What’s up with gun rights

What’s the NRA’s big attachment to assault weapons? Why do we have to suffer the weapons of mass murder?

One NRA member from Texas told an NPR reporter, “As far as I’m concerned, if you can afford to buy a tank, you should be able to buy a tank.” He explained: “the Second Amendment was put in not to hunt, not to go plink at cans, not to shoot at targets. If and when tyranny tries to take over our country, we can fight it.” NRA President Porter, too, wants people to be “ready to fight tyranny.” Porter, told an audience last June, when he was NRA vice-president, that “We got the pads put on, we got our helmets strapped on, we’re cinched up, we’re ready to fight, we’re out there fighting every day.”

Tyranny is the common mantra of the NRA and the private paramilitaries training around this country. What do they mean by tyranny?

NRA president Porter told an audience that the NRA was “started by some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’” That’s his name for the Civil War. So is the current NRA the boomerang now aimed at this more accepting and cosmopolitan nation, at our victory over slavery and for universal human rights? Does it fit all the fuss by the birthers? Or explain President Porter calling President Obama a “fake president” or calling Attorney General Eric Holder “rabidly un-American.” Holder, like President Obama, is African-American.

NPR’s Wade Goodwyn told us “NRA speakers” at their recent convention, “emphasized their belief that there are two Americas: the righteousness of the right and the decadence of the left.” In other words, one of the strands of fanaticism behind the NRA is political – not just that gun rights are political, but that the purpose of having gun rights is political, to change the society from one they dislike to one they like. That begins to explain the demand by NRA leadership that we protect the ability to buy and own operable assault weapons, high capacity magazines, even tanks – to take over the U.S. by force of arms.

After the Civil War, former Confederate soldiers, allowed to keep their guns, patrolled Southern states to make sure the former slaves stayed in what white southerners called their “place” – on the plantation – and shot people who tried to move. Others became marauders, outlaws, and bank robbers. Many formed the Ku Klux Klan and similar organizations to keep the South as it was before the War. Their vigilante organizations spread, with venom against Blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants. Immerse yourself now in the culture of the various private militias “training” around the country and you’ll find yourself immersed in that same culture of hate – fully armed and cloaked in the NRAs version of the Second Amendment.

Conservatives, terrified of revolution, once feared communists everywhere were trying to overthrow the government by force. About face. Now so-called “conservatives” defend the people who are preparing to overthrow the government by force. Both the rhetoric and the killing have grown since Obama was elected.

The more the NRA claims the unregulated right to big guns, the less we should trust them with anything more powerful than a rubber band.

— This commentary was broadcast on WAMC Northeast Report, May 14, 2013.

For quotations and additional information, see:

Bill Hutchinson, “Nutty new NRA president Jim Porter still fighting war against ‘Northern Aggression,’” New York Daily News, May 2, 2013, available at http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/nutty-new-nra-president-jim-porter-war-guns-article-1.1333864#ixzz2TCcZthPC

Wade Goodwyn, “At NRA Convention, Dueling Narratives Displayed With Guns,” NPR, May 4, 2013, available at http://www.npr.org/2013/05/04/181025490/at-nra-convention-dueling-narratives-displayed-with-guns

Wade Goodwyn and Melissa Block, “Gun Owners, Activists Descend On Houston For NRA Convention,” NPR, May 3, 2013, available at http://www.npr.org/2013/05/03/180900101/thousands-descend-on-houston-for-nra-convention

For the NRA official statement on militias, see http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/nra.militia.statement.html

And have a look at Stanley Fish, “Is the N.R.A. un-American?” New York Times Opinionator (online blog), May 13, 2013, at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/is-the-n-r-a-un-american/?hp

2 Responses to What’s up with gun rights

  1. Rawclyde! says:

    Gun owners should be licensed, their guns should be registered, and their potential for destruction & death should be insured ~ like cars ~ in order to fulfill the other half of the 2nd amendment about a “well regulated militia.”

  2. KG says:

    Then you have no idea what the Second Amendment means. If we accepted your definition, under a straight textual analysis, “well regulated” would directly and diametrically contradict “shall not be infringed” by its own words. Since it is safe to assume that it was not written to contradict itself, your interpretation of “well regulated” is wrong. In fact, the term as used in the day meant skillful and well practiced.

    Under a contextual analysis, your interpretation would contradict the history of the Founding Fathers themselves, who were treasonous insurrectionists who went to war against their own army. It would contradict the Fathers’ trust in the civilian population and mistrust of any and all standing armies. It would contradict their founding principle that our nation’s government exists only at the consent of the governed.

    In short, the Founders were guaranteeing to us by supreme law nothing less than the natural rights they appropriated for themselves to divest the country from tyranny.

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