Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, gave me a call at home the other day. In the taped message, my friend Wayne warned me that unless I and other patriotic Americans stepped forward to stop it, the dastardly United Nations, with Iran, China, North Korea and other evil countries behind it, would soon come into our country and into our very homes, strip the Second Amendment out of the Constitution and “take away every pistol, and rifle and shotgun” that we owned.
Riiiggghhht. I just have one question though:
How is the UN going to accomplish this? Are they going to import little bulbous-headed men from Mars toting rayguns to take away our weapons? If so, I’m clinging to my copy of Slim Whitman singing “Indian Love Call” and you can’t have it until you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Nosireebob.
Look, I recognize that the boundary between serious and seriously crazy has shifted considerably in recent years. But doesn’t this kind of nonsense still qualify on the fully crazy side of the ledger?
The ostensible cause of LaPierre’s hysteria is something called the International Arms Trade Treaty. If ratified by the United Nations and then by the U.S. Senate, it would require countries exporting conventional arms to certify that the weapons aren’t being sent to a terrorist or organized crime group, such as Hezbollah, and that they aren’t being sent to a nation conducting genocide or to a nation under a U.N. arms embargo, such as Iran and North Korea.
It would have no effect whatsoever on domestic ownership, possession or purchase of firearms. Such a claim is politically, practically, legally and constitutionally absurd. So why is Wayne LaPierre calling me and others to pretend otherwise?
Money is part of the reason. The United States accounts for 40 percent of the world’s exports of conventional arms, and the U.S. arms industry is nervous about legislation that might curtail their right to sell arms to whomever they wish. Those manufacturers, not coincidentally, are also heavy donors to the NRA, which is trying to whip up hysteria on their behalf.
In addition, such hysteria is part of the NRA’s own strategy for raising money for its coffers. Once the LaPierre robo-rant about the UN finished, for example, an operator quickly came on line to ask me to donate money to the NRA. I politely declined.
Finally, it’s also a matter of increasingly delusional paranoia infecting the NRA. Prior to the ‘08 election, the gun group warned its members that Barack Obama had a secret 10-point plan to end gun ownership in this country.
Point One was a federal ban on the use of guns for home defense. Point Three was a ban on the sale, manufacture and possession of handguns. Point Four was the closure of 90 percent of American gunshops. Federal taxes on guns and ammunition were supposed to go up 500 percent, and the sale of ammunition for hunting rifles was supposed to be banned altogether.
As you may recall, that bit of hysteria touched off quite a spree of gun-buying after the election, boosting the profits of the NRA’s sponsors in the gun industry. In fact, as ammunition disappeared from store shelves, that itself was quickly cited as evidence that ammo confiscation was already underway. The NRA, in other words, played its own members for patsies.
Today, three years later, none of that has come to pass. Obama has made no effort whatsoever to alter the nation’s gun laws. So, given their hyperbolic claims, you might think that would make LaPierre and others a little embarrassed, right? It’s like when evangelist Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on May 21. When he woke up May 22, you just know he felt at least a wee bit sheepish about it, right?
Well, no. Camping did no such thing, because you see, Camping is crazy. Instead of apologizing, he announced that May 21 had merely been the day of spiritual judgment, and that God was really coming to destroy the universe on Oct. 21, 2011. And that’s exactly the course that LaPierre and the NRA are taking.
In a speech at a conservative conference in Florida this month, LaPierre explained that by taking no action to implement his alleged 10-point program, Obama had actually proved that the NRA had been right all along.
You see, “before the president was even sworn into office, they met and hatched a conspiracy of public deception to guarantee his re-election in 2012″ by just PRETENDING not to seize guns. The failure to act “is all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment.”
“We see the president’s strategy crystal clear. Get re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms freedom. Erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and exorcise it from the U.S. Constitution….
President Obama and his cohorts — yeah, they’re going to deny their conspiracy to fool gun owners. Some of the liberal media are probably already blogging about it. But we don’t care because as far as we’re concerned, that lying, conniving Obama crowd can kiss our Constitution!”
The fact that such people have considerable influence over our nation’s policies — for example, 45 senators have signed a letter condemning the arms trade treaty, including the two from Georgia — does not speak well of us.
– Jay Bookman