Jewish Gun Control Backers Plan New Push

Hope To Revive Measures That Died — Or Fight at Polls

Not Giving Up: Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are among the Jewish lawmakers leading the gun control fight.
getty images
Not Giving Up: Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are among the Jewish lawmakers leading the gun control fight.

By Nathan Guttman

Published April 23, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

“There is a very, very clear feeling from the President down that this effort is going to continue,” said Hadar Susskind, director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a liberal Jewish advocacy group engaged in the gun control debate.

“Organizations,” Susskind said, “will now bring more people and invest more energy. Many who have not done much are now saying they will call their senators.”

But Jewish political power is concentrated mainly among Democrats and liberals, while the senators who voted against the amendment are mostly Republicans and representatives of Southern states. Rachel Laser, deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, argued this should not be a barrier for Jewish gun control supporters. “Even when the community is small, it has a relationship with its representatives,” she said.

As an example, Laser noted that Reform Jews in Anchorage, Alaska were now working hard to convince Senator Mark Begich, one of four Democrats who voted against the amendment, to change his mind.

Other Jewish activists are focusing on making those who defeated the legislation pay a price — by being replaced. Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, vowed to take the fight to the 2014 election cycle, when some of the senators who voted against the bill, and who are seen as vulnerable, will be up for re-election. Prime among these are Democrats Begich, Max Baucus of Montana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Baucus announced on April 23 that he will retire and not run for another term.

Bloomberg said in a statement that his group “will work to make sure that voters don’t forget.” Giffords voiced a similar sentiment, tweeting after the vote that “If Congress won’t change laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change members of Congress.”

Bloomberg and Giffords bring genuine firepower to the battle in terms of deep pockets and public sympathy, respectively. But they will still face a powerful gun lobby that has cultivated longstanding relations with lawmakers from conservative leaning states and has proved its political savvy in defeating even the slightest changes to gun-related legislation.

In the month prior to the Senate vote, Bloomberg footed the bill for a $12 million ad campaign, which ran in 13 states and was aimed at pressuring lawmakers to support expanded background checks. He will no doubt spend generously in the 2014 elections. But in the previous 2012 campaign cycle, the National Rifle Association, which is just the largest of several gun rights groups, spent $18.6 million, according to the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks money in political races.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.