Calling Out the NRA
by Texas Nate, Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 10:20:08 AM EDT
For decades now, the NRA has held our government hostage. Their trademark has long been an absolute extremism that rejects even the most sensible restrictions on guns. Ban copper jacketed bullets that only exist to penetrate police body armor? No Way! Require traveling arms dealers selling weapons at gun shows to perform background checks? Hell no!
They've been able to get away with this because of two factors:
1) They've spent millions on slick advertising campaigns over the past decades to soften their brand image. Their "I am the NRA" campaign was genius and changed their perception as extremist gun nuts into one of a mainstream organization of sportsmen and women.
2) Meanwhile their political actions have been anything but. The NRA pioneered the zero tolerance policy. Any law that in any way shape or form reduces easy access to weaponry is opposed tooth and nail. Any politician who doesn't vote their way can expect a vicious and well-funded assault during the next election cycle. The NRA is one of the key factors, along with Grover Norquist, in the extinction of the moderate Republican.
The NRA's stranglehold on our government results in the needless killings of 83 people a day. Today's Boston Globe editorial gets right to heart of the problem.
Many people don't realize that fully half the gun sales in this country are in the unlicensed "private" market, purchases made either between individuals or at gun shows and flea markets. Guns of all kinds can be sold without any background checks, to anyone -- people with criminal records, terrorist connections, or mental illness. Why shouldn't everyone be subject to the same safeguards as those in Massachusetts? Why can't Congress close the gun-show loophole? One answer: $8 million in campaign contributions from the NRA since 2000.The NRA continues to oppose any sensible approach to gun policy in our country. For too long their intimidation tactics have gone unchallenged. It's time to put an end to the NRA's stranglehold on our government and implement common sense national gun policies like closing the gun show loophole that allows violent criminals and terrorists to walk in and buy high-powered weapons without so much as going through a background check.
USA Today can see through the NRA's rhetoric, too. And they note that gun shows still thrive where background checks are required. The only people that stand to lose are criminals and terrorists - people that shouldn't have weapons in the first place.
Several states have closed this loophole by requiring that all sales at gun shows involve background checks. Private sellers have to walk buyers over to a nearby licensed dealer for a background check that usually takes just a few minutes. This isn't excessively onerous, and it hasn't stopped gun shows where it's required. A new study by a doctor who observed 28 gun shows in California and nearby states found shows thriving but noted that many would-be buyers backed away when they realized they'd be subject to a background check.
Closing the gun show loophole wouldn't end illegal sales, but it's a minimally invasive way to stop guns from getting into the hands of people who shouldn't have them. It's not on the congressional agenda now, but it should be. It's more useful than trying to intimidate federal agencies policing gun shows.
Tomorrow a new campaign to call out the NRA will launch, stay tuned.