(WASHINGTON) — Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has no qualms about stating his view of the obvious: Efforts to enact gun control legislation aren’t working.
So in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. massacre that has claimed 12 lives so far, the nation’s top gun control advocate is seeking to change the debate about gun control.
“We just need to re-frame this whole conversation away from being part of the political debate,” he said Monday. “We need to expect more of ourselves and more of our leaders. There’s a disconnect between the interests of the American people and what our politicians are doing.”
The Brady Campaign, named after Ronald Reagan assistant James Brady, who was critically injured in the assassination attempt on the president, wants to reboot the national conversation and part of that, it seems, means taking its name off the masthead. The group will launch a new website later Monday night called wearebettterthanthis.org that will play down its sponsorship by the Brady campaign.
The idea, he said, is rescue the debate from the poles on either side of the gun control issue. The new site will feature a petition demanding politicians start talking about gun violence and how to prevent it. “It begins at the top with the president and Mitt Romney offering more than sympathy,” Gross said.
A Pew Poll in March found the public fairly split on the issue. Forty-nine percent of respondents said it was more important to protect the right to own guns. Forty-five percent said it was more important to control ownership.
What people and politicians should offer, Gross said, isn’t necessarily the kind of legislation that has been enacted in the past. ABC asked whether the Brady Campaign still supports the assault weapons ban, for instance.
“I wouldn’t say that we do or don’t at this point. I would say what we need to do is consider all of the solutions,” he said, arguing that such solutions will only come with input from supporters of gun rights and gun control.
“There are solutions that most gun owners and most NRA members support,” he said. “And there are supporters of a national gun policy that support the second amendment. …We need to make sure we’re on the same page before we start pushing specific policy provisions.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Elise Labott, Kevin Liptak and Patrick Oppmann, CNN
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN