The NRA destroys whatever credibility it had left

By now, you’ve probably heard that the National Rifle Association’s considered response to the horror of Newtown was (a) we need more guns in the schools, in the form of federally-funded armed guards, and (b) it’s all the video game industry’s fault, with an assist from Hollywood.

Negative reaction to the NRA’s comments is pouring in.  There’s something in it for everyone to hate – even small-government conservatives were surely taken aback by the proposal for many millions of federal dollars spent on new guns for “retired police, active, Reserve, and retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, security professionals, rescue personnel.”  And, as many have already pointed out, there were two armed guards in Columbine High School who tried to stop the shooters.  They failed.

Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represents Newtown in the House and who will soon be sworn in as Connecticut’s next Senator, had this to say, and he’s exactly right:

He called it “the most revolting, tone-deaf statement” he’s heard.

“While Newtown continues the horrifying work of burying twenty children and six adults, the NRA has the gall to say that the solution to this problem is more, not fewer guns.

“The NRA has now made itself completely irrelevant to the national conversation about preventing gun violence, by saying that the answer to the tragedy in Newtown is to put more deadly semi-automatic assault weapons on the streets and into our schools.”

Also worth a read is the New York Times’ editorial:

we were stunned by [NRA executive VP Wayne] LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant.

Mr. LaPierre looked wild-eyed at times as he said the killing was the fault of the media, songwriters and singers and the people who listen to them, movie and TV scriptwriters and the people who watch their work, advocates of gun control, video game makers and video game players.

The N.R.A., which devotes itself to destroying compromise on guns, is blameless. So are unscrupulous and unlicensed dealers who sell guns to criminals, and gun makers who bankroll Mr. LaPierre so he can help them peddle ever-more-lethal, ever-more-efficient products, and politicians who kill even modest controls over guns.

One imagines that the Members of Congress who for years have been cowed by the NRA’s supposed prowess in the electoral realm are today shaking their heads and thinking, “geez, these are the guys we were all so scared of?”  As Alec MacGillis at TNR writes:

this was the first time many in Washington and across the country had actually focused squarely on him and his organization in a long time, and this newfound focus, combined with the post-Newtown context in which LaPierre was speaking, was enough to make the NRA seem utterly, surreally amateurish and out of touch.

Here’s hoping that the country will, at long last, stop listening to LaPierre’s rantings and instead start listening to Tom Menino, Michael Bloomberg, and others in positions of actual responsibility who have to deal with gun violence.

UPDATE: Dang, check out the New York tabloids telling it like it is.  Why can’t the Herald do it right?


8 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. My first thought

    He’ll have to pry my video games from my cold dead hands

  2. Good Guys and Guns

    A friend suggests that we put a teacher in every gun store.

  3. When the NRA blames singers and songwriters

    I assume they’re thinking of Ted Nugent, because I sure am.

  4. I can't think of the time Mr LaPierre had credibility.

    We’ve gone through this in the 1990′s. Back then there was a call for an assault weapons ban. It didn’t go anywhere until Mr LaPierre wrote a newsletter calling for the shooting of Federal agents. People were shocked, so Congress passed the ban. Was he part of the show?

    It wasn’t signed by President Clinton for awhile as he waited for a boatload of Chinese AK47 knockoffs to arrive before the importation was stopped. (I bet he didn’t do that for free…) The ban didn’t stop the DC snipers or any other people who want lightweight, evil looking, firearms. The Congress repealed the ban in 2004. (I bet they didn’t do that for free…) Certainly a ban will raise prices.

    I don’t know what an assault weapon is in the context of what the politicians are about. The military considers an assault weapon to be a lightweight machine gun. Machine guns have been banned for civilian use in the US since 1938. The weapons they point to are semi-automatic weapons that fire one trigger pull at a time – as the pistols Mr. Lanza had. (The original police report said that the Bushmaster,(a semi-automatic rifle, was left in his car and the semi-automatic pistols were brought into the school, I don’t know what the reality was.) The semi-automatic Bushmaster and other AR-15 or AK-47 copies are indeed evil looking. They are lethal as semi-automatic handguns. It makes little difference to a victim whether shot by a particular type of semi-automatic.

    I suspect this has more to do with money than guns. Mr. LaPierre seems to be playing the same part he had twenty years ago. He serves to focus the rage of people against evil looking semi-automatic rifles. Is the public just being played (again)?

    Left unmentioned is the effect of psychotropic drugs playing a part in violent actions of people. How much of this story is political theater?

    Oh, if we could only focus as much on the deaths of thousands of foreign civilian men, women and children by our own military weapons…

  5. God rest ye

    God rest ye merry gun owners
    On the eve of Christmas Day

    Allow our first responders
    Safe passage on their way

    Save all our little children
    Let them have their fun and play

    O tidings of comfort and joy,
    Comfort and joy
    O tidings of comfort and joy

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Wed 29 Mar 1:08 PM