“They’re Coming After Us.”

Apparently, someone in Kentucky doesn’t like the National Rifle Association. That someone spray-painted a blank billboard with the words, “Kill the NRA.” So far the painter hasn’t been discovered.

What I find most interesting about this is the reaction of the NRA, which immediately sent out “warning message” on Facebook to all of its members, saying, “This is a wakeup call. They’re coming after us.”

Despite the brutal school shooting in Florida, which took seventeen lives, as well as those in Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, and elsewhere, the vast majority of “opponents” of the NRA don’t want to take away all guns. They want to take away oversized magazines, auto-loaders, and other devices such as bump stocks that turn semi-automatic rifles into functioning automatic rifles. They want to close the loopholes on unrecorded gun sales, and they want effective background checks and ways to keep weapons out of the hands of mentally unstable individuals. The vast majority of Americans don’t want to repeal the second amendment, but they do want sensible regulations on guns.

We regulate other equipment and substances that pose a danger if misused, from pesticides and drugs to trucks and cars, including regulations on who can use such substances or devices, and Supreme Court rulings that have held that Congress and the states may in fact prohibit certain weapons.

It’s more than obvious that the NRA clearly doesn’t want any regulations at all over firearms held by civilians and has consistently misstated both the law and the Constitution in its efforts to block such regulations. In that sense, one could also say that by its endorsement of a fully weaponized citizenry, the NRA has always come after anyone who opposes its policies.

So… maybe it is time to truly come after the NRA, since, despite all its rhetoric, it’s an organization whose efforts only result in more and more preventable deaths

12 thoughts on ““They’re Coming After Us.””

  1. R. Hamilton says:

    The problem is twofold: the Democrats get more out of demagoguing the issue than they would about cooperating on more moderate measures, and the Republicans are convinced, not without reason, that darn near anything is the camel’s nose in the tent for more.

    For example: closing the background check loopholes would be great if: cost and waiting time remain reasonable, due process actually works, and mental health disqualification is only based on the advice of a qualified medical professional and/or a judge’s order, not on questionably related records, such as what was recently repealed, where Social Security recipients that had someone designated to manage their financial affairs were deemed disqualified to purchase firearms, as if there’s any connection between ability to balance a checkbook and knowing right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate targets. Even Vox (rather far left, IMO) acknowledged it was right to repeal that. Or due process: the FBI’s National Instant Check System (NICS) appeal backlog is up to 18 months; formerly, 3 months backlog was typical.

    Measures that have the greatest ratio of credible benefit proportionate to the least impact on law abiding gun owners, and have some assurance that they can’t be administratively mutated into something far more intrusive, could pass, if they would be accepted by those who thus far have held out for something more intrusive.

    1. Hanneke says:

      Not being American, I keep being astounded that there really are people who honestly believe such things as that a person with such a serious mental disability that they have been legally assigned someone to take care of their finances (i.e. assigned by a judge, based on a doctor’s recommendation), as they are incapable of taking responsible decisions for more of their own finances than deciding which flavor of milkshake they want to get with today’s pocket money; that those people should be allowed to buy (with their handler’s okay presumed or mandated?) and keep guns, up to and including AR15s.

      The responsibility for safely handling a weapon meant to kill, sometimes to kill lots of people quickly, and making fast decisions under pressure that will seriously impact and possibly end other peoples lives, is a really serious and heavy responsibility, or at least it should be!

      But apparently, only in America, there really are people who believe that someone incapable of handling their own finances is simultaneously capable enough to handle the responsibility for other people’s lives???

      And that the right of anyone and everyone to buy and keep lots of guns (at least as long as they’re white, as from what I see on the Internet it appears that legally carrying a (toy) gun as a black person appears to be enough excuse for any police person to shoot them immediately without fear of judicial consequences) trumps the idea that possible terrorists should not be able to legally buy, own, and carry guns.
      Even if there are people on the no-fly list who should not be there, is it really more important for these people to be able to buy guns than to keep guns out of the hands of potential terrorists? Is it really more important to keep potential terrorists off planes than to keep them from buying lethal weapons?

      Americans appear to have weirdly skewed risk assessments and ideas about safety priorities that are not based in reality, and hang on to them as if they were the Holy Grail.
      Reality-based policies, based on thorough factual research, appear to have no chance in the USA. It’s a lovely country, but that is something I find quite incomprehensible.

    1. Very interesting commentary.

      1. R. Hamilton says:

        Well, somewhere near half of us believe liberty, even dangerous liberty, is more important than safety.

        But here’s the Vox article I mentioned:

        See especially the part starting with the subhead
        Who makes use of a “representative payee,” and why?
        along with following sections. Plenty of people might have _chosen_ to make use of a “representative payee” themselves; and even if that was assigned, it is _not_ the same thing as being declared incompetent and/or dangerous to self or others.

        All rights, but especially those specifically listed in the Constitution, are inviolable except for the most compelling reasons (one example is that yelling “fire!” in a crowded building is not free speech, since it would likely cause an injurious panic). There are perhaps 8 million AR-15’s in private hands, and probably no more than a few dozen have been used in mass shootings or other crimes – if that was as much as 800, it would still be 0.01%, hardly grounds to claim that the statistics indicated a compelling reason.

        As for the race angle, I understand the concern insofar as someone not part of the complaining group can; but if you look at the stats and situations closely, it’s often not that simple, although I don’t trust _some_ small town cops much myself. In a more densely populated area, most of the shootings by (or of) police will be in the most violent neighborhoods, which tend to be populated mostly by minorities. Now, that doesn’t mean that minorities are necessarily more violent, or that poor people are (save that some poor may be tempted by often violent criminal enterprise like selling addictive drugs), but it also doesn’t mean cops (save for the inevitable very few bad ones, not all of which are white) are targeting minorities. The numbers are hard to find, but as best I can tell, although the percentage of blacks shot by police is substantially higher than the percentage of blacks in the population, the percentage of cop-shooters who are black are even higher. So whether it’s the simple inevitability that violent neighborhoods will also have more police shootings, or the factually sound (although never when applied to any given individual on that basis, of course) instinct that a policeman might have that a person of color is likelier to make the cop’s wife a widow, the claim of widespread racism, let alone attempts to exterminate minorities, is 99.99% unfounded, save only for the very few bad apples that any organization of sufficient size will have. Fix the neighborhoods, mainly by encouraging and supporting the law abiding occupants in doing most of it themselves, and the violence will greatly decline.

        Major cities with high unemployment aside, the level of violence here isn’t that much more than elsewhere, notwithstanding that there are maybe more privately held firearms than individuals; although clearly with most that have at least one, having two or more…which is not absurd, since different firearms may be suited to different purposes: large game, small game, bird, competitive target shooting (there’s a category of that where civilians use AR-15’s and military use issue M-16’s set on single fire, to be as nearly comparable as the law allows), and even self-defense.

        Even between cities, there’s huge variation.
        a tale of two cities:

        Pittsburgh / Alleghany County
        population 303864 (city alone) / 1.23 million (entire county, including city)
        2017 firearms homicides for the entire county, including Pittsburgh: 91

        Baltimore, MD (just the city)
        population 621,849 (2015)
        2017 firearms homicides for the city: 301

        I live much closer to Baltimore…but I’d far more gladly go for a walking tour in Pittsburgh. 🙂

        Oh, and Maryland’s gun laws are far more restrictive than Pennsylvania’s, but clearly that has not performed magic.

        1. R. Hamilton says:

          Sorry, that was meant to be a reply to Hanneke.

        2. Hanneke says:

          Okay, I’ll reply just this once though I realise from your earlier comments that you are extremely libertarian and not likely to accept anything I say. I still believe that trying to get people to look for facts instead of preconceived ideas, and talk about practical consequences in reality, is a useful part of solving problems.

          Your statement about “the level of violence here isn’t that much more than elsewhere” does not appear to be factually correct (and that you can’t see the inherent contradiction betwee that statement and what you say about the dangers to police from an armed populace (including the population of criminals)is something which makes me doubt whether you are capable of seeing these things, or are completely blinded by your belief in your libertarian ideology).
          I’ve seen many reports of study results over the years that clearly show that the USA suffers a lot more homicides than other developed countries. For example just one link to a 2016 BBC article (so not affiliated with a partisan US organisation):
          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34996604 ; look at the graph on homicides. There are many, many more such results to be found if you search.

          Lots of things that pose dangers to others are regulated, and we accept that that regulation is necessary for large groups of humans to live together, and do not automatically impose an unbearable limitation on our liberty. The idea that one person’s liberty ends where it impacts another persons life & liberty is something most people accept as a basic idea, though there are many discussions possible about where exactly we draw that line. We accept laws and regulations that say we are not allowed to kill people who annoy us, cars have to (mostly) obey traffic laws; bakers are not allowed to put sawdust, brickdust and chalk in their bread or vintners put lead in their wine as consumers cannot check what’s been put in but can be harmed by it, and historic experience has proved that from commercial motives producers will inflict such harm on their customers.
          Unfettered capitalism will not automatically solve such problems; regulation is often the only thing that will.

          That only a few of some lethal product being sold have been used to commit murders does not make a very good argument against regulating the lethal product, or even that entire lethal product category.
          Arsenic used to be freely sold as a rat poison; though only a few boxes of arsenic sold this way were used to poison people (to commit murder or by accident), rules for rat poisons were implemented so they cannot be used so easily to kill people.

          Though only a few cars kill pedestrians and other people, we accept that it is necessary to regulate all cars – both the speed they can go, their roadworthiness, and the way they are constructed to minimize damage on impact. This is not seen as an unbearable restriction of one’s ability to buy or drive a car as a general rule (though plenty of people grumble about specific instances of traffic fines, I’ve not seen any complaints for instance about not being allowed to buy and drive a giant tank on public roads).

          There are already some limits on what kinds of weapons can be bought by civilians in the USA: nuclear submarine missiles, ground-to-air missile defence armaments and other such obviously military hardware is not for sale to civilians, even in the USA. It’s just about where exactly you draw that line.
          In the same way, some rules and restrictions on things like assault rifles and bump stocks will increase public safety a lot, without being an unbearable infringement of liberty for most Americans.
          Australia also likes its freedoms, and used to have the freedom for ordinary people to buy AR15s and such. After a massacre, they decided to put some limits to gun freedom, starting with assault rifles, which are basically weapons of war, not self-defence. Their experience proves that gun control is not only possible in a country that previously didn’t have it; it also shows not only the positive effect of gun control on homicides and suicides but that it didn’t cause the dangers and repressions that opponents of gun control tend to warn about. One link to an article about this is http://fortune.com/2018/02/20/australia-gun-control-success/
          So why do people in the USA not look at this real-life proven example of what can be done about the epidemic of mass killings happening in the USA, and what gun control can look like and achieve?

          1. R. Hamilton says:

            I don’t overlook or cherry pick anything, nor do I trust any single source of information (I also read those I disagree with – have to know what other views offer, even if I’m unlikely to be persuaded), although I may not always go to exhaustive and rigorous effort to attain expertise, and I don’t purport to be able to evaluate the correctness of the use of statistics, even if I had access to the raw data, which most people don’t.

            My point about violence levels is that once the particularly violent areas of major cities are excluded, the per capita violence level elsewhere in the US isn’t that much higher than in most European countries. I’ve seen that (in my opinion – I can’t test the stats, but I can recognize propaganda including that which I’m inclined to agree with, from long experience) plausibly demonstrated before, but don’t have the reference readily available.

            The most violent areas mostly have far left local governments and the most extensive firearms restrictions, and I’d have to say that there is ZERO evidence that either improves the situations, and it’s at least a reasonable speculation that they make it worse.

            I can’t say I’m _that_ concerned by the current violence level which, notwithstanding an uptick in widely publicized mass shootings and that the worst cities (e.g. Chicago and Baltimore) seem to keep getting worse, has actually fallen over the years. Mass shootings in particular get lots of publicity, but the actual number of fatalities, although distressing by the innocence of the victims and the unexpectedness of it, are small compared to various categories of stupid accidents not even involving firearms (toddlers drowning in mop-buckets, etc), let alone compared to those resulting from more conventional firearms related murders in crime or gang activity.

            I think some nonzero, and probably non-minimal level of violence is an acceptable price for greater liberty, self-defense, and the other utilitarian uses of firearms, and for the assurance that if the government ever decides to throw its weight around, there are at least 100 million people armed that may resist; they may not have armed aircraft, tanks, and cannons, but they have vastly greater numbers than all government (federal, state, local) forces put together.

            I’m not opposed to all increases in regulation, if they have the least intrusion for the most effectiveness (erring in favor of less intrusion, but not to the point of precluding them entirely), if they assure due process, so that appeals are possible and processed reasonably promptly, and if they do not disqualify for reasons that are vague or too easily left to expansive interpretation.

            I (and most libertarians, which I’m not really, so don’t blame them for me or vice versa) accept “one person’s liberty ends where it impacts another persons life & liberty”; but I have a _vastly_ different idea of how that should be implemented. The liberty ends with _conduct_ that impacts etc, not objects that may be used for that purpose or even patterns of marginal activity that are not actual premedition or conspiracy to impact, so long as there is any other plausible purpose they may be used for.

            One might argue that a nuke or a machine gun has zero other plausible purpose than mass killing; but for the machine gun, even that argument is flawed. I used to know an old vet that had the license ($200 for tax stamp, additional background check, ATF has right to inspect storage without a warrant, and only pre-80’s grandfathered full auto firearms) for an old machine gun – probably dating back to when he served, which I suspect was Korean War era, and took it once in a while to a target range on a military base (one of few that would allow it); he was as law-abiding, gentle, and perceptive as you could hope for, secured his weapon conscientiously, etc; as do almost all of the very few people with such licenses (and most people with concealed carry permits are far more law abiding than the average person (it may be a right, but to exercise it at that level in many jurisdictions requires significant extra effort, and people value and take care of what they have to work for)). For him, it was simply a matter of preserving a skill acquired under difficult circumstances, a duty of sorts, even if he was not physically up to most other rigors of combat anymore.

            One of our founders, Benjamin Franklin, is purported to have said something along the lines of “Those desiring security over liberty will have neither.” Many of us still think that way.

            I read your link; I’ve read many pro and con on Austalia’s
            gun control. I don’t actually care if all the claims in support of it are true, because in the end, I haven’t been bothered to the point of even considering turning mine in by rates higher than we have now (1993 had roughly 5,000 more firearms homicides than 2016, despite more people, more weapons, and that the rate had been lower than 2016 in the prior few years), for the continued liberty to own and NOT abuse one. That does NOT mean I desire those deaths, or that I oppose all measures less intrusive than bans, provided they meet the criteria I previously mentioned.

            Here’s a site to torture you with:
            not to mention their link on the locality of domestic crime:

            Now, I grant the site was created by someone that through his own academic research, changed his views from anti-gun to pro-gun; but they do claim not to be funded by NRA, gun manufacturers, etc; and the guy is not without qualifications in the area of study. Even his critics have said “We conclude that Lott and Mustard have made an important scholarly contribution in establishing that these laws have not led to the massive bloodbath of death and injury that some of their opponents feared. On the other hand, we find that the statistical evidence that these laws have reduced crime is limited, sporadic, and extraordinarily fragile.”

  2. John Prigent says:

    Sorry, Hanneke, but the BBC is regarded in its own home as a left-wing propaganda organisation that does not even try to embrace impartiality. And that was the result of an internal BBC survey of staff! So it can’t be quoted as an impartial observer of anything.

    1. Tim says:

      John is so right. The BBC is no longer considered impartial here in the UK.

  3. M. Kilian says:

    Guns already are regulated. There are already systems to prevent the majority of the abuse, yet those systems are not being enforced enough.

    Burdening law enforcement, bureaucrats and citizens with even more red-tape that doesn’t get enforced properly doesn’t sound like a solution in my opinion.

    It is also frustrating to hear people use Australia as an example of gun control working considering up until 1975 it had the White Australia policies that kept racial diversity low along with stringent visa requirements.

  4. Hanneke says:

    Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership and (compared to the US, though not when compared to the rest of Europe) relatively liw rate of gun deaths.
    This is seen by some as proof that it’s not the guns, but the culture.
    On the other hand, talking about changing the US pro-gun culture is considered an attack, and “coming after us”. You can’t have it both ways!

    Culture is part of it, including seeing the owning of a gun as a part of your nation’s defense against invasion (instead of for personal defense) and the importance of stringent background checks and lots of training, but so is regulation. The Swiss have a lot more stringent rules about who can own a gun, and what they can and can’t do with it.


    This means that a single table of gun-owning nations and their gun deaths does not disprove the need for more stringent regulation, background checks, limits on who can own guns and what they can do with them (i.e. virtually no conceiled carry permits for handguns in Switzerland except for police, and limits on transporting your gun). In fact it proves the opposite: all those measures need not be an obstacle to having a (relatively) *safe* gun culture.

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