Students for Concealed Carry on Campus responds to Brady conspiracy accusations: 'Prove it'
Four months after Peter Hamm, spokesperson for The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, verbally attacked the college-based, grassroots organization Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, telling a Fox News reporter, "You don't like the fact that you can't have a gun on your college campus? Drop out of school," he is stepping up the rhetoric. Not content with encouraging college students to forgo their educations, rather than fight for a cause in which they believe, Mr. Hamm has resorted to baseless conspiracy theories and slander.
In a February 19, 2008 interview with Anna Hipsley of Australia's ABC News radio, Mr. Hamm made the following statement about SCCC:
"We know very clearly that they were organized and they are funded by the gun industry, by the companies that are selling the guns. This is not some spontaneous, grassroots organization."
Scott Lewis, media coordinator for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, responded, "In a way I kind of envy the Brady Campaign. It must be so much easier to run an advocacy group when you don't feel obligated to substantiate anything you say."
Mr. Lewis went on to categorically deny that either the gun industry or the gun lobby have played any part in the organizing or financing of SCCC:
"A few small gun shops have donated holsters for students to use in our Empty Holster Protests, and the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, located in Nevada, sent us three gift certificates that we're going to auction to raise money. And after SCCC started making national news, a couple of months ago, the NRA sent me a hat and a T-shirt. But other than that, we've never received anything from the gun industry or the gun lobby. So far, our entire operating budget has come out of the pockets of our members - mostly poor college students who strongly believe in this cause. About a month ago we opened a bank account and started accepting donations, to help raise the money we need to incorporate. So far we've raised a combined total of $610.02, from online donations and T-shirt sales."
In response to the allegations made by the Brady Campaign, SCCC's response is simple - "Prove it." In the name of full disclosure, SCCC is willing to make all of its financial records available to the media if the Brady Campaign will do the same. Explained Lewis, "After building SCCC on a foundation of our own sweat equity and financial sacrifices, our members are incensed that the Brady Campaign is accusing us of being well paid pawns."
Though the Brady Campaign likes to attribute all efforts to maintain and/or restore gun rights in America to an all-powerful gun industry that uses coercion and manipulation to subvert the true wishes of the American people, the real American gun industry has an annual revenue of only about $2 billion, leaving it inadequately funded for the job of manipulating the American government or the American people. At the true heart of the fight for gun rights in America are everyday people, like the members and organizers of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus - people who believe they have the inalienable right to defend themselves and who trust their fellow citizens enough to guarantee them that same right.
Despite the Brady Campaign's baseless accusations and constant barrage of insults - such as Paul Helmke's statement on Fox News, on October 26, 2007, that SCCC members are students who "like to dress up" to "feel more masculine" - they are unable to go toe-to-toe with SCCC on the facts. And because the organizers of SCCC are confident that facts will win out over rhetoric every time, the national officers for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus wish to extend the board of directors of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence an open invitation to debate the issue of concealed carry on college campuses, on the campus of any University in the United States of America.
Click here for an extensive Newsweek.com interview with SCCC's Scott Lewis.