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There are many organizations on both sides of this incredibly important issue in US politics. I hope to give short descriptions of a few of them. This will be a long diary, so the rest will be after the orange squiggly. In fact, I'll only do one side in this diary, I'll wait until some time later to do the other side.

The only reason why the National Rifle Association has the longest thing is that they're the most prominent, so I am able to say more about them than about any other organization because there's more information available.

1. The National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association was founded by two US Army officers after the Civil War to promote marksmanship (directly contradicting Michael Moore's inference that they were founded by the other side), as they were appalled by the poor marksmanship displayed by US forces in the Civil War. They have, since 1871, promoted hunting and other shooting sports. In the past fifty years, they have also become political advocates. They have 4.3 million members who either pay an annual fee or bought a $1000 life membership, and membership fees make up 85% of their budget. As a pro-Second Amendment person of liberal views, I view them as a necessary evil. If not for them, the turn toward gun control starting in the 1970's would very likely have far more disastrous consequences than the Hughes Amendment, the 1994 law, and other bans on "assault weapons." However, the ILA, their political activism arm, is rather obnoxious and often supports Republicans when Democrats would actually be friendlier to their policy objectives, such as the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial election. Another thing that turns many people away from them is the fact that they tend to attract some over-the-top personalities. I can understand Ted Nugent behaving in that manner, as he's based his career around being an over-the-top performer. I can also understand R. Lee Ermey saying a few over-the-top things (but I can only think of one particularly strong thing he said and he had the decency to issue an apology for it), as he's a former Marine Corps Drill Instructor, a job known for such exclamations, and most of his acting career has been either a similar personality or, on occasion, the exact opposite personality as a joke (The NRA's recent "Trigger the Vote" ad featuring him as a librarian is one such example, and is hilarious due to the idea of him speaking in a soft voice). However, most of the high-ranking NRA figures, such as Wayne LaPierre, have no such excuse, coming from careers where over-the-top outbursts either don't matter or, more likely, are highly unusual and frowned upon. There's a lot to criticize about them, but the way that some people seem to view them as a supervillain responsible for the defeat of any restriction on firearm ownership is rather idiotic.

2. Gun Owners of America
These guys are insane. Birthers, militia insurrectionists, and their ilk have a home here. The only members of Congress who they consider acceptable on the issue are Ron and Rand Paul. This should raise a few red flags: there are many other members of Congress who have an equal voting record on Second Amendment issues to Ron Paul, and Rand Paul hasn't had a chance to display his actual positions. In fact, they've fought against some things that they should support. For example, they fan the flames of conspiracy theory against the recent bill in the House to enforce the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution with regard to concealed carry. Why do they do this? They're a mouthpiece for the most radical interpretation of the Tenth Amendment. They care more about radically changing the Tenth Amendment than they do about defending the Second.

3. Second Amendment Foundation
I don't have much to say about these guys. They know the right way to do things, and they do that incredibly well. Instead of being at the forefront, they work from behind, through the courts. While the NRA's top priority is funding people who say obnoxious things with funding important court cases as a secondary priority, the SAF focuses almost entirely on important court cases. The lawsuit that ended the DC handgun ban was funded by both the NRA and the SAF. The next big lawsuit, which ended Chicago's similar law, was funded entirely by the SAF. They don't make prominent statements on current events, but they handle themselves incredibly well when they do make statements.

4. Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership
I don't really know much about them, but I think I like them because I'm incredibly suspicious of law enforcement and think it needs to be scaled back greatly, as they call for the abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (in my opinion, federal law enforcement should only be the FBI, the US Marshals' Service, and the Secret Service). To my knowledge, they do not comment on current events at all. I would like to see more statements from them that don't invoke the Holocaust, as the frequency at which they reference the Holocaust is excessive regardless of the fact that the 1968 Gun Control Act was patterned after a law that Germany enacted thirty years previously. However, they definitely do a good job showing the connection between gun control and Jim Crow.

5. National Shooting Sports Federation
This is the industry's lobbying group. As far as I'm aware, they only exist to host the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show every year and as evidence against the claims that the NRA is controlled by the industry. As representatives of US firearm manufacturers, they have acted against the interests of their customers, such as supporting import bans and other such things. One thing that they have done is attempt to create an alternative to the BS term "assault weapon." However, even though the most popular target shooting disciplines require such rifles and they're the most popular rifles for hunting coyote, mountain lion, and other predators, the term "modern sporting rifle" will never catch on. The good thing about it is that it's not designed to deceive, as "assault weapon" was. However, most people who use such rifles call them "tactical rifles" or something like that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm anti gun- but good to learn from you (6+ / 0-)


    Can you talk more about the NRA's policy positions and the evolution of same? For example- where do they stand now on the background check or waiting period? How about psychiatric conditions reporting? insurance requirements? insurance rating?

    •  Alright (14+ / 0-)

      The National Rifle Association is responsible for the background check system that exists. They were the ones who pushed for the National Instant Check System instead of a more expensive system that would result in the exact same people being allowed to purchase weapons. The two systems that were proposed were a computer database, the National Instant Check System that would complete the check within at most a couple of hours or a paper database where the exact same check takes a couple of days. The NRA supported the former, while the Brady Campaign supported the latter (one of the reasons why I don't like that it is called the "Brady bill"). As the only difference between the former and the latter is that the latter is more expensive and less convenient for the same level of effectiveness, I don't see why it exists.

      The NRA still supports the National Instant Check System.

      Those adjudicated to be insane are supposed to be added to the NICS database of prohibited persons. However, due to complaining from gun control people, the funding for local law enforcement to report them has never been passed by Congress. Why? I don't know. It could be because they're still having a temper tantrum over not getting the expensive, inconvenient system, it could be a covert attempt to make NICS look ineffective, I don't know.

      The NRA's position on waiting periods is that they're absolutely useless and function only to make it less convenient to follow the law. This has been its position since waiting periods were first proposed.

      The NRA does, I believe, provide insurance to its members for hunting accidents. There's no reason for any other type of firearm insurance, so their position is that requiring insurance in order to own a firearm is a bad idea. As the sole objective is to make it more expensive to own a firearm, I see it as a form of class warfare.

      •  I believe insurance should be mandatory (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        43north, icemilkcoffee

        The cost to add a firearms liability rider to one's homeowner's or renter's insurance would be minimal, and would provide a means of redress for those injured through accidents or the negligence of the owner of the weapon. The alternative in many cases is that the costs for care of the injured are paid by us as taxpayers.

        NICS is, and always has been, broken: there are at least 10 states that simply refuse to provide any data, and the quality/quantity from many other states is deficient.  Almost 2/3 of the 6 million names in the database come from ICE lists of undocumented workers, while entries for the mentally disabled, convicted criminals, those under domestic abuse protection orders, etc., remain very sparse.

        My solution is simple: Congress should provide the funds to states to input all the data, with benchmarks to be met over a lengthy period - say five or more years. Conduct periodic audits to ensure that the benchmarks are being met. At the end of the period, NICS checks - and therefore firearms purchases - would be suspended for that state until they are in compliance.  

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:35:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like your subject line. (10+ / 0-)

          Tell that to the Supreme Court.
          Other than that, I oppose any backdoor means to track firearms ownership, including mandatory insurance. Which will never, ever happen. Tell me this: how would you enforce that?

          there are at least 10 states that simply refuse to provide any data
          Link, please.

          "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

          by kestrel9000 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:31:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There's an element of truth to both comments (14+ / 0-)

          1) Certain States see this as an un-funded Federal Mandate.
          Thus they refuse to participate.
          Secondarily, there's the issue of Uniform Crime reporting, and how for a variety of economic reasons (real estate, job relocation) it's often not complied-with.

          What's the "real" crime rate in city X vs. city Y... and where should we move our corporate headquarters to?

          2) Brady et al, have insisted only researching a paper trail is truly accurate, and will take between two and four weeks to compile.
          Now that probably means having a GS12 supervising a GS8, who supervises a GS4, who pulls the report together... but that's just another valid reason to do so.

          Want a gun?  Pay $350 non-refundable dollars for your paper report.  Valid today only, after a 14 to 30 day wait.
          Want another gun?  Well... you got one last month, and can wait 30 days before we'll accept another application - which will also cost $350, and require just about a month to compile.

          3) Unsaid, is "Patient Rights" which trump your right to demand a firearm held in the hands of a responsible person.

          If I'm a person with enduring psychiatric issues, does my family really want to have the stigma of "Adjudicated Mentally Deficient" or "Danger to Himself and Others" placed upon me?

          If I'm living with them, they may be refused public housing, or the purchase of a co-op/condo, as I'm court-adjudicated and a potential threat to both health and safety - not to mention property values.  Did I say property values?
          I meant: "think of the children".

          A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything. ~ Malcolm X.

          by 43north on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:50:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Probably not, but... (0+ / 0-)
            If I'm a person with enduring psychiatric issues, does my family really want to have the stigma of "Adjudicated Mentally Deficient" or "Danger to Himself and Others" placed upon me?
            Probably not, but I would think that they would be more concerned if while having "enduring psychiatric issues," you had ready access to firearms.

            I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

            by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:51:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because the mentally ill.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theatre goon

              never use any other tools, amirite?

            •  You would think - or you would hope? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              A thinking person would realize that most families have their own immediate needs as first-and-foremost:

              Low Income:
              Need to move.  Need to find a rent-stabilized or publicly funded place to live.  Need to have SSDI approved.

              Yeah, that gun control thing, and keeping the like of Cho and Ferguson and Loughner away from guns... but my boy isn't like that.  People do treat him bad, and that just makes him worse.  He's not violent until you tease him or say something nasty.  He's not like those others, and we'll be homeless if I let the doctors put him before a judge.

              They take your application and tell you "full-up, you're on the list" and you never hear from them.  Other people you know get the apartment, you never do.

              No.  My boy isn't going to be on no damn list.  I'm not living in no shelter.

              High Income:
              Shareholders are expecting my son to follow my footsteps... and an adjudication will shake our company to the core.  With the planned merger, the hit to stock values would be unacceptable.  My Son's not a Hinckley, how dare you infer otherwise.

              A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything. ~ Malcolm X.

              by 43north on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 05:56:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What 43north said (6+ / 0-)

          I couldn't have done any better in explaining the apparent problems with NICS.

        •  Should there be mandatory insurance for those (5+ / 0-)

          tweets or facebook postings too?  After all when a kid commits suicide because of being bullied shouldn't the family have recourse?

          Who pays for the funeral expenses in that case? The family, right, suicide negates any and all death policies or benefits.

          As for you solution:

          and therefore firearms purchases - would be suspended for that state until they are in compliance.
          Change the constitution first then you solution might be valid.

          Would you deny the National Guard firearms too? Or the reserve units scattered throughout the States?

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:00:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If it's passed along with a voter ID requirement.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theatre goon

          then I'll support it.

          Both are equal Constitutional Rights.  Both should have equal restrictions.  Amirite?

          •  Equal Constitutional rights? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            What amendment says that you have the right to vote?

            That being said, voting is important. I think you should show a photo ID in order to vote, but I think you should show a very specific photo ID that is issued in the process of registering to vote.

            •  Amendments 9, 10, 14, 15, 19, 24 and 26. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              In fact, Amend. 26 explicitly states "The right of citizens of the United States..."

              Thus, being required to prove Citizenship, and residence, to determine eligibility to vote in a district, seems pretty evident.

  •  Ummmmm...... (6+ / 0-)
    I can understand Ted Nugent behaving in that manner, as he's based his career around being an over-the-top performer.
    You're making excuses for this, huh?

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:35:07 AM PDT

  •  Both the NRA and the National Shooting Sports (10+ / 0-)

    federation are active legislatively for pro hunting bills or to appose anti hunting measures, and I'm thankful for it. There are no other groups with as much clout.

    Not big on most of the NRA's politics.

    “Some students of natural history want no predator control at all, while many hunters and farmers want as much as they can get up to complete eradication. Both extremes are biologically unsound….” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:42:20 AM PDT

    •  My point exactly (6+ / 0-)

      The NRA is a necessary evil. In the early 1980's, there was a serious possibility that a handgun ban could have been enacted. In the early 1990's, there was a serious possibility that a semi-auto ban could have been enacted. The difference between now, where we have shall-issue in the overwhelming majority of states, and then is due in no small part to the NRA. Due to the NRA, we got off with just the Hughes Amendment, a law that expired in 2004, and a few state equivalents of that law. However, I'd like to see the NRA move to the SAF's style of activism.

  •  You forgot this about the NSSF. (5+ / 0-)

    I see billboards, signs in gun store windows, pamphlets, printed pads for a countertop, and have heard this on the satellite radio:

    "Buy a gun for someone who can't, buy yourself 10 years in jail"



    "I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool." - Republican Congressman Allen West (FL-22) Rawstory Source

    by JayFromPA on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:28:07 PM PDT

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