The 5 Biggest Pro-Gun Myths … Busted : Gun Control Now

The 5 Biggest Pro-Gun Myths … Busted

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The 5 Biggest Pro Gun Myths Busted

Myth #1: More guns do not result in more deaths.

According to a survey by the Harvard University School of Public Health, there is strong statistical correlation between high rates of gun ownership and more deaths from gun homicides. Actually, more guns = more homicides .

Myth #2: Gun regulation is unpopular.

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the percentage of Americans favoringtougher gun regulations and restrictions  has increased 8 points from 42% to 50%. When looking at specific restrictions, support is even higher. Eighty-four percent of Americans strongly support laws requiring background checks before allowing the sale of a firearm, up from 77%. Sixty percent of Americans strongly support laws limiting the sale of automatic weapons, up from 54% before the shootings.

Myth #3: Better enforcement of current laws is needed, not new laws.

Some current gun regulations have been hard to enforce because congressional gridlock and challenges have prevented regulation the way it was intended. Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research claims that a series of federal laws  have, among other restrictions, limited public access to gun crime trace data and prohibited its use in hearings.

Myth #4: Gun control is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

Yes, bans on handgun ownership were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller, but governments have flexibility when it comes to gun ownership regulation. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals released the opinion  that legislation can regulate gun control in public, although bans in the home is more challenging.

Myth #5: Gun control by state does not work.

Recent research  about state-to-state gun homicide levels has shown that states with stricter gun control legislation have significantly lower firearm deaths.

Adam Jutha

NRA Gun Anarchy vs. The Constitution’s “Well-regulated Militia”

While there is room for reasoned debate among honest, rational people, no amount of legal or historical sophistry can make the NRA’s vision for a total lack of gun control in America resemble the “well-regulated militia” mandated by the 2nd Amendment.  What they and likeminded extremists in fact support is gun anarchy – the unchecked, unmonitored, and unaccountable profusion of unlimited firepower into the hands of whoever wants it and can afford it.  There is, by definition, no regulation involved in such a state, and it obviously does not constitute a “militia” when the very concept of discipline, control, and accountability to central authority over the acquisition, storage, and use of weapons is deemed “tyranny.”  What the NRA supports, and its Republican Party allies enable, is the opposite of both the letter and intent of the 2nd Amendment, deliberately undermining the “security of a free state” the 2nd Amendment seeks to guarantee and making a “well-regulated militia” effectively impossible.

As shown repeatedly in history – e.g., the Whiskey rebellion  that President Washington had to suppress with a show of force – those who claim individual power to veto the policies of an elected state through arms have no intention of service in a compulsory citizen militia where they have to obey orders.  In fact, history even into the present day shows that many of these people arm themselves precisely in order to avoid the accountability of a well-regulated militia, and try to deter the state from imposing it on them with criminal threats of violence.  These are not citizens protecting their own rights or the security of a free state, but petty tyrants who make no distinction between their power to do something and their right to do it.

Some of these people join voluntary private “militias” with no chain of command to the elected government – i.e., they’re just paramilitary gangs serving the commands of whatever rich anti-government nut funds them – and in which they basically play at soldiery so long as it suits them.  Unless they would obey the commands of the elected government – which many, if not most of these groups explicitly exist to refuse – they have nothing to do with the “well-regulated militia” stipulated in the Constitution, and certainly nothing to do with enhancing the “security of a free state.”  Quite the contrary: Many of these groups revel in the rhetoric of tyrants, threatening to impose ideas and practices on others by force that the American public would never consent to in a free state (e.g., reimposing racial segregation, theocracy, silencing those who speak against them, etc.) and make a hobby of issuing death threats to the elected officers of a free state.  

But most gun extremists are too undisciplined, disorderly, and irresponsible to even handle that level of organization, and it is these who make up the ideological base of the NRA and its fellow travelers.  These are drunken idiots, common thugs, and hate-filled “lone nuts” responsible for so much of the misery and chaos caused by gun anarchy in this country.  Such people may float in and out of organizations that reflect their uniquely paranoid, violent, and narcissistic personalities, or they may just take advantage of the weaponry made available to them due to the complete absence of a well-regulated militia: They love guns simply because the ability to murder a lot of people makes them feel powerful – not because of any preexisting political beliefs or cultural dispositions.  

You know who I’m talking about: Criminally reckless morons who fire off guns into the air at celebrations, shoot random animals that wander by their house for fun, or use bullets to try to open a beer when there’s no bottle opener handy.  And in this country, thanks to the NRA, there is no law against carrying a firearm while intoxicated – you could go to jail for operating a motor vehicle drunk because you might kill someone, but it is perfectly legal to carry a semiautomatic assault rifle while being too shitfaced to even recite the alphabet: Somethingdesigned to not just kill people, but kill as many people as possible.  In what “well-regulated militia” is that permissible?  What free state’s “security” is served by allowing that?

Anarchy is not freedom, but the tyranny of gangs, lone nuts, and rich tyrants with the money to build their own private armies – and the NRA knows it.  The NRA knows the claims they make that gun anarchy improves security are not true: They know that the more unregulated guns there are, and the more firepower they have, the less secure a community is, making people want to buy even more guns just to keep up in the arms race with their neighbors whom they fear.  They know this because the gun manufacturing industry that dictates their agenda knows this – the arms industry is most profitable when society is less secure, and kept in a constant state of fear and trauma.  This is Mayhem for Money, and it’s all that the NRA truly serves.  What they didn’t count on was that the public would be pushed passed its limit when something like Newtown happened: We would not just shrug and quietly endure more of the same.  Their transparent treason is no longer tolerable.

Frankly, the NRA is waging war on the 2nd Amendment, because a “well-regulated militia” doesn’t need a lobbying arm, doesn’t buy more weaponry than makes sense, and doesn’t sell machine guns to gangbangers and drug cartels: I.e., doesn’t serve the firearms industry’s bottom line to the same extent that gun anarchy does.  And the same is true of the “security of a free state” – a free state doesn’t need high-powered weaponry everywhere in the hands of unaccountable people, and in fact can’t long endure such a state of affairs.  The NRA’s perverted interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is the 1st and only right the right-wing political element behind the NRA recognizes, and this is what it would read if they were honest about their intentions:

    Gun anarchy being necessary to the maximum profits of weapons manufacturers, and the security of a free state being an obstacle to those profits, the right of anyone with money to acquire as much lethal firepower as they please without restriction, obligation, or accountability of any kind shall not be infringed.

Well, it’s about time the American people reasserted the supremacy of the US Constitution over the profits of these verminous murderers.  Below are just a few features of a well-regulated militia designed to enhance the security of a free state, and to hell with the paranoid narcissists who would call it “tyranny” to have to follow regulations in exchange for their self-appointed power of life and death over others:

    1.  Rigorous monitoring of the location, ownership, storage, and sales history of every firearm.
    2.  Criminal penalties for failing to meet the above reporting requirements.
    3.  Only the legal owner may fire the gun outside of tightly-controlled conditions.
    4.  Training requirements, including not just gun safety and storage, but gun laws.
    5.  The greater the firepower, rate of fire, or number of weapons, the more rigorous the reporting, safety, and storage requirements, and the greater the criminal penalties for violating them.
    6.  Unique labeling of bullets that allows them to be identified after having been fired, and tracked at every point from manufacturing to use.
    7.  Illegal sale or transfer of a firearm makes you legally accomplice to whatever crimes are committed with it.  Losing a firearm or being incautious enough to let it be stolen is reckless endangerment.  Failing to report a loss or theft of a firearm is not only reckless endangerment, but obstruction of justice and subject to accomplice charges in whatever crimes follow from the gun’s new possessor.
    8.  No being intoxicated while carrying.  Felony penalties.
    9.  Must report every time the gun is fired: Where, when, under what conditions, how many rounds expended, and identifying each bullet used.
    10.  All firearm manufacturing must be nonprofit to avoid financially incentivizing the promotion of criminality, chaos, and treason.

    And most centrally…

    11.  Those who enter the citizen militia by virtue of possessing firearms acknowledge the authority of the state to regulate the associated activities.  Otherwise there is no “militia,” and indeed no “state.”

Needless to say, the NRA would be against every single of these, not to mention the multitude of other measures that would be needed to satisfy the Constitution.  And the reason, as stated, is that they are simply not interested in a well-regulated militia or the security of a free state.  They just want as much money as possible to be transferred from the people into the hands of the arms manufacturers, and they’re willing to enable the most hateful, paranoid, criminal, violent domestic enemies of freedom in order to make it happen.  Not “gun rights” -gun anarchy.  None of the Founders wanted that, very few Americans want that, and the 2nd Amendment mandates the exact opposite.  Time to take back our nation’s gun laws from the gangsters, psychos, and terrorists who rule them today.

NRA: It’s American Treason

David Cook: The case of treason against the NRA

For relentlessly pushing an agenda that is neither vital nor promoting of the common good ..

For encouraging a distorted and fear-based narrative that sees other people as potential criminals instead of neighbors, citizens or children of God …

For swiping away like plates off a table the real issues from the attention of politicians …

For spoiling the divine message of peace-making, forgiveness and turning the other cheek …

And for the unyielding allegiance to the lie that says that guns make a people safe …

I charge the current National Rifle Association lobby with treason.

The NRA has become a threat to the people of Tennessee, betraying — which is at the heart of treason — the best interests and better angels of the people.

We’ve moved past the tipping point, past the line where logic and reason are allowed into conversations about the safest and healthiest ways for citizens to arm themselves.

The dogs have been unleashed, and it seems nearly impossible to call them back, as everywhere — churches, bars, schools, parks, parking lots — the NRA seeks to arm. It’s like some twisted form of colonization.

During a recent screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” — the same Batman movie playing at last month’s mass shooting in Colorado — one North Alabama man walked into a Chattanooga movie theater with a friend who was carrying a concealed gun.

The two sat on the very top row, able to see anyone and everyone who walked into the theater. The gun by their side the whole film. Just in case.

“It’s comforting to know you could defend yourself,” the man told Times Free Press reporter Joan Garrett, whose story on guns and personal safety classes ran in Sunday’s paper.

Comforting? Not in the least.

It is something to grieve.

To enter a movie theater carrying a weapon to prevent a mass shooting is an act of delusion.

Movie theaters are some of the safest places in America. So are churches, schools and your own home. The odds are far greater that the North Alabama man would be killed by a drunken driver on his way home than a movie theater shooter; nearly 30 people die every day from alcohol-related crashes, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2011, there were 43 home invasions in Chattanooga, according to police spokesman Nathan Hartwig. With more than 70,000 households in Chattanooga, this means there’s a 0.0006 chance your Chattanooga home will be invaded.

On Tuesday, Chattanooga City Councilman Peter Murphy introduced a resolution that would ask the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to “expedite rule-making regarding the making of brightly colored firearm components.”

He’s talking about guns that look like toys. Brightly colored. Pistol handles in hot pink. One police officer told Murphy and the council that he’s seen guns painted with cartoon characters. He spoke about the dangers these guns pose to officers and to the public.

“And for what purpose would anybody create that?” asked Deputy Chief Tommy Kennedy.

The NRA should be sponsoring this effort. Imagine if it put as much energy into promoting youth involvement in hunting as it did the defeat of Tennessee Rep. Debra Maggart or the effort to let people in bars carry guns. Imagine if it worked tirelessly to end mass shootings without violating the spirit of the Second Amendment while praying without ceasing for an end to firearm deaths.

What a world that would be. Many gun owners I know want that type of world. Their NRA lobby betrays them. And us.

Within crimes of treason, the guilty party is often executed. No need for that here.

People are already dying.

Contact David Cook at or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DCookTFP.

 David Cook is the metro columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. A graduate of Red Bank High, Cook holds a Master’s Degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English literature degree from University of Tennessee-Knoxville. For the last twelve years, Cook has been a teacher at the middle, high school and university …
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NRA’s Only Interest is Firearms Industry Financial Ties

NRA Gun Control Crusade Reflects Firearms Industry Financial Ties

Throughout its 142-year history, the National Rifle Association has portrayed itself as an advocate for the individual gun owner’s Second Amendment rights. In turn, the NRA relied on those gun owners, especially its 4 million or so members, to pressure lawmakers into carrying out its anti-gun control agenda.

In the last two decades, however, the deep-pocketed NRA has increasingly relied on the support of another constituency: the $12-billion-a-year gun industry, made up of manufacturers and sellers of firearms, ammunition and related wares. That alliance was sealed in 2005, when Congress, after heavy NRA lobbying, approved a measure that gave gunmakers and gun distributors broad, and unprecedented, immunity from a wave of liability lawsuits related to gun violence in America’s cities.

It was a turning point for both the NRA and the industry, both of which recognized the mutual benefits of a partnership. That same year, the NRA also launched a lucrative new fundraising drive to secure “corporate partners” that’s raked in millions from the gun industry to boost its operations.

But that alliance, which has grown even closer in recent years — and includes ties both financial and personal, a Huffington Post examination has found — has led to mounting questions from gun control advocates about the NRA’s priorities. Is the nation’s most potent gun lobby mainly looking out for its base constituency, the estimated 80 million Americans who own a firearm? Or is it acting on behalf of those that make and sell those guns?

According to a 2012 poll conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 74 percent of NRA members support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, a position that the NRA has stridently opposed. “There’s a big difference between the NRA’s rank and file and the NRA’s Washington lobbyists, who live and breathe for a different purpose,” Mark Glaze, the executive director of the gun control group, said.

The questions about the NRA’s ties to the gun industry, and whether those ties have influenced its agenda, have come to the forefront in the wake of horrific mass shootings last year in Connecticut, Colorado and Wisconsin.

A week after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in a Newtown, Conn., school, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president and top lobbyist, gave a tense, combative performance at a press conference in which he signalled the organization wouldn’t budge from its long-held opposition to most gun control measures.

Instead, LaPierre revealed that the NRA favored putting thousands of armed guards in schools to curb shootings. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said.

The NRA’s deep ties to the gun industry dismays some lawmakers who have introduced gun control bills responding to the mass shootings.

“The NRA is basically helping to make sure the gun industry can increase sales,” Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York Democrat and longtime gun control advocate, told The Huffington Post. McCarthy last week proposed a bill that would ban new sales of new large ammunition clips that increase the lethality of weapons like those used in mass shootings in Connecticut, Colorado and Wisconsin.

“No one is challenging NRA members’ right to own guns,” McCarthy said. “We’ve had large mass shootings which have [involved] large mass assault weapons clips. These clips aren’t used for hunting.”

McCarthy’s husband and five other people were shot dead in a brutal assault in 1993 on a New York commuter train by a man wielding a gun with a large-capacity ammunition clip.

The Obama administration is reportedly considering a much broader approach to curbing gun violence: bans on assault weapons and large ammunition clips, mandatory background checks on all gun purchases, increased mental health checks and expanded penalties for carrying guns near schools. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said that the White House had determined that “executive action can be taken,” though the specifics have not been settled.

The administration is also trying secure backing from big retailers like Walmart that sell guns, with an eye to undercutting the influence of the NRA and gun industry allies — a strategy that might peel off some of their gun-owner grassroots. Walmart leaders announced this week that they will attend a Thursday meeting at the White House.

Gun control advocates who have lagged badly behind the NRA in fundraising and organization are now are accelerating their efforts. On Tuesday, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), who was badly wounded two years ago in a mass shooting,launched a new gun control political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, to counter the NRA’s legendary financial and political clout with Congress.

The NRA declined to comment. In recent years, it has argued that defending gun owners and the gun industry is one in the same. Any new laws or regulations that would limit the availability of firearms, or restrict who can own them, would violate the Second Amendment, the organization has said. The NRA has said it does supportefforts to keep guns out of the hands of felons, those who have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent, or unsupervised children.

The NRA forwarded a letter to The Huffington Post that the group sent to Congress. The letter is signed by Chris Cox, who runs the NRA lobbying arm. “We know that the facts prove gun bans do not work and that is why they are not supported by the majority of the American people,” the letter said. Cox promised that the NRA would adopt a “constructive” stance in the debate, and reiterated past NRA positions that existing laws need to be better enforced.

In 2011, 32,000 Americans died due to gun violence. The homicide rate in the U.S. is about 20 times higher than in other advanced nations.


Close ties between the NRA and gunmakers go back at least to 1999, when the NRA publicly declared its support for the firearms industry as it prepared to defend itself from a rash of liability lawsuits filed by cities and municipalities.

“Your fight has become our fight,” then-NRA president Charlton Heston declared before a crowd of gun company executives at the annual SHOT Show, the industry’s biggest trade show. “Your legal threat has become our constitutional threat,” he said.

Following the passage of the shield law that dismembered those lawsuits, the NRA launched a new fundraising drive targeting firearms companies the organization had just helped in a big way. That effort, dubbed “Ring of Freedom,” paid off handsomely. Since 2005, the NRA drive has pulled in $14.7 million to $38.9 million from dozens of gun industry giants, including Beretta USA, Glock and Sturm, Ruger, according to a 2011 study by the Violence Policy Center, a group that favors gun control.

The Violence Policy Center study cited an NRA promotional brochure about the corporate partnership drive, noting that LaPierre promised that “this program is geared towards your company’s corporate interests.”

Despite the millions of dollars it has collected from the gun industry, the NRA’s website says “it is not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.”

Besides its heavy lobbying for the special legal protections for gunmakers and distributors, the NRA pushed successfully in 2004 to ensure that a 10-year ban on assault weapons, enacted in 1994 over strong NRA objections, wasn’t renewed. Since then, annual rifle production by U.S. gunmakers has risen by almost 38 percent, according to federal gun data.

“The NRA clearly benefits from the gun industry,” William Vizzard, a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told The Huffington Post. “There’s a symbiotic relationship. They have co-aligned goals much more than 30 or 40 years ago.”

Vizzard noted that the gun industry has evolved slowly in recent decades from a “stodgy and conservative” business, which sold mostly rifles and sporting arms, to one that now traffics in paramilitary weapons and handguns. The NRA and the gun industry “have grown closer as the business has changed,” he said.

The intertwining interests of the NRA and the gun industry are also underscored by the gun company executives on the NRA board.

Among the gun industry heavyweights on the 76-seat NRA board are Ronnie Barrett, CEO of Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, which makes a military-style rifle sold with high-capacity magazines. Pete Brownell, who heads Iowa-based Brownells Inc., another maker of high-capacity magazines, also sits on the NRA board.

These companies and other gun industry giants have ponied up big bucks to the NRA since 2005, according to a list of NRA corporate partners posted at its last convention.

For instance, Brownells is in an elite group of donors that have given between $1 million and $4.9 million since 2005. Barrett Firearms in the same period chipped in between $50,000 and $99,000.

Another notable donor is Freedom Group, which owns Bushmaster, the company that made the AR-15 military-style rifle used by Adam Lanza in his bloody assault on Sandy Hook. The Freedom Group has donated between $25,000 and $49,000 to the NRA’s corporate effort.

The NRA’s most generous gun industry backer is MidwayUSA, a distributor of high-capacity magazine clips, similar to ones that Lanza loaded into his Bushmaster rifle and Glock pistol. These clips increase the lethality of weapons by allowing dozens of shots to be fired before the shooter has to reload. According to its website, Midway has donated about $7.7 million to the NRA through another fundraising program that dates back to 1992. Under this program, customers who buy Midway products are asked to “round up” the price to the next dollar, with the company donating the difference to the NRA.

While the bond between the NRA and the gun industry has tightened, the NRA’s annual budget of about $250 million is still largely derived from other sources, including membership dues, merchandising and ads in NRA magazines. The magazines, though, are chock-full of gun industry ads.

Still, veteran gun control advocates said the NRA’s links with the gun industry may backfire as it deploys its lobbying to stave off new curbs.

“I think it’s much easier for policymakers to defend the NRA when they’re perceived as efforts on behalf of gun owners,” Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, said. “That equation changes dramatically when they’re seen as defending the gun industry.”

Whether this prediction holds true in the looming debate over gun control remains to be seen. But in the early-2000s, most lawmakers had few reservations about showing their support for the NRA — even when the organization was lobbying for a law that would carve out a legal safe haven for the gun industry from civil negligence lawsuits.


The fight to pass the liability shield law, known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, began after state attorneys general won a landmark $200 billion settlement against tobacco companies on claims they knowingly misled smokers about the dangers of cigarettes.

The success of the smoking cases led more than 30 cities and municipalities to sue the gun industry, citing negligence in the marketing and sale of firearms. The industry also faced increasing negligence lawsuits filed by victims of gun violence.

The most significant of these cases was brought by the families of the 13 people killed or seriously injured over a three-week span by the Washington, D.C.-area snipers, John Muhammad and Lee Malvo. The pair used a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, the same model as Lanza. The weapon was allegedly stolen from a gun shop with a history of weapons “disappearing” from its inventory. The victims’ families claimed the shop was negligent, as was the gunmaker, for not better policing problem stores.

In 2004, Bushmaster and the gun dealer settled the lawsuit for $2.5 million in a case that gun control advocates hailed as a “major breakthrough.”

The gun company warned that cases like this could bankrupt it. Gunmakers described the legal fight in militaristic terms.

“As I walk through the plant, employees stop to ask me ‘How’s the war going?'” said Rodd Walton, the top lawyer for Sig Sauer, then called Sigarms, at a congressional hearing in 2005. “It’s the war we are fighting against plaintiffs filing junk and frivolous lawsuits.”

Though the gun industry has its own lobbying arm, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, based in Newtown, Conn., its influence pales in comparison with the NRA, which grades lawmakers on their fealty to the Second Amendment, and runs attack ads against candidates it perceives as on the wrong side of the fight. In the wake of its last major defeat — the 1994 assault weapons ban — the NRA mounted a successful campaign to push many of the ban’s supporters, especially Democrats from rural areas, out of office.

The gun industry found a ready ally in the NRA, as Heston’s 1999 call to arms demonstrated. To aid its cause in Congress, the NRA enlisted one of its most trusted and powerful soldiers: then-Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, a longtime NRA board member.

The NRA and its allies argued that the lawsuits could destroy the gun industry, thus endangering Second Amendment rights.

“The cost of these lawsuits threatens to drive a critical industry out of business … jeopardizing Americans’ constitutionally protected access to firearms for self defense and other lawful uses,” Craig said.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence fiercely opposed the bill to protect gunmakers from liability. “This was entirely a fight for the gun industry and more specifically for the worst actors in the gun industry,” said Jonathan Lowry, a lawyer for the organization.

One of the bill’s congressional opponents was Rep. Mel Watt. (D-N.C.). “I had no animosity toward guns, I had an animosity for setting precedents for other industries,” Watt recently told The Huffington Post. Watt said he didn’t understand why gunmakers should gain a legal shield available to no other industry.

But the NRA won the day, handily. Craig, who did not respond to a request for comment made through his lobbying firm, spearheaded the effort to get the bill through the U.S. Senate, where it eventually collected 15 Democratic votes, including that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

In May 2006, the NRA’s lobbying arm awarded Craig the Harlon B. Carter Legislative Achievement Award, its highest honor.


Since the passage of the 2005 law, ties between the NRA and the gunmakers have deepened.

The gun industry and other large corporate and individual donors chipped in $71.1 million in 2011 to NRA coffers, compared with $46.3 million in 2004, according to a Bloomberg News review of NRA tax returns.

The NRA’s fierce lobbying for other laws — especially bills that have passed in almost every state allowing the carrying of concealed weapons — also seem to have endeared the pro-gun goliath to many companies. After Wisconsin passed its concealed carry law, Fifer of Sturm Ruger told analysts in an earnings call that sales in the Badger State should get a boost.

As the debate about gun control moves forward, some analysts said the NRA’s hard-line rhetoric benefits the gun industry in another way: it boosts sales.

“The NRA is generating fear,” said Vizzard, the former federal agent. “The industry has learned that the more controversy there is about guns, the more guns sell — whether it’s a legitimate controversy over a bill, or a trumped-up one like, ‘Obama’s been re-elected, they’re going to take away our guns.’”

A case in point has been the NRA’s strident rhetoric about the threat posed by President Barack Obama. The president, to the dismay of gun control advocates, failed to back new gun curbs in his first term, even though he endorsed renewing the lapsed assault weapons ban during his 2008 campaign.

Even so, the NRA’s LaPierre fiercely opposed Obama’s reelection, warning in late 2011 of a “massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country.” Interestingly, stock prices for gunmakers Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson jumped in the wake of Obama’s November win.

After the Newtown massacre, sales jumped again. Given the NRA’s past rhetoric, the odds are good that it will characterize any new gun legislation as proof that it was right to be wary of the president’s motives.

Even so, the NRA would be wise to consider whether its rhetoric and agressive anti-gun control stance might alienate some of its membership, Vizzard said. Historically, he said, the NRA membership “appears to be more amenable,” to certain types of regulation than the NRA leadership is.

The NRA’s ability to intimidate legislators at the polls may also be waning after last fall’s election. The NRA spent $17.4 million on the presidential and congressional contests in last year’s general elections, according to Open Secrets, the web site for the Center for Responsive Politics. The NRA failed to unseat Obama and lost six out of seven Senate races, where it spent more than $100,000, according to Media Matters.

That gives hope to Rep. McCarthy as Congress begins to consider new legislation, including her bill to ban the sale of new high-capacity clips: “We’ve had members of Congress who’ve stood up the NRA and they’ve survived elections,” McCarthy said.

Posted: 01/11/2013 12:54 am EST  |  Updated: 01/11/2013 6:23 pm EST

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Two Decades of Paranoid Pronouncements by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre


Since the Newtown massacre Wayne LaPierre, the face of the National Rifle for the last 20 years, has said some pretty shocking things, and he will say some more controversial things in his testimony before Congress today. (You can follow along live right here.) But in anticipation of his latest high-profile opportunity to make the case for guns, we took a tour of the archives, and learned that, if anything, LaPierre has toned things down. He hasn’t — yet? — claimed that President Obama is not prosecuting criminals because he wants to stir up public demand for gun control, or blamed murders on one specific rap song, or said the press has one-upped Joseph Goebbels, or engaged in any other Nazi imagery. Indeed, LaPierre spent most of the 1990s warning how Bill Clinton had lead America to the brink of tyranny. Let’s peruse the history of controversial LaPierre comments that led up to the kinder, gentler LaPierre we know today. Many of the comments have the same theme: a paranoid insinuation that the government is coming for your guns.

1987: Bernie Goetz is a political prisoner. As head of the NRA’s lobbying arm, LaPierre sent a letter to New York Gov. Cuomo demanding a pardon for “Subway Vigilante” Bernie Goetz , who was convicted of possessing an unlicensed handgun but acquitted of attempted murder in the shooting of shooting four black teenagers. The case was very controversial, as Goetz told police that after wounding three men, he said to a seated one, “You don’t look too bad, here’s another ” and then shot him. LaPierre wrote , “Mr. Goetz has suffered three long years as a political prisoner, exonerated of real crime by a jury, yet ultimately condemned to jail by a New York judge inflicting his own outrageous, personal biases against this victim.”

1992: Teenagers might kill cops because of Ice-T. NRA head Charlton Heston and LaPierre went to a Time Warner board meeting to protest the rapper Ice-T and his song “Cop Killer,” citing music as a real source of violence. Heston solemnly read Ice-T lyrics out loud. “If one cop is killed by some teenager motivated by this album, where are they going to put that in their profit-and-loss statement? It gives a whole new meaning to ‘That’s entertainment,'” LaPierre said, according to The Washington Post on July 8, 1992.

1993: Clinton’s running a gun-grabbing goon squad. ”He [Clinton] kissed Sarah Brady at a rally, delivered anti-gun speeches and promised gun bans by the dozens,” LaPierre wrote in an NRA fundraising letter, according to the March 10, 1993, Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin. ”And now one of his first moves as president could be to turn his administration into a gun-grabbing goon squad.” According to the January 7, 1993 Miami Herald, he urged members, “Only with your direct input can we stop President Clinton and his anti-gun allies from RIPPING THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT OUT OF THE CONSTITUTION.” 

1994: American reporters are worse than Nazi and Stalinist propagandists. The New York Times reported September 11, 1994:

Much of the annual convention in Minneapolis was devoted to attacks on the press. “Our media has become the master over the very Constitution that created it,” said Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A. leader. “Forget Stalin’s Russia. Forget Hitler’s Germany. The mightiest propaganda machine the world has ever known is right here in 1994 America.” …

But when LaPierre addresses his constituency, he preaches nonaccommodation on guns. “The Final War Has Begun” was the message he delivered in The Rifleman after the House passage of the weapons ban.

1995: The government is full of jack-booted thugs in bucket helmets. “It doesn’t matter to them that the semi-auto ban gives jack-booted government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us,” LaPierre wrote in an NRA fundraising letter, according to the April 28, 1995 Washington Post. “Not too long ago, it was unthinkable for federal agents wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms to attack law-abiding citizens… In Clinton’s administration, if you have a badge, you have the government’s go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens,” he wrote. “Even murder” was underlined. A rival, more radical NRA official suggested LaPierre respond, “If the jackboot fits, wear it.” He later tried and failed to oust LaPierre, according to the May 1997 American Spectator.)

1999: Bill Clinton is encouraging criminals to commit crimes to build support for new gun laws.“By not prosecuting and enforcing the laws that are there — we’re talking about felons and possession of guns, violent juveniles, gang members in possession of guns, drug dealers in possession of guns — they’re making a decision to let the blood flow on the streets… and they’re getting people killed every day,” LaPierre said on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes on November 15, 1999.

2000: Clinton has blood on his hands for specific gun deaths. “The key question here for the president is has he looked into the eyes of Ricky Birdsong’s family because that blood this hands,” LaPierre said, according to a March 15, 2000 report from ABC World News Tonight. Birdsong was a former college basketball coach who was killed by a man who first tried to buy a gun, but was turned down after a background check. The killer then bought the gun from an unlicensed dealer. “That death is on the president’s hands. If he prosecuted, he would have prevented the death,” LaPierre said.

2000: No, really, Clinton is letting criminals kill people to get the public to support gun control.“I’ve come to believe he needs a certain level of violence in this country,” LaPierre told ABC News on the March 15, 2000 episode of Nightline. “He’s willing to accept a certain level of killing to further his political agenda. And the vice president, too. I mean, how else can you explain this dishonesty we get out of the administration?”

2012: Only an armed guard in all 99,000 public schools can stop mass murderers.  “If it’s crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy,” the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said on Meet the Press . Well, as an NRA official told LaPierre in 1995, if the jackboot fits…

The Eternal Boogeyman: The NRA Propaganda Machine

The Eternal Boogeyman: The NRA Propaganda Machine and Glenn Beck-ism

When Wayne LaPierre went on stage to address the massacre at Newtown, he laid down the most predictable speech in the history of predictable speeches. Say what you will about the NRA, but they know how to grease up the wheels of that propaganda machine and keep them rolling when most others would have quit a long, long time ago. Even the tobacco companies ate their shoes eventually, but not the NRA. Not yet. If I were a card-carrying member, I’d have been outraged and embarrassed — of course I was as a non-member.

LaPierre’s speech has already been broken down, beaten to pieces, and burned to dust by tons of people. You can find reactions all over the web, so I won’t be addressing it specifically bit by bit. I am aiming for a more macro look at the overall strategy. However, before we go any further, I want to bring up a “money quote” from the thing, which helps explain how out of touch he is:


“Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners.”


You can freely insert “anyone who disagrees with the NRA” for “the media” and the quote retains its meaning. The problem is, it’s dead wrong. It’s a gong the NRA beats whenever they bring yet another inevitable PR shitstorm upon themselves. It’s a ‘rally the troops’ type of thing, but what it really does is throw the ‘troops’ under the bus. People who disagree with the NRA do not necessarily mean to demonize gun owners, at least I don’t.

Plenty of good, reasonable people own guns for legitimate reasons, and use them with the proper care that should go into the handling of something that can end another human’s life in an instant. Most reasonable people who oppose the NRA are not out to take guns away from those people. ‘Gun control’ is not synonymous with ‘Obama wants to take away your guns’. But we’ll get back to that at the end.

The important thing here is to take a look at how the NRA operates, and how they get what they want almost at will. The word ‘propaganda’ probably evokes a negative reaction in most people, and it should. By its very meaning it is manipulative and deceitful. It’s a tactical preying upon people’s fears, and the NRA are absolute experts at it.

Let’s start with the other key part of the above quote, which I know I told you to replace a few paragraphs ago, ‘the media’. This is often where the fear-mongering starts, and it’s our first boogeyman — step one, if you will. The implied meaning there is that ‘the media’, whomever that entails, is hiding something from, or lying to, us. No doubt some outlets on both sides of the political aisle do so, but it is equally true that there are plenty of honest, good people in ‘the media’ who only want to get the truth out to the masses.

There are few better ways to strike fear into someone than through enforced paranoia. “They’re all lying to us out there, so the only people you can believe are us!” Us can be a political candidate, a special interest lobby/group like the NRA, or a deluded shock jock like Glenn Beck. Us can also be Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini. They were the masters of things like this.

The big lie here is multi-pronged; first, that there is an insidious conspiracy behind everything that doesn’t jive with one’s views; second, that only one person or group of people knows the realtruth; third, and in this case most importantly, that said person or group actually represents the interests of the people in whom they are instilling such paranoia and fear.

The third point is important because so many folks believe that the NRA is representing their interests, in this case especially the second amendment of the United States Constitution. In an ass-backwards way it’s true, but they are not doing it for you, the card-carrying member. They are doing it for the people who funnel untold millions into their cause so that more guns can be bought by you, the card-carrying member.

The NRA, I hate to say (ok no I don’t), is no different than any other lobby — big tobacco, health insurance, Wall Street, whatever. If they happen to help you out along the way, so be it, but they’d just as soon kick you to the curb if someone offered them enough money to do so. The scary thing about the NRA is that they have protected the lie so perfectly that it’s almost impossible to distinguish. Every other lobby is hated, but the NRA has fervent support from a massive base of members.

Let’s go to another quote that helps explain why, this by then-president of the NRA Charlton Heston, shortly after the shootings at Columbine:

“But the mayor said don’t come [to Denver]. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for the newspaper ads saying the same thing, don’t come here. This is our country. As Americans, we’re free to travel wherever we want in our broad land.”

This is often step two of the process, propaganda-wise. “Those evil people out there are trying to get us, so it’s us against the world!” This one is perhaps most famous not in the political arena, but in athletics. Nothing galvanizes a team like thinking everyone out there is doubting them. It’s the most classic football-coach move ever — seriously, read a few articles in advance of this week’s playoff games and you’ll set it — but it can also be used for far more insidious purposes.

Whether it’s “these people are out to destroy our country”, “these people want to eliminate our religion”, or “these people want to take away our guns”, it is a force which, once sufficient fear/paranoia is instilled into the listener, gets everyone to fall in line and ‘fight for the cause’, as it were. Everybody wants to be a part of something, and if that something happens to be the self-righteous and seemingly worthy cause of defending one’s beliefs/country/whatever, it ups the ante from “let’s win this football game” to “let’s do everything we can to utterly destroy the opposition”.

In the case of the NRA, the opposition is anyone who has nerve enough to raise the possibility of altering gun control laws to keep guns in the hands of responsible people and out of the hands of murderers. The Obama ad way above, another way of evoking fear, frames this perfectly. It’s not “Obama wants to make reasonable changes to the law, which you might very well oppose”, it’s “OMG HE’S GUNNA TAKE YOUR GUNZ”. There is no room for compromise in the eyes of the NRA. Even a hint of opposition is stamped down by relentless rhetoric, though I’m beginning to doubt more and more how many people actually take them seriously.

The third step in the process is a call to action, as shown in this quote from LaPierre in re Newtown:

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or from a minute away?”

And there it is, we need more “good guys” with guns. This might even make a speck of sense if the NRA would be willing to revise its stance on gun control — as in, make sure it really is a “good guy” buying the gun, so that if the time comes he or she will be the one protecting the other “good guys” not the one killing them.

Some people, like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, are already taking action in the most horrific of ways. Sheriff Joe’s solution to gun violence in schools  is to have roving bands of vigilante volunteers with guns patrol the areas around Arizona schools. I’ve tried to be reasonable in this post, but it’s hard to even explain how fucking stupid this is. These are untrained, armed volunteers — some of whom even have criminal pasts — patrolling around school grounds!

How can this happen in 2013? If I’m to understand correctly, this is a way to reduce the threat of violence in schools. Wow. I mean, to some degree I get the idea of professional, trained armed guards in schools, even if I don’t agree with it, but this is just completely batshit. Who’s to say the next mass murderer doesn’t tag along with this band of deluded, wanna-be cops and waltz right in and start killing people.

Once again, the answer to gun violence is more guns. The NRA would be, and probably is, quite proud of Sheriff Joe. This is the same Sheriff Joe you might know from the news due to hisvariety of scandals  over the years. So now we have an attention-whore sheriff leading a bunch of untrained gunman with the goal of doing what, exactly? Other than of course fulfilling their Wild West fantasies. Ok, getting a little off track, so let’s jump into one more tried and true propaganda tactic.

The classic but oblique red herring is a way to throw people off the tracks when shit starts getting real, to wit:

“We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers.”

Logically, one can draw the conclusion here that everyone then must be protected by armed guards if any of us are to be safe in this horrible, dangerous world. He goes on to say how children should be protected by armed guards/teachers/et cetera in schools, if we are going to protect the president as we do. So, in the NRA’s eyes the only way to combat the problem of gun violence is, you guessed it, more guns! Funny how lobbies work.

Set aside for a moment whether you think armed guards in schools are a good idea, because that’s an issue that can be reasonably debated. The answer from the NRA to any problem is always going to be more guns, because of the interests they represent. It doesn’t matter how poor the logic is — ie the president of the United States, one of the most targeted people in the world (no matter who it is), is protected by guns. Well, no shit. No, this is all about instilling fear through diversion and catchy quotes. It’s a dirty trick that is at once propaganda 101, and an expert application of the principles of misinformation and manipulation.


I know that I mentioned Glenn Beck in the beginning, and he sort of ties things in. He claims to represent conservatives but even they won’t touch him with a ten foot pole. No, he represents crazy people just like himself, and he uses the strategies listed above — albeit with a different end game — to get those people lapping at his teats every day. Here’s the short version, mostly in quotes:

Step 1 (instill fear): “We told you this week how if (President Hosni) Mubarak does step down, however, the Muslim Brotherhood would be the most likely group to seize power. They’ve openly stated they want to declare war on Israel and they would end the peace agreement with Israel and they would work towards instituting something we told you about, a caliphate.”

(A Caliphate, for what it’s worth, is basically a group of Muslims led by another Muslim. Terrifying, I know.)

Step Two (rally the troops): “They [Democrats in Congress] believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You’re going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.”

(Different “issue”, I know, but I wanted to stick to real quotes for the first two steps. It may as well have been about anything else his crazy ass pretends to believe.)

Step Three (call to action): “Buy my new book so you can save yourself from the Muslim Brotherhood and Communist Democrats.”

(Made up, obviously, because he’d have been more artful and crazy about it. Probably would have been crying, too.)

And here it is, more or less, in picture form:



See how this all works, now? It’s been done through the ages, and the NRA/Glenn Beck/whatever wingnut are just carrying on tradition. The scary thing about it is how effective it is. I wouldn’t for a second call the leaders of the NRA stupid, because they are quite the opposite. Misguided? Maybe. Insidious? Definitely. But not stupid. They are smart enough to know the exact buttons to push, and exactly when and how to push them. They ‘rule’ by fear and manipulation, only out to fulfill their own needs.

It’s dangerous, and ugly, and I wish people could just be fucking honest once in a while. You want to own guns? Sure! Just clear a background check, take a psych evaluation, receive appropriate training on how to operate and safely maintain your weapon, and allow the government to know which gun you possess. None of those things seem unreasonable to me, and you’d still be able to get your gun for target practice, hunting, or protecting your home — in the unlikely even that someone breaks in, you realize in time, are able to retrieve your gun from a (hopefully) safe place, have the nerve to aim properly in the midst of an armed robbery, and have the ‘guts’ to pull the trigger, but to each their own.

In the end, if you want to support a reasonable gun advocate, look no further than Senator Gabrielle Giffords (yes, she of the campaign rally massacre) and her Astronaut husband Mark Kelly. Their aim is to “encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.” Emphasis mine, and yes, she does in fact own a gun. More information about the foundation can be found here:

Americans for Responsible Solutions 

Thank you for reading.

Submitted by  on January 14, 2013 – 10:19

NRA Lies: The Second Amendment Myth

The Second Amendment Myth & Meaning

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security
of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear
Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The NRA’s Second Amendment Myth


Our nation suffers from an epidemic of gun violence. Guns take the lives of 105 Americans every day — 15 of them are children and teenagers. In the four years between 1988 and 1991, more Americans were murdered with firearms than were killed in battle during the eight years of the Vietnam War. Sensible national gun control laws are urgently needed to stem this violence.

Time and time again, the National Rifle Association and other opponents of rational restrictions on guns charge that gun control laws violate the Second Amendment to our Constitution. According to the NRA, the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a “right to keep and bear arms” is as broad and fundamental as the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly and the press. The NRA has even argued that citizens have a constitutional right to own machine guns and military-style assault weapons!

The NRA’s constitutional theory is a calculated distortion of the text, history and judicial interpretation of the Second Amendment. In the words of former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, the NRA has perpetrated a “fraud on the American public.”

Contrary to the gun lobby’s propaganda, the Second Amendment guarantees the people the right to be armed only in connection with service in a “well regulated Militia.” Courts consistently have ruled that there is no constitutional right to own a gun for private purposes unrelated to the organized state militia.

It is time for the debate over gun violence to focus on the real issues, free from the NRA’s constitutional mythology.


The Text of the Second Amendment

The gun lobby’s distortion of the Second Amendment begins with its words. How many times have you heard an opponent of gun control cite the “right to keep and bear arms” without mentioning the introductory phrase “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state. . .”? In fact, some years ago, when the NRA placed the words of the Second Amendment near the front door of its national headquarters in Washington, D.C., it omitted that phrase entirely!

The NRA’s convenient editing is not surprising; the omitted phrase is the key to understanding that the Second Amendment guarantees only a limited right that is not violated by laws affecting the private ownership of firearms.


The “obvious purpose” of the Second Amendment
was “to assure the continuation and render possible the
effectiveness” of state militia forces.

“It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.”

United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939)


The Original Intent

The concept of a “well regulated Militia” is somewhat foreign to 20th century America, but it is central to the meaning of the Second Amendment.

At the time the U.S. Constitution was adopted, each of the states had its own “militia” — a military force comprised of ordinary citizens serving as part-time soldiers. Most of the adult male population was required by state law to enlist in the militia. The militia was “well regulated” in the sense that its members were subject to various legal requirements. They were, for example, required to report for training several days a year, to supply their own equipment for militia use, including guns and horses, and sometimes to engage in military exercises away from home.

The purpose of the militia was expressed in the Second Amendment — to assure “the security of a free State” — against threats from without (e.g. invasions) and threats from within (e.g. rebellions, riots, etc.).

The “militia” was not, as some gun control opponents have claimed, simply another word for the armed citizenry. It was an organized military force, “well regulated” by the state governments. Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines “militia” as: “…the able bodied men organized into companies, regiments and brigades, with officers of all grades, and required by law to attend military exercises on certain days only, but at other times left to pursue their usual occupations.”

When the Constitution was sent to the states for ratification in 1787, the continued viability of the state militia was a central issue. The new Constitution established a permanent army composed of professional soldiers and controlled by the federal government. The “Anti-Federalists,” who sought changes in the newly proposed Constitution, were fearful of the federal standing army authorized by the Constitution. The use of troops by George III as an instrument of oppression was still fresh in their memories.

The Anti-Federalists saw the state militia as an effective counterpoint to the power of the standing army but they were concerned that the federal government had excessive power over the militia. They argued that the Constitution left the arming of the state militia exclusively to the federal government. During the Virginia ratification debates, Patrick Henry asked: “When this power is given to Congress without limits or boundary, how will your militia be armed?”

The Second Amendment was written in response to this Anti-Federalist concern. The Amendment affirms that the keeping and bearing of arms in a “well regulated Militia” of the states is a “right of the people,” not dependent on the whim of the federal government. The original intent of the Second Amendment, therefore, was to prevent the federal government from passing laws that would disarm the state militia.


The Second Amendment in the Twentieth Century

The Second Amendment has become an anachronism, largely because of drastic changes in the militia it was designed to protect. We no longer have a citizen militia in which a large portion of the population is enrolled for part-time military service and required by the government to maintain private arms for such service. As the nation grew, it became unworkable and unduly expensive for the states to impose military training and service on that many Americans.

The modern “well regulated Militia” is the National Guard — a state-organized military force of ordinary citizens serving as part-time soldiers, like the early state militia. However, unlike the early militia, the National Guard is of more limited membership and depends on government-supplied — not privately owned — arms. Whereas in 1787 federal restrictions on privately owned guns may have interfered with the “well regulated Militia,” this is not the case today. Gun control laws have no effect on the arming of today’s militia, since those laws invariably exempt the National Guard. Therefore, they raise no serious Second Amendment issue.

“The purpose of the Second Amendment is to restrain the federal government
from regulating the possession of arms where such regulation would
interfere with the preservation or efficiency of the militia.”

U.S. v. Hale, 978 F.2d 1016 (8th Cir. 1992)


The Second Amendment in the Courts

As a matter of law, the meaning of the Second Amendment has been settled since the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). In that case, the High Court wrote that the “obvious purpose” of the Second Amendment was “to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness” of the state militia. The Court added that the Amendment “must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.” Since Miller, the Supreme Court has addressed the Second Amendment in two cases. In Burton v. Sills, 394 U.S. 812 (1969), the Court dismissed the appeal of a state court ruling upholding New Jersey’s strict gun control law, finding the appeal failed to present a “substantial federal question.” And in Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55 (1980), the Court upheld the federal law banning felons from possessing guns. The Court found no “constitutionally protected liberties” infringed by the federal law.

In addition, in Maryland v. United States, 381 U.S. 41 (1965) and Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334 (1990), cases not involving the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court has affirmed that today’s militia is the National Guard.

Since Miller was decided, lower federal and state courts have addressed the meaning of the Second Amendment in more than thirty cases. In every case, the courts have decided that the Amendment guarantees a right to be armed only in connection with service in a “well regulated Militia.” The courts unanimously have rejected the NRA’s view that the Second Amendment is about the self-defense or sporting uses of guns. As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit wrote, the courts “have analyzed the Second Amendment purely in terms of protecting state militias, rather than individual rights.” United States v. Nelson, 859 F.2d 1318 (1988).


The Second Amendment and the Gun Control Debate

The National Rifle Association spends millions of dollars every year to foster its myth that the Second Amendment guarantees a broad, individual right to be armed that precludes virtually every restriction on private ownership of guns. The gun lobby’s efforts have had a profound influence on the gun control debate. Public opinion polls show that, although more than 60% of Americans erroneously believe that the Constitution gives them a right to be armed, only a minority of Americans believe that it should grant that right. It is time for the American people to know the truth about the Second Amendment and for the NRA’s systematic distortion of our Constitution to stop.

As Former Harvard Law School Dean Erwin Griswold put it, “to assert that the Constitution is a barrier to reasonable gun laws, in the face of the unanimous judgment of the federal courts to the contrary, exceeds the limits of principled advocacy. It is time for the NRA and its followers in Congress to stop trying to twist the Second Amendment from a reasoned (if antiquated) empowerment for a militia into a bulletproof personal right for anyone to wield deadly weaponry beyond legislative control.”