It’s Time To Stop Worrying About The NRA.

Now that the NRA is about to celebrate the importance of gun ‘rights,’ in Indianapolis, it’s not by accident that an energized Gun-control Nation has started throwing as much dirt as possible at America’s ‘defender of freedom,’ or ‘America’s first civil rights organization,’ or whatever the boys from Fairfax are calling themselves these days.

It wasn’t that long ago that the annual NRA meeting attracted almost no attention at all. However, if you’re a gun-control advocacy group, it’s become almost de rigueur to jump on the bandwagon and energize your membership by revealing yet another scandal that can be laid at the feet of the NRA.

The piece written by Mike Spies concerning various financial flimflamming by Wayne-0 and his friends has been ballyhooed all over the place, but in terms of serious financial violations, it doesn’t really amount to a row of beans. The fact that Everytown has sent a letter to the IRS claiming that the tax-exempt status of the organization needs to be reviewed is also, to quote my beloved grandmother, hai cock and a bubba, which means it doesn’t mean anything at all.

In that regard, my friends at the Center for American Progress (CAP) have joined the parade by issuing a report, “Guns, Lies and Fear, Exposing the NRA’s Messaging Playbook,” which claims that the way the NRA promotes gun ‘rights’ is no different from the “authoritarian and undemocratic political regimes around the world that deploy disinformation campaigns to secure control over public discourse,” strategies employed by, among others, Erdogan in Turkey, Orban in Hungary and Putin in what we used to call the U.S.S.R.

The demagogue communication playbook now being used by the NRA consists, among other things, of constructing an ‘us versus them’ political identity, creating an atmosphere of crisis, controlling media and vilifying the opposition. So by dint of gun owners versus gun grabbers, the ‘slippery slope,’ the NRA-TV videos and the demonization of every office-holder who doesn’t parrot the NRA line, Wayne-o now takes his place alongside some of the worst, most anti-democratic political drek-meisters floating around these days.

Let me make one thing very, very clear. Despite the fact that I have been an NRA member since 1955 and currently hold the membership status of Life Patriot Benefactor which means I get multiple fund-raising emails from Fairfax every day, if I were to receive a letter from Wayne-o tomorrow telling me the NRA is kaput, I couldn’t care less. I’ll always be a gun nut, I’ll always enjoy going to a gun show or wandering into a gun shop, and if I could drive to the NRA show in less than 10 hours, I’d be there this coming weekend because the show’s a lot of fun. But I have made it clear again and again and again and again that the NRA‘s promotion of armed, self-defense is simply wrong and has no basis either in logic, safety or effective self-defense. For that matter, this whole notion that our Constitutional freedoms rest on the 2nd Amendment has about as much basis in reality as my decision this morning to go back on my diet.

That being said, I also have to say that the CAP report comparing Wayne-o to some tin-horn politicians in various banana, goulash or halvah republics is simply nothing but crap. The only reason the NRA is considered such a formidable political lobby is because until Sandy Hook, when it came to lobbying for or against guns, they were the only game in town. The so-called demagogue playbook which CAP believes has been used so effectively by the NRA, actually reads exactly like the messaging strategy of a certain New York landlord who, if we are lucky and work hard, can drag his fat ass back to New York City in 2021.

In the meantime, let’s stop pretending that the NRA is the enemy when, in fact, one-third of American adults are legal gun owners but two-thirds believe that a gun keeps you safe. Are my friends at the CAP and other advocacy organizations ever going to explain that one to me?

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How Much Dough Does The NRA Give To Its Political Friends? Not What You Think.

Now that the faithful are gathering in Dallas for their annual toy show, mainstream media will start revving up their usual scare stories about the NRA’s ‘power’ and ‘influence,’ with the usual stories about the gazillions of dollars that the gun lobby’s Congressional toadies receive for their campaigns. The only problem with these stories, which give gun-control organizations a hook they can use to pull in some more dough, is that the cash machine in Fairfax really isn’t any kind of fundraising juggernaut. In fact, when you look at the numbers, it turns out that NRA financial support for pro-gun Senators and Congressmen adds up to very little at all.

NRA show             Let’s look at the 2016 election cycle data published by Open Secrets, which gives pretty reliable numbers for what the NRA and every other politically-active organization spends on candidates running for the Senate and the House.  In 2016 the NRA paid out $834,115 to 278 lucky recipients, which works out to $3,000 apiece.  Some got more, others got less, but the bottom line is that promising the NRA that you will vote their way means you’ll get, on average, three grand for your Congressional campaign. Total spending for Congressional races in 2016 ran slightly above $4 billion, with individual Senate races costing $1.5 million and each House race running 500 grand. Bottom line:  if you want to run for a House seat, after your campaign cashes that big, fat NRA check, you still have to raise another $497,000 from somewhere else.

There are some public servants who are so craven to the 2nd Amendment that they receive considerably more dough from the Fairfax boys; take for example, Senator Roy Blunt.  Our boy Roy has pulled in $1,488,706 from the NRA over the course of his Congressional career, and that’s not chopped liver even in my book. But since Blunt is one of the Senate guys who will always do whatever he can to stop any meaningful gun-law reform (or any gun controls of any kind, for that matter) he’s worth every NRA dime, right?  But if you go back and look at how much money Blunt has raised since he began his Congressional career in 1996, the total runs to more than $53 million. In other words, the NRA’s dollars represent less than 3 percent.

Want a few other examples of what NRA donations mean to their Congressional friends? Barbara Comstock (R-VA) raised $2,785,000 to hold onto her House seat in 2016; she got $10,400 in ‘blood money,’ which is 3/10ths of one percent. Dickie Burr, the red Senator from North Carolina, was the recipient of $8,900 dollars’ worth of NRA largesse, which represented one-sixteenth of one percent of the nearly 13 million that he raised. On the other hand, the $9,900 that Frank Guinta received from America’s first civil rights organization actually amounted to a whole, big six-tenths of one percent of the money he raised to defend his Congressional seat. By the way, he lost.

When our friend Shannon Watts first became a thorn in the gun industry’s side, the pro-gun trolls made a big deal about how she worked for Monsanto and helped the chemical company poison the earth. I don’t notice any of those hapless morons being in the slightest bit concerned when that same company gave Roy Blunt $117,900 over the last five years. Now that’s serious money – not the chicken-feed dispensed by the NRA.

Like it or not, there happen to be a lot of Americans who believe they should have the ‘right’ to own a gun, even if many of them don’t own guns. And politicians representing that constituency are going to vote for 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ NRA dollars or not. What our friends in the gun-control movement need to figure out is why so many people believe the nonsense which says that a gun is more of a benefit than a risk, a more challenging task than just complaining about the ‘powerful’ NRA.

 

 

 

 

The Worst Gun Salesman Of All Time Coming To The NRA.

When Obama was President, the pro-gun gang used to jokingly refer to him as the best ‘salesman’ they ever had. But there was lots of truth to that statement, particularly after the massacre at Sandy Hook, when Barack tried to get Congress to expand background checks to secondary gun transfers, a remarkably mild response to gun violence which nevertheless still failed. Meanwhile, in the final four years of his ‘regime,’ the gun industry may have pushed as many as 90 million additional guns into the civilian arsenal, two to three times as many guns as were made and sold during the eight years of George W. Bush.

trump5               Since the NRA’s pet President took over, however, things have changed, and not for the better. Since the beginning of this year, gun sales are back down to their pre-Obama levels, and nobody expects things to turn around all that quick. Let’s face it: for all the talk and hogwash about everyone walking around with a gun, what always drives gun sales is the possibility that the last gun you bought might be the last one you could ever buy.

Back last October at the end of one of my classes on handgun safety, a woman who took the class told me that she was very happy to have come to the class because she was afraid that Hillary would win the election and then she wouldn’t even be able to apply for a gun license, never mind actually buy a gun. How did such a crazy idea get into her head? Don’t ask me, ask my friends in Fairfax, because they spent $30 million last year trying to convince voters of exactly the same thing.

I think that Everytown, Brady and the Violence Policy Center should create an award for the person who has done the most to reduce gun violence, announce a big, public event, and give the award to Donald Trump. Because no matter how you slice it and dice it, there’s a direct and clear connection between the amount of gun violence that we endure and the ease with which Americans can get their hands on guns. Now I’m not saying that legal gun owners go around shooting up their neighborhoods each and every day. What I am saying is that with all due respect to the 2nd Amendment, which is a nonsense excuse for the 120,000+ gun deaths and injuries which occurs every year, the bottom line is that gun violence would come to an end if we got rid of the guns.

And by the way, not only is Trump the reason for a drop in the number of guns floating around, he also may be responsible for a disappearance of the most horrific form of gun violence, namely, those gun-violence events like Sandy Hook which result in ten, twenty, thirty or more people getting murdered with guns at the same time and at the same place.

These events aren’t just ‘mass’ shootings, which the FBI defines as three or more people killed at one place all at the same time, they are rampage shootings, where someone just keeps pulling the trigger again and again until everyone around him is either wounded or dead.

I was looking at a list of what NPR calls the ‘deadliest’ shootings in U.S. history, and I noticed there have been 15 such events since Chuckie Whitman climbed to the top of the Texas Tower in 1966 and started blasting away. Of those 15 events, which together netted almost 300 dead and another 350 injured, nine of them occurred in just eight years of that fifty-year span – the eight years between 2009 and 2017. 

Can it just be coincidence that two-thirds of the most horrific shootings in American history took place when we had a President who was venomously and hatefully accused of being anti-gun? Let’s give Trump-o a year or so in office and maybe we’ll find out.