Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE for short) is a nonprofit Wisconsin group that claims to be about reducing violence in our society, specifically "Dedicated to Preventing Gun Violence". In addition, they claim to be a grassroots organization and their mission is creating a safe state and working to stop preventable deaths. They have a website as well as a Facebook page to help their organization reach out to people. I'd like to show you more about this organization, as what's on the surface is misleading.
To start, what is a grassroots movement? It's defined as a natural and spontaneous organization that forms from the politics of a community. WAVE is funded primarily by the Joyce Foundation, a well known anti-gun group. The Joyce Foundation is not listed as a nonprofit, but WAVE is. What's interesting about that, is that there are restrictions on the amount of political activity a non-profit group can do. The IRS site states:
"... it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates."
However, WAVE is very politically active. Jeri Bonavia, the executive director of WAVE, is often found in politics, pushing gun control on behalf of her and the WAVE organization. For just a few of many examples, see here, here and here.
Notice the recurring theme? It's always somehow related to gun control. In addition, WAVE itself is a registered lobbying group in the state of Wisconsin. And all of their lobbying has to do with gun control, lobbying on 4 separate bills in the last legislative year. In addition, their facebook page often has politically active posts with topics arguing for more gun control, pushing people to contact legislators about gun control, and even advocating against politicians who don't follow their gun control agenda. They pushed for their facebook fans to vote for Barrett in the recall election. For a nonprofit organization who claims to be about stopping violence, they sure participate in a lot of political activism. And none of their activism actually does anything to reduce violence. There are many variables that determine violent crime rates, and very little (if any) of those variables have to do with gun control. Put more simply, there is no evidence gun control reduces violent crime rates. For every study you hear that argues otherwise, it is generally easily debunked.
In fact, let's look at a few of WAVE's claims. First is the claim from WAVE that:
"People are five to seven times more likely to be murdered in workplaces that allow firearms than in those that prohibit it."
Politifact rated it half true, but that's because politifact didn't go far enough. The information actually comes from the Brady Campaign. The study itself took place from 1994 through 1998. However, North Carolina didn't even implement CCW until 1995, so almost 2 years worth of the study is flawed in that no employers even allowed CCW since it wasn't legal. In addition, they cherry picked the area to obtain their data. And for a very thorough debunking, see this article here.
How about a few more WAVE claims? On their site, they urge their members to present these cards to businesses who do not post no weapons allowed signs. The cards make 3 claims, one of which was already debunked above. So, let's take a closer look at the other two. The first claim:
"By a huge 3 to 1 margin, state residents say they will feel less safe, not safer, in public places that allow guns."
The card offers no citation, but it appears the poll was conducted by WAVE. Looking at their methodology, the "random" voters were selected primarily from heavily democratic areas. And that's not surprising, considering the poll was provided by an apparently left-leaning "Third Eye Strategies". It's not surprising most of their political clients are liberal or democratic groups.
As for the second claim on the WAVE card:
"Nationwide, 80% of businesses prohibit guns on the premises."
This also has no citation, and with all of my searching I have been unable to find one. When asked for a source, WAVE never responded to my inquiry. Upon researching this myself, I was unable to even find such a study, and it appears no one has even collected this kind of data. According to another article, there are estimates on this number that don't even go near 30% much less 80%, and in reality it's more likely 15%.
WAVE is nothing more than a gun control political front, and is run by anti-gun Jeri Bonavia, who makes about $98,000 a year just in salary (doesn't include benefits) as the director, according to WAVE's 2010 990 form. And sadly, their actions do nothing to actually reduce violence. There is even an "anti WAVE" page on facebook whose goal is to expose the truth about WAVE's agenda, and debunk the lies. In my opinion, based upon the amount of political activity they do, there should be some scrutiny by the IRS about their non-profit status. The lesson here is that far too often in politics today, good intentions are used as a ruse for a political agenda. And WAVE is no exception.