All Articles Tagged "national rifle association"

Two Nationwide Campaigns Seek To Curb Gun Violence Through New Measures

April 29th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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A December rally in Chicago for gun control. via Getty Images

A December rally in Chicago for gun control. via Getty Images

In the face of persistent gun violence and continued lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other pro-gun groups, new anti-gun violence campaigns have sprung up that seek to tackle the issue from new angles.

The Campaign to Unload has gathered those affected by gun violence as well as more than 30 organizations to defund the gun companies that receive investment from 401K plans.

“A vast majority of Americans support common-sense changes in public policy while respecting the rights of lawful gun owners, but a small number of well-financed extremists have blocked the political process,” the campaign writes on its website. “Since funding is now driving the process, de-funding the industry has become an appropriate and important priority for those committed to sensible reform.”

Video from the campaign is available below.

Unload Your 401k from Unload Your 401k on Vimeo.

A new group, composed of Moms Demand Action, Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and, once again, those who have been impacted by gun violence have also created a group called Everytown for Gun Safety, which is fighting for gun law reform. They’ve created a 21-page report about the NRA and how it has shifted focus over the past decades and released a PSA in time for the NRA annual convention, which took place over the weekend. Former mayor Bloomberg has pledged to back the effort with $50 million.

We’ve got their first PSA after the jump.

NRA Tells African Americans They Need Guns To Protect Themselves From “Sociopaths,” “Culture,” Others

March 4th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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A still from Colin Noir's ad for the NRA.

A still from Colion Noir’s ad for the NRA.

The National Rifle Association has been on a tear these past few months, trying to convince the public and gun owners that the government is overstepping its boundaries with any sort of gun control reforms, including universal background checks. The organization has been running numerous ads across various states labeling efforts by President Obama, the Democrats, and other gun control advocates as “the single most devastating attack on the Second Amendment that this country has ever seen,” to use the words of the organization’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre.

Now the organization is beefing up its efforts to reach the African-American community specifically. The NRA has a new ad campaign that says the black community needs guns to protect itself from the government, using the Civil Rights movement as a jumping off point for its argument.

“The video is part of an effort by the gun lobby to grow the organization’s appeal beyond a mostly white, middle-class membership and attribute high rates of gun violence in some African American communities to “culture” rather than the prevalence of guns,” ThinkProgress writes.

The ad (available below) stars YouTube celeb and gun advocate Colion Noir, who rants for 1 1/2 minutes about the hypocrisy of the anti-gun violence movement and the need for firearms. This is “[t]he same government who at one point hosed us down with water, attacked us with dogs, wouldn’t allow us to eat at their restaurants and told us we couldn’t own guns,” he says at one point.

At the end of the video, he says,”Guy telling me to get rid of my guns when I need them the most, isn’t my friend, isn’t looking out for my best interests and doesn’t speak for me or the community that I’m part of.” But is the NRA a part of the black community? Or is this an opportunitistic appeal to the black community at a time when the NRA needs all the help it can get to advance its agenda? News site Salon turns the hypocrisy accusations back on the NRA, citing a 2011 article in The Atlantic that highlights the historical efforts by the NRA and others to enact gun restrictions. “The one time NRA wanted gun control was when Black Panthers took up arms. Now it wants black support,” reads the Salon sub-headline.

ThinkProgress points out some disturbing statistics. For instance, blacks made up about 13 percent of the population in 2010, but 56 percent of the people killed by guns. And highlights a Minneapolis program that focused on city programs that would divert young people in vulnerable communities from gangs and other activities that typically lead to gun violence.

What do you think of the NRA’s appeal to African Americans?


NRA Calls For Armed Guards at Schools Nationwide, Gets Little Support

December 21st, 2012 - By Tonya Garcia
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A protester, dressed as the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, outside of today's press conference.

A protester, dressed as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, outside of today’s press conference.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) held its awaited press conference today, suggesting a new program that would put an armed guard at “every school” nationwide.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s EVP. He reprimanded the media, saying that it had “demonized gun owners,” blamed violent video games, and criticized politicians for seeking stronger gun control laws.

“Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And, in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk,” LaPierre also said in his remarks, which you can read in full here.

The NRA is calling for the creation of the National School Shield, which would train armed security guards.

The NRA had stayed noticeably quiet following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last Friday that killed 26 people, including 20 children ages six and seven. Indeed, the NRA blamed everything except guns for the tragedy.

Moreover, the group is being taken to task on Twitter and in the media for its inability to secure its own press conference. Protesters interrupted the event not once, but twice.

“Even while the N.R.A. was offering to help schools better protect themselves, it proved unable to guard its own media event from protesters,” writes The New York Times.

Gun sales have gone up in the wake of the horror, with concerned parents even investing in backpack armor for their children. The President has pledged to put a gun control proposal before Congress next month, with a task force led by VP Joe Biden expected to also look at secondary issues surrounding gun violence, like the state of mental health treatment in this country. Many people, including some in Washington who were previously staunch supporters of the NRA and its agenda, have come out in favor of some changes to tighten up the laws.

Criticism of the NRA’s proposal today came swiftly and furiously. For those who’ve never been supporters of the NRA (and those who don’t believe every person in the US should be armed to the teeth, which includes many gun owners), the speech landed somewhere on the spectrum between “out-of-touch” and “insane.”

Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) is quoted on the ABC News site: “It is beyond belief that following the Newtown tragedy, the National Rifle Association’s leaders want to fill our communities with guns and arm more Americans.”

Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy (CT) tweeted, “Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen.”

Even Michael Steele, the former RNC chairman, said, “I just found it very haunting and very disturbing that our country now is talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms,” on MSNBC today. “What does that say about us? I do not believe that is where the American people want to go,” he added. (via Politico)

The press conference was shocking, given that this was supposed to be a response to a mass killing that left small children dead in their school. More guns are the answer? Unbelievable. And indefensible as evidenced by the NRA’s refusal to take questions… at a press conference. What do you think?

Seriously? Gun Sales Surge After Obama Announces Gun Control Plan

December 20th, 2012 - By Tonya Garcia
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NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg (far left) at a press conference with victims and family members affected by gun violence. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg (far left) at a press conference with victims and family members affected by gun violence. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

As the country recovers from the horror of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, people across the country are beefing up their stockpiles, purchasing guns faster than stores can keep them in stock.

President Obama held a press conference yesterday in which he announced that new gun control proposals would be in front of Congress next month, a quick response to the horrors at Sandy Hook last week.

“The president’s pledge came as House Republicans restated their firm opposition to enacting any new limits on firearms or ammunition, setting up the possibility of a philosophical clash over the Second Amendment early in Mr. Obama’s second term,” The New York Times reports.

The plan will be developed over the next few weeks with VP Joe Biden leading a group from across multiple government agencies. Rumor has it that a ban on assault weapons and “high-capacity” ammunition magazines could be part of the proposal, the NYT says. Both sides, especially the GOP, want to take a look at changes to the mental health system, education, and other factors besides direct gun control measures as well.

Mayor Bloomberg, a longtime gun control advocate, has thrown his support behind the President’s efforts. That support will likely come with financial backing, as the billionaire mayor is known to put his money where his mouth is. And he has a history of successfully achieving his policy goals. He’s not the only politico in favor of change. Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has come out in favor of stronger regulation and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has said she will introduce gun control legislation next year. For a list of lawmakers who have changed their tune about gun regulation, click here. (Rep. Heinrich is on the list.)

At the same time, people are making a mad dash to their local gun shop to get their hands on assault rifles and armored backpacks. “A spike in gun sales is common after a mass shooting, but the Connecticut tragedy has generated record sales in many states,” BusinessWeek reports. Background checks in states like Colorado and Nevada broke records in the days after the Connecticut shooting. And Walmart says it was sold out of semi-automatic weapons in five states including Pennsylvania and Alabama. Shoppers are also turning to eBay to purchase ammunition.

Parents are taking precautions with their children, investing in armor that slips into a child’s backpack, priced at $150 to $300. However, CBS News points out, the armor is designed to stop handgun fire, not assault weapon shots. A man quoted in that story bought one for his one-year-old son. All the parents argue it’s a measure they’re willing to take if it will do anything to protect their kids.

Of course, what will really protect children and adults alike would be fewer people firing guns at other people. The National Rifle Association, which crows about the Second Amendment when anyone even mentions gun regulation or gun control, waited until Tuesday to issue a statement, available here. After expressing shock and sadness over the Sandy Hook shooting, they said,”The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” The group is planning a press conference tomorrow in Washington and its Facebook page is back up and running (and accepting insane comments) after being shut down in the wake of the tragedy. We couldn’t find any detail about what they might be prepared to discuss, however, if you’re interested (and you should be) in the history of the NRA and how it became so politically powerful, check out this New Yorker story from April. It’s eye-opening.

On a positive note, New Jersey held its gun buyback program over the weekend in Camden, one of the state’s most troubled cities. A new record was set, with 1,137 guns turned in, beating the previous record of 700. Among the weapons returned were sawed-off shotguns, rifles used for elephant hunting, and fully automatic weapons. With $110,000 in cash and $6,000 in gift cards to hand out, the program ran out of money. The New York Post says that nearly all of the weapons will be destroyed.

And some companies are taking steps to distance themselves from the gun industry. The Washington Post reports that package’s Sporting Goods will stop selling sporting rifles, at least for the moment. And investor Cerebus Capital Management, which has a stake Freedom Group, the company that manufactures Bushmaster Rifles, said that it will be selling that stake. “It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. . . . There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take,” Cerebus said in a statement.

The paper says that the gun industry generated $11.7 billion in sales this year. Sales have been strong since the moment President Obama took office with gun advocates nonsensically fearful that gun laws would tighten to the point where they wouldn’t be able to add to their collections.

New and stronger gun regulation is needed in this country. If Sandy Hook (and the the other recent shootings) hasn’t made that clear, then nothing will. Of course, we haven’t yet addressed all of the hundreds of millions of guns that are already in people’s homes and on the streets. A fundamental change in our gun mentality will have to be coupled with any legislative measures.

Election Discussion of Gun Control Impacted By Super PAC Money

October 19th, 2012 - By Tonya Garcia
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A Chicago rally against gun violence earlier this year, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Image: AP Photo/Chicago Sun-Times, John J. Kim

Despite the number of mass shootings and high levels of gun violence in major U.S. cities like Chicago, getting the government to discuss, let alone seriously consider, stronger gun control laws is nearly impossible. If you haven’t read it, you should definitely check out this April story from The New Yorker on how the proliferation of guns and the loosening of gun policy in this country came to be. An editorial published in this week’s New York Times also addresses the issue.

“There are nearly three hundred million privately owned firearms in the United States: a hundred and six million handguns, a hundred and five million rifles, and eighty-three million shotguns. That works out to about one gun for every American,” the New Yorker article says. “The United States is the country with the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world.”

In large part, the article lays the country’s Second Amendment fervor and love affair with guns at the feet of the National Rifle Association. The NRA was founded in the late-1800s and, for a long time, highlighted gun safety. The NRA’s focus on the individual’s right to carry a gun began in the 1970s. From that point on, the NRA and other gun-rights organizations began publishing articles and funding political candidates that raised the public’s preoccupation with the Second Amendment and relaxed the rules surrounding the acquisition of firearms.

Between 1968 and 2012, the idea that owning and carrying a gun is both a fundamental American freedom and an act of citizenship gained wide acceptance and, along with it, the principle that this right is absolute and cannot be compromised; gun-control legislation was diluted, defeated, overturned, or allowed to expire; the right to carry a concealed handgun became nearly ubiquitous; Stand Your Ground legislation passed in half the states; and, in 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5–4 decision, that the District’s 1975 Firearms Control Regulations Act was unconstitutional.

Today, gun-rights activists spend their time generating an irrational fear that President Obama is trying to take people’s guns wholesale. Meanwhile, The New Yorker says, one in three people in the U.S. know someone who’s been shot.

During this week’s presidential debate, the issue of gun control came up. Mitt Romney, par for course, evaded the question, wandering into the metaphorical woods to talk about the need for two-parent households as a remedy to the country’s gun violence problem. President Obama said, “What I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced.”

This, of course, has got the NRA up in arms (pun intended). “[He] gave law-abiding hunters, gun owners a preview of what to expect in a second Obama administration,” Andrew Arulanandam, NRA’s director of public affairs, told the Houston Chronicle. “He went straight out and supported a gun ban.” The NRA is using its PAC, the NRA Political Victory Fund, to mobilize voters for Romney.

On the other hand, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long-time gun control advocate, has launched his own super PAC, saying that he’s going to pump $10 million to $15 million of his own money into the effort to support political candidates. He called the responses from both candidates to the gun control question “gibberish.”

Yesterday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposed a new tax to curb guns — five cents per bullet and $25 per gun. Cook County encompasses Chicago, which, as we mentioned, has seen a terrifying spike in gun violence this year. More than 1,100 people were shot in that city in the first six months of this year. “Over the same period in New York City, which has triple the population, 790 people have been shot,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the NRA, of course, called the tax “preposterous” because the only people who would pay the tax are “law-abiding citizens.” He advocates for more criminal prosecutions. The Journal points out that many of the guns confiscated in Chicago have been bought legally in other parts of the country.

The story that caught my eye and prompted this story was this one about gun permits being issued in Alabama, and, specifically, the high number of permits being issued that allow people to carry concealed weapons.  In 2011, 34,254 gun permits were issued in Mobile county. In case you’re wondering, “Of those, 24,656 were owned by whites/Caucasians, 9,209 by African Americans, 294 by Asians/Pacific Islanders and 95 by American Indians/Alaskans,” reports. Moreover, women are seeking gun permits, including concealed gun permits, at a high number. The reasons cited are the aforementioned fear of President Obama’s intentions and the feeling that people/women need to protect themselves.

Alabama counties are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars on these permits. Among the things that the money is being spent on are weapons and bulletproof vests.

A big reason why people feel they need to protect themselves is because there are so many guns out there. Gun violence and gun control needs to be discussed openly, honestly, with urgency and without political posturing. A ban on assault weapons is more than reasonable. It’s become painfully obvious that it’s necessary.

Gun Lobby Shoots for Concealed Weapons in Illinois

May 4th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Chicago Tribune) — Gov. Pat Quinn sought to stall a push to allow concealed carry in Illinois, saying Tuesday that he would veto any measure lawmakers sent him that would allow citizens to walk around with loaded guns in public.  “I don’t think we’re in the business of trying to increase danger to the people of Illinois. We want to work with our law enforcement and prevent bad things from happening,” the governor said at a morning news conference.  The threat of a veto from Quinn did little to deter supporters who have been emboldened by last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that tossed out Chicago’s long-standing gun ban.  Hours after Quinn announced his opposition in Chicago, a House committee recommended approval of the latest version of a concealed-carry measure. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states without some form of such a law.

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A Clamor for Gun Limits, but Few Expect Real Changes

January 14th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York) — The National Rifle Association has gone uncommonly dark since the weekend shootings here. A posting on its Web site expresses sympathies for the victims of the violence, and N.R.A. officials said they would have nothing to say until the funerals and memorial services were over.  In Washington, bills were being drafted to step up background checks, create no-gun zones around members of Congress and ban the big-volume magazines that allowed the Tucson gunman to shoot so many bullets so fast. Gun control advocates say they believe the shock of the attack has altered the political atmosphere, in no small part because one of the victims is a member of Congress.

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A Rush for New Gun Restrictions, but Odds Appear Long

January 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Washington Post) — The road to firearms policy in America is paved in blood.  Every major change in the regulation of U.S. gun ownership was prompted in part by a national gun tragedy, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or the attempt on the life of President Ronald Reagan.  The 1960s killings of Kennedy, his brother Robert and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led to the Gun Control Act of 1968, the cornerstone of gun law in America today.

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Norton Plays Russian Roulette with D.C.’s Future

July 7th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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"Yvette Carnell"In a 5-4 decision on June 28th the Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s ban on handguns.  Chicago mayor Richard Daley was left shaking his head.  The previous week had been an exceptionally bloody one with 54 people shot over a single weekend.  His distaste could be felt by many across the country. DC’s delegate to the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, saw it quite another way.  In a June 30th press release she praised a decision that “appears to vindicate and to sanction gun laws like the District’s new and revised gun laws”.

She has some ideas for controlling guns but nothing so ambitious as to actually get them off the streets.   She may not be the champion of the gun lobby, but she’s shown herself to be accommodating.  Here’s their current bargain:  D.C, if you desire representation, Eleanor, if you actually want to cast a vote that will be counted, then you must be willing to sacrifice your community in exchange.

Attached to the D.C. voting rights bill is what’s commonly known as a poison pill. In this case, it’s a provision which would weaken Washington D.C.’s gun control laws by repealing restrictions on semiautomatic weapons, loosening registration requirements for guns, and ending criminal penalties for owners of unregistered firearms.

The gutting of the D.C. voting rights bill highlights both the power and perniciousness of the National Rifle Association (NRA). This war profiteering company – which operates under the auspices of a Second Amendment rights organization – has single-handedly hallowed the Second Amendment and inserted the camaraderie of southern brotherhood in its place.

Their success is largely due to a seismic fraud perpetrated by the gun lobby which pushes the fantastical tale that the right to bear arms is a long standing freedom which should be blindly cherished by all Americans. Thus, gun control advocates are enemies of freedom (heard that before?) whose efforts must be thwarted at every turn.  This would be a valid point, if true.

In order to fully understand why the attempts to thwart gun control legislation are folly, let us begin by tracing it from inception. Gun control laws were initially instated by the beneficiaries of slave labor who were petrified at the idea of freed blacks defending themselves against the most vile domestic terrorists in American history – the Klu Klux Klan. Yes, gun control largely began at the hands of those who now dare us to pry the glock nine from their cold, clenched fists.

And just as the former slave owners lived in fear of retribution from those who they’d abused, many of us live in fear of being mowed down by a gang member with an AK-47 and a grudge. The NRA would suggest that I buy my own gun and shoot back but being in the midst of crossfire has never been a dream of mine.  I would prefer that the semiautomatic weapon be removed from the market in the first place so that the disgruntled and confused young man doesn’t have access to it.

But, the attempts of most gun control advocates to negotiate and triangulate the gun rights issue in an effort to afford people freedom while implementing common sense controls has always met with rigid defiance from the NRA.

Truth be told, the NRA doesn’t wage war on behalf of the Second Amendment, but on behalf of those who earn a fortune selling automatic weapons to young boys in war torn African nations, and their kin right here in America.

If you need proof, just glance at the Second Amendment which reads as follows: “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.”

Under the leadership of the NRA, the Second Amendment, intended to protect Americans from tyrants, has been perverted to fatten the very entities who the founding fathers sought to protect us from.  The District of Columbia is just the next in a long line of counties, states, and individuals who’ve fallen victim to the empty rhetoric of the NRA and their confused supporters.

Eleanor Holmes Norton is now allowing gun ownership of all types, sizes, and varieties for every man, woman, and child who currently reside in the District of Columbia in exchange for a right which should’ve be granted long ago. Ms. Norton has announced her support for the voting rights bill but the outcome remains unsure. In more ways than one, Norton is playing Russian roulette with the city she claims to love. Let’s all hope that the chamber is empty.

Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, and