Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gun rights money and paranoia

This article by the Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarman reveals research about where the NRA gets a large portion of its' funding. The gun guys tell me repeatedly that the NRA has 4 million members who each pay $35 each which accounts for their power and influence. According to the article above, the NRA is largely funded by the gun and ammunition manufacturers. "Total donations to the NRA from all "corporate partners" -- both gun industry and non-gun industry -- for the same time period total between $19.8 million and $52.6 million. The vast majority of funds -- 74 percent -- contributed to the NRA from "corporate partners" come from members of the firearms industry: companies involved in the manufacture or sale of firearms or shooting-related products." 


Do I need to ask why the NRA is so powerful and influential? And no wonder they fight so hard against any sensible gun laws. Look who's funding them? So why would the NRA and it's members compromise or go along with any law that would limit the manufacture of a gun or ammunition magazine when there is a vested interested in keeping these companies rich and contributing millions to the organization? Cozy relationships like this make for questionable influence on Congress and should have our elected leaders nervous about their support for the gun lobby's positions. It doesn't look good to refuse to pass public health and safety laws while the organization most opposed is protecting the manufacture and sale of the very products that cause so much daily carnage. Power and money have a way of corrupting the system and leaving the very people who have the most to lose when common sense measures fail the most unprotected and vulnerable.


The members of the organization are doing the NRA's bidding and the organization continues to spew lies and fear to get people to keep giving. It was clear in the HBO showing of Gun Fight, which I watched last night, that that was the tactic used. It is, as I've said before, a self fulfilling organization. If you don't give or support, your rights will be taken from you- your guns will be taken from you. It's amazing that so many people can be convinced to believe in these bully tactics. Richard Feldman, past NRA lobbyist, was featured in the HBO film and wrote for Huffington Post ( linked article above) that the people he knows and represents do not believe in the continuation of those kind of tactics. He appears to be saying that he believes more in a middle ground solution to the problems of gun violence and wants to have a discussion about the difference between crime control and gun control. He believes that his views represent more of the average gun owner who just want their guns for self defense, hunting and recreation. The problem in the film and here Feldman is correct, is that the pro gun guys are portrayed as zealots who are militia types and anti-government extremists.Though I don't agree with him entirely, I think he is getting at something important when he says: " America has many difficult challenges to face that can best be accomplished by forging an inventive consensus on criminal justice policy toward solutions and away from wedge driving political posturing. What do you think?" 


The problem is that the anti-government extremists are the ones who are in charge of the gun rights groups right now and who are fanning the flames of the hyperbolic rhetoric. Theirs are the voices making the most noise so they are naturally considered to be representative of the average gun owner. Just read the comments on my blogs and the many other blogs and articles for proof of this. If Feldman wants to change that, he has a ways to go to convince Americans that it is he rather than the extremists who should be involved in policy making.

Recently a friend of mine, who happens to have lost a daughter to a domestic shooting in a divorce, similar to my sister's case, gave me a letter he had received from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Why would Rand Paul of Kentucky be sending a letter to a Minnesota resident? It beats him. He does belong to the Isaac Walton League which actually supports environmental issues more than anything to do with guns. Whatever. The letter starts out this way:" Gun-grabbers around the globe believe they have it made. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced the Obama Administration will be working hand-in-glove with the United Nations to pass a new "Small Arms Treaty." ( underlining is from the letter, not mine) Also then ( underlining and caps again from the letter): " Ultimately, the UN's Small Arms Treaty is designed to register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens like YOU.  Really Senator Paul? What have you been smoking? There is, of course, no sense to this ridiculous claim and it is patently untrue. This letter is 4 pages long and full of lies and innuendo about what the "gun grabbers" have in mind for "YOU".

And then there is the ask after the 3 pages worth of nonsense. It goes like this: " So please put yourself on record AGAINST the UN's "Small Arms Treaty" by signing NAGR's Firearms Sovereignty Survey. But along with your survey, please agree to make a generous contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even just $35 or $25."  The survery sponsored by National Association of Gun Rights is below:

" 1. DO YOU BELIEVE THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, THE BILL OF RIGHTS, AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT ARE THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND? Yes  No  Unsure
2. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT ANY ATTEMPT BY THE UNITED NATIONS TO SUBVERT OR SUPERSEDE YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS MUST BE OPPOSED?  Yes  No  Unsure
3. DO YOU OPPOSE THE INTERNATIONAL LICENSING REQUIREMENTS, INTERNATIONAL GUN REGISTRY DATABASE AND INTERNATIONAL BAN ON ALL PRIVATE SALES THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE UN'S SMALL ARMS TREATY?  Yes  No unsure
4. WILL YOU VOTE AGAINST ANY SENATOR WHO VOTES FOR RATIFICATION OF THE UN'S SMALL ARMS TREATY?  Yes   No   Unsure."

So there you have it folks. The gun guys are asked to fill out a "Firearms Sovereignty Survey" and send in their money to oppose something that has nothing to do with American gun rights. But the underlining and capital letters and dire statements are meant to scare the "you know what" out of naive people who actually believe this stuff being fed to them by organizations that are already so powerful and well funded they hardly need the money. ( See article above by Josh Sugarman) The organization that sent this letter is not the NRA so may be different as to levels of funding. But I am betting that they have ties to the NRA. I suggest that you click on who the organization is. You will find hyperbolic statements made about President Obama and general hatred for him. You will find references to religion, anti-union rhetoric, abortion rights, education choice, anti-gay rights and other items on the conservative agenda. I thought this was a gun rights organization. You won't find references to other social issues on the websites of the gun control organizations.

I found this to be interesting about the young man who wrote about political action ala the NAGR: " Mike Rothfeld is a 24-year political consultant with a national reputation for political confrontation and success.  He has taught political tactics to thousands of activists and guided the formation and growth of many gun rights organizations, including Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights." So what we need in this country is more confrontation? I'm sure the gun guys who comment on my blog have taken what he says to heart since confrontation is their M.O. And here we have Senator Rand Paul presumably subscribing to all of this hyperbolic and paranoid rhetoric to keep himself in office and to get support for this extreme agenda. It defies reason. It's time to change all of that.

48 comments:

  1. "According to the article above, the NRA is largely funded by the gun and ammunition manufacturers."

    Where do these gun and ammo manufacturers get their money from to give to the NRA?

    Oh yeah - the American gun owner and shooter.

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  2. " So what we need in this country is more confrontation? I'm sure the gun guys who comment on my blog have taken what he says to heart since confrontation is their M.O."

    Yes, and dang right. We aren't going to go away. We aren't going to be quiet. We aren't going to compromise. We aren't going to let you disarm us and imprison us. We aren't going to let you destroy what is left of our liberty. We aren't playing your game anymore (I personally never did, but many if not most former Fudds have woken up to your real nature and function).

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  3. Mrs Peterson,

    We have gone over most of this before, this is not rocket science or brain surgery.


    The people are driving the money going to the NRA. The PEOPLE who send in their dues, who buy from companies like Midway, Brownells, Dillon and more who pledge to match dollars or upgrade billings to the round dollar and donate to the NRA. Those same tens of thousands of companies who are involved not just in making guns, but making sights, scopes, slings, ammo, cases, truck racks, ATV's tree stands, clothing, and more, all contribute because they dont want to see their industry crippled by mindless laws that make it harder and harder to get people involved in their sports.

    I order about $100 dollars a month of shooting stuff, be it ammo, powder, bullets, parts, whatever, and when I do I always participate in the NRA round up, which means they take my order of 97.12 or what ever it is and I say do the NRA round up to 100 bucks even, and they then send the NRA the three bucks or so of change.

    This Anti Gunners mythological fantasy that some how the NRA is printing its own money or coercing companies outside of its domain to cough up the dough is hilarious. The NRA gets money because people believe in its goals, The Brady Campaign gets no money because the public does not care for its goals. Its a matter of priorities. Its a matter of simple want.

    No matter how you wish to portray it, Wayne L is not Darth Vader dressed in black, and the NRA is not the Evil Empire.

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  4. so would this new Brady ad be hyperbolic rhetoric, Based off lies and fear to get support, or just paranoid rhetoric? I guess it could be a mix of all of them too

    http://banassaultclips.com/

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  5. "According to the article above, the NRA is largely funded by the gun and ammunition manufacturers. "Total donations to the NRA from all "corporate partners" -- both gun industry and non-gun industry -- for the same time period total between $19.8 million and $52.6 million. "

    First, so what? When your side could afford it they paid lobbyists. The NRA is outstanding at lobbying. Speaking for myself, I find no problem with the gun industry helping to preserve my right.

    Second, do you really think that citing yourself as a source is credible? From the page you linked to "...according to a new report issued today by my organization, the Violence Policy Center. "

    Third, Like the difference between the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center there are differing opinions on our side on whether to compromise with your side or not. Some of us are like Neville Chamberlain, Some like Winston Churchill, some like Marshal Petain, some like Charles Degaulle, some like Quisling, some like S√łnsteby. (sorry, got carried away there) Personally I think that our side has done all the giving and your side all the taking. If your side wants it, it is "reasonable."

    But what I was building up to is that our side is not monolithic, we have differences of opinion. The VPC on your side wants to ban all guns, the Brady Campaign only wants to ban some guns.

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  6. Whoa there- those are strong words. What do you mean by that exactly? Am I in danger from you guys? If so, you can bet I will act fast to find out who you are and where you are.

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  7. Do you like it, Anthony? It think it's quite effective. It only shows the truth about how quickly 30 rounds can be shot off.

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  8. There is no such quote coming from me in the post, Robin. That comes from Josh Sugarman who works for the Violence Policy Center and it is because he is writing about what his own organization did. If you are going to attribute a quote to me, please do so correctly.

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  9. "There is no such quote coming from me in the post, Robin. That comes from Josh Sugarman who works for the Violence Policy Center and it is because he is writing about what his own organization did. If you are going to attribute a quote to me, please do so correctly."

    I didn't mean you specifically but let me rephrase. Is there any credibility to a report that quotes its author as the source. For example if I said all gun banners eat little children as as discovered in this article I wrote earlier. Would that be a credible source?

    BTW, nice deflection

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  10. When someone authors a report and then refers to it, how else would you suggest his doing it? What's the problem? You guys are the best at picking away at the stupidest details which is a great way to distract from the real issue.

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  11. Here we see two favorite gun control memes:

    The NRA is controlled by the gun industry, not gunowners. (VPC favorite)

    And

    The gunowners who control the NRA are anti-govt militia fanatics. (CSGV favorite)

    Since those memes are contradictory, one really should not use them together.

    (The real story: Gunowners dearly cherish their right to own guns, and they have ample reason to disbelieve those who claim their agenda does not threaten that right.)

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  12. How ironic to include mention of Richard Feldman in a post that starts out giving credence to the "gun industry controls the NRA" meme. Gun control advocates love to quote from Feldman's book "Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist" because it bashes the NRA, but gun control advocates desperately ignore Feldman's major point that the NRA is not under gun industry control. That is something that Feldman was in exactly the position to know, and it debunks a favorite piece of gun control dogma.

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  13. Beware of Richard Feldman, japete. He really does believe in compromise on gun control, including "closing the gun show loophole."

    The danger is that Feldman does not subscribe to the gun control advocate's definition of compromise: "Just give in to some of our demands."

    Feldman will likely ask for some concessions in return for any that gunowners make, and that risks exposing the fact that gun control advocates are just as resistant to compromise as is the NRA.

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  14. P.S. The "round up" program at the retailers you've mentioned isn't really a hidden or secret feature -- they're pretty up-front about what they're doing, and what its for -- and I gladly "round-up" each purpose for the good that the NRA does for my rights!

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  15. So which is it, $19 Million or $52 million? Sounds like he just made up some numbers. If he did any real "research" he would know know much was contributed.

    While gun manufacturers have a vested interest in guns in general, I really don't think their bottom line is impacted much by standard capacity magazine sales. Since a magazine is just a box with a spring in it, whether they are standard capacity or reduced capacity magazines really doesn't change the profit margin. In fact, if money was their sole motivator, you would think that they would want magazines restricted so that they could sell more of them.

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  16. The second anonymous commenter had this to say.

    "We aren't going to go away. We aren't going to be quiet. We aren't going to compromise. We aren't going to let you disarm us and imprison us. We aren't going to let you destroy what is left of our liberty. We aren't playing your game anymore (I personally never did, but many if not most former Fudds have woken up to your real nature and function)."

    It sounds like a joke. What the hell's he responding to. I know. It's the voices in his head. The problem is he's not alone in that insanity.

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  17. Mrs Peterson.

    Feldman was fired for being a lousy lobbyist. He was unable to do what he was hired to do, and now is fighting to save his career. One thing a lobbyist never does is air dirty laundry. Every business has it, and once its known that an individual is not discrete, his career is over.

    This book is an attempt to earn enough money to retire on. He wont work again in Washington, he's viewed as rotten goods.

    Seeing he has an axe to grind and got paid an exorbitant fee to write the book, he decides to bend truth to make him look good. It failed miserably. He's a louse.

    Using him as a source is like using moldy bread in a recipe, it taints everything it touches.

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  18. Anyone who changes their mind and rats out the NRA is tainted goods to you guys.

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  19. It's not a joke, mikeb. And I'll join him. I, like he, understands your true agenda, and I'll go one better.

    I, and tens of millions like me, will not disarm, no matter what law you pass.

    Given human history, no rational people would EVER let government be the sole possessor of weapons. You seem to assume that government has, and will always, act in its citizens' best interests. I make no such naive assumption, as history teaches differently.

    Disarmament will not happen here.

    Call it paranoia. Call it "extremism." Call it whatever you like; I don't care. It's a fact.

    Your side is generally factually wrong, constitutionally wrong, and morally wrong. Period. My rights - not a single one - are not negotiable. Period.

    Want to end the kind of resistance seen so often here? It's simple. Leave us alone. Butt out. Stop trying to gut the Constitution. And we'll get along just fine. We in the liberty community do not seek to impose our choices on you. Stop trying to impose your choices on us.

    - GMC70

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  20. Stand down GMC70. For Pete's sake- this is over the top stuff. NO ONE is trying to disarm you. What do you think is going to happen? Your rhetoric is sounding more and more alarmist and incendiary. Are we in a gun fight here? Are we on the streets demanding you to put your guns down and retreat? What are you talking about? Take a deep breath and take a rest from your hysteria. I sense total fear and paranoia about things that are never going to happen and never could. Think about this now and think about what you are writing here. We are not the enemy. We are just folks who have an honest difference of opinion with you guys. We only want to stop senseless shootings and keep guns away from people who shouldn't have them. Whoever convinced you otherwise is just plain wrong.

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  21. "For Pete's sake- this is over the top stuff. NO ONE is trying to disarm you."

    So sayeth the smiling gun control activist. No...we're observant of you Ms Peterson...not paranoid of you.

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  22. Keep observing as I know you will. You will not see me suggesting a national plan to disarm citizens. Again- take it easy out there. Your life will be a lot less stressful.

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  23. "We are just folks who have an honest difference of opinion with you guys. We only want to stop senseless shootings and keep guns away from people who shouldn't have them."

    Two problems:
    1. Your proposed means to stop senseless shootings is to indiscriminantly stop sensible shootings (of targets and criminal aggressors)
    2. Your proposed means to keep guns away from "people who [you say] shouldn't have them" is to also keep guns away from people who I say should be able to have them.
    Other than that, we're 100% in agreement.

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  24. johnny- do you agree that felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people, terrorists, drug abusers and minors should not be able to have guns?

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  25. do you agree that felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people, terrorists, drug abusers and minors should not be able to have Illegal Drugs?

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  26. What does that have to do with this blog and my question?

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  27. japete - In most cases yes, in others no.

    I don't see why non-violent felons who have paid their so-called debt to society or non-violent recreational drug "abusers" (those whose use is equivalent to legal use of alcohol) shouldn't be able to have guns.

    Some recent gun control proposals would lump innocent people accused of felonies into the prohibited category - that's an even bigger problem for me.

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  28. There may be a few of those cases you mentioned of an innocent person accused of a felony. But felons should not have guns. There's a good reason for that. The rate of recidivism is very high. I would rather err on the side of keeping a convicted felon from having a gun. How do you propose to determine who should now have guns back and who shouldn't? Recent proposals do not categorize supposed innocent "felons". How would we do that?

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  29. The Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011, according to Schumer, does so (and maybe lumps in non-felony arrestees - I haven't actually read it yet).

    Why should it matter how recidivist a felony forger, fraudster or prostitute is?

    I'm sympathetic to the fact that their record is going to impair their post-incarceration standard of living enough that they may reasonably feel unsafe in their home or on the street.

    For that matter, why shouldn't non-violent felons have guns? Do you assume that because they misbehave in some ways, they're likely to misbehave in others? If so, why does it make sense to draw the line at felonies? Would you prefer to draw the line at traffic violators? Maybe anyone who got detention in Jr. High?

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  30. "Feldman was fired for being a lousy lobbyist. He was unable to do what he was hired to do"

    No -- Feldman's problem was that he did do what he was hired to do.

    He was hired by the gun industry, which was not represented by the NRA. Feldman offered to compromise on some gun control issues, which was fine with the gun industry but not the NRA. The NRA used it's clout with gunowners to get Feldman canned and even to get dissolved the gun industry lobbying group that hired him.

    Many clueless gun control advocates still think that the gun industry controls the NRA -- but if anything, it's the other way around.

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  31. "What does that have to do with this blog and my question? "

    Simple, illegal drugs are 100% prohibited. They are also the furthest thing from unobtainable.

    And I personally know several people who are alive today because they had a gun when they needed one.

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  32. This is not making any sense. So what?

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  33. to Bryan Strawser- nope- done that before and won't be doing it now on your demand. This is my blog but you are new here so you must think you can demand what I should write on it. That will not be happening. Try again.

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  34. "NO ONE is trying to disarm you. What do you think is going to happen?"

    The advocates for gun control have been trying to disarm us, piece by piece for years. You're trying it now with your desire to limit "assault clips" (whatever those are).

    The Brady Campaign tried it with the assault weapons ban in 1994 and with the ill-fated attempt to renew it. And the efforts now to bring it back.

    The Brady Campaign, VPC, and others tried it through their advocacy for limiting non-sporting weapons (whatever those are) even though the 2nd amendment was never about the right to compete in the shooting sports or about hunting rifles.

    They may not be seeking a national ban today - and have toned down their rhetoric because it's been proven to be politically unpopular - but the risk is still there.
    b

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  35. Yes, it's pretty risky out there. You just never know what us uninformed gun banners are going to do next. I'd be careful if I were you.

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  36. As I've sagely pointed out, few of the 3M (and declining) NRA members pay for membership. The vast majority of NRA members are members because NRA memberships are given away free or at significant discounts.

    In fact, few NRA members are eligible to vote in NRA elections because so few of them maintain memberships the required five years (or have lifetime memberships). As a result, NRA election results are skewed by a relative few.

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  37. GMC70, Thanks for the laugh, all the funnier because I believe you're serious. Japete said it right. No one is trying to take your guns away or anyone else's as long as you're qualified to have them. Unfortunately it's the government whose gonna determine that. That's what government's for.

    It goes without saying that if you're like that Anonymous commenter who has voices in his head and responds passionately to things that were never said, you may not pass the mental health screening that hopefully will someday be included in the licensing requirements to own guns. Now that I mention it, I guess you will have something to worry about. You must admit you sound like a crotchety old hillbilly protecting his illegal whiskey still in the Tennessee mountains.

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  38. mikeb: "No one is trying to take your guns away or anyone else's as long as you're qualified to have them."

    mikeb is right! Look at other countries that gun control advocates hold up as good examples -- countries that have the strict gun control that US gun control advocates want here.

    When there is a multiple shooting in those places (and there usually is) those places never try to take away any guns from qualified owners in response.

    Oh...wait...they do. And US gun control advocates keep using those places as example of what they like.

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  39. No one is using anything as examples of what we like. You guys are the Comparison Kings, not us.

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  40. mikeb: "No one is using anything as examples of what we like. You guys are the Comparison Kings, not us."

    mikeb is right again!

    Gun control advocates never, never cite other countries as having "better" gun laws and less shootings.

    We gunowners have such vivid imaginations, to recall otherwise!

    It...it seems so real, and happens so often...but mikeb says no. So I guess that even the Brady Campaign has probably never cited other countries as having "better" gun laws and less shootings.

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  41. Am I just tired or does this just not make sense, Jay?

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  42. "do you agree that felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people, terrorists, drug abusers and minors should not be able to have guns?"

    As an ardent patriot and gun-rights advocate, I absolutely believe that these people have a right to own a gun, free of a background check.

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  43. Anon- did you mean to write what you just wrote? You think felons, domestic abusers, minors and drug abusers- oh and terrorists, should be able to buy guns without background checks that might stop them? WOW. I hardly know what to say. This puts you on the side of the criminals where it seems you want to be. Great. I'm so glad you don't represent the majority. You guys are darned scary and totally unreasonable not to mention potentially dangerous.

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  44. Yes, Joan. I quite literally meant every word of it.

    I thought you knew this about the gun rights side of things already? After all your side has been accusing us of exactly this for years now.

    It feels good to finally come clean about my belief that everyone has a right to a gun.

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  45. What mikeb posted (that gun control advocates do not use other countries with more gun laws and less shootings as good examples) was so contrary to what most people who follow this issue have seen...

    ...that I thought I would try agreeing with it to see how absurd it sounded -- so I'm not surprised if it did not seem to make sense.

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  46. Jay- you are just not making sense. It's your sentence structure or your thinking or both.

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  47. Jay, Now I get you from the other thread. I did say that, but you're distorting it a bit. I didn't say we never do that comparison thing and you guys always do. I said you are the COMPARISON KINGS.

    Mainly I'm thinking about how often you guys refer to Great Britain, much more than we do, even though it's lies and cherry picking that you do in order to make your point.

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  48. mikeb: "I said you are the COMPARISON KINGS. Mainly I'm thinking about how often you guys refer to Great Britain, much more than we do"

    When you count all other countries, quoted as examples of countries with more gun laws and less shootings, I would say that it's those on your side who are the "comparison kings" (japete even did it on a more recent post).

    Your'e probably right about GB being a favorite. It's on almost every gun control advocate's list of good examples, but it's also on my list of examples of sweeping gun bans and confiscations, as well prohibitions on gun ownership for self defense -- a great example of where one goes if we proceed down the path you would like us to.

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