“The most basic right is to protect yourself. If you limit the American public’s access to [assault weapons] semi-automatic technology, you limit their ability to survive.” — Wayne LaPierre, on Fox News Sunday, arguing that banning assault weapons limited the ‘ability to survive’ and that high-capacity magazines should not be outlawed because women need more bullets.
Paul Krugman on ABC’s This Week: “The NRA is now revealed as an insane organization, What strikes me is we’ve actually gotten a glimpse into the mindset, though, of the pro-gun people and we’ve seen certainly Wayne LaPierre and some of these others… It’s bizarre. They have this vision that we’re living in a ‘Mad Max’ movie and that nothing can be done about it, that America cannot manage unless everybody’s prepared to shoot intruders, that — the idea that we have a police forces that provides public safety is somehow totally impractical, despite the fact that, you know, that is, in fact, the way we live.”
Think Progress: During a heated exchange with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on Sunday, [Fox host Chris Wallace] played a clip of a now infamous NRA ad criticizing Obama for relying on Secret Service to guard his children and asked if the organization believed that every child in America faces a threat similar to that of the Obama kids. LaPierre said that they do, leading Wallace to forcefully push back against the gun chief, saying, “that’s ridiculous and you know it, Sir!”
Daily Intelligencer: Wallace then asked LaPierre, who showed up to the Fox News studio with armed guards, whether he counted as “an out-of-touch elite, because you have security.” LaPierre skirted the issue, explaining that, “We’ve had all kinds of threats coming to us. I don’t deny anybody the right to security when they need it. What I am saying is, it’s ridiculous, Chris, for all the elites and all the powerful and privileged, the titans of industry to send their kids to schools where there is armed security, to have access to semi-automatic technology.”
TPM: LaPierre argued that background checks were ineffective, possibly part of a government plot against gun owners, and not a real legislative option because of a powerful “mental health lobby.” He noted that the NRA used to support universal checks but said special interests surrounding mental health and privacy had derailed the effort and led to NRA leaders throwing in the towel. “The instant check was actually the NRA’s proposal. We offered it as an amendment to the Brady Bill. And I’ve been in this fight for 20 years. We supported it. We put it on the books. But I have finally become convinced after fighting to get the mental records computerized for 20 years and watching the mental health lobby, the HIPAA laws, the AMA oppose it, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said.
Bob Cesca: The gun control advocacy group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, paid for a 30 second ad to run during the Super Bowl, using Wayne LaPierre’s unearthed statements on universal background checks:
“We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere, for anyone.” — Wayne LaPierre, public testimony from 1999.
Why the change? What does the NRA stand to lose with instant background checks and closing loopholes, like unchecked gunshow sales? As with most things in America, follow the money:
Tim Dickerson | Rolling Stone: “The shift in LaPierre’s rhetoric underscores a radical transformation within the NRA. Billing itself as the nation’s “oldest civil rights organization,” the NRA still claims to represent the interests of marksmen, hunters and responsible gun owners. But over the past decade and a half, the NRA has morphed into a front group for the firearms industry, whose profits are increasingly dependent on the sale of military-bred weapons like the assault rifles used in the massacres at Newtown and Aurora, Colorado. “When I was at the NRA, we said very specifically, ‘We do not represent the fi rearm industry,'” says Richard Feldman, a longtime gun lobbyist who left the NRA in 1991. “We represent gun owners. End of story.” But in the association’s more recent history, he says, “They have really gone after the gun industry.”
“Today’s NRA stands astride some of the ugliest currents of our politics, combining the “astroturf” activism of the Tea Party, the unlimited and undisclosed “dark money” of groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and the sham legislating conducted on behalf of the industry through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. “This is not your father’s NRA,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a top gun-industry watchdog. Feldman is more succinct, calling his former employer a “cynical, mercenary political cult.”
“The NRA’s alignment with an $11.7 billion industry has fed tens of millions of dollars into the association’s coffers, helping it string together victories that would have seemed fantastic just 15 years ago. The NRA has hogtied federal regulators, censored government data about gun crime and blocked renewal of the ban on assault weaponry and high-capacity magazines, which expired in 2004. The NRA secured its “number-one legislative priority” in 2005, a law blocking liability lawsuits that once threatened to bankrupt gunmakers and expose the industry’s darkest business practices. Across the country, the NRA has opened new markets for firearms dealers by pushing for state laws granting citizens the right to carry hidden weapons in public and to allow those who kill in the name of self-defense to get off scot-free.”
NRA’S Newtown ad campaign: BUY MORE GUNS!