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Monday, July 4, 2016

NRA Lies and Myths That Perpetuate Paranoia


The National Rifle Society derives much of its power from the barriers of fear and mistrust. The NRA realizes it must use emotionalism to rile up members so that they will continue to pay their dues. Their leader, Wayne LaPierre. indoctrinates the faithful with the mantra “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

And so, the gun lobby thrives as gullible people follow the NRA postulation that the United States will never get a handle on its problem with violence until more people get their hands on guns to meet violence with violence.

Their bombastic technique has become a simple, full-frontal assault on anyone who proposes measures to stop gun violence in America. The organization preaches 100% defiance, never give an inch, and painting everyone who would question them as an enemy of freedom, democracy, and America.

With the Second Amendment as their holy grail, the NRA uses a signature method of recruitment to play on the fears of gun enthusiasts by making wild claims that President Obama and his administration will not rest “until they’ve banned, confiscated and destroyed our guns, just like they did in England and Australia.”

In fact, LaPierre has published a bizarre, paranoid discourse of fear outlining a series of implausible scenarios that include the following:
  1. Violent Latino gangs are out to get you
  2. These gangs and Al-Qaeda are streaming over the border.
  3. Obama will use them as an excuse to take your guns.
  4. If you want gun safety, you want civilization to collapse.
  5. Thanks to Obama, there will soon be no cops.
  6. The collapse of civilization is right around the corner.
(Ian Millhiser and Zack Beauchamp. “The Nine Most Insane Quotes From The NRA’s New Apocalyptic Op-Ed.” February 13, 2013.) 

Though the NRA remains the most powerful gun lobby, it has spawned other groups that contend Americans have already lost some of their gun rights

These smaller, even more assertive organizations — most notably the Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights — have continually attacked the NRA for giving any ground. On multiple occasions they have spoken out against the NRA for allegedly compromising on gun rights issues and thereby selling out the gun rights movement.

(Larry Pratt. “Gun owners 'get stabbed in back.' Gun Owners of America. 
WND. December 23, 2007.)

Gun groups are becoming even more powerful, with the ability to spend virtually unlimited amounts of money to support or defeat the candidates of their choice.

In 2013, according to federal disclosures and a Center for Responsive Politics analysis done for the Center for Public Integrity, the NRA and its allies in the firearms industries, along with the Gun Owners of America, had together poured nearly $81 million into House, Senate and presidential races since the 2000 election cycle.

The bulk of the cash — more than $46 million — came in the form of independent expenditures made since court decisions in 2010 (especially the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision) essentially redefined electoral politics. Those decisions allowed individuals, corporations, associations and unions to make unlimited “independent” expenditures aimed at electing or defeating candidates in federal elections, so long as the expenditures were not “coordinated” with a candidate’s actual campaign.

(Alan Berlow and Gordon Witkin. “NRA Money, Power Responsible For Swayed 
Gun Control Vote.” The Huffington Post. May 01, 2013.)

Big money and big lobbies have so many politicians mouthing the scripted posits of the gun lobby in order to assure re-election. The NRA encourages fear and loathing in its members as common strategies to stop any attempts at solving gun violence. Compromise and solution are anathema to hard-core gun groups who oppose closing loopholes in illegal gun acquisition and possession.

All the while, the NRA chooses to tout outright lies, myths, and fictions to do their uncompromising political business.

In a PBS News Hour interview in 1991, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger referred to the NRA Second Amendment myth as “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by any special interest group that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

A report shows the NRA openly misleading voters on President Obama’s positions. In the 2008 campaign, the NRA said the Obama administration planned to “ban the use of firearms for home self-defense.” It claimed Obama would ban “ammunition commonly used for hunting.” President Obama has not proposed any such bans.

And in total disregard of those facts, Wayne LaPierre promoted fear among gun owners earlier by saying the president is hiding “his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term.”

The reality is that while LaPierre and the NRA continue to fictionalize outrageous stories of gun grabbing, Republican-controlled state legislatures have been weakening gun safety laws. For example, just last year, Republicans in Georgia passed the “guns everywhere bill” that makes it legal to carry guns in bars, school zones, and parts of airports. And 11 states in recent years even passed laws intended to nullify federal gun safety laws under the guise of “firearm freedom.”

(Dean Obeidallah. “Will the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre Ever Stop Lying?”  
The Daily Beast. April 13, 2015.) 

The National Rifle Association is a marketing organization. They sell guns to Americans by claiming they stand between the people and a government plotting to take away their rights and establish tyranny. And, all the while, gun manufacturers reap monumental profits as they sell more and more firearms under that pretense that the alternative to totalitarian government is unrestricted ownership of military hardware.

I know there is no perfect solution for stopping gun deaths and gun violence. Yet, I do believe that violence proliferates more violence. The gun has taken a role of bravado for many of those in fear. How much of that fear has been falsely generated by gun groups and perpetuated in the name of their profits? You will never convince me that flooding the country with firearms creates a better future for our loved ones.

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