.@NRA declines to participate in town hall on gun violence with @POTUS https://t.co/rESUSLTUF6 pic.twitter.com/MFPlXZX776
— CNN (@CNN) January 6, 2016
But both tribes are intransigent, right? https://t.co/YpXjPKTbBE
— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) January 6, 2016
Adam was discussing commentor Siubhan Duinne‘s hopeful proposal to this effect just last night — and he was right, alas. From the CNN article:
The nation’s largest gun rights organization declined Wednesday to send official representatives to a nationally televised town hall with President Barack Obama on gun violence — just days after the president reignited a discussion over this controversial topic.
“The National Rifle Association sees no reason to participate in a public relations spectacle orchestrated by the White House,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN, which is moderating the live town hall Thursday evening in Virginia. The NRA strengthened its comment after initially saying the White House had “organized” the event.
The NRA, the most influential gun rights group in terms of political persuasion and financial contributions, boasts a membership of about five million people….
… which the NRA consistently elides as ‘most Americans’, because who cares about the other 299,000,000 of us?
… On the overall issue of gun control, 48% of Americans support stricter laws, while 51% were opposed, according a CNN/ORC poll released last month….
Some of the groups invited to attend the town hall, which will feature direct audience questioning of the president, include Gun Owners of America, American Firearms Retailers Association, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, among others.
IIRC, Gun Owners of America are the people who think the NRA is too wishy-washy about every American’s absolute right to own as many semi-automatics, full automatics, tank-mounted artillery weapons and possibly suitcase nukes as “we” want, so it’s not like CNN was trying to load the dice.
Liberals are so amusing, but not even the NRA cares to play.
Would that Glock was listed on the NYSE,
a different chris
I disagree strongly with the WH moves on background checks. After all, these gun people might get angry and then do something bad, and then where would we be? I think the smartest strategy would be to just do nothing and hope they get bored and then there will be no more NRA.
Makes you wonder what the NRA is afraid of? If the proposals are such weak beer, wouldn’t the lobbying and marketing arm of Murder USA be eager for the opportunity to expose it for what it is? Guess they don’t want to face the citizens. For some reason.
That’s not really fair, you guys. The NRA had to wash their hair that night…
They’re not afraid. They’re salivating at yet another potential marketing boom to take advantage of for yet another massive spike in sales, because spite, hate, and fear are still the most powerful elements of politics. Not to say that Obama’s moves aren’t a great thing, because they are…or would be if this country was something resembling functionally sane. But it’s not, and all that will result is Americans charging out the door to buy more guns and more ammunition because of sheer spite for anything liberal or Democratic, fear of the other, and hate for anything that tells them they aren’t the real fucking Americans upon Americans in the history of forever.
The sad thing is they’ll probably win this fucking fight too, because this country is fundamentally broken to shit.
@srv: so why won’t then the notional registry of ammosexuals turn out and expose this nothingburger?
Isis was a member of the Egyptian pantheon, and ISIS is now a reviled term.
Maybe we should start referring to LaPierre’s followers as N-Ra.
Following along with Egyptian cosmology, Nut was the mother of Isis and also ingested and then gave birth to Ra.
Because they’d have to admit (or at least be slapped across the face with) the fact that what Obama has done is something they’ve advocated for lo these many years – enforce the laws and regulations already on the books.
@Kryptik: I think the NRA’s reaction is both good and bad news. I think the fact that they are taking a pass on this one is a sign that they have info that Obama’s speech and proposal went over very well with the public. So, they settling for lying that it is merely symbolic window dressing, (no, it is small bore policy making, but not symbolic) while lying about the history of Obama’s proposed gun control and safety legislation.
And they think that they can’t do much of anything, so maybe their legal vultures concluded it will stand up in court.
I agree that it is a minor policy initiative, but even a minor one is a good start, given recent history.
But, you are right, even a very minor common sense no-brainer gun control initiative will make the arms and ammo manufacturers money, and the NRA will benefit, when the gun rights supremacists come flooding into stores to buy more guns that the vast majority of them have absolutely no use for.
Edit: it is good that some minor progress will be made. But will have to get a Democratic President and both Congressional chambers before anything more happens.
Adam L Silverman
Name checked on the front page twice in one day – I’m blessed!
More seriously, I think we need to peel the onion back a bit here. The NRA is the NRA. While it is often referred to as the de facto lobby for the firearms industry, and it often seems that it is, that’s not actually what it is. So to peel the onion I think we need to talk about this as cultures, sub-cultures, and institutions. Let me start with culture and sub-cultures.
I’m not really sure there is a gun culture per se. The folks at the different firearms websites and blogs talk about the People of the Gun. But I’m not really sure owning a firearm, or more than one, regardless of why, really makes a person a member. To a certain extent this is the normal sociological or anthropological issue of insider vs outsider and subjective vs objective affiliation. There are, I think, a number of different American sub-cultures that have to do with firearms. I’ve mentioned several of these before, but they include (and this is likely not exhaustive, there’s overlap, and people can be in more than one): 2nd Amendment maximalists/absolutists; sport shooters involved in competition shooting; sport shooters involved in hunting; sport shooters that prefer/use antique designs – think the guys and gals that compete, hunt, or both with black powder rifles and muskets; people involved in historic recreations; people who have to or have had to use firearms in a professional capacity; people that have them for self defense; and collectors of antique or unusual weaponry.
That’s a big list and I’m pretty sure its not exhaustive or complete. And its here that we move to institutions. The NRA bills itself and is billed as the largest member organization representing the interests and rights of gun owners. As I think most of you are aware the NRA underwent a major change in the 1970s. As was the case with several other organizations – both religious and secular – a dedicated group within the NRA staged what amounted to an internal coup, took control of the board, moved the NRA into the 2nd Amendment absolutist/maximalist camp, and rededicated itself to this purpose. Prior to this change the NRA had their Washington, DC headquarters up for sale and was preparing to leave the national capital region and double down on its historic work/role of promoting marksmanship and promoting safe firearms ownership and usage under the existing popular and judicial understanding of the 2nd Amendment at that time.
Over time, even as Wayne LaPierre was consolidating his position in the organization and his and the NRA’s position on the 2nd Amendment, many other organizations have developed. A lot of these think that the NRA is kind of squishy. Larry Pratt’s Gun Owners of America (GOA) is one. Dudley Brown’s National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) and NAGR’s state level affiliates is another. There are also numerous state level organizations. Some affiliated with the NRA or GOA or NAGR, some that are independent and represent some of the specific sub-cultures I detailed above. Where the NRA is different is that it claims to be/is the largest. The last time I saw a number put forward it was 5 million members. I’ve seen critiques of this based on the fact that a lot of these are life membership – every so often the NRA runs a special on membership with a reduced rate for the lifetime members – and there’s no way to know how many of those life members are still actually alive. Regardless, the NRA is the largest, is not actually the most extreme (I know that phrase seems strange), and isn’t necessarily the most trusted. And there’s a lot of reasons for that. For instance, the NRA’s attempts to undercut a number of 2nd Amendment litigation cases because it is so conservative that it would prefer to do nothing and risk nothing than potentially lose.
The reason I’ve laid all this out is that the NRA responds to the pressure of its members. Sure they make a lot of advertising dollars from the firearms industry and other related industries and interests in their publications and on their websites and at their national and state level annual meetings. However, because they’re member driven they respond to pressure from their members. Just go and read the comments sections at the different firearms sites and blogs in regard to the NRA’s responses yesterday to the President’s remarks and today to not attending tomorrow’s town hall. You’ll see a lot of criticism and arguments about using membership dues and donations to make the NRA get and stay in line. The reason they’re not attending tomorrow is exactly this: all 4 million of their members may not really be alive, but those that are use their money as either a carrot or a stick. And the NRA knows this. And because the NRA, before the 1970 change of direction, routinely backed Federal and state firearms legislation that they thought either promoted safety or limited the potential harm to firearms owners and their interest, they are still considered suspect. Even by members that were children when that legislation passed.
This is similar to my argument in regard to the firearms manufacturers. Last night I referenced Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson. Both companies flirted with what we call gun control measures. In the case of the former, Sturm Ruger, its then head William “Bill” Ruger, Sr supported limiting magazine size. He’s been dead for over twelve years and if you go and read the comment threads in articles and posts either announcing Sturm Ruger’s new, all made in the US, Ruger American Pistol or reviewing it you’ll see commenters still complaining about, upset by, and refusing to ever buy a Ruger. As a result there is no way that Bill Ruger, Jr is going to risk any business or stock share price in even taking a meeting. During the 1990s Smith & Wesson’s leadership met with Clinton Administration officials and briefly endorsed some of President Clinton’s gun control initiatives. Almost twenty years later Smith & Wesson commitment to the 2nd Amendment is still suspect, the reviled integral locks in some of their revolvers are referred to as “Hillary Holes”, and like the leadership of Sturm Ruger, no one at Smith & Wesson is going to take a risk here.
Institutionally there is one last thing I want to cover. That’s the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF, which in a case of galactic irony was headquartered in Connecticut not far from Sandy Hook Elementary, is the actual representative group for the firearms industry. If any firearms organization would or should either make an appearance tomorrow, or agree to meet with Administration officials, it should be the NSSF. If you click over and see their statement regarding the President’s proposed executive actions, you’ll see they are worded in a much more temperate manner than the statement put out by the NRA (which went right to fearmongering about terrorism), GOA’s, and NAGR’s.
It’s always this way with Obsessives. The routines and rituals become more and more important to the point of seriously interfering with normal life. Then the obsession breaks and life moves on. Eventually these folks will wake up with basement full of guns and realize they could get a few bucks for all that useless metal. Especially when white folk realize just where they fit in the grand scheme of things.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
This is from an ad being run by a candidate for president. That candidate is widely considered a moderate by Very Serious Persons.
Mike in NC
Thought the CNN townhall idea was bad. Obama will be confronted by dozens of drooling gun nuts. I used to drive by George Mason University going to work every day and didn’t realize it was such a hotbed of right wing crackpots, especially the economics department which is funded entirely by the Koch brothers.
Mike in NC
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Rubio attends two churches: a Catholic one for his family and an Evangelical one specifically so he can pander to the extreme religious right.
@NBCNews 4m4 minutes ago
New Navy ship will be named after civil rights icon John Lewis via @NBCBLK
@lamh36: Living people very seldom get ships named after them.
@Adam L Silverman: I’ve gone to several Sheep and Wool Festivals held at the Dutchess County fairgrounds. One time it began raining and I and friend ducked into a workshop building. As we looked around there was a sign from the NRA about safety classes they sponsored. It seemed like the building hadn’t been used in a while. Don’t know if they still give classes there at the fairgrounds.
@Adam L Silverman:
Yeah, I know what you mean!
@Adam L Silverman: The NRA active membership is also overstated because some folk, like myself, were gifted life memberships as a youth and do not ascribe to their aims.
Adam L Silverman
@PurpleGirl: They still do a lot of safety stuff. It gets overshadowed by the political action and advocacy. The former isn’t really controversial. The latter, of course, is.
Adam L Silverman
@SiubhanDuinne: We do what we can.
@Mike in NC: Drooling gun nuts on display doesn’t hurt our cause. There’s a reason why the number of gun households is on the decline (down to 35% from a high of 50% 30 years ago) and the NRA and the gun nuts are a notable part of that.
@Adam L Silverman:
In case I failed to say in an earlier thread, I’m very grateful to you and everyone else who gave such thoughtful and informed responses to my rather naïve question.
These people and organisations give the word “intransigence” a whole new meaning.
Yes, certainly. NPR and BBC have been all over the news today, and several music groups I follow on FB have posted tributes.
thinks Adam forgot one very important group… cowards. These are the people who live in fear who feel the only thing that separates them from a Mandingo-like existence is their ability to own an armory, sure in the knowledge that they can kill with impunity anyone who sets foot on their property, regardless of race, creed, color and /or profession.
These are the people that Faux speaks to on a daily basis. Swabbing their fear with the thought that as soon as Obama or the Democrats can, they will leave them, unarmed, awash in the blood lust of those criminals to do with them everyday, what these people do behind keyboards to those who don;t look like them, worship like them or think like them.
Adam L Silverman
@SiubhanDuinne: It wasn’t a naive question. I’m sure that the Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson guys meet with state level officials all the time where they are headquartered or have facilities. And I’m sure NSSF meets with both state and Federal officials, which is why I think they’re more likely to interact as they’re the collective institution for the industry.
The problem is that its a flashpoint, politicized issue, which makes even reasonable seeming actions unreasonable in the eyes of the partisans. This goes back, partially, to what I was talking about in regard to the Malheur standoff folks belief systems and grievance. Its the same here. Spend some time in the comments threads on the gun sites, blogs, and forums. You get the same alternative understandings of American history, the Constitution, how, for whom, and why the country was founded, fights over whether there are reasonable accommodations/comprises to be made or whether that means that one is asking for permission and only servants and people who don’t know liberty ask permission to exercise their rights. And if you have to ask, its not a right its a privilege. And these all lead into discussions of statism versus freedom, bootlicking, going along to get along, people not accepting responsibility to protect themselves, their families, their communities, etc.
Here’s the link to my (accidental/unintentional) guest post last Fall at The Truth About Guns.
Once you read the post, go through the comments. You’ll see attempts to actually engage with what I wrote (maybe a quarter of the comments), commenters engaging with what they think I wrote, but didn’t, some ad hominem attacks on me, my favorite the ones fighting over whether I 1) referred to Jewish resistance during the Holocaust/WW II because I hadn’t specifically mentioned the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, 2) attacking those from #1 because they need reading comprehension lessons, and 3) those fighting over whether the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Warsaw Uprising are the same thing (they’re not), and finally the ones that have nothing to do with what I wrote – some are asking when the revolution starts or who will lead or who will participate, others are disquisitions on the Constitution or Liberty or denunciations of Democrats or liberals or progressives or statists or socialists.
I don’t point this out to make fun. These are, good, bad or otherwise, our fellow citizens. They believe this stuff. And while some of this is interesting as a logic/philosophy discussion, this motivates them. As I wrote about Bundy and his fellow travelers: they are using the same words and language as everyone else in the US, but they’re not speaking the same language.
Adam L Silverman
@piratedan7: Not sure I forgot them. They’re definitely a subset of the self defense subculture.
Ah, but just read your own comment at the LGM link. Love your anecdote about getting your aunt’s “modern music” concert tickets!
@Adam L Silverman: The other thing is that someone like me who owns and occasionally uses two shotguns and a bolt action rifle (the rifle and the single-barrel 20ga were gifts and the 1920s side-by-side Lefever 12ga was an inheritance) has no need to ever buy another gun.
If the CNN poll is reliable, then 51% opposing stricter gun laws means we have an uphill climb. It also means that the NRA’s stance is supported by a not insignificant number of non gun owners. Martin is absolutely right that the number of households with guns is declining. Much of the NRA’s message is obviously appealing to the unarmed.
@dogwood: I call BS on the CNN poll.
@Adam L Silverman:
I doubt very much that we will ever be able to bridge this epistemological chasm in any significant way.
Am about to head to bed, so will read your linked piece tomorrow morning. Thank you again for taking such time and care with your responses.
I would like to think its BS, but if wishes were horses . . .
Holy smoke: Tampa Bay fires Lovie Smith.
This is why they can’t have nice things.
Adam L Silverman
@Omnes Omnibus: Makes my point exactly. I’m in the “has had to use one for work” and collector of an antique. I purchased an inoperative revolver used by LTC Leonidas Campbell of Missouri during the Civil War from the folks that handled my estate sale. I had the folks at the Horse Soldier in Gettysburg authenticate the gun – they can’t do anything with the family history of it. They recommended the same restorer they use when they have Civil War pieces worked on that they’re buying or selling. Once I have it professionally restored, I’ll have it professionally mounted for display. I have no intention or desire to shoot a cap and ball pistol. I bought it for the historical significance and to preserve that.
When I contacted and contracted with the estate sale folks – shameless plug for Desiree and Stan at Treasures LTD in Denver (http://www.treasures-ltd.com/) –
were handling one for a woman who’s husband had died. She went ahead and did one as she wanted to clear out all the stuff they’d accumulated and so she could sell the house and move into something smaller. He had served in the Army in the Pacific during WW II. One of the items in his estate was one of the last surviving Carlson ‘s Raiders mini-machete’s/bowies. No one in the family had any idea how he came by it. He wasn’t a Marine, let alone one of Carlson’s special force. I purchased it for the historical significance. And tried through a teammate and good friend (now a retired USMC colonel) to try to set up a permanent display loan to the USMC museum as there are less than a half dozen of these known to still exist. He had never actually seen one till I took possession of this one. He could never get a response from the museum. Anyhow, the widow had a bunch of family stuff she wanted to move that had come to her from her father, from his father and grandfather. This included the Civil War revolver, as well as a set of Navy mess silver from WW I. The latter I did not purchase. So the Carlson Raider bowie went on display in my office at USAWC with the khukris I was given as gifts by my Nepalese Gurkha generals.
@dogwood: IIRC, most other polling comes up with something different. Either this poll is an outlier or there has been a sea-change. I vote for outlier.
Adam L Silverman
@SiubhanDuinne: You’re quite welcome, sleep well.
@dogwood: I don’t think it is right. I could talk for hours about guns. I know I am middle of the road. I hate guns. Let me say that again I hate guns. But if you want to own a gun I am kind of OK with that.
Hope you are right. It might be that since the last mass shooting was perpetrated by Muslims, some people are still in panic mode. Nonetheless, it’s wise to remember that many people who claim to support stricter laws aren’t intense about it . The views of that crowd are shaped by events more than analysis.
@Adam L Silverman:
My state is kind of anal about guns. I have a gun permit. Only beause well my dad tells me if he dies I will inherit guns. I got a gun permit and I don’t own any guns.
I got suckered by the right-wing media today. The reports about the mass sexual assaults in Cologne are, shall we say, a total clusterfuck. Most common news reports (including the NYT and CNN), reported that a group of 1,000 Muslim men made an organized attempt to sexually assault women in Cologne.
Turns out – the size of the crowd in general was 1,000 at any given time by an estimate, and there were criminals in the crowd pickpocketing women by first “distracting” them via sexual assault, then taking their shit. Still horrific, but not the clash of civilizations narrative that right-wingers are peddling.
I bought their story hook, line and sinker and helped spread it due to my shock at the story, and I’m fucking ashamed.
The thread was dead when I read your comment about building on the Mississippi flood plain, so it was pointless to respond. But it reminded me that I think everyone should read John McPhee’s “Annals of the Former World”.
Adam L Silverman
@Tommy: If your state requires it and you’ve been warned you’ll need it, that’s a smart move. Otherwise it will wind up a mess when your father passes away – which should be a long, long, long time. From reading horror stories I would recommend that you all have a plan for you to take possession before he dies provided you have some advance warning. Otherwise, if your mother doesn’t have a permit/license, then she could have problems with the authorities because she’d be in possession without the proper permits.
@David Koch: Just read that on my local news site. I figured Lovie would get another year to turn things around. The Glazers are too damn quick to pull the trigger, but they aren’t alone in that in the league.
@dogwood: I am almost 50. I have lived almost all my adult life near the Mississippi. I am used to floods. It is just a thing that happens.
@lamh36: This is a huge honor for John Lewis, and well deserved. He is a hero and a statesman. I started crying when I saw your comment.
The media needs to stop calling the government/CNN infringe on the Second Amendment set up a town hall. It’s a TV show for Christ’s sake.
Paul in KY
@Adam L Silverman: Rugers are generally crap guns anyway. I did have a nice S & W automatic, till some douchewad stole it.
Paul in KY
@Mike in NC: Would be fun to see Pres. Obama rhetorically take them apart, all their silly ideas.
Paul in KY
@Adam L Silverman: The best way is for dad just to give them now.
@Fred Beloit: Please enlighten us, oh enlightened one. What exactly in the President’s proposals infringes on the Second Amendment? Be specific and show your work.