Anti-Gun Activists Remain Unapologetic About Duping Ohioans
by Jesse Hathaway
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV) Director Toby Hoover and Center for American Progress (CAP) anti-gun leader Lance Orchid both failed to apologize for tricking Ohioans into joining gun control mailing lists when questioned at ComFest. A website created after a February 2012 school shooting was, unknown to those submitting condolences, created to promote anti-Second Amendment policies.
After Hoover and Orchid spoke on a panel at the Columbus progressive festival this June, Media Trackers asked the two whether they felt their politicization of the Chardon shooting was appropriate.
OCAGV, CAP, Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), and ProgressOhio created RememberingChardon.com to gather contacts for future campaigns – but advertised the site merely as a way to share kind thoughts for victims of the shooting.
Describing RememberingChardon.com as a "petition" site, Hoover defended the groups' actions, saying, "you know, when something happens and the general public are concerned about something that has happened, that they don't know who to tell — they don't know who to say, 'who can I get connected with, to be involved in this.'"
Hoover added, "What are you going to do, just keep searching?"
Asked whether she felt it was moral to dupe people expressing support for mourners into joining her progressive cause's mailing list, Hoover said she did not "see anything wrong with that, as long as it's done appropriately."
Orchid, meanwhile, declined to respond to questions about the RememberingChardon.com website.
As Media Trackers previously reported, MAIG staffer R. Lee Roberts – working in a position created in the office of Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman – coordinated with Orchid, Hoover, ProgressOhio, and national MAIG staff to launch a website capitalizing on the Chardon murders within hours of the school shooting.
Chris Kocher, Mayor Bloomberg's "Special Counsel for Firearms Policy," wrote in an internal email that the groups' efforts to politicize the deaths were "great,” adding that "new email acquisitions will be shared with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and a small subset of these names will be shared with OCAGV."
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