The Long Island political consultant who dreamed up the Jan. 19 national Gun Appreciation Day told Human Events the protest was a great success and sent a message to members of Congress wavering on gun rights.
“Like any other angry political advocate, I was watching the 113th Congress and getting hacked off,” said Larry Ward, whose firm Political Media works with conservative candidates. “What I saw was an avalanche of momentum going in the gun control direction—and I figured we needed to put the brakes on it and make a strong statement pretty fast.”
The consultant said another factor was that he felt it would be better for him to take hits in the media instead of his clients. “I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now, but this is the first time I have taken a lead role—usually that is what my clients do.”
Ward said he went through his options and the best way he came up with under the time pressure was to emulate the Chik-fil-a Appreciation Day last summer. “Not only would it get people across the country involved, it was also a great local protest on a national issue.”
The Lindenhurst, N.Y., native said having Gun Appreciation Day rallies across the country also gave members of Congress a headcount in their own districts of how many of their constituents are concerned about gun rights.
To facilitate the GAD, Ward said he set up a website, where visitors could download pre-designed flyers and posters. In the fortnight before the day, more than 500,000 people came to the site for information and resources.