© Josh Sager – June 2014
Over the past several decades, the NRA has positioned itself as the champion of the 2nd Amendment and defender of the rights of every gun owner—at least, that is what they would like the American people, gun owners and not, to believe.
In reality, the NRA is nothing more than a blood-soaked lobbying group that is paid by gun manufacturers to support legislation that increases the number of guns that can be sold. They couldn’t care less who buys the guns, just as long as the guns are bought and restrictions to future gun sales are not implemented. To the NRA and their sponsors, massacres, gun crimes and accidental shootings are merely the acceptable losses in the endless race for profit.
Unfortunately, the NRA has successfully branded itself as a sincere ideological organization instead of an amoral lobbying group. They have cloaked their rhetoric in thin constitutional arguments and revisionist history (ex. the purpose of the 2nd Amendment being to stop a tyrannical government) while also using the support of an extremely small group of vocal extremists to simulate a wide base of moderate support
Despite their success in rebranding, the NRA’s true nature occasionally breaks through in a manner that is so obvious that anybody who is paying attention can recognize it; here are a few examples:
Currently, the NRA is fighting against federal legislation that would bar convicted domestic abusers who abuse non-spouse partners and stalkers from buying weapons. This legislation is extremely important, as gun ownership is a major contributing factor to the lethality of domestic abuse—abusers who own guns are 5X more likely to kill their victims if they own a gun than if they are unarmed.
Domestic abuse is rampant in the USA, particularly in the south and areas that are traditionally gun friendly, so expanding the domestic abuse gun ban has the potential to disrupt a significant number of gun sales. This disruption cuts into the profits of gun manufacturers and creates a situation where they must choose between arming abusers and making a little less money.
In 2012, after the Sandy Hook massacre, the NRA opposed universal background check for gun ownership, despite the fact that a majority of Americans, NRA members and even gun sellers support such a mandate.
The NRA opposes background checks, despite the opinions of the groups who they purport to represent, for the simple reason that the gun manufacturers’ opinions are the only ones that matter. Gun manufacturers make significant amounts of money through selling to straw buyers who can only operate when background checks are not done, thus they have a strong interest in fighting regulation. They know that these guns find their way into the black market, but don’t care because they make money regardless of the eventual destination of the gun.
In 2010, an effort was made to ban people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. This measure would prevent terrorists—whether domestic right wing extremists or foreign Islamic terrorists—from legally buying powerful weapons with which they could perpetrate massacres. Unfortunately, the NRA opposed this anti-terrorism measure and they managed to kill it via threatening to reduce their grade of any politician to support such a law.
It is not unrealistic to worry that terrorists might use lax American gun laws to gain access to weapons, as terrorist spokesmen like Adam Gadahn have called for their followers to do just this. Additionally, terrorists like the D.C. snipers and the Fort Hood shooter have proven themselves to not only be adept at killing Americans with guns but far more effective than their ill-fated allies who attempted to use bombs (the underwear bomber ignited his own groin, the Boston bombers only killed three people, etc.).
Revolt Against the NRA
Put simply, the NRA supports selling guns to suspected terrorists, convicted domestic abusers, stalkers and individuals who are either insane or criminal enough not to be able to pass a background check. They serve the gun manufacturers and are simply using low-information gun owners as foot soldiers to fight against sane regulations.
To the gun manufacturers, a gun bought by a terrorist who kills a dozen Americans is only differentiable from a gun bought by a police officer in that it’s use creates the risk of more gun control being passed—the profits are exactly the same for both purchases. In order to increase their sales, the gun manufacturers ensure that American criminals have easy access to weapons, and then use their NRA flaks to promote the idea that the solution is always more guns. This creates a situation where the manufacturers not only gain the ability to sell to those who cannot legally buy guns, but they also use the bad acts of these people to fuel higher legal gun ownership (people hear about crime and buy guns for self-defense).
If you are a responsible gun owner, you don’t want violent or crazy people to have easy access to guns and have no problem passing a simple background check to buy your legal guns. Sure, such a check may be a little irritating and may delay your purchase by a few days, but it will also reduce the number of times you need to read about children being shot at their desks in school—to me, this is a very small inconvenience for a very large gain.
Every person to own a gun and still support sane gun regulation needs to make it very clear that the gun lobbyists at the NRA and other likeminded groups are simply extremists who don’t represent the mainstream. These people must work with the rest of us to isolate the NRA and ensure that they don’t continue to dominate our politics and impose gun deregulation that not even the average gun-enthusiast can get behind.