Demonizing gun rights groups doesn't change reality

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Gun rights groups have long been with us. While many like to pretend that the NRA should go back to the days of selling out its membership with frightening regularity, the truth is that they put that behind them long ago. While many may disagree with how the NRA tries to minimize gun control at times, it’s not a matter of debate that they’ve shut down plenty of it.

And that’s why a lot of people have an issue with them.

Yet it’s hilarious that despite the NRA and groups like them being near household names, so many supposed experts don’t seem to understand anything about them.

The once-honorable National Rifle Association has evolved to become a ruthless political arm of the nation’s $21-billion-a-year gun industry. Its clear focus is to ensure the easy and prolific procurement, use and sale of firearms and ammunition.

The NRA and similar groups don’t represent the gun industry. They represent gun rights in the form of individual rights. The NSSF represents the gun industry.

Now, do the two groups’ views align in many ways? Absolutely. If a company can’t lawfully produce something, consumers can’t lawfully buy that something.

The problem is that this is a framing trick designed to make it look like the NRA is really just an extension of greedy, corporate America rather than a group representing its membership.

Moving on…

Over the past few decades, the NRA and similar organizations — including Rocky Mountain Gun Owners — have deviously woven a gun-rights mythology with fierce patriotism. How could it in any way be patriotic to turn firearms on fellow citizens upwards of 100,000 times a year?

I’d be very curious where they get that 100,000 number. After all, there’s no link, no citation, and absolutely no description.

We know that’s not the total number of gun deaths, which even including suicides is far lower than any 100,000.

Without evidence or citation, it really looks like they just pulled out a big, scary number.

However, they’d do well to remember we’re a nation of 330 million people and there are more than 400 million firearms in private hands.

100,000 isn’t a huge amount in comparison to that.

These groups prey on unwitting subjects of a vastly expensive and relentless marketing scheme: guns are freedom.

In other words, you’re only pro-gun because you’re stupid.

Yeah, that’s the way to win us over. None of us stood on this ground because we recognized the truth or because we just felt that our rights can only be preserved if we had the means to resist tyranny.

No, it was because we were stupid and gullible.

What a way to win folks over.

That’s coupled with an ocean of money spent annually on ensuring compliance from obedient and fearful members of Congress and state legislatures.

It should be remembered that gun control groups have outspent the NRA in several recent election cycles. If it was just about fear of losing money, why not just flip allegiance and trust that Brady and Bloomberg would keep you funded?

Only, they don’t. They almost never do. Why is that?

Maybe because it’s not money that’s driving them. Some actually believe in gun rights. Others know their constituents do.

Either way, trying to demonize the NRA and pro-gun lawmakers requires a lot more than common and long-debunked claims.

The NRA mythology is pegged on equating the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, guaranteeing free speech, with the Second Amendment, preserving the ability of citizen militias to help defend the nation against foreign invaders. They have worked tirelessly to persuade Congress and voters that there should be no regulation of firearms in the same way there is virtually no regulation of speech.

The result is a chaotic free-for-all where about 100,000 Americans are killed or maimed each year by firearms

Ah, so that’s the number, then?

It also includes gunshot victims? Well, alrighty then.

For all this demonization of the NRA, the author fails to note where the shooters got their guns.

Sure, some were from lawful sales. The vast majority weren’t, though. They were from the theft or illegal sale of the gun in question.

The NRA supports gun rights for law-abiding adults. It doesn’t have a track record of openly supporting criminals having guns and never has.

All this op-ed does is try to demonize a gun rights organization by misrepresenting it and hoping those who read it aren’t able to talk to an NRA member and find out otherwise. It’s sad and pathetic, but this is where we’re at.

Yet that demonization doesn’t change reality and it never will.