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.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why does the NRA need to lie?

I am always happy to be joined by other credible organizations and writers in my assertions about the NRA. Here is just one article from Amnesty International, a Noble Peace Prize winning organization, about the NRA's lies concerning the U.N. proposed Arms Treaty. Here is the article:
"(New York) – Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International USA managing director, government relations, made the following comments today in response to the National Rifle Association’s misleading statement at the United Nations about the Arms Trade Treaty talks underway by member states:
"The string of distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies spewed by the National Rifle Association today about the arms control treaty is simply breathtaking. Spreading misinformation may be a good tool for raising money and gaining converts. But these distortions only give credence to allegations that the NRA, by drawing a false connection between the arms trade treaty and the Second Amendment, has another more troubling motive -- to protect the lucrative weapons industry that bankrolls the organization and benefits immensely from the current free-for-all in the global trade in weapons and ammunition."
"The facts are very straightforward. If the member states of the United Nations adopt an Arms Trade Treaty, it will have no affect at all on the ability of Americans to own guns—for hunting, shooting or any other legal purpose. This is confirmed in conference documents and speeches by U.N. and U.S. officials."
"What the ATT would do is save countless lives around the world by keeping weapons out of the hands of those who use them to commit human rights abuses – like those being committed right now in Syria, whose government has killed more than 10,000 of its own citizens."
"Far from preventing hunting or other leisure activities involving guns, this treaty will instead help prevent warlords, armed militias and dictators from killing, raping, enlisting child soldiers, and otherwise abusing men, women and children around the world."
"Armed violence kills one person worldwide every minute. The gun lobby should at least acknowledge this chilling fact, even if it is not willing to acknowledge the true motives behind its opposition to a treaty that might actually be able to do something about it.""
Let's read this again: " "Far from preventing hunting or other leisure activities involving guns, this treaty will instead help prevent warlords, armed militias and dictators from killing, raping, enlisting child soldiers, and otherwise abusing men, women and children around the world. Armed violence kills one person worldwide every minute. The gun lobby should at least acknowledge this chilling fact, even if it is not willing to acknowledge the true motives behind its opposition to a treaty that might actually be able to do something about it."" People are dying. People are being shot all over the world. Women are being raped at gunpoint. Children are forced to be soldiers. Women and men are being abused. And the NRA makes ridiculous and specious claims to keep itself and the gun industry in business? Crass and inexcusable. And unnecessary considering that what the NRA claims is simply a big fat lie.

Speaking of small arms trading, another of the NRA lies is that we can't stop terrorists from getting guns legally because... well, I don't know the answer to that. But the NRA does. The New Trajectory blog is wondering the same thing given that a recent arrest has led to a dangerous terrorist being taken off of our streets. From the blog:
According to the signed confession in his plea agreement, which was posted online by The Birmingham News in February, the young man hatched his plot to shoot the president after being radicalized while watching jihadist videos online. He then communicated via YouTube with someone he believed to a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which is on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.....
He was arrested exactly one year ago at a motel in Leeds, Ala., in possession of an automatic machine gun, a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight and four hand grenades provided to him by an undercover agent for the American government, posing as a jihadist sympathizer."
Also from the blog post:
If he had just stuck to buying semi-auto handguns, rifles, or assault rifles, and as much ammo as he could afford, he wouldn't have actually been breaking the law.  Lucky for us, he wanted a machine gun and grenades.
Don't ya love how he blames the internet for his almost-terror-spree?  Haters, like terrorists and insurrectionist gun nuts, love to come together on social media.  They aren't mainstream enough to find enough like-minded pals in real life.
To all you gunloons who oppose mandatory background checks and the terrorist watch list....  aren't you proud you support "2nd Amendment remedies" for terrorists?
Do we care that this terrorist could just as easily have purchased handguns and assault rifles? Instead he got caught because he purchased a machine gun which has much more regulations than your average every day guns. He was plotting to kill President Obama. Isn't this enough of a reason to close the terror gap in our gun laws? But the NRA will have none of it. They have excuses. Their fears that some innocent people erroneously listed on the terror watch list have some merit. But should that mean we should do nothing whatsoever to stop actual terrorists from getting guns? Come on. Compromises can be made in the name of public health and safety to protect us from future terrorist attacks. That is the reason the watch list was begun in the first place. Does anyone remember how terrorists with guns terrorized the city of Mumbai? But wait. It turns out that even a majority of gun owners support closing the terror gap in a poll taken in 2011. Let's look at it here:
Closing the so-called "terror gap" has particularly strong support. A 2010 Government Accountability Office report found that during the past six years, individuals on the terror watchlist were able to buy firearms or explosives from licensed U.S. dealers 1,119 times.
The NRA has opposed bipartisan legislation closing the gap on the grounds that the list is flawed -- some individuals are put on the list by mistake, while many who pose legitimate threats are never added.
But this position puts the NRA far to the right of even its members. A survey last year by conservative pollster Frank Luntz found that 82 percent of NRA members supported "prohibiting people on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns." Eighty-six percent agreed with the statement that the country can "do more to stop criminals from getting guns while also protecting the rights of citizens to freely own them."
82% of NRA members supported closing the terror gap in our gun laws? True. So who then is the NRA misrepresenting when it distorts the truth about terrorists getting guns? Why does the NRA need to resist all attempts at stopping prohibited and dangerous people from getting guns? Who would do that? What would happen if the organization and its' supporters decided to support common sense gun laws? Would members abandon the organization in droves? Would their executives take a cut in pay? If the gun industry didn't have the support of and symbiotic relationship with the NRA, would the industry have financial problems? Is this really about gun rights? Why are the lies and distortions necessary? They aren't. But whipping up the base is more important than saving lives. One only needs to follow the money.

Readers of my blog know about the Fast and Furious controversy about which I have written copiously. The NRA sees it one way and acted to get the U.S. House to take a vote to hold sitting Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. There is another side to the controversy which the gun lobby rejects. Some of my readers have rejected a well researched article written recently for Fortune magazine which points out the real problem of trying to stop the flow of illegal guns from the U.S into Mexico where they are used to kill countless numbers of innocent Mexican citizens. One of the controversial guns was also used to kill a U.S. Border agent which is what raised the hackles of the NRA types and got Representative Darrell Issa to begin his witch hunt. No one wants an innocent person to be shot. But why don't Darrell Issa and the NRA get themselves all in a lather about the thousands of Mexican citizens and American citizens who are being shot to death every day? This is really all about taking down the Obama administration and whipping up the base. The NRA and its' fake conspiracy theories won't stop until it gets what it wants. The extreme far right gun advocates believe that stopping the illegal flow of U.S. guns into Mexico will surely mean taking away guns and gun rights from American law abiding gun owners. Poppycock. Of course this, too, is a lie. But, again, the NRA doesn't care about the truth.

Here, then, is an article that shows that the ATF was, indeed, working to stop the straw purchasing and flow of illegal guns into Mexico:
Twenty people have been charged in a straw-purchasing ring that targeted Jimmy H. Torres, 27. Ten of them pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday.
A 33-count indictment unsealed Monday primarily charges the defendants with lying on federal firearms forms by claiming they were buying guns for themselves.
But court records said the guns were handed over to Torres, who is described as the leader of a cell that provided the weapons to the Zetas by smuggling them across the border in Eagle Pass. Records describe Torres as a suspected “facilitator” for the cartel, whose members have easily gotten around U.S. laws forbidding foreigners or people charged with certain crimes from possessing guns.
Authorities have said facilitators generally recruit “straw purchasers,” U.S. citizens with no criminal backgrounds, to buy guns.
At least 33 guns were bought at gun stores and pawn shops in the San Antonio area in December and January by Torres' group. Some of the guns were bought on the same day as Torres accompanied the buyers to the stores and paid the straw purchasers about $300 per weapon, court records said. (...)
Torres, who is in the United States on a border-crossing card that expired in 2010, is charged with being a person prohibited from buying firearms because he is not a U.S. citizen and has a domestic violence conviction in Bexar County.
This bears repeating: " Records describe Torres as a suspected “facilitator” for the cartel, whose members have easily gotten around U.S. laws forbidding foreigners or people charged with certain crimes from possessing guns." It's too easy to get around U.S. gun laws because we have done little to strengthen our laws. The NRA's lies and distortions have aided and abetted this kind of criminal activity. Torres couldn't buy guns legally from an FFL. But he knew how easy it would be to get guns in another way. Straw purchasing, as discussed in one of my recent posts, happens far too often. And, of course, there are ways to buy guns with no background checks from private sellers. Torres chose the straw purchasing route and he got caught. It takes a lot of "boots on the ground" to expose crimes like this. The ATF lacks the authority or the personnel and funding to do its' job adequately. The NRA likes it that way. Among other things:

Due to budget shortfalls, ATF is not prepared to respond to an incident involving weapons of mass destruction: According to a May 2010 report by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General, ATF is the lead coordinating agency for Emergency Support Function #13 (ESF-13), which is a protocol to coordinate federal law enforcement responses to natural disasters or security emergencies, including incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. The OIG found that the Justice Department and ATF have not fulfilled their coordinating roles and specifically have not "made personnel assignments to manage these activities" or "developed a catalog of law enforcement resources – people and equipment – available to be deployed in the event of a WMD incident." When OIG asked why ATF was unable to implement ESF-13, ATF responded that it lacked the necessary funds. 
This is downright scary and should be a major concern to us all. The NRA's lies are making us all less safe. Why? Why indeed? That question needs to be asked and answered. Instead, our elected leaders run scared from this extremist organization led by none other than the man who can be seen as increasingly desperate in telling his lies in speeches to his minions. One only needs to watch the NRA's Executive V.P. Wayne LaPierre in a crazed frenzy, to understand what the NRA is all about. Even some NRA members think LaPierre has gone "over the edge." See this video, below, posted in the blog post of Nasty Jack below for proof of this:

Lies, distortions and paranoia are par for the course for this guy and the organization he leads. This is what the majority of Americans who agree with reasonable gun laws need to fear. At the end of the video, LaPierre says "we really need to take these nuts seriously". Indeed we do. Raise your hand if you think this is the nut-er guy you want leading your organization. Where is common sense?

UPDATE: I came across this great article from Media Matters writing in detail about the NRA's opposition to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. It's very long and comprehensive. I recommend reading it in  its' entirety. But here are the ending paragraphs from the blog:
Even without U.S. participation, which thanks to the NRA could be its fate, the ATT may yet bear material benefits in guns unshipped and lives saved.
"By adopting laws, we won't end black market arms dealing, but it will make it more expensive, more risky," says Oxfam's Stedjan. "Over time, the loopholes will begin to close. What's more, requirements of international law and standards are powerful things in the hands of civil society. In countries with civil society freedom, the ATT will be a powerful tool."
If the dirty play of the gun lobby and their conservative allies blocks U.S. participation in an ATT, there is no shortage of examples of the world moving forward without Washington. The day after LaPierre delivered his angry statement against gun-grabby UN overreach, the International Criminal Court handed down a 14-year prison sentence, its first ever, to Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, for mass child kidnapping and the use of child soldiers. For many around the world, the sentence is a hopeful sign that the ICC might yet play a role in the fight against using children in war. For the NRA, it is probably grist for a new robo-call campaign in development, warning Americans that the ICC is on the march, coming for their guns. 


  1. Thank you for the link posting, Japete, regarding the Terror Gap.

    Let's see... A vast major of the public *and* NRA members want to see suspected terrorists prevented from purchasing handguns, but the NRA is vehemently opposed to closing the Terror Gap. I wonder why that is? Could it be because the NRA and their lab dogs are pro-criminal? They do everything possible to fight any and all measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands. They only want more gun sales, after all.

  2. Joan,

    Have you actually read the ATT for yourself!?

    Are you familiar with international treaties, UN protocol, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) and other rules/laws governing treaties and sovereignty?

    I have read the ATT and I am familiar with treaties and the laws surrounding them.

    Sorry to say but the NRA is NOT wrong on this.

    1. Then apparently you bought into the lies.