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.
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.
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.