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Top Story — The N.R.A. is a Minority Group, 87% of Americans Want Universal Background Checks

“There is an emerging set of recommendations – not coming from me but coming from the groups we’ve met,” Biden said. “There is a surprising, so far, a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks.” These recommendations were not only about “closing the gun show loophole,” he said, “but total universal background checks, including private sales.” He said the focus would be on how to “strengthen those background checks.” [Washington Post]

EVERYONE KEEPS touting that the N.R.A. got 100,000 members in 18 days. So what? There are over 311,000 million people in the United States and the majority don’t support the N.R.A. We’re gun owners and believe the N.R.A. is an antiquated organization with the only goal being to enrich gun manufacturers at the expense of the rest of us.

The gun industry and other large corporate and individual donors chipped in $71.1 million in 2011 to NRA coffers, compared with $46.3 million in 2004, according to a Bloomberg News review of NRA tax returns. – NRA Gun Control Crusade Reflects Firearms Industry Financial Ties

The national media is as much an aider and abettor to the N.R.A.’s wholly unimpressive statistic. They sound like right wing radio. Today, the N.R.A. represents a minority of American extremists, while the majority of Americans are on the other side of the issue when it comes to gun safety, especially where universal background checks are concerned.

From SmartGunLaws.org there is an example of public opinion long before Sandy Hook left 20 children massacred:

  • Americans overwhelmingly support background checks for all prospective gun purchasers: A nationwide poll conducted in early 2008 found that 87% of Americans, including 83% of gun owners, favor requiring everyone who sells guns to conduct criminal background checks on prospective purchasers.32
  • A poll conducted shortly after the 2008 presidential election found that 83% of voters, including 84% of gun owners, favor background checks for all sales.33
  • A national survey conducted for Mayors Against Illegal Guns in January 2007 found that 92% of Americans — including 91% of gun owners — favor mandatory criminal background checks for all people purchasing guns.34

Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado has called for universal background checks on all gun sales. That’s where the push should begin, because the vast majority of Americans are for it, including gun owning families like our own.

Nearly six months after a mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater stirred cries for action on gun violence and mental illness, and with last month’s killings at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School still fresh in people’s minds, Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado called Thursday for universal background checks on all gun sales in the state.

Democrats, who now control both houses of Colorado’s Legislature, rose to their feet and applauded the governor’s proposal while Republicans sat silently – an illustration of the divisions in a state that tipped to Democrats in the last two presidential elections, but that still values hunting, sport-shooting and the frontier values wrapped up in gun ownership.

Any Republican, member of Congress or N.R.A. member who wants to argue against universal background checks is going to have a very big problem on his or her hands.

The majority of Americans, including gun owners, are for universal background checks on all gun sales. That Congress won’t act on this immediately reveals they’re the biggest part of the problem.

It’s time to smoke out the congressional shills for the gun manufacturers who are putting capitalistic priorities above the safety of children and the American citizenry.

There is nothing in the Second Amendment that precludes universal background checks. So, when Sean Hannity asks whether universal background checks would have prevented Sandy Hook from happening, as he continues to ask on his wingnut radio show, the answer is no. Mental health remains a huge issue in the massacres that have occurred in our country. But Hannity and his crew are also against affordable health care coverage, which includes mental health care access, and demanding states comply with producing the records of mentally unstable individuals and sharing them with authorities.

Hannity and his wingnut pals are against any and all transparency where gun ownership is involved. There is nothing in the Second Amendment that guarantees this secrecy.

The authorities currently do not know who has guns in our country or the names of individuals buying them, but the gun sellers also don’t know if they’re selling to criminals. There’s nothing in the Second Amendment that supports such dangerous nonchalance.

This piece has been updated.

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9 Responses to Top Story — The N.R.A. is a Minority Group, 87% of Americans Want Universal Background Checks

  1. secularhumanizinevoluter January 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    It has been hilarious in a tragic/comedic way listening to local wingnut radio these last couple of days. Some folks here castigate me for stating that gunshows are crawling with out right racists and those individuals are overwhelmingly from one of the nations two largest political parties.
    Well anyone with any doubt can spend just ten minutes listening to these “talk” shows. ALL you hear is how they ain’t gonna let no socialist, Muslim, KENYAN, communist take away THEIR guns.

    • Cujo359 January 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      To understand what is wrong with that argument, consider what Christians say about non-believers. We don’t have any basis for our morals, we don’t think there’s anything “bigger” than we are, etc. You and I rightly dismiss such people as idiots, because they’re trying to tell us who we are when they clearly have built up an identity for us based on their own prejudices and rhetorical convenience.

      Anyone who is a gun owner who isn’t a racist is going to think the same of you.

      If you want to persuade people, the surest way I’ve found of failing is to assume things about them that you have no reason to, and then tell them that’s what they are. It should be clear that I’m not above honking people off, or telling them they’re being foolish. What I try to avoid doing, unless it’s either pretty damn clear or I’m doing it to make a point, is try to tell them who they are. I try to avoid this partly because it’s something I see progressives do quite often. As a group, we’re very good at calling people racists and ignoramuses. We’re also very bad at persuading people that we’re right. These two traits are not unrelated.

      The people on those radio shows are a self-selecting sample, and accordingly they can’t be assumed to represent the larger population of gun owners. They’re not all survivalists, either, though you might think so based on discussions you’ll run into some places. You can’t even generalize that they’re all afraid of something. Many are, but many are hunters, or they’re farmers, or they just like the things.

      • DaGoat January 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

        “As a group, we’re very good at calling people racists and ignoramuses. We’re also very bad at persuading people that we’re right. These two traits are not unrelated.”

        Well said. Right now there a whole lot of people, including many gun owners, that are ready to accept smaller capacity clips, mandatory background checks and other reasonable changes, yet some are choosing to depict gun-owners as racist bible-thumping NRA fanatics. Dissing the people that are ready to agree with you on something is not a recipe for success.

  2. Taylor Marsh January 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    No castigation from me, secularh, but you and others who use this argument are hijacking the discussion where it does not belong. The issue of gun safety goes well beyond the racists, who remain a small, disrespected minority in this country.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter January 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      My easily verifiable,factual statements regarding the gun nut/gun show mob are just that….. facts. The same mentality exhibited by the “leaders” of the NRA and the types of psychos like the one who was going to go “1776″ on PM are the ones leading the gun nut charge. WHERE did I say ALL gun owners are gun nuts?
      The straw man put forward by Cujo and daGoat have nothing to do with and are an attempt to shut down any discussion of the folks who ARE running the show in the berserker gun mob.
      The sane gun owners have very little if any problem with sane gun control and registration. THE NUTS DO.
      Either some of the folks commenting here have NEVER been to a gun show or they are just plain old garden variety liars.
      As for “hijacking the discussion where it does not belong.” if these are the people fronting the anti-gun control mob how the hell is anything going to be addresed if they are not dealt with?!!!!

  3. Cujo359 January 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    “[W]hen Sean Hannity asks whether universal background checks would have prevented Sandy Hook from happening, as he continues to ask on his wingnut radio show, the answer is no.” – TM

    He’s also repeating two of the arguments that annoy me any time you’re dealing with a problem as complicated as reducing firearms deaths. No practical solution is going to stop all firearms-related deaths, or even all firearms-related massacres. What some of them will do is prevent some of them, or lower the body count. The question should be whether a proposed solution will work, and whether it’s worth the cost in money or freedoms.

    The other argument implicit in Hannity’s statement is that this is all about the latest tragedy, Sandy Hook. It isn’t. That’s just what sparked this latest round of this endless argument. Something that wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook isn’t a stupid idea on that basis. We’ve been living with a horrendous murder rate for a long time. Ours is at least twice Canada’s, our nearest neighbor in both geographical and societal terms. It’s several times those of other so-called advanced nations. Quite a few of us are tired of that, thank you, and we didn’t suddenly become tired of it when the problem surfaced at an elementary school.

  4. PeggySue January 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    What I find so interesting is that Frank Luntz [hardly a liberal] ran a survey last year, indicating well over 70% of NRA members [in some facets of the survey over 80%] agree and support reasonable gun regulation.

    So, all these clucking heads screaming FREEDOM and accusing any gun regulation as the first step towards dictatorship, do not represent their members and certainly do not represent common sense. The old arguments are simply not working with the majority of the American public. Not even with most gun owners across the country. Gabby Giffords and her husband are gun owners. And as Ms. Giffords said quite poignantly in an appearance in Newtown over the weekend:

    We’ve had enough!

  5. secularhumanizinevoluter January 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Just got back from an Antique Gun and Militaria show in Newark Del. The VERY first thing I heard from the guy at the first table was him telling a show goer he’d better buy the M1 carbine he was looking at before that KENYAN COMMUNIST outlawed all semi autos. A little later another dealer was loudly expounding on why can’t REAL Americans get a Party started to take our country back from the Muslim Monkey.
    At least there weren’t any openly displayed targets with President Obama instead of a generic outline.
    But yeah, we can have a rational discussion about gun control with these folks….sure!

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