Is the NRA dangerous? | The Tylt
Is the NRA dangerous?
The National Rifle Association touts itself as the United States' "oldest civil rights organization," fighting for the Constitutional rights of all Americans. The truth, however, is murkier. The NRA frequently pushes back against legislation most citizens think are common sense gun laws—and is currently fighting the Violence Against Women Act. An NRA safety officer was recently found to have communicated with a man who systematically harassed the parents of murdered children at Sandy Hook. Is the group dangerous?
Is the NRA dangerous?
The NRA has long claimed it is merely protecting rights enshrined in the Constitution. Per Salon:
[T]he NRA has routinely attempted to co-opt the civil rights movement by, among other things, calling gun regulations “equally as unconstitutional” as Jim Crow laws and bemoaning that “too many Americans don’t think of the Second Amendment as a civil rights issue.” In August 2015, NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action media liaison Lars Dalseide compared a Seattle ordinance that would fund gun violence research by imposing a tax on the sale of guns and ammunition to Jim Crow-era poll taxes.
After a year in which the NRA saw its membership numbers and funds dramatically decrease, many are worrying about the organization's future. Per the Daily Beast:
“[R]ight now we’re facing an attack that’s unprecedented not just in the history of the RNA, but in the entire history of our country [all emphasis original],” the letter began. . “And if this attack succeeds, NRA will be forced to shut down forever.”
The threat, LaPierre said, is imminent.
“And let me be clear,” he wrote. “Cuomo’s tactics are already working. One by one, more and more banks and insurance companies across the country are knuckling under to Cuomo’s threat—and telling NRA they won’t do business with us—because they don’t want to be targeted and crushed by Cuomo’s strong-arm tactics and the vast power of thousands of New York bureaucrats.
While the group appears to be losing some of its power, the NRA is still actively working to change legislation and has threatened to punish any lawmaker that votes to renew the Violence Against Women Act. The legislation, initially passed in 1994, lapsed during the government shutdown in early 2019. The bill increases support for those who have been victims of domestic violence, as well as makes it more difficult for those convicted of domestic to obtain guns. Roll Call reports:
“People don’t understand how easy it is for perpetrators of dating violence — and those convicted — to still get a gun. People with a history of domestic violence shouldn’t have access to guns,” [Rep. Debbie] Dingell said.
The NRA, however, is promising to dock the grade of any lawmaker who votes in favor of the bill, claiming it is infringing on the rights of gun owners and is actually making women less safe. Per the National Journal:
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said the group objects because it believes the legislation could lead to firearm confiscations over misdemeanor domestic violence or stalking convictions.
“The NRA opposes domestic violence and all violent crime, and spends millions of dollars teaching countless Americans how not to be a victim and how to safely use firearms for self-defense,” Baker said. “It is a shame that some in the gun-control community treat the severity of domestic violence so trivially that they are willing to use it as a tool to advance a political agenda.”
Many lawmakers and gun control advocates have argued the NRA's stand has no basis in fact. While the organization argues easier access to guns will help women protect themselves, actual hard facts show the opposite. Per Rolling Stone:
The case for stripping domestic abusers of their guns is powerful. An abused woman is five times more likely to be killed if the abuser is a gun-owner. When a domestic violence assault involves a firearm, it is 12 times more likely to end in the death of the victim. Laws like the red-flag provision proposed for VAWA save lives: In states adopting laws permitting confiscation of firearms from domestic abusers, intimate partner homicides have dropped by 7 percent.
“A gun in the house increases the chances that you’ll be killed in a domestic violence incident by an extraordinary ratio,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told Rolling Stone recently. “The most important mythology that the NRA proffers is that you’re safer if you buy a gun. That’s just not true,” Murphy said. “Having a gun in your house is more likely to get you killed than it is to save your life.”
As a part of a lawsuit against Alex Jones and his "Infowars" shows, lawyers discovered emails between an NRA training instructor named Mark Richardson and Wolfgang Halbig, a conspiracy theorist who has spent the last several years harassing the parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary. One of Halbig's targets was Jeremy Richman, the father of murdered 6-year-old Avielle Richman. In March 2019, Jeremy Richman was found dead of a suspected suicide.
NRA officer Mark Richardson emailed Wolfgang Halbig, a noted harasser of parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, to float a conspiracy theory about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed last year.
...In the email Richardson sent to Halbig, he raises a series of questions intended to poke holes in the official account of the Parkland shooting — a tactic common among conspiracy theorists. Richardson then quickly and falsely concludes there were others in on the shooting, writing, “He was not alone.” He has no direct knowledge of the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
...Halbig, meanwhile, had apparently been vying for the NRA’s attention for some time.
Not only is the NRA working to dramatically affect policy in the United States, but the group was also working to spread its influence abroad. According to the Washington Post, recent investigations have shown the organization is lobbying hard for expanded gun rights in foreign countries, including in the wake of the mass shooting in New Zealand.
This week, an investigation released by Al Jazeera showed how NRA lobbyists advised politicians from Australia’s far-right One Nation party who sought to loosen the nation’s gun-control measures and make firearms more accessible. Among other recommendations, the NRA representatives suggested shaming gun-control groups after mass shootings and ghost-writing columns in local newspapers.
This was not an isolated incident. In fact, just days after a gunman killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, figures affiliated with the NRA went into overdrive arguing that New Zealand’s gun-control measures led to the massacre. Twitter accounts began tweeting the NRA’s pro-gun propaganda at New Zealand lawmakers and citizens, and the country’s pro-gun lobbyIsts began parroting NRA talking points.
Is the NRA dangerous?