In early 2016, President Obama proposed certain minimal gun regulations aimed at reducing gun violence. It was mainly aimed at making sure gun sales via the internet and gun shows followed the same regulations for background checks, etc., as those who had a physical nexus. But, of course, the nation went ballistic, claiming that Obama was trying to ‘take their guns away’. And what do you think happened? Gun sales, which had been on the rise for the past decade, soared, of course.
Jeb Bush said Obama’s plan would take away the rights of someone “selling a gun out of their collection, a one-off gun”. Marco Rubio says Obama’s plan is to “take away our guns.” And in the light of all this mis-understood rhetoric, gun sales soared.
And then came Donald Trump. As I wrote in a July column under Trump, gun sales declined by 17% during Trump’s first two months in office. This, despite the fact that women and minorities were feeling less safe under Trump and therefore buying more guns!
American Outdoor Brands, alias Smith & Wesson, saw a decrease in revenue of $100 million, a 40% drop. This drop in gun sales has led to the gun lobbyists, specifically the National Rifle Association (NRA) resorting to scare tactics to try to stimulate the sales of guns. One such method has been through a series of despicable video ads.
The text of the above ad:
“They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again, and then they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance, all to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia to smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness and when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage. The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fists of truth. I’m the National Rifle Association of America and I’m freedom’s safest place.”
The ad was played at the National Rifle Association’s Leadership Forum in April. NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre’s speech to thousands of members was characterized by a similar type of ‘us-versus-them’ rhetoric. “It’s up to us to speak up against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites, and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats.”
In addition to the ads, the NRA is pushing for dangerous legislation, such as revoking silencer safety laws and making it easy for anyone to buy a silencer without a background check. Oh yes, we don’t want the neighbors to hear and call the cops when you shoot me in my home for writing against the NRA and advocating for gun safety!
The NRA also conjured up mythical threats from the so-called “alt-left” in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, suggesting that conservatives take up arms to fight back. “For those of you progressives out there on the far left who wonder why guys like me, conservatives like me, have an AR-15, the answer is, I have an AR-15 to protect myself and my family from you. From you.” – Television host Bill Whittle, 06 September 2017 Hello??? It was the uber-conservative, white supremacists who held the rally, stirred the violence, and were responsible for the death of a young woman, Heather Heyer!
So, the question comes to mind, after seeing the hateful videos, rhetoric and ads of the NRA … who, exactly IS the NRA? Do they represent gun owners? The answer is complex, but the short answer is that no, they represent nobody but the gun manufacturers. Big businesses who manufacture weapons of mass destruction. They pay big bucks to members of Congress to put forth their agenda, and they play on the fears of gun owners and advocates, always presenting a perceived threat to 2nd Amendment rights by those of us who see guns as an unnecessary evil.
I have given you the statistics a number of times in the past, so I shall not bore you with them again. But the reality is that the U.S.’ gun regulations are virtually non-existent as compared to other western nations, and our gun-related crime rate is our eternal shame. Since Trump took office last January, there have been moves to remove the restriction on gun ownership by mentally challenged individuals, revocation of the ban on assault-type weapons, and now silencers no longer will require a background check.
We know what the NRA does with its money, it makes donations to members of Congress who are in a position to knock down gun regulations affecting gun sales, and even strike down or reverse previous regulations. Last year, the country’s most powerful lobby gave Donald Trump more than $30 million in campaign contributions. He is now in their pocket. Federal campaign finance records show that much of the NRA funds are used to keep pro-gun lawmakers in office
But where do they get their money?
People like you, perhaps. Some donations, of course, come from the gun manufacturers and other companies who stand to gain from the NRA platform. But much of their funding comes from private individuals. Since 2005, the NRA Political Victory Fund has received nearly $85 million in contributions from individual donors. After the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, donations to this political action committee surged as gun owners worried that their rights to buy and own guns were at risk.
And now gun sales are down, and gun manufacturers are looking to the NRA to stimulate a renewed interest in purchasing guns. And so we will continue to see obnoxious, untruthful ads such as the one above, as the NRA strives to convince the nation that they are not safe without their damn guns. With the current level of divisiveness, with white supremacists and neo-Nazis coming out from the rocks every day, the last thing we need in this country is to increase gun sales. If the NRA truly represented We The People, they would not exist, for We The People stand to gain nothing by increased gun sales. It’s all about money … not rights … money and power.
Think about that … remember that, in November 2018 when you go to the polls to vote for your senators and representatives. Do your homework and find out just how much in donations your representatives have accepted from the NRA.