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Guns and Roses

I believe the US Constitution guarantees the right to own guns, but it definitely does not guarantee the right to incite violence. And that is the problem with the pro-gun industry in this country. They are using fear and lies to satisfy their own greed.

The NRA used to be about hunting, but their original market started shrinking. Just fifteen years ago, 46% of gun owners said that they owned a gun in order to hunt, but this number has dropped to 32%. So the gun sellers found a new market to expand into, and they worked hard to make it bigger. Their efforts have paid off. In the same fifteen years, the number of gun owners who own a gun for “protection” has almost doubled from 26% to 48%. That’s a very tidy profit.

The irony of this is that in the same time, crime rates have been falling dramatically. So what can the gun industry do to sell more and more guns? The answer is found in NRA spokesperson Wayne LaPierre’s speech at the recent 2014 NRA national convention:

We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all.

Hypocritically, at the same convention where LaPierre was warning people about rapists, the NRA held a book signing for admitted serial statutory rapist Ted Nugent.

But it gets worse. Five years ago NRA board member and US Congressman Don Young (R-AK) stood with militia leader Schaeffer Cox in a video and signed the following declaration written by Cox:

Let it be known that we, the people of Alaska, stand in recognition of the true principle that whenever a government abandons the purpose for which we have created it and even becomes hostile towards that which it was once a defender of, it is no longer a fit steward of the political power that is inherent in the people and lent to this government with strict conditions. These conditions are clearly defined in the United States Constitution and understood by the common man.

Furthermore, to the extent that our government violates these conditions, they nullify their own authority, at which point it is our right and duty, not as subjects but as sovereign Americans, to entrust this power to new stewards who will not depart from the laws we have given them.

This being the case, let it be known that should our government seek to further tax, restrict or register firearms or otherwise impose on the right that shall not be infringed, thus impairing our ability to exercise the God-given right to self-defense which precedes all human legislation and is superior to it, that the duty of us good and faithful people will not be to obey them but to alter or abolish them and institute new government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to us shall seem most likely to effect our safety and happiness.

Two years later, Cox was convicted of plotting to kill Alaska state troopers and a judge.

My problem is not with people owning guns. That is their right. My problem is with an industry that spews violent rhetoric and then uses the crime it incites in order to make money by selling “protection”. It is a racket, and a criminal and perhaps even treasonous one. Don’t believe me? As Cliff Schecter points out, just imagine what would happen if president Barack Obama had signed a declaration similar to the one above, which had been written by a radical Muslim.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    The dailyshow segment on NRA was funny too (it was last week sometime).

    The NRA convention is starting to seem less about rifles, but more about mini-Republican convention. They had speakers discussing torture, obamacare, homosexuality, benghazi. What do all those things have to do with NRA? I am thinking liberal gun owners are not even part of NRA anymore.

    Monday, May 5, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink
  2. Max wrote:

    Wonder if you ever read this article?

    Judge Posner is a critic of the view that there’s a Constitutional right to own guns.

    Monday, May 5, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  3. Mike wrote:

    Surprised no mention of hannity’s support of the guy who killed two teenagers and filmed it thinking he was a hero. It makes me ill thinking about how evil that is for a “news” person to encourage murder.

    Monday, May 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Max, I have read many documents from the time of the drafting of the Bill of Rights, and I am completely convinced that the framers did indeed intend for people to have the right to own guns. And I’m fine with that (even though I would never personally own a gun). But it is also plainly clear that they intended for these guns to be well regulated.

    What we have now is a situation where any even minor regulation of guns is taken as an excuse for vigilante rhetoric and even violence. It has got to stop. Freedom is not the right to shoot anyone you don’t like.

    Monday, May 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    “[The Heller decision] is evidence that the Supreme Court, in deciding constitutional cases, exercises a freewheeling discretion strongly flavored with ideology.” Kind of like when 5 out of the 6 Christians on SCOTUS vote to uphold the right of a local government to mandate its citizens listen to sectarian prayer before having their secular concerns addressed…

    History will not look fondly on this Court, and THAT is the true legacy of Reagan: appointing Scalia and bringing the Religious Right into power. While it may sound off-topic to bring religion into this discussion it’s really not. The Religious Right and the gun lobby have aligned interests, and are typically made up of the same people.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink
  6. Don wrote:

    One commentary (Ron Chernow in his biography Alexander Hamilton) on the 2nd Amendment states that the language itself (“A well regulated Militia…”) came virtually intact from a Carolina law written to ensure that slave holders would have the weaponry necessary to put down slave rebellions. Slavery was a very slippery slope during the founding of the country and it could be reasoned that this language was included as a sop to slave states to encourage them to ratify the Bill of Rights.

    The idea that this amendment was included is supported by other notables. For an excellent discussion of this see Mother Jones

    Hassan – I agree with you that there are probably no (at least few) liberal members of the NRA.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    I suspect, but I haven’t read where it is proven, that the higher the I.Q. the less likely you are to own a gun.
    My three sons:
    The genius has no gun
    The almost genius had one
    The not so genius has guns everywhere you look

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 6:06 am | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    Population control: You have the right to bare arms, but if we (the police) catch you with a gun in your home, we fatally shot:

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink