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Robert J. Elisberg Headshot

The Real NRA is Un-Real

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On Sunday, the Chief Executive Officer of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, was on Fox News. He tried to pawn off many things as rational, including his defense of the NRA's ad about President Obama's children -- though even Fox's Chris Wallace took him to task for that explanation. But what leaped out most was his comment why the NRA doesn't support universal background checks for people buying guns.

"It's going to affect only the law-abiding people. Criminals could care less," he said.

I think this is an impressive argument. Not because it makes any sense -- it doesn't -- but that it's so handy-dandy for pretty much anything legal you're against. And I happen to like things that are multi-purpose.

Let's have a law against bank robbery.

No. It's going to affect only the law-abiding people. Criminals could care less.

Let's have a statute outlawing premeditated murder.

No. It's going to affect only the law-abiding people. Criminals could care less.

Let's increase the penalty for selling crack cocaine to minors on a school ground.

No. It's going to affect only the law-abiding people. Criminals could care less.

Let's... well, okay, you get the idea.

For any law you pass, criminals could care less. But that's the point, you see. After all, not caring about the law, that's what makes them criminals.

I've gotten to the point where I not only dismiss any argument from Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, as not even intending to be substantive (rather, solely meant to be obstruction) -- but I've now changed my entire perception of the NRA.

For the longest time, I respected the NRA as a main stream, meaningful lobbying organization, just one whose goals often went in directions I didn't agree with. But now, I believe it's a sham outfit that is really a radical outlier group of vigilantes. Not the membership, to be clear, but the shell organization itself.

I think the membership encompasses a wide range of individuals who join the NRA for any number of reasons that are important to them, for what they think the NRA does for them, from protecting what they believe are their gun rights to simply providing a nice environment for a mutual sporting interest. But the official foundation of the NRA? That's a secretive vigilante cult.

Look at a recent CBS/NY Times poll: 92 percent of all Americans support universal background checks. But more importantly, 85 percent of households that have an NRA member support them, too. (Even a poll taken six months ago, before the recent Newtown tragedy, from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, showed that 74 percent of NRA households supported background checks.) Yet the official NRA executive policy totally ignores its own membership -- and its CEO Mr. LaPierre refuses to support the very rational, reasonably, mainstream position of its members.

But then, Wayne LaPierre -- CEO of the secretive NRA (which doesn't even list its board on its website -- its "About Us" section doesn't even tell you about who "us" is) -- is the man so out-of-touch with mainstream America that in 1995 he inflamed society by calling federal agents "jack-booted government thugs" in "Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms." This so outraged former president George H.W. Bush, a lifetime member of the NRA, that he publicly resigned. Shortly after Mr. LaPierre's open statement made for a fundraising letter, the Oklahoma City federal office building was bombed. This is not to suggest a cause-and-effect relationship (or deny one), but to show the environment in which Wayne LaPierre and the NRA parent organization operate. It's a hidden enclave out of touch with responsible, mainstream American society.

The NRA is not about protecting its members from anything, witness its policy on background checks in direct and near-total contradiction with its membership. It is a shell-front for gun-companies pushing their financial interests only, at best -- and little more than a vigilante mob of radicals who see the Unites States government as the enemy, an enemy who must be armed against in case they need a militia for insurrection.

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To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.

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