By Thomas DiGennaro | United States
It is both a difficult realization for many pro-gun Americans, as well as a confusing contradiction for many anti-gun Americans, that the National Rifle Association is NOT a true gun rights advocacy group. As I mentioned before in a previous article, Ruining ‘Adam Ruins Guns’, “the NRA is a bunch of corporate suits and lobbyists who are only concerned with lining their pockets”. They have constantly rolled over on the NFA, the GCA, federal background checks, and most recently have supported Trump’s proposals for ‘no fly, no buy’, and other measures of “taking the guns first, due process second”. And of course, there is the glaring issue today of the Trump Administration and the ATF’s ban on bump-fire stocks.
The War on Bump Stocks
Many have ‘justified’ the bump-fire stock ban by stating that “it’s just a stupid range toy, no one actually uses them, and they’re inaccurate anyway”. Essentially, they don’t care because this legislation isn’t regulating or confiscating any firearms themselves. While this may entirely be true, these arguments completely miss the point of opposition to these bans. It is about the slippery slope that occurs when we start regulating guns. If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk. And you can be damn sure that the Democrats in office are working very hard to get that glass of milk, and they will have enough support and seats in government to do it sooner or later.
The second ‘justification’ we have seen in defense of this proposed legislation is very similar to the previous, and that is that rolling over on bump-fire stocks is playing chess and appeasing the anti-gun crowd in order to protect semi-automatic rifles. The mouse is going to want that cookie.
We also see one of the underlying principles of capitalism and attempting to regulate the market; the rise of the black market and alternatives. Obviously, there will still be bump-fire stocks sold on the streets long after the ban, as well as some owners not turning theirs in. The latter, the alternatives, do wonders to show the ineffectiveness of such legislation. The same effect of a bump-fire stock can be simulated using a binary trigger, or even through crafty use of rubber bands or the belt loop on your pants.
What Does the NRA Say About This?
This is an excerpt from the official statement released by the NRA on the issue, “Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations”. Does this sound like a principled gun advocacy group? Does this sound like people who are fighting to defend the rights of their members?
The most hypocritical aspect of this all: could you imagine the holy hell that would be raised by Republicans and the NRA if the Obama administration was moving to pass this law? For reasons I will never understand, Republicans have no problem trampling their rights as long as it is a Republican administration doing it.
The NRA has also refrained from having Senator Rand Paul speak at their conventions for being “too extreme” on gun rights. Why would the NRA turn away such a principled gun advocate? Because defending gun rights above all else is far from their agenda. Rather, they line their own pockets through memberships and alignment with Republicans like Trump.
Who Do We Turn To?
So where do we turn in terms of making our voices heard in government as gun owners and libertarians? Look no further than the Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America. Both of these organizations have taken legal action against the ATF and the Trump Administration for the legislation banning bump-fire stocks. GOA filed suit against the constitutionality of the ATF’s ban, and “that courts should be highly suspect when an agency changes its “interpretation” of a statute in order to impair the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right”. FPC has moved to challenge the legality of Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Attorney General, and therefore his actions as Attorney General. FPC has also filed a separate suit aiming to show the differences between bump-fire and fully automatic fire. Rand Paul, as well as Ron Paul and Thomas Massie, have been actively involved with GOA, not so much the NRA.
There are several principled and well-run advocacy groups actively working for your gun rights. In addition to FPC and GOA, the National Association for Gun Rights and the Second Amendment Foundation certainly make the list. The takeaway here? Don’t give your money to the NRA.
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