Has the NRA finally admitted it's been lying all this time about its reason for existing?
Yesterday ThinkProgress's Judd Legum put together a smashing post called "5 Indefensible Tweets From The NRA Since The Oregon Gun Massacre." Basically here I'm passing on Judd's post with just a few notes of my own added. But afterward, I'll have something to say about one of these tweets from NRA TinyPenisWorld which I find kind of staggering.
First, let's let Judd set his piece up:
After a mass shooting, the NRA traditionally goes silent for a period of time. In the case of the gun massacre in Oregon, the NRA stopped tweeting on Thursday, October 1 at 1:44 p.m., shortly after the news broke. The account resumed tweeting at 12:07 p.m. on Friday, October 2 with an innocuous tweet about gun safety.With that, we're good to go. "Here," says Judd, "are five of the NRA’s most egregious recent tweets."
By Monday, the NRA twitter account was aggressively tweeting out information intended to head off any efforts to increase gun control in the wake of the massacre at Umpqua Community College. Much of this information, however, was wildly misleading or just plain inaccurate.
"1. There is no gun show loophole."
This is an easy one: Yes, of course there is. And everyone -- except perhaps this tweeter from TinyPenisWorld -- knows it. Judd:
There is a gun show loophole. At gun shows, unlicensed sellers can sell guns without any background check, waiting period, or paperwork. These are referred to as “private sales.” There are thousands of gun shows in the United States each year.
These unregulated “private sales” of guns also take place on the internet or other physical locations. The NRA disingenuously claims that these additional loopholes mean that there isn’t a specific gun show loophole.
"2. The Australian gun buyback didn’t work."
Another easy one: It sure as shootin' did work. Judd:
After a gun massacre in Australia in 1996, the government “instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation.” At the same time, the government banned semi-automatic rifles and tightened licensing requirements.
A 2011 Harvard University study concluded that the buyback program was “incredibly successful in terms of lives saved.” There have been no gun massacres — defined as the killing of four or more people at once — in the 17 years since the buyback took place. There were 13 gun massacres in the 18 years prior to the program.
Additionally, the number of firearm suicides and homicides was reduced dramatically. This reduction was directly tied to the buyback program. The Harvard study found that “the drop in firearm deaths was largest among the type of firearms most affected by the buyback” and “firearm deaths in states with higher buyback rates per capita fell proportionately more than in states with lower buyback rates.”
The article cited by the NRA does not dispute the reduction in firearm deaths after the buyback program but simply asserts, without much analysis, that the drop was a coincidence. It relies almost exclusively on a deeply flawed study produced by the Australian gun lobby.
"3. Gun-free zones are magnets for murderers."
This sounds to me like something the gun-massacre fans in TinyPenisWorld simply made up in their heads, and assume must be true. The facts say otherwise. Judd:
86 percent of mass shootings occur outside of gun-free zones. Studies have found no evidence that people purposely choose gun-free zones for mass shootings. Rather, there is usually another clear motive for the choice of location. In most school shootings, for example, “the killers had personal ties to the school they struck.”
"4. Over the last 5 years, twice as many people were killed with someone’s bare hands than with a rifle."
What??? Even beyond the bizarreness of the comparison, the tweeter has in fact misread his sources for both of the statistics being "compared." In a larger perspective, though, this is also the claim I want to come back to when we're done with Judd's piece. Meanwhile, here's his response:
This is misleading to the point of parody. The statistic comes from this chart from the FBI that looks at murder victims from 2010 to 2014. The data found no more than 769 homicides each year with a “personal weapon” — a category that includes hands, feet and any other part of the body. Meanwhile, there were over 8000 homicides by firearms each year.
The NRA isolates the category “rifles” to make guns seem relatively safe — there are around 250-350 homicides with rifles each year — but this just reflects the popularity of handguns over rifles. Additionally, there are between 1600-1900 firearm homicides each year where the type of firearm could not be identified by the FBI. So the NRA’s claim, in addition to being highly misleading, also might not be true.
"5. Fewer than 1 percent of criminals get guns at gun shows."
M oh my, the gun-massacre fans do seem concerned about keeping the free flow of guns flowing at loophole-blessed gun shows! Judd:
This statistic vastly understates the nexis between gun shows and criminal activity by focusing only on the proximate source of the gun. The same study found that “sixty-nine percent of criminals surveyed reported acquiring guns from a friend, family member, or street seller.” And where did those people acquire their guns? In many cases, at a gun show. Overall, “3 out of 10 guns that criminals use in crimes changed hands at a gun show somewhere in their chain of custody.”
NOW, ABOUT THAT EYE-POPPER OF A TWEET
As I mentioned, the TinyPenisWorld tweet that blew my mind is (4), "Over the last 5 years, twice as many people were killed with someone’s bare hands than with a rifle."
Does someone connected to the NRA really think this advances their cause? Even setting aside the numerical mumbo-jumbo performed with both numbers being compared, can you believe they're arguing in terms of the (claimed) relative safeness of rifles? While this might seem a point worth making for an organization that calls itself the National Rifle Association, an organization that purports to defend the rights of rifle-bearing hunters, if that was ever the mission of the real-world NRA, it certainly hasn't been in the time since the NRA took over the American gun franchise and took all of our political institutions hostage.
No, the real-world NRA is an organization whose reason for existence is to secure the right of virtually every man, woman, and child to carry a handgun or automatic weapon, whether concealed or openly carried, into church, into fast-food outlets, or into any other damned place in the country he/she wants.
This is the mission that has driven the power grab that culminated in the abduction of the Constitution by a hoodlum of five ideologically crazed Supreme Court justices so brain-impaired or ideologically determined that they (a) showed themselves incapable of performing the simple act of reading the Second Amendment, and (b) lacked even the most minimal knowledge of the actual circumstances the amendment was written to address and adopted to cover.
Do we all get the significance of this tweet? It tells us that every propaganda utterance of the NRA and its supporters having anything to do with any weapon except rifles has been a conscious, calculated lie. What the NRA propagandists have always been out to secure is not the rights of hunters, who at least have some understandable reason for wanting to protect their access to rifles, but the right of TinyPenisWorld thrill-seekers to seek out the thrill -- as spectators if not perpetrators -- of gun violence.
MORE FUN WITH GUNS (ALSO NOT RIFLES)
Check out Jen Hayden's Daily Kos account yesterday of gun fun in Auburn Hils, MI, "Home Depot customer with a concealed handgun opened fire on shoplifting suspect," which began:
Apparently a Michigan woman with a conceal-carry permit and a loaded handgun thought it was her duty to step in and help a Home Depot employee stop a suspected shoplifter. Did she follow their car? Nope. She opened fired on the suspected shoplifter's SUV as they drove out of the parking lot.Jen's got this one covered, so do check out her post. But I hope everyone understands without further commentary what's crazy wrong with this picture.