The Gun Control History of the NRA

Adam Winkler writes for The Huffington post

 

The NRA was founded by William Church and George Wingate after the Civil War. Wingate and Church -- the latter a former reporter for a newspaper not exactly known for its love of gun rights, the New York Times -- both fought in the War on the Union side. They were shocked by the poor marksmanship of Union soldiers and convinced that one reason the Confederacy was able to hold out so long before surrender was because their soldiers had more experience shooting. Church and Wingate's goal for the NRA was to improve the marksmanship of civilians who might one day be called to serve in the military, not to fight gun control.

The author goes on to explain how for most of the 20th century the NRA was actually involved in drafting gun control ligislation.  And during those decades they had very little to do with the 2nd Amendment.

All that changed in 1977. That year, the leadership of the NRA decided to retreat from political lobbying and refocus on recreational shooting and outdoors activities. This sparked a backlash among a group of hardline gun rights advocates who were upset that the NRA had endorsed the Gun Control Act of 1968 -- the first significant federal gun legislation since the 1930s. Motivated by the belief that guns weren't primarily for hunting but for personal protection in an era of rising crime rates, the hardliners staged a coup at the annual meeting of the membership, ousting the old leaders and committing the organization to political advocacy.

Shortly after that they picked up La Pierre. And the world has seldom seen anything like it.

What's your opinion?  We've often spoken about the evolving interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, but this article helps us see it from the perspective of the NRA.  Do you think that's helpful? Does the dynamic change in direction undertaken by the NRA lend credibility to the theory that the way we view the 2A has been bastardized over the last 5 decades?

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

(cross posted at Mikeb302000)

 

 

The Gun Control History of the NRA

Adam Winkler writes for The Huffington post

 

The NRA was founded by William Church and George Wingate after the Civil War. Wingate and Church -- the latter a former reporter for a newspaper not exactly known for its love of gun rights, the New York Times -- both fought in the War on the Union side. They were shocked by the poor marksmanship of Union soldiers and convinced that one reason the Confederacy was able to hold out so long before surrender was because their soldiers had more experience shooting. Church and Wingate's goal for the NRA was to improve the marksmanship of civilians who might one day be called to serve in the military, not to fight gun control.

The author goes on to explain how for most of the 20th century the NRA was actually involved in drafting gun control ligislation.  And during those decades they had very little to do with the 2nd Amendment.

All that changed in 1977. That year, the leadership of the NRA decided to retreat from political lobbying and refocus on recreational shooting and outdoors activities. This sparked a backlash among a group of hardline gun rights advocates who were upset that the NRA had endorsed the Gun Control Act of 1968 -- the first significant federal gun legislation since the 1930s. Motivated by the belief that guns weren't primarily for hunting but for personal protection in an era of rising crime rates, the hardliners staged a coup at the annual meeting of the membership, ousting the old leaders and committing the organization to political advocacy.

Shortly after that they picked up La Pierre. And the world has seldom seen anything like it.

What's your opinion?  We've often spoken about the evolving interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, but this article helps us see it from the perspective of the NRA.  Do you think that's helpful? Does the dynamic change in direction undertaken by the NRA lend credibility to the theory that the way we view the 2A has been bastardized over the last 5 decades?

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

(cross posted at Mikeb302000)

 

 

Our Hope for Change is Still Not Fulfilled

 

By WALTER BRASCH

 

After significant compromise with the recalcitrant Republicans who want to continue to give the wealthy tax advantages while cutting significant social programs, President Obama has finally taken a stand on debt ceiling negotiations. However, in labor, wildlife management, and the environment he is still compromising rather than coming out forcefully for the principles he and the working class believes.

 The Republican presidential candidates have torn into the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a recent decision supporting organized labor. Mitt Romney claimed President Obama packed the NLRB with “union stooges.” Newt Gingrich wants Congress to remove all NLRB funds and President Obama to stop the NLRB actions. Tim Pawlenty called the decision “preposterous.” Michele Bachman not only said the NLRB is “way out of bounds,” but declared if she were president she would appoint “free-market conservatives who believe in job growth,” thus making the NLRB a political arm of her beliefs rather than the independent agency that was created to protect workers from management exploitation.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who isn’t a presidential candidate but is strongly anti-union, declared the decision “is nothing more than a political favor for the unions who are supporting President Obama’s re-election campaign.” Other Republican senators have claimed they will block the nomination of NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon to a permanent post.

 At issue is an NLRB decision that Boeing violated federal law by trying to stop a production line in its Seattle-area plant that manufactures the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and opening a new facility in South Carolina, an anti-union “right-to-work” state. The NLRB agreed with a complaint filed by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) that Boeing’s decisions was retaliation for the actions of the Seattle workers. In both public and internal memos, Boeing stated it didn’t wish to deal with unionized workers in Seattle. The NLRB suit is currently in federal court.

 At a recent press conference, President Obama sidestepped support for both the NLRB and unions by claiming, “I don’t know all the facts,” and that he didn’t wish to interfere in the process. However, he did state that corporations “need to have the freedom to relocate . . . . and if they’re choosing to relocate here in the United States, that’s a good thing.”

 When Barack Obama was campaigning for the presidency, he promised to support the working class. If there was a picket line, or if the workers were being threatened, he promised to “put on a comfortable pair of shoes” and walk side by side with them.

 That has not happened. He never spoke out in defense of the workers in Seattle during their two year fight against Boeing, nor after they filed their complaint in April. Nor has the President given support to the millions of of citizens in several states where conservative governors and legislatures have launched campaigns to break unions, while giving special benefits to the business and executive classes.

 Giving Mr. Obama the widest possible excuse, perhaps the Secret Service declared it would be dangerous for a president to be in a crowd of protestors, no matter how peaceful it is.

 But, there is no excuse for President Obama’s weak record on environmental and wildlife protection, something he placed high on his list as a candidate, but failed to defend as president.

 Strong words as a candidate turned to “compromise” and then near-abandonment when confronted by extremists who refuse to read or understand any of thousands of studies about the effects of global warming.

 To please the oil lobby, the same one that dominated the previous administration, President Obama approved deep-water drilling – just weeks before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf coast. And then, months after the disaster approved continued deep water drilling.

 His wildlife management policies, while based on good intentions, are not something he has rolled upon his sleeves to fight for.

 Confronted by the cattle industry lobby, which believes 10,000 wild horses and burros are threats to the existence of more than 92 million cattle, President Obama has virtually abandoned protection of the few wild horses and burros left in the country.

 And now his Department of the Interior is about to allow Wyoming to begin the wanton killing of gray wolves, including pups in dens, outside of Yellowstone national park. 

The plan yields to extremists who see wolves as threats to cattle. But, numerous research studies show that wolves seldom attack cattle. And, when they do, the government pays the rancher, even if the steer is new born or headed to a slaughterhouse the next day. But the cattle industry is as dominant in American politics as is the NRA.

 And that leaves hunters. Wolves cull the weakest animals from the herd. And that’s the problem. There are only 5,000 wolves in the continental United States. But a few million hunters see the wolf as competitors for 20 million deer, 250,000 moose, or any animal that can be killed and then mounted as a trophy in someone’s den.

 Although the mean-spirited and uncompromising vindictiveness of the ultra-right has blocked much progress, it is the President’s own actions in labor, environment, and wildlife that have deteriorated into compromise and retreat. His inability to defend the principles he believes and campaigned for threatens any chance he will be remembered as a great president.

 

[Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated social issues journalist. His current book, Before the First Snow, looks at an energy company that lures citizen consent because of jobs in a depressed economy, but which may threaten health, safety, and environment.]

 

 

 

Our Hope for Change is Still Not Fulfilled

 

By WALTER BRASCH

 

After significant compromise with the recalcitrant Republicans who want to continue to give the wealthy tax advantages while cutting significant social programs, President Obama has finally taken a stand on debt ceiling negotiations. However, in labor, wildlife management, and the environment he is still compromising rather than coming out forcefully for the principles he and the working class believes.

 The Republican presidential candidates have torn into the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a recent decision supporting organized labor. Mitt Romney claimed President Obama packed the NLRB with “union stooges.” Newt Gingrich wants Congress to remove all NLRB funds and President Obama to stop the NLRB actions. Tim Pawlenty called the decision “preposterous.” Michele Bachman not only said the NLRB is “way out of bounds,” but declared if she were president she would appoint “free-market conservatives who believe in job growth,” thus making the NLRB a political arm of her beliefs rather than the independent agency that was created to protect workers from management exploitation.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who isn’t a presidential candidate but is strongly anti-union, declared the decision “is nothing more than a political favor for the unions who are supporting President Obama’s re-election campaign.” Other Republican senators have claimed they will block the nomination of NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon to a permanent post.

 At issue is an NLRB decision that Boeing violated federal law by trying to stop a production line in its Seattle-area plant that manufactures the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and opening a new facility in South Carolina, an anti-union “right-to-work” state. The NLRB agreed with a complaint filed by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) that Boeing’s decisions was retaliation for the actions of the Seattle workers. In both public and internal memos, Boeing stated it didn’t wish to deal with unionized workers in Seattle. The NLRB suit is currently in federal court.

 At a recent press conference, President Obama sidestepped support for both the NLRB and unions by claiming, “I don’t know all the facts,” and that he didn’t wish to interfere in the process. However, he did state that corporations “need to have the freedom to relocate . . . . and if they’re choosing to relocate here in the United States, that’s a good thing.”

 When Barack Obama was campaigning for the presidency, he promised to support the working class. If there was a picket line, or if the workers were being threatened, he promised to “put on a comfortable pair of shoes” and walk side by side with them.

 That has not happened. He never spoke out in defense of the workers in Seattle during their two year fight against Boeing, nor after they filed their complaint in April. Nor has the President given support to the millions of of citizens in several states where conservative governors and legislatures have launched campaigns to break unions, while giving special benefits to the business and executive classes.

 Giving Mr. Obama the widest possible excuse, perhaps the Secret Service declared it would be dangerous for a president to be in a crowd of protestors, no matter how peaceful it is.

 But, there is no excuse for President Obama’s weak record on environmental and wildlife protection, something he placed high on his list as a candidate, but failed to defend as president.

 Strong words as a candidate turned to “compromise” and then near-abandonment when confronted by extremists who refuse to read or understand any of thousands of studies about the effects of global warming.

 To please the oil lobby, the same one that dominated the previous administration, President Obama approved deep-water drilling – just weeks before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf coast. And then, months after the disaster approved continued deep water drilling.

 His wildlife management policies, while based on good intentions, are not something he has rolled upon his sleeves to fight for.

 Confronted by the cattle industry lobby, which believes 10,000 wild horses and burros are threats to the existence of more than 92 million cattle, President Obama has virtually abandoned protection of the few wild horses and burros left in the country.

 And now his Department of the Interior is about to allow Wyoming to begin the wanton killing of gray wolves, including pups in dens, outside of Yellowstone national park. 

The plan yields to extremists who see wolves as threats to cattle. But, numerous research studies show that wolves seldom attack cattle. And, when they do, the government pays the rancher, even if the steer is new born or headed to a slaughterhouse the next day. But the cattle industry is as dominant in American politics as is the NRA.

 And that leaves hunters. Wolves cull the weakest animals from the herd. And that’s the problem. There are only 5,000 wolves in the continental United States. But a few million hunters see the wolf as competitors for 20 million deer, 250,000 moose, or any animal that can be killed and then mounted as a trophy in someone’s den.

 Although the mean-spirited and uncompromising vindictiveness of the ultra-right has blocked much progress, it is the President’s own actions in labor, environment, and wildlife that have deteriorated into compromise and retreat. His inability to defend the principles he believes and campaigned for threatens any chance he will be remembered as a great president.

 

[Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated social issues journalist. His current book, Before the First Snow, looks at an energy company that lures citizen consent because of jobs in a depressed economy, but which may threaten health, safety, and environment.]

 

 

 

Mayors Working to Close Loophole That Lets Crazys Buy Guns

I've historically been neutral at best on gun laws. Coming from Texas it's such a cultural loser with so many voters who ought to be voting Democrat that I haven't even tried to fight that fight.

That has changed since I got older, became a parent and started having to go to so many funerals. 

There's no reason we need to allow crazy people to own guns. A group of Mayors has launched a new initiative to close the biggest loopholes in the background checks law. Here's NYC Mayor Bloomberg at Huff Po:

Today, I joined Martin Luther King III and survivors, family members and friends of the victims of the shootings in Tucson, Virginia Tech, and Columbine and other incidents of gun violence that happen every day but never make the headlines. We launched a national campaign urging Congress to take two simple but critical steps to fix our nation's broken background check system: 1) fulfill the letter of the historic 1968 gun law and ensure that all names of people prohibited from buying a gun are in the background check system; and 2) fulfill the intent of the historic 1968 gun law by subjecting every gun sale to a background check. Add your voice now at www.fixgunchecks.org.

 

Mayor Bloomberg's speech is in the full entry.

Here's Cliff Schecter explaining some of the background behind our insane approach to gun laws:

There is simply no understanding the prevalence of gun violence in America - as evidenced by the recent attempted assassination of a congresswoman during a mass shooting - without discussing the nefarious role played by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Once an organisation primarily concerned with the education and training of sportsmen, in a coup that came to be known as the Cincinnati Revolt in 1977, hardliners took over the leadership and believed that any gun regulation would take us down a slippery slope to Khmer Rougism.

In the years since, unlike the US in the wake of the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy - or for that matter Australia after the Port Arthur Massacre - the response to senseless gun violence has been to discuss everything from the rhetoric on our airwaves to the weather outside.

But any public conversations regarding restricting who has access to guns has been considered verboten (although, thankfully, this time some cracks are beginning to show).

This is largely because the NRA's duping its own members, which we'll discuss below, and coming to the realisation that the real money was in actually protecting the rights of gun manufacturers, which we'll discuss in Part II of this series.

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