Wayne LaPierre

The National Rifle Association is at it again. This time in the form of a rebuttal to the president’s inauguration speech. Some may recall that the president said we cannot mistake absolutism for principal. The NRA apparently disagrees.

Executive vice president Wayne LaPierre took the occasion yesterday to set out the NRA’s position. Among other things, LaPierre insisted that semi-automatic weapons, including assault style weapons, remain legal and that universal background checks for gun sales would put an end to American tradition.

Never mind that 90% of Americans agree with universal background checks. Some even wistfully believed that the NRA might support strengthening the background check system. Silly optimists.

LaPierre opined that absolutism is a virtue. He went on to say that universal background checks would prevent heirlooms from being passed on from generation to generation. That, of course, is not a sale by current definition, but that isn’t the only thing he got factually wrong. He also insisted, though it is not true, that Obama called for a federal registry of all guns. LaPierre said specifically,

“He wants to put every private, personal firearms transaction right under the thumb of the federal government. He wants to keep all of those names in a massive federal registry. There’s only two reasons for a federal list on gun owners: to either tax ‘em or take ‘em. That’s the only reasons. And anyone who says that’s excessive, President Obama says that’s an absolutist.”

In addition to misrepresenting what Obama called for, LaPierre also failed to recognize potential uses for a federal registry beyond the two he named. The most obvious use of any federal registry would be in crime solving. The ability to track weapons once they are matched to a crime can only be accomplished if one knows who last had possession of those weapons.

For more on the NRA’s reaction to the president’s inaugural address check here , including a video of some of LaPierre’s remarks.

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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • sheknows

    The NRA feels threatened by anyone who even mentions the word gun without praise. It is so sacred to them, that it is almost blasphemous to discuss guns in any other context. They see these attempts to reduce gun violence in our society as religious persecution.
    If there arguments were consistent at least, or if they had any good arguments at all for keeping the masses well armed and un-policed it might be worth listening to them for one moment. Haven’t heard one good argument yet for why background checks are in conflict with their misinterpreted 2nd amendment, or how having a personal arsenal is in keeping with it.

  • sheknows,

    The NRA feels threatened by anyone who even mentions the word gun without praise.

    One of the sad ironies of what LaPierre had to say is that Obama never mentioned the word gun at all in his inaugural address.

  • zephyr

    Lately Wayne LaPierre seems determined to confirm the fears and concerns of citizens who are looking askance at the NRA. The gap between what the gun lobby views as reasonable rhetoric and what most people view as reasonable is widening. Gun control advocates might want to encourage him to speak more often.

  • brcarthey

    ES, are you really surprised by this latest bloviating from Mr. La Pierre? This is the same man who has opposed restrictions on the mentally ill from getting firearms as well not denying people, who are on a terrorist watch list, from getting firearms. Yes, mistakes can be made on those lists, but they can also be rectified as well.

    One of my darker impressions (absurd?) of Mr. La Pierre and the NRA in general is that if they could they would go so far as to give every newborn a firearm as they leave the hospital with their parent(s).

  • br,

    Thanks for the comment. No, I’m not surprised. The NRA has a habit of talking out of both sides of its mouth. As you point out they claim to want to keep firearms out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill, but do all they can to restrict how dangerously mentally ill can be determined and reported, including lobbying against funding for it. They also claim that they support tougher enforcement of existing laws, then act to neuter the ATF and cut its resources to a point where enforcement is severely hampered. The same is true with their lip service to background checks, with their true side showing in LaPierre’s comments referred to in the article.

  • slamfu

    LaPierre is not a good spokesman. Like a lot of these gun guys they seem to think they are channeling Paul Revere as they rant about why they need what they need. He is simply a big child that doesn’t want his toys taken away.

  • brcarthey

    Thank you for your reply ES.

    I’m not a gun owner, and if I were I wouldn’t join the NRA. However, that had me wondering. We all know there are organizations to the right of the NRA (which is hard for me to believe), but what about organizations that are to the left of this organization? Not necessarily totally on the left-side of the political spectrum, but somewhere in the middle.

    Stories abound about how the NRA leadership doesn’t represent so many of its members. So why don’t they break off and form an organization that better represents the 2nd Amendment and sensible gun owners? If it’s true that the NRA gets most of their funding from members, then it stands to reason that if most of those members left, the NRA’s funding and advocacy would take a serious hit. Thus, truly relegating it where it belongs lately, a fringe organization.

  • We all know there are organizations to the right of the NRA (which is hard for me to believe), but what about organizations that are to the left of this organization?

    Well, you can always check out The Liberal Gun Club, http://www.theliberalgunclub.com/ .

    Honestly, I didn’t know this existed until you asked the question and I looked for something.

  • sheknows

    ” the NRA has a habit of talking out of both sides of it’s mouth”
    Well, I would make a different anatomical reference.

    The only reasons the NRA has the power it does is because 1. the gun manufacturers pour millions into it. 2. wealthy corporations pour millions into it. This is really a political organization who represent and speak for the right. Money talks….even if coming from the lips of delusional paranoids they prefer to represent them.

  • STinMN

    Do not under-estimate the NRA leadership. They are masters of manipulating a very vocal and paranoid membership to do things that are not always in their members’ best interest but always in the best interest of the NRA and their benefactors. Likewise they very highly practiced in lobbying and manipulating our elected officials to act in the NRA’s best interest as well as using the legal system to further their goals.

    Shortly after 9/11 a hobby I participate in and the organizations that oversee it found themselves in the BATF’s cross hairs. Leadership of the organizations reached out to the NRA to see if they could off any advice or help in dealing with the BATF. To the NRA’s credit they did meet with our leadership but as soon as they heard what might be involved they immediately backed out and told our organizations’ leadership that they could provide no assistance. They said would try to stay out of the way, but if anything that was in the NRA’s best interest would interfere with our concerns they had absolutely no problem using our roughly 75,000 members in whatever means they felt could further their goals. They warned that if interfering with our hobby would further their goals they would rally their membership to interfere. They further warned that if we did anything that they felt endangered their goals they would start fighting against us. Their threats were not hollow, they did attempt to undermine the lawsuit that our national organizations filed (and ultimately won) but the court and the BATF agreed with our counsel’s opinion that this was outside interference with little interest in the actual case and their concerns were rejected.

    Their current “shark jumping” isn’t playing well with the general public, but it likely isn’t intended to. It is more likely that they are starting the next manipulation of their membership in preparation for the coming fight.

  • zephyr

    Funny how the words “paranoia” and “paranoid” pop up so often whenever the NRA is being discussed. I agree, it mostly boils down to big money and rightwing politics – which (in these strange times) means pandering to the fearful and gullible.

  • roro80

    The only logical end-game I can think of for the NRA is to please their donors by selling more and more and more guns. I’m seeing the long game as trying to get rid of gun-free spaces altogether.

    It wasn’t that long ago that conceal carry laws were extremely rare. The strategy was to pass the laws in gun-friendly states, then use that success in the nuetral states to push laws there, and then use the fact that the non-friendly states were suddenly in the minority to rev up this idea of carrying concealed weapons as a human right to get things through the courts. It’s worked remarkably well.

    My biggest fear is that a similar many-year strategy is now in its early stages to completely eliminate gun-free zones, including schools and other public places. They’re obviously already talking about putting armed guards in schools, which turns into teachers and administrators and other staff able to carry guns in schools. Just because it’s the worst idea ever doesn’t mean some states aren’t already trying to pass these laws — of course they are making plans to do so. And so it goes. I just hope my own children (whenever that happens) get through school before the cycle of gun-toting teachers gets to California…

  • I’m sure this breaks etiquette on TMV, but I went to town on the whole Gun Owner concept on my own blog here: http://americaincontext.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/gun-owners-scare-the-crap-outta-me. This whole thing is just Ridiculous with a capital “R”.

    For a good laugh, read the second comment. “Well, I might as well start off with the Hitler argument….” Huh??

    I just don’t get these people.