3 Reasons It’s Time to Stop Taking the NRA Seriously
You may have noticed that guns have been in the news lately, and you can’t talk guns without hearing from the NRA. And that seems fair — sure, the NRA is a bit crazy at times, but gun owners deserve to have their voices heard.
But it turns out that the NRA is about as representative of gun owners as Mario games are of Italians. So the next time you hear them suggesting that we put Punisher wannabes in every school, keep in mind that …
#3. The NRA Doesn’t Represent Most Gun Owners
The NRA claims to have around 4.5 million members, which sounds impressive until you consider that there are an estimated 50 million gun owners in America, and that’s not counting the ones who scared pollsters off their lawns with shotguns. In other words, about 90 percent of gun owners aren’t in the NRA. The Quiznos loyalty card program probably has a better subscription rate than that.
And while some NRA members are the sort of people who build survivalist compounds deep in the wilderness, others actually disagree with the organization on several issues. For example, a large majority of NRA members support criminal background checks on gun buyers, which goes against the NRA’s stance of glancing at buyers to make sure they don’t have “the crazy eyes.” So sure, the NRA represents gun owners … just not many of them.
#2. Many NRA Members Join Just to Join Gun Clubs
In return for exclusivity, the NRA gives gun clubs thousands of dollars in grants to build modernized shooting ranges and replace the vending machines that keep giving you Mountain Dew when you clearly pressed the Dr. Pepper button (that’s actually not a flaw, there’s only Mountain Dew in there). Many of these clubs are open only to NRA members.
It’s a shame, because nothing should be less political than the joy of blowing shit up.
In turn, the NRA points to the membership rates of gun clubs as proof that gun owners love them, which sounds less like an association and more like a protection racket.
#1. The NRA Really Represents Gun Manufacturers
Actually, when the NRA says that they represent gun owners, they kind of are lying. It would be more accurate to say that they represent gun owners … unless their interests go against those of gun manufacturers. Then owners get ditched faster than a fat guy in a marathon.
“This seems perfectly safe.”
The NRA has a lot of murky ties to the gun industry — it’s not a coincidence that an organization that’s trying to keep it easy to buy guns receives millions of dollars from companies that make guns. It’s like how climate change “skeptics” are funded by huge polluters, or how we’ll give you 20 bucks if you tell your friends about us. Oh, and the NRA’s lawyers moonlight as lawyers for gun manufacturers … because what’s shady about that?
That includes cases where gun owners are injured or killed by defective guns and ammo. Time and again, the NRA has heroically lobbied to limit the ability of consumers to file claims, while also somehow arguing that holding manufacturers liable was bad for gun owners.
“Suing manufacturers for building flawed weapons saps their motivation to build more flawed weapons.”
So the NRA represents gun owners, unless a gun backfires and blows their eyebrows off like they’re Elmer Fudd hunting wabbits — then they’re on their own. So remember — while the NRA is arguing that Obama is going to pull a Hitler and take away everyone’s guns, while also arguing that we need guns because the government is too incompetent to protect us after natural disasters, there are millions of rational, responsible gun owners out there who would be perfectly willing to sit down and have a reasonable conversation about firearms.
“We understand your concerns, but do you have any idea how much fun this thing is?”
It’s just that while they’re trying to talk, the NRA is screaming over them through a megaphone.