A woman fires her handgun during a Multi-State Concealed Carry class at a shooting range in Centennial, CO July 27, 2013.
Craig F. Walker/Getty

Moderate group spoofs gun debate

Updated

“It’s the right to bear arms, not the right to be a dumbass.”

That’s the message of the first advertisment campaign from a new group – a self-described “third voice” – in the gun debate.

Rebecca and Jon Bond established Evolve to promote firearms safety without playing into partisan divide – the group’s tagline is “Because safety is not a side.” Their intent upon forming the organization last year after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was to begin a national conversation about gun safety and violence without the disparate effects of politics and legislation. Their fight isn’t against guns, the couple said, but rather against irresponsible behavior related to weapons.

“People immediately shift to the defensive arguments that exist within the political debate. And we’ve got to be able to get above that,” Rebecca Bond told msnbc. “We cannot make it a rights conversation, a laws conversation. It really includes everyone, so there isn’t a gun owner, a gun manufacturer, in this country that should be offended by that message.”

The organization’s Web ad, titled “The Bill of Rights for Dumbasses” and released Thursday, takes place during colonial America when the Founding Fathers discussed possible amendments to the Constitution. The conversation turns to the language of the Second Amendment.

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, as long as people aren’t being dumbasses about it,” a man portraying Thomas Jefferson says while reading from a document.

The other men support the wording because they claim it allows future generations to understand the right to own a gun doesn’t give citizens the liberty to act like “dumbasses” with it. Other scenes include colonial Americans leaving unlocked, loaded guns in the house and allowing their unsupervised children to play with firearms.

The spot ends with the political leaders shooting at a pinata.

The Bonds, both of whom have backgrounds in marketing, view the gun industry as a business and firearms safety as a product. Their efforts act as a third voice of personal choice, a contrast, they argued, to the politicized far left and far right.

They chose to use humor to broach a serious topic because people typically feel under attack and become defensive with other approaches, Rebecca Bond said. 

“We’ve seen that it’s a very hard discussion to have at the ballot box,” Rebecca Bond said. “We hope to start to educate [Americans] about some of these things and, most of all, motivate them to start having this discussion at their kitchen tables.”

Rebecca Bond, a mother of three children under the age of 10, said she would want the rest of the country to think about ways Americans could do a better job with safety if she lost her kids in the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Related: Making a senseless tragedy meaningful in Newtown

Evolve is based in New York and has attracted followers which include representatives from the firearms industry, gun owners, non-gun owners, members of the National Rifle Association, mothers, fathers, Republicans, and Democrats.

The Bonds first launched “Don’t be a Dumbass” for social media platforms, but hope it will soon expand to a larger audience on television.

Gun Policy and Gun Violence

Moderate group spoofs gun debate

Updated