in a pathetic but predictable attempt to shore up his floundering campaign.
In the process, Noam Bramson is throwing all of his calls for “fairness” and “truth” out the window. It will be interesting to see what the Democrat dominated Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee will say about Bramson’s ad. Clearly there are grounds to say that this ad is inappropriate and unfair. But this is a group stacked almost entirely with Democrats. So I am not holding my breath.