By: Teresa Mull
Some survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting have been busy spreading their gun control message this summer, taking part in the “March For Our Lives: Road to Change” tour.
The tour launched last month in Chicago and stopped most recently in Utah, where they were met with opposition from the Utah Gun Exchange, a group opposing gun control. According to the March For Our Lives (MFOL) website:
From [Chicago] we are traveling from city to city, with more than 50 planned stops in over 20 states including Iowa, Texas, California, South Carolina, and Connecticut. We’ll also hold a separate Florida tour with more than 25 stops, visiting every congressional district.
We’re going to places where the NRA has strongholds — and we’ll be visiting a number of communities that have been affected by gun violence to meet fellow survivors and use our voices to amplify theirs.
At each stop, we’ll register young people to vote and talk about how we can stand up to anyone that is a blockade to gun safety – including the NRA and corrupt leaders.
The MFOL website states the group is specifically calling for: “Universal, comprehensive background checks, Bringing the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) into the 21st century with a digitized, searchable database, Funds for the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to research the gun violence epidemic in America, High-capacity magazine ban, [and] a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles.”
The website also says MFOL was “created by, inspired by, and led by the students of Parkland,” but that doesn’t explain who has been funding the organization’s bus tour, media blitzes, and other promotional events. The group’s march in Washington, D.C. in March reportedly cost $5 million alone.
Marchforourlives.com itself is curiously vague on this subject. The “Info” tab directs one to a “Partners and Supporters” page, which, rather than listing partners and supporters, as one might expect, simply says,
March for Our Lives is looking to partner with organizations with a history of working on issues related to gun violence prevention in this effort. We’re also interested in hearing from organizations looking to generally support our efforts in coming on board as supporting organizations. If you’d like to partner or offer support, please reach out here:
There’s no phone number I can find by which to call the group – just contact boxes that require the media person trying to get in touch to provide his organization or affiliation, and a message warning “it may take a while for you to receive a response because of the volume of requests we are receiving.”
The source of MFOL’s funding is a topic others have wondered about and investigated, and some questions surrounding who exactly is funneling the money remain.
NPR reported in March the group had said its funding came from “crowdfunding and other donations — including from household name celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney,” and that the MFOL board of directors was “comprised of adults,” due to legal restrictions.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that on March 8, MFOL had “registered a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization that is not required to disclose its donors.”
“[MFOL] decided to incorporate as a ‘social welfare’ organization, and a non-profit, but not a 501(c)(3), a designation which would have allowed those who donated to the March to claim their contributions as tax deductions, but which would have required the March itself to submit a list of their contributors to the IRS,” the Daily Wire reported at the time.
Even the notoriously liberal Huffington Post smelled a rat and “criticized the group for its lack of transparency and grassroots veneer, when structurally the March for Our Lives bears the hallmarks of professional activists,” InfluenceWatch.org reported.
“…There is little publicly available information about the March for Our Lives Action Fund or who’s running it,” HuffPo reported. “…As a 501(c)(4) group, March for Our Lives Action Fund is subject to few public disclosure requirements regarding donors or expenditures, meaning the Parkland students and the board aren’t obligated to be fully transparent.”
A Capital Research Center article further reported earlier this year that:
Besides coordinating the D.C. rally in conjunction with Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group, Everytown for Gun Safety, as of this month, March for Our Lives now sports a 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit of its own—the March for Our Lives Action Fund. Filings with the D.C. Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs shows registration in Delaware, with an Encino, California, business address shared by Wishnow Ross Warsavsky & Company, an accountancy. Those filings also reveal the group’s treasurer: Jeri Rhodes, former Greenpeace CFO and currently an associate executive secretary at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (a left-of-center Quaker group).
“Everytown has been criticized for using high school students to promote gun control activism under the guise of spontaneous student demonstrations,” InfluenceWatch.org reported. “One of these students, David Hogg, tweeted on March 10 for gun control supporters to utilize a call script produced by Everytown for Gun Safety to pressure Congressional lawmakers into passing stricter gun control laws.”
What do Bloomberg and his cronies have to hide, if they are not ashamed of their very public exploitation of children? Why the secret donors and under-the-radar behavior?
Time will tell.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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