Countering the National Rifle Association

Posted: May 28, 2014 by watsonthethird in Current Events, Guns
Tags: , , , ,

If you’re like me, many of your friends took to Facebook to express themselves regarding last week’s tragedy at Isla Vista, California. Some posts expressed outrage, but none expressed surprise. There was a pervading sense of resignation, that this is just the way things are in America. It’s as though we feel powerless to do anything to prevent future occurrences.

Like virtually every other mass killing in the United States, this one involved guns. I realize that the first victims at Isla Vista were stabbed to death, but after that, Elliot Rodgers used his arsenal of semi-automatic weapons to kill, injure and inflict terror in his community.

Let’s be clear: Semi-automatic weapons are designed and manufactured for a single purpose, to kill human beings as efficiently as possible. The primary reason this country can’t impose reason controls on such devices is the National Rifle Association. The NRA is generally considered to be the most effective lobbying organization in America.

According to a 2012 article, the NRA spends ten times more money to lobby Congress than all of the anti-gun violence organizations combined. As a consequence, Congress does the bidding of the NRA rather than Americans as a whole. Nine of every ten Americans support expanding background checks on all firearms sales–something that even the majority of NRA members support. And yet, because the NRA as a lobbying organization opposes such efforts, Congress fails to act.

So, what to do? Those of us in favor of sensible and reasonable gun laws need to put our money where our mouths are. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, I began making a monthly donation to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. There are other similar organizations, but the Brady Campaign is one of the older ones. It’s unfortunate that these organizations are not united because we need them all working in concert in order to effectively countering the NRA.

The NRA claims that the way to counter gun violence is with more guns, but the United States already has more guns per capita than any other country, and far more shootings per capita than any other country. Why should we think that even more guns will produce a different result?

The NRA perpetuates the culture of gun violence that Rodgers found so intoxicating. After he brought home his first handgun, he wrote:

After I picked up the handgun, I brought it back to my room and felt a new sense of power. I was now armed. Who’s the alpha male now, bitches? I thought to myself, regarding all of the girls who’ve looked down on me in the past.

The NRA stands for this kind of gun culture. It represents the gun manufacturers who profit from it. We need to counter the NRA in the only way Congress understands: with money and power. We need to honor the victims of these shootings.

We need to start now.

  1. Kip says:

    Start how? You said yourself that your anti-gun groups aren’t united. You will never be able to stop Americans from owning guns!

    • Hi Kip. We can start by helping to build organizations that will have some clout in with our own representatives. The fact that the anti-gun violence groups are not united today does not mean that they will always be. Nor does it mean we should sit on our hands and let the NRA be the only voice Congress respond to. When 90% of Americans, and three quarters of NRA members, favor universal background checks on gun purchases, but Congress fails to act because of lobbying by the NRA, it tells me they will only respond to other lobbying.

      Furthermore, an organization like the Brady Campaign is active in court cases throughout the country, such as a recent one in which a federal upheld the District of Columbia’s firearms registration laws, including its one-handgun a month limitation, as well as determining DC’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazine as constitutional.

    • mitchethekid says:

      Hey Kip. Thanks for commenting. It’s refreshing to have an new voice. With that said, I’m a bit confused. On the surface, your comment is diametrically opposed to your blog. Which, btw I find very interesting. It says a lot about you that you honored Maya Angelou. And I hope you don’t think I’m being to forward but I’m sorry for your loss, when ever it was.
      But as some of us know, love and fear is all there is.

  2. 02casper says:

    “You will never be able to stop Americans from owning guns!”

    I don’t think Watson wants to stop Americans from owning guns. I know I don’t. I own several and enjoy going out shooting from time to time. However, I see no reason that anyone should have access to any weapon he or she wants.

    • I agree with Kip that we’ll never be able to stop Americans from owning guns, nor is that my objective.

      But I think the NRA has just gone way overboard. There needs to be some reasonableness. I don’t even find that they represent the views of their own members. They seem to represent the gun manufacturers more than anyone else.

      They are a very powerful lobby which is able to prevent Congress from taking up legislation supported by over 90% of Americans. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it. The only way to counter that is going to be by creating opposing powerful lobbies. If everyone who laments the latest mass shooting would support anti-gun violence organizations, perhaps finally our Congressmen wouldn’t be beholden to the NRA. It needs to start somewhere. Might as well start now.

      And I agree with Mitch. Good to have another voice here, Kip.

  3. Kip says:

    I apologize. This issue is extremely personal to me. I also donate to the Brady Campaign. It just pisses me off that the NRA will always win. I feel useless, powerless; and people are dying. And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

    • No need to apologize. I find it frustrating too. The only way I can think of to deal with the NRA is for all the rest of us to become members or donate to organizations like the Brady Campaign. It’s really frustrating that our own Congressmen are so beholden to the NRA that they can’t even take the most minimal of steps that are supported by nearly all Americans. It really makes clear who they are representing.

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