5 More Underreported Reasons Why The NRA Is Just The Worst
As we've mentioned before, the NRA is an ingrown political hair that results in uncomfortable irritation at best and a deep-rooted infection at worst. While originally founded with the intention of teaching city slickers how not to shoot their own balls off (a lesson program which it could well stand to bring back, apparently), it has long abandoned any semblance of reason, as seen by how ...
An NRA Official Tried To Manufacture A Conspiracy Theory About The Parkland Shooting
In the prequel to this article, we talked about how the NRA has promoted all manner of horrific conspiracy theories over the years, from the classic "They're coming to take your guns!" to the clown shoes notion that Obama was this close to installing himself as dictator for life. Good news: They've since stopped cribbing from Alex Jones' fever dreams. Bad news: They're now manufacturing their own conspiracies.
In March 2019, it was revealed that an NRA official by the name of Mark Richardson had contacted "famous" conspiracy theorist Wolfgang Halbig, questioning the official story about the then-recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Richardson sent Halbig a number of questions that "no-one else seems to be asking" before signing off with:
Just like [Sandy Hook], there is so much more to this story. [Nikolas Cruz] was not alone. Just a few questions that have surfaced in the past 24 hours. Thank you for all the information And for what you do.
By this point, you're probably asking "Who is Wolfgang Halbig, and what exactly does he do?" Well, he's the turd sack largely responsible for promoting the conspiracy theory that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook in 2012 was a "false flag" carried out by the government to blah blah blah (you know the script). However, what makes Halbig notable in this instance is that he's dedicated no small part of the last few years to doxxing the families of the children who were gunned down. You name it, he's published it: contact details, financial records, legal testimony, all delivered with a knowing nudge and a wink to his followers to do what needs to be done.
It doesn't take much imagination to work out what Richardson was trying to accomplish here. His list of questions (the ones that "no-one was answering") weren't being answered in part because the shooting had only occurred the day before, and in part because Richardson -- who had no direct involvement with the investigation -- was spouting off nonsense in order to give a tinfoil hat doofus the world's weirdest boner.
Related: How The NRA Lost Its Mind
They Don't Care About Black Gun Owners
When it comes to police brutality against black gun owners, the NRA can't help but find itself between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, you've got countless instances of people getting arrested or straight-up killed by official agents of the law for legally possessing firearms. On the other hand, the police are the gun-nuttiest demographic out there -- and we are talking about the organization that teamed up with Ronald Reagan in the 1960s to outlaw open-carry because they were afraid of the Black Panthers.
When we put it like that, it doesn't even seem like the oppressed never really had a chance, huh?
Philando Castile and Jason Washington were both black gun owners shot and killed by police, and in each case, the NRA declined to condemn the circumstances of their deaths. Which seems pretty odd, considering that Castile and Washington were killed directly as a result of their legal firearm ownership.
Castile was shot at point-blank range by St. Anthony PD Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who later claimed self-defense, despite Castile telling Yanez that he possessed a firearm and telling him repeatedly that he wasn't reaching for it. (He was reaching for his papers when he was shot.) Meanwhile, Washington was gunned down by PSU Police Officer Shawn McKenzie despite having his firearm holstered and visible on his hip, being in possession of an open-carry permit, and walking away from McKenzie. In these both cases, carrying a firearm was an automatic death sentence, but the NRA never bothered to care or let fly with some that anti-tyranny rhetoric that we see plastered on bumper stickers everywhere.
Actually, that's not entirely fair. NRA media personality Dana Loesch has commented on the deaths of Castile and Washington ... to say that the police were justified on both occasions. Though, to be fair to Loesch, she was probably saving her anger for the story that she broke the next day, one that would impact gun owners even more so than the threat of extrajudicial murder: The fact that a children's show about trains was promoting diversity.
They're Trying to Sabotage a Bill That Prevents Domestic Abusers From Owning Guns
Earlier this year, the Violence Against Women Act -- a piece of legislation passed in 1994 that aims to protect victims of domestic violence -- expired, spurring a campaign by the Democrats aimed at getting the House of Representatives to authorize an updated version for a post-Space Jam world. This new version caused an outpouring of rage of the right, not just because it codified the idea that trans people should be protected against harm inside domestic shelters and prisons, but also because it expanded a preexisting lifetime ban of firearm ownership for anyone convicted of misdemeanor stalking or domestic abuse to also include those found guilty of abusing a boyfriend/girlfriend (which used to be known as the "boyfriend loophole"), as well as to make it illegal for individuals subject to a temporary protective order to own a firearm.
If you think this is too punitive, there's a variety of studies that indicate how much of a bad idea it is to give an abusive person a gun -- including this one, which found that domestic violence victims to be five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a gun. But when this provision of VAWA 2.0 was revealed, the NRA predictably filled its diaper and sent out a "key vote" memo to Congress saying that if any members of the House voted for the bill, it would go on their permanent records that are kept on each member as a way of indicating to gun owners, come election season, who to vote for. (You really gotta reconsider things when your threats are the exact same as those of every evil principal in every high school movie.)
The NRA didn't come out against any past reauthorization of the VAWA, choosing only to surface this time because the new version expanded the list of misdemeanors that could get someone de-gunned -- something that Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) described as turning "protecting women and children [into] a partisan issue."
Last month, the House passed the new version of the VAWA. However, it's probably going to die in the Senate, because someone keeps remembering to summon Mitch McConnell from the void of the NetherRealm for every vote.
They Keep Peddling The Myth That "Good Guys With Guns" Stop Mass Shootings
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" is a sentence which serves as the unofficial slogan of the NRA, and is executive Wayne LaPierre's favorite thing to shout at reporters, politicians, and victims of mass shootings. And just like most other things LaPierre says, it's total nonsense when you drill down into the facts.
According to a study by the FBI of the 160+ active shooter incidents that took place between 2000 and 2013, only five of these incidents were stopped by "good guys with guns," whereas "good guys with fists" were able to stop over 20 incidents. There's also the fact that according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, allowing "good guys with guns" to conceal-carry leads to an increase in violent crimes by an average of 13-15%.
Studies aside, there's also a great deal of anecdotal evidence to call BS on the concept. When Jared Lee Loughner attacked a constituent meeting held by then-Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011, he was able to kill and injure 21 people before unarmed bystanders were able to wrestle his gun away ... at which point an armed bystander almost reflexively shot the person who'd seized Loughner's gun.
It's easy to write that off as the panicked actions of an amateur, but "good guys" who've undergone training for these kinds of situations don't fare much better. In 2016, following the mass shooting committed by Micah Xavier Johnson, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that the presence of armed-and-ready civilians in the vicinity made identifying the gunman even harder. Or as he so eloquently put it:
"We're trying as best we can as a law enforcement community to make it work so that citizens can express their second amendment rights ... but it's increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s slung over their shoulder and they're in a crowd. We don't know who the good guy is versus the bad guy when everyone starts shooting."
And there's the case of Jemel Roberson, a security guard who in November 2018 was shot and killed after police officers confused him with the gunman whom Roberson had just heroically taken down and was holding at gunpoint on the floor. The investigation into this shooting is still ongoing, but the basic facts of the case are enough to warrant asking a very important question: If trained police can't pick out the "bad guy" when he's literally laying on the floor, what chance does an amateur vigilante have?
Even the NRA acknowledges this risk. In an interview broadcast on NRATV between Loesch and contributor Guy Relford, Relford explained that in these types of situations, there is "no perfect choice" that gun owners can make, and that anyone who wants to interject has to weigh up "the risk of the known bad guy [and] the risk of being shot by police officers."
Their Solution To School Shootings Is To Turn Every School Into Military Compounds
In the aftermath of any school shooting, one common refrain uttered by the NRA is that the problems isn't with guns at all -- it's fault of schools and their bizarre insistence on being "kid-friendly" and "nice."
Back in 2013, the NRA released a report (that it still promotes today) outlining the steps that schools could take to avoid making themselves such an easy target for wannabe mass murderers. What, like investing money to ensure that students have adequate mental health resources and support? Yeah, no, they'd instead like schools to cut down all of their trees, on account of how they could be used by shooters to conceal themselves.
If this hypothetical school doesn't want to turn their grounds into a lifeless moonscape, the NRA does offer a compromise: "thorn-bearing and sharp-leaved plant species to create natural physical barriers to deter aggressors."
The NRA also recommends that schools ditch their parking lots, on account of how attackers can use them as "a means of concealing and transporting weapons ... and can even serve as weapons in and of themselves," as well as consider turning their reception areas into "entrapment zones" reinforced with bulletproof glass, automatic double-locking doors, and a welcome desk reinforced with "ballistic steel plating" to serve as cover for students -- presumably while the kindly receptionist returns fire from a mounted machine gun while "Welcome To The Jungle" blares.
On the off-chance that there any students who manage to hang onto their innocence at this point, the NRA also recommends that schools get rid of their windows -- or rather, replace them with ballistic-glass windows large enough for administrators and teachers to peer out from and that's it. If those hippie kids want to see nature, they have to go outsi- oh right, the trees ...
For more from Adam Wears, check out his Twitter or his newsletter about depressing history. He'd also like you to know that his friend Marina Reimann regularly streams video games! Check out her Twitter for more details!