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National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, on Capitol Hill in Washington January 30, 2013. The hearing comes six weeks after the massacre of 26 people at a Conn
Want to stop gun violence? More guns, more guns, more guns.
The National Rifle Association is so extreme it can't even support the efforts of two conservative senators that it itself has given "A" grades for their stance on firearms legislation. That's because, in the view of the gun manufacturers that fund the NRA and sit on its board, nothing except more more more guns and tougher laws will curb violent crime. Tougher laws that don't, of course, include the expansion of a well-tested means of keeping guns out of the hands of those criminals.

In response to the Manchin-Toomey compromise on background checks—a watered-down but possibly passable bill that covers gun shows, advertised sales and internet sales—the NRA released a statement Wednesday that is being called neutral in some quarters and ludicrously depicted (because of apparent reading comprehension problems) as supportive in another. It's a reprise of the usual dollars-driven nonsense we've come to expect from the gun lobby, an organization that decades ago stood for sensible gun regulations. Here is the NRA's full statement:

Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's "universal" background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.
That first statement is a flat-out lie. No, expanded background checks will not stop every shooting, will not stop all gun crime, will not keep all our children safe. No law will. But even this diluted compromise will, if it actually makes it to the president's desk, stop some criminally minded persons from obtaining firearms and using them.

The background check proposal that Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have agreed upon is a step forward. Since it will surely be the only such background-check proposal in the gun bill that be debated in the Senate, it deserves to be supported.

But it is very f'n far from the full-throated law covering all gun purchases. The nation needs a better law, one that 80 percent to 90 percent of the American people have said in poll after poll that they desire. That "universal" approach to checks was shot down over the issue of record-keeping, the claim being that this would lead to a gun registry that would be a prelude to federal gun seizures. Never mind that the existing eight-decade-old federal registry of machine-guns, silencers and gadget guns has led to no such confiscation.

As I wrote before, extending background checks to all private sales is a no-brainer. And just as Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin said Wednesday morning about their proposal, mine would not infringe on anybody's 2nd Amendment rights. Except in the minds of people who believe that fugitives and violent felons and dangerous mentally ill people shouldn't be hampered from obtaining firearms.

Please continue reading about the NRA's intransigence below the fold.

All that is needed is to require all gun sales, all transfers, to be transacted for a fee by federal firearms dealers. The private dealers, who already must seek a background check on anyone seeking to buy a firearm, record the sale of all firearms and keep records of all sales for 20 years would simply do the same things for private sales.

No gun registry would be produced. There would be no change in the current law that requires the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to destroy the records of all checks within 24 hours. The only difference would be that all sales would be covered. All individuals seeking to buy a gun would be treated equally. If they pass the check, they can buy the gun, subject to whatever additional state laws are on the books.

But my proposal has no sponsor. And the reason nothing like it will be proposed is because that isn't what the NRA wants. Its well-paid leadership has worked for more than three decades to undermine reasonable gun regulations. To reduce enforcement of existing laws by supporting candidates who will do its bidding. To intimidate government agencies from using gun-related data to prevent violence. Even to try to prevent physicians from asking suicidal and other at-risk patients if they own firearms. All in the name of a twisted perspective on what the 2nd Amendment means. All in the name of keeping a steady flow of guns into the hands of the public.

The NRA leadership will never cop to the truth that its agenda has contributed to a culture of violence that is all too-pervasive in America. To be sure, that culture of violence precedes the group's founding more than a century ago. But the NRA has in the past few decades exacerbated the situation with its all-out opposition to regulations that majorities of Americans, sometimes overwhelming majorities, support. And it will be active in the next couple of weeks continuing its former practice by twisting arms in Congress.

When the next horrific shooting replaces the one now fading from the news, the NRA will pronounce its usual declaration of having no responsibility for what has happened: No regulation would have stopped this., it will say. If the teacher or bartender or theater usher had been armed, its spokesperson will say, the killer would have been stopped in his tracks and lives would have been saved.

And after its pronouncement, we'll get the standard kowtow to the NRA from senators and representatives too cowardly to stand up to these bullies and profiteers. How many dead first-graders will it take to bring the United States into the 21st century when it comes to gun violence? Would 100 on one day be enough? How about 1,000?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 11:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Background checks (13+ / 0-)

    wouldn't have stopped Pearl Harbor, New Coke, the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, or the current confusion between tights and leggings.  Ergo, no deal.

  •  I have yet to see a single solitary person (13+ / 0-)

    in the real world say that universal background checks is a bad idea.

    Even the most rabid, pro-gun, anti-gun control people I've spoken with still favor universal background checks.

    That doesn't seem to stop the NRA.  Let's hope it eventually gets through to our elected officials.  One the one hand, money and support from NRA.  On the other, your constituent's calling, writing and petitioning.  

    And voting, of course.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 11:09:51 AM PDT

  •  We keep reporting on what the NRA says, and what (18+ / 0-)

    the right wing is doing.  I wish to God, one day, we will be in a position that what we do (the Left, progressives, liberals) is constantly being reported by the Right, as we drive our agenda forwards, ruthlessly, and relentlessly.  I keep hoping and waiting for that day.

  •  Expect no less from the ego driven, money-driven (8+ / 0-)

    leadership of the NRA.  

    We must continue to push---to keep that 90% against them (on checks) to force the issue; until it is passed into law.

  •  I dunno (7+ / 0-)

    I'm kinda enjoying watching them make fools of themselves.  They may win this or that news cycle, or even this or that version of congress, but time is running out on them.  We've seen the same thing happen on healthcare, immigration, marriage equality, climate change, and now guns.  All we're really seeing now is the dust rising up from the lead balloon they were pretending to float in.  Whenever defensiveness reaches these levels of idiotic desperation, it's pretty obvious that Elvis has already left the building.

    It make take awhile for the dust to finally clear, but it is just dust, there's no solid substance there anymore.

  •  "Enforce existing laws", indeed (12+ / 0-)

    That's what the NRA keeps saying we need to do.

    Background checks make the laws against criminals buying guns enforceable.

    If the NRA came out in favor of warm chocolate chip cookies I would still despise them for their war on logic.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 12:26:34 PM PDT

    •  The existing laws that don't work need enforcing. (0+ / 0-)

      The proposed laws that would stem the tide of treating guns like play toys won't work.

      It is so tiresome dealing with them.

      guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

      by 88kathy on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 05:46:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and won't stop police militarization or excessive (6+ / 0-)

    force applications or continued fear mongering on all sides

    Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 Acedia is essentially a flight from the world that leads to not caring even that one does not care

    by annieli on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 12:59:41 PM PDT

  •  What do you expect from a right wing organization? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JML9999

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 01:34:23 PM PDT

  •  The NRA & LaPuke can go to the devil nt (5+ / 0-)
  •  Quick question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, 88kathy
    No gun registry would be produced.
    If the proposal has no registry, how exactly do you intend to enforce it? For instance, policeman sees an exchange of firearm for cash in a parking lot:

    police: "Hey! Is that an illegal gun sale without a background check?"

    person one: "No, I was just handing this guy back his previously owned firearm and he was just handing me back some of my money that he was holding and looking at."

    person two: "What he said."

    Yes, obviously an illegal gun sale just took place, but if the officer runs a check on both of them and neither of them is a felon and neither of them is a registered purchaser of the gun, there is absolutely zero way to determine which of the two actually owned the gun before the officer showed up. And that's how it could play out in court. Catching them in the act and being unable to prove a damn thing.

    A law that cannot be enforced is seldom a good law.

    •  The current background check law ... (5+ / 0-)

      ...has the advantage that all licensed dealer sales are logged and must be kept for 20 years. The problem arises because the NRA managed to keep private sales (at gun shows and elsewhere) exempt. If all gun sales were covered, then, yes, some people would get around it. But since most gun-owners are "law-abiding," most would not try to get around it. Obviously, short of massive gun confiscation, nothing will work perfectly.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 04:03:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not the question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankRose, 88kathy

        The question isn't whether or not some people will get around it, it is "can this law even be enforced?". It's like one of those sodomy laws. It's virtually unenforceable, the police won't waste time trying to enforce it, and the public won't respect it. Not a good combination.

        I think plugging the gun show loophole is a good idea, and that can be enforced. You could probably even enforce a law about background checks for all sales on the premises of a gun show simply by requiring people to declare guns upon entry and having them tagged so that if there is any question the police can say "tag 999 belongs to a Ruger .357 revolver owned by John Doe". An untagged gun is automatically suspicious.

        But mandating a check for all private sales, while it might be a good idea, has no enforcement method aside from voluntary compliance ("sorry dear, no oral sex, it's against the law in our state.").

        •  Enforcement methods: stings; tracing guns... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber, 88kathy, WakeUpNeo

          ...involved in crimes to the last owner who sold that gun but for whom there is no FFL registered sale. Make the risk of getting caught the same penalty as grand larceny and I'll wager you will get significant compliance. Total compliance? Not a law on the planet gets that.

          What we need, of course, is a registry of all gun transactions going forward, including those included in inheritance. Start with assault weapons and gradually add others.

          That idea is, of course, anathema because-it-would-lead-to-confiscation. Of course, we have 79-year-old gun registry already that has not led to confiscation.

          Now, I'm not stupid. My current life expectancy is 17 years. And I don't expect we'll see a gun registry in my lifetime. But will happen.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 04:29:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose, listencloser
            involved in crimes to the last owner who sold that gun but for whom there is no FFL registered sale.
            That could be four owners back and a dozen years ago. Since your idea does not mandate a registry, that owner could say honestly (or lie) that they sold the gun before the new law took effect, and there would be no way to prove otherwise.

            What's the figure for people who are disallowed from owning guns but still try to purchase them at a gun dealer and then fail a background check? Something like 150,000 per year (FBI, 2011). Of these, 76,000 were referred for investigation. Of these, 5,000 were investigated. Of these, 63 were prosecuted. Of these, 13 got guilty verdicts.

            That would be a .017% success rate against people who are not allowed to own a gun, but dumb enough to go into a gun store, hand over their driver's license, fill out a form with all their personal information on it, and then stand around and wait while the store owner calls up the feds.

            So if someone says "enforce the laws we have", I think if we did better than a .017% conviction rate on slam-dunk violations it might be a good start.

            Yeah, if you set up draconian penalties for selling a gun without a background check and the gun can be traced back to you, sure. That will certainly get some compliance. For people who are selling guns that they know can be traced back to them. Stings? That will get a few, too. Not going to argue with that at all. Are you going to make a serious dent in sales by criminals to criminals? No. A measureable dent? I guess that depends on your enforcement budget.

            And as a practical matter, I also see a civil liberties problem. You think a Joe Arpaio is going to enforce it uniformly, or the "stop & frisk" mentality in NYC won't show up elsewhere in terms of who gets singled out for scrutiny? But that could be said of any law that can be selectively enforced as a discriminatory or punitive measure, so it is not an argument unique to this measure.

            It's not a real disagreement on principle, but practicality. I'm just not optimistic that you will get much fear of the law when the current law is enforced so lazily that it lets 5,500 violators walk for every 1 that is found guilty. Enforcement costs money and takes political will. Even in the wake of Newtown, have you heard about any serious uptick in prosecutions for failed background checks? Me neither. I think some background check reform is needed, and much of what is needed can be passed. I think we just disagree on what the level of "need" is and the practicality of enforcing it.

            As far as registries go, I think in the long run they are moot. I think you will see a consumer-grade 3D printer make a functional gun long before your 17 year expectancy is up, and our short-attention-span legislators have their heads completely up their asses in regard to that impending can of worms.

        •  If the only way to end your responsibility for a (0+ / 0-)

          particular gun was to have a formal bill of sale, then most people would want to end their responsibility for that particular weapon.

          guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

          by 88kathy on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 05:56:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It wasn't the NRA that kept private sales (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        Out of the GCA. They weren't even a lobbying organization in 1968.

        At the time,  Congress didn't think they had the authority to regulate private transactions that didn't crops state lines,  so they didn't include them in the new regulatory structure.  The Brady Act simply added a requirement to that structure,  it didn't create a new one.

        --Shannon

        "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
        "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

        by Leftie Gunner on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:44:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And Wayne LaPierre (6+ / 0-)

    cashes his check from the gun manufacturers.

    Next.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 03:31:50 PM PDT

  •  According to interviews with the Secret Service (3+ / 0-)

    in documentaries on the agency the Service can't protect the president from a determined individual who's not afraid to die. Applying NRA "Reasoning" the Secret Service is a waste of time and money.......

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 03:36:56 PM PDT

  •  a forum I was on today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Gordon20024

    Said that the bill contains wording such as this "You go on vacation for a week, and leave your gun at home.  Your girlfriend also stays at home.  This is a transfer, and you'd be arrested for not doing a background check first"

    I mean it sounds wacky to me, but I graduated from high school and all that.

  •  Oh. They want legislation that would eliminate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    the mass murders in Tucson, Newtown, Aurora & Va Tech. First step would be repealing the second amendment & actually rounding up all firearms. This is what they want? Something that would have stopped the attacks? Somehow I doubt it, but as a negotiation tactic, it might be the best first step.
    It is something that I think is impossible - too many weapons out there - but it wouldn't bother me a bit. Are there people who think smoking should be allowed in theaters these days? Time was you could smoke everywhere.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 03:59:05 PM PDT

  •  No thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Glen The Plumber, WakeUpNeo

    I won't keep reading. I was done reading when I saw "cities like Chicago." I know a dog whistle when I see one. That quip of was all I needed to know that nothing in that statement was worth reading.

    If the NRA's position is so weak that they can't even make their argument without applying thought-terminating cliches, then we really have nothing left to discuss with them.

    "Trust not the words of a poet, as he is born to seduce. Yet for poetry to seize the heart, it must ring with the chimes of truth."

    by kamrom on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 04:03:03 PM PDT

  •  It's also worth mentioning (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Glen The Plumber, WakeUpNeo

    that saying that we should instead be focusing on gangs in Chicago is basically saying "we should only go after the scary BLACK people with guns."

  •  but but but criminals don't follow laws...? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, 88kathy, WakeUpNeo, a2nite

    since criminals don't follow gun laws, wayne, what makes you think they'll follow other ones?

    "oh"

  •  time for a little judo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy

    Proposal: anything having to do with limiting access to firearms.

    NRA response: "Leave our guns alone!! What about mental health--focus on the crazy people and leave law-abiding citizens alone!!"

    Fine.

    Proposal: Attach a 10% surcharge to the retail price of all firearms and ammunition sold in the United States. No exceptions. Funds to be distributed to each states' department of health and social services.

    The top five firearms producers in the US had almost $1.25 billion in sales last year. $125 million a year only nets each state $2.5 million annually, but it's a revenue source that probably isn't going to dry up soon. Even if it does, that means that people are choosing NOT to purchase additional weapons.

    I'd like to see 20% or 25% eventually, but 10% would start the ball rolling.

    How would the NRA counter this option?

    •  Keep your guns Judo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      1. Keep your guns. No oopsie. Failure to secure a deadly weapon, felony, large fine, many hours of community service, rightful gun ownership lost. (examples, small children getting guns, etc.)

      2. Do not fire your guns by accident. No oopsie. Random discharge of a deadly weapon, large fine, many hours of community service, rightful gun ownership lost.

      We can file this under the heading of guns are not video games and should be owned with respect.

      guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

      by 88kathy on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:10:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  PS 10% surcharge too!!! (0+ / 0-)

      guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

      by 88kathy on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:10:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry MB, I posted the same stupid media (0+ / 0-)

    Office buffoonery.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:24:28 PM PDT

  •  What -- Really? (0+ / 0-)

    This article must have the least surprising headline of all time.  The NRA's strategy is to bully gun control advocates into making compromises that it previously hinted might be acceptable, then reject those same compromises and scuttle the deal.  What else can you expect from an organization that sees our nation's democratically-elected government as a tyrannical force that sooner or later (and probably sooner) will have to be violently overthrown? NRA's America

  •  The NRA is just a bunch of hot air. (0+ / 0-)

    The majority of the candidates they supported in 2012 LOST.

    We need to prove once and for all that they are a minority of a minority, and what they say is IRRELEVANT.

    THE VOTE TOMORROW IN THE U.S. SENATE SHOULD BE THE FIRST OF MANY.

    When Charlton Heston said "out of my cold dead hand ...", I said "Amen to that. How soon can it happen??"

    Wayne LaPierre needs to hear the same thing.  Again, and again, and again ...  

    Until we show that the NRA is just a bunch of shills for the gun manufacturers,

    "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." -- Patrick Henry

    by BornDuringWWII on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:35:44 PM PDT

  •  Man, who died and made the NRA the politburo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    of the US, Wayne LaPierre the general secretary.

    It's amazing how much power this group appears to have.  Who's running this country anymore?  The NRA or us?  If I were a gun owner with any actual ability to engage in the thought process left, I'd be wondering about that.

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:05:55 AM PDT

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