A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘National Rifle Association’ tag

Going from Smart to Stupid

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Last year the National Rifle Association (NRA) appointed Pete Brownell, the CEO of Brownells Inc., as its president. It was a smart decision. Brownell comes off as a reasonable human being and is a strong advocate for gun rights. This year the NRA decided to perform a complete 180 degree turn and elected a public relations nightmare:

Oliver L. North, who became a household name in the 1980s for his role in the Iran-contra scandal, will become the next president of the National Rifle Association, the gun rights organization said Monday.

The gun control crowd is already having a field day with this decision and I don’t blame them. It looks a bit hypocritical when an organization that talks insistently about “responsible gun ownership,” “law-abiding citizens,” and “enforcing the laws that already exist” has a bona fide weapon smuggler as its president.

Supporters of the NRA are trying to spin this by pointing out that the Iran-contra fiasco happened a long time ago but that is irrelevant. Time tables don’t matter in the realm of public perception. All that matters is whether gun control advocates are able to convince enough people that North’s previous actions are still relevant in the context of gun politics. If they can accomplish that, the NRA will face even more opposition.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 11th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Oftentimes It’s Impossible to Determine Who Is Right

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When two parties have a disagreement and provide opposing explanations for the disagreement, how do you determine which is giving an accurate explanation and which is giving an inaccurate explanation? If you’re watching the situation from the outside, you often can’t. However, that doesn’t stop individuals from reacting. A good example of this is the recent spat between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Yeti:

The stunt followed a letter to NRA members sent by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action announcing that Yeti had severed ties with the NRA Foundation, following the lead of other companies in the wake of the Feb. 14 Parkland, Fla., shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The letter, sent by former NRA president and current lobbyist Marion P. Hammer, said the company “declined to do business with The NRA Foundation” without prior notice and “refused to say why.”

“They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation,” Hammer wrote. “That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed.”

But on Monday, just as the backlash and calls for boycott picked up steam, Yeti said in a statement to The Washington Post, also posted on Yeti’s Facebook account, that the NRA letter was “inaccurate.” The Austin-based retailer said it notified various organizations, including the NRA Foundation, that it was eliminating a “group of outdated discounting programs” from which the organizations benefited.

The NRA was not specifically targeted, Yeti said.

“When we notified the NRA Foundation and the other organizations of this change, YETI explained that we were offering them an alternative customization program broadly available to consumers and organizations, including the NRA Foundation,” Yeti said. “These facts directly contradict the inaccurate statement the NRA-ILA distributed on April 20.”

According to the NRA, Yeti severed business times without prior notification. According to Yeti, it discontinued a group of discounts for multiple organizations and offered a more customization option to those organizations. The NRA then said that Yeti was lying and Yeti in turn said that the NRA was lying. Who should be believed and why?

This is one of the arguments currently being had on numerous online communities. One side claims that the NRA is telling the truth while the other side claims that Yeti is telling the truth. Some of those who believe that the NRA is telling the truth have reacted by destroying Yeti products that they previous purchased. Meanwhile, some of those who believe that Yeti is telling the truth have called those destroying their Yeti products dumbasses.

Realistically, there is no way for those of us outside of the decision making apparatuses of these parties to know the truth. We don’t have access to the agreements between the NRA and Yeti. We don’t have access to the reason why Yeti discontinued its discount program. We don’t have access to the list of other parties that were also supposedly impacted by the discontinuation of the discount program. What we do have are statements made by two disagreeing parties. Trying to determine which of the two is giving an accurate summary of events is like trying to determine which spouse in a messy divorce is giving an accurate summary of the events that lead to the divorce.

Unfortunately, in these situations people tend to side themselves with whichever party they like better. Diehard supporters of the NRA will likely side with the NRA whereas diehard supporters of Yeti will likely side with Yeti. Likewise, people who hate the NRA may side with Yeti whereas people who hate Yeti may side with the NRA. Both sides will justify their position as being made by something other than their personal feelings but those justifications will almost certainly be based on statements made by the party they’re siding with.

I would argue that a better default position would be to side with neither party in a disagreement. Instead of a knee jerk reaction, why not be patient and wait for more information to possibly come to light? After all, what benefit is there from picking a side in an disagreement that doesn’t directly involve you?

Written by Christopher Burg

April 25th, 2018 at 10:00 am

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Persona Non Grata

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Gun control advocates haven’t enjoyed a great deal of success in recent times. I believe part of the reason for this is that the Internet has provided us gun owners with a mechanism to voice our side of the story. It was more difficult to be heard by the masses before the Internet, especially if what you were saying didn’t agree with the views of the major media outlets. It appears that gun control advocates are finally recognizing this and are trying to return gun owners to their “proper place” where they may be seen once in a while but never truly heard:

Gun-control advocates are now pressuring Amazon, Google, AT&T, Roku, and other streaming platforms to ban NRA TV — the organization’s private channel of gun-rights advocacy and other weapons-related programming. This takes the fight against the group to a different and dangerous level. It is one thing to condemn the NRA and even to ask businesses not to work with a group that offends some people. It is quite another to silence the point of view of an organization that represents millions of Americans. If successful, the ban on NRA TV will mark a turning point not so much in the battle over gun control as in the debate over political speech and what is permissible within the public square.

It should be noted that attempts to silence NRA TV are just one effort on this front. Gun control advocates have already enjoyed some success by pushing Facebook, Google, and other major websites to curtail the voice of gun owners in many ways.

Private entities have no obligation to provide goods or services to anybody. If Facebook or Google want to ban any mention of firearms, they have a right to do so. But us gun owners are also free to create our own services, which is how we managed to get our voices heard on the Internet in the first place. Before major social media sites became a thing, gun forums, blogs, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels were how us gun owners linked up with one another and put our side of the story out to the public. The nice thing about these forums and blogs is that they were owned and operated by gun owners. I’m not familiar with an IRC server expressly owned and operated by gun owners but it would have been a simple enough matter to setup such a server if needed. Today more and more gun talk is taking place on major social medias sites, which are often owned and operated by individuals who are gun control advocates. Us gun owners have migrated from our own platforms to platforms controlled by our ideological opponents and we have thus made ourselves vulnerable.

This situation can be reversed and if things continue going as they have been in recent times, will need to be reversed if us gun owners want to continue voicing our beliefs. Relying on a hostile entity is always foolish and we may want to consider reversing the trend of doing so.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 6th, 2018 at 11:00 am

With “Friends” Like These

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The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a history of supporting gun rights when its convenient but throwing gun rights under the buss when its politically expedient. That being the case, it probably came as no surprise that the organization expressed support for legal restrictions on bump stocks:

The National Rifle Association has called for “additional regulations” on bump-stocks, a rapid fire device used by the Las Vegas massacre gunman.

The group said: “Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”

It would have been nice if the NRA would have at least waited until the fight began before capitulating. Not surprisingly, the Republicans have expressed a willingness to implement such a restriction. Despite their rhetoric, like the NRA, Republicans have a tendency to support gun control whenever opposing it becomes politically inconvenient.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 9th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Backdoor Gun Confiscation

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Yesterday I was involved in a rather lengthy debate on gun rights. The debate started, as many debates surrounding gun rights currently start, with the shooting of Philando Castile and the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) almost complete lack of comment on the matter until very recently (which was, to put it generously, a very lukewarm comment).

As the debate went on the fact that Castile had tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in his system, which indicates that he had used cannabis prior to being pulled over, came up. A few individuals were saying that Castile’s permit was invalid because he was illegally using cannabis while the other side was pointing out that the NRA should have been raising Cain over the fact that a carry permit can be revoked over using cannabis. That sparked a debate over whether or not the NRA should stick strictly to guns or venture into areas that intersect with guns as well.

This probably won’t surprise anybody but I’m of the opinion that the battle for gun rights cannot be won by focusing strictly on gun issues alone. Whenever the gun issue intersects with another issue gun rights advocates should get involved. I believe this because the issues that intersect with gun rights but are necessarily strictly related to gun rights are currently being used to expand an already massive backdoor confiscation system.

Outside of a few states like California and New York there isn’t a lot of push for legal firearm confiscation programs. There are pushes for prohibitions against purchasing firearms with certain features but, with the exception of California, these pushes have all grandfathered in currently owned firearms. However, there is a mechanism already in place that allows the State to both confiscate currently owned firearms and prohibit individuals from owning firearms again. That mechanism is expanding the number of laws otherwise unrelated to guns that prohibit gun ownership.

For example, users of prohibited drugs cannot own firearms. Felons, including nonviolent felons, cannot own firearms. The latter is especially concerning when you consider that the average working professional commits three felonies a day. If you’re a working professional you’re likely committing a few felony crimes unknowingly. Confiscating your firearms would only require a prosecutor to bring charges against you and prove your guilt in a court. On the surface most of those felony crimes are entirely unrelated to guns yet they can be used as a backdoor confiscation mechanism.

Therein lies the problem with sticking strictly to the gun issue. So long as gun rights advocates and organizations are unwilling to involve themselves in issues that intersect with firearm ownership they will leave the biggest gun confiscation mechanism untouched and gun control advocates will continue to expand the number of crimes that revoke gun ownership privileges.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 14th, 2017 at 11:00 am

The NRA’s Fetish for Men in Uniform

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Pop quiz. Who said, “I love a man in uniform?” The answer is… the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA makes no secret about having a fetish for cops. However, its worship of law enforcers puts it at odds with guns rights:

This is about par for the course for the NRA. This is the group that claims to be the only thing preventing the government from obliterating the Second Amendment, yet they’re noticeably quiet about the people doing the most violence to the Second Amendment — the armed, badge-wearing government employees we call law enforcement officers. For all the NRA’s dire warnings about government gun confiscation, the real, tangible threat to gun-owning Americans today comes not from gun-grabbing bureaucrats but from door-bashing law enforcement officers who think they’re at war — who are too often trained to view the people they serve not as citizens with rights but as potential threats. Here, the NRA just doesn’t want to get involved.

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In short, the NRA seems to think we’re at risk of creeping tyranny and abuse of power from all sectors of government except from the men and women armed, badged and entrusted with the power to kill. That’s a problem, because if armed agents who enforce the laws on the ground aren’t required to respect our rights, our rights don’t really exist.

Gun rights activists often forget that politicians are only a minor part of the problem. Politicians write words on paper and declare those words law but law enforcers are the ones who actually enforce those words. If law enforcers refused to enforce laws then it wouldn’t matter what the politicians declared to be law because there would be no consequences for ignoring their declarations. Any gun rights organization should be just as critical of law enforcers who enforce bad laws as they are of politicians who write and pass bad laws.

No organization that claims to fight for individual rights of any sort that is also worshipful of law enforcers can be effective. Law enforcers, at the end of the day, are the ones who are directly violating the rights of individuals.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 12th, 2017 at 10:00 am

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies

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Like clockwork, people are demanding the State make it harder for everybody to defend themselves. When this happens many gun owners have a habit of turning to two organizations: the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association (NRA). They’re supposedly friends of gun owners but if these are our friends we scarcely need enemies.

Let’s start with the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. Mr. Trump has never been a friend to gun owners but he pretended to be one while campaigning and a lot of people bought it. After the shooting in Orlando he decided to talk with the NRA about abolishing due process:

Trump never favored gun rights so his stance isn’t surprising. Considering Trump’s history and the absurdity of what he’s proposing you would expect the NRA to tell Trump to go pound sand, right? Wrong:

The National Rifle Association said on Wednesday it stood by its position on terrorism watch lists and access to firearms, saying sales to potential buyers who are on the lists should be delayed while they are investigated by the FBI.

In a statement, the gun lobbying group said it welcomed a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. It also said protections needed to be put in place to allow people wrongfully put on a terrorism watch list to be removed.

The problem with the terrorist watch lists is that they’re secret lists with secret criteria. Nobody knows whether they’re on one of the lists and nobody knows what the criteria is for being put on the list. What we do know, thanks to leak, is that there are 680,000 names on these lists and more than 40 percent of them aren’t even tied to known terrorist organizations.

The NRA is trying to be the middle ground by claiming people on the lists should have their purchase postponed while the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) harasses investigates them. It also says that additional protections should be implemented to allow people wrongfully put on the lists to get their name removed. Of course, we don’t know what criteria is used to place somebody on the lists so we don’t know what wrongfully listed means. If one of the criteria for appearing on the lists is being a gun owner then everybody who owns a gun isn’t wrongfully on the list.

The fact that the terrorist watch lists eliminate due process should automatically mean zero punishment whatsoever befalls anybody whose name appears on any of the lists. Since the lists eliminate due process the NRA shouldn’t even give them the time of day or show any willingness to negotiate with people wanting to utilize them. Instead it kowtows like a good serf and begs for a few table scraps. What a fucking joke.

Who needs Michael Bloomberg and his lapdogs when we have “friends” like these selling us down the river?

Written by Christopher Burg

June 16th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Ted Nuget Riding The Crazy Train

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I offer this post in the hopes of being helpful to the gun rights community. As with any community the gun rights community has its good and bad members. While many of the old guard rub me the wrong way, specifically because of their socially conservative views, I don’t really hold them in ill regard. However, there are some positively vile members. One of those is Ted Nuget who not only involves himself in gun rights but is a member of the National Riffle Association’s (NRA) board.

Deciding he hasn’t been in the spotlight for saying vile shit for too long, Ted decided it would be a jolly good idea to post some anti-Semetic shit on his Facebook page. Here’s a screen shot in case the post is pulled:

ted-nuget-crazy-train

I feel it necessary to first point out that judaism and Israel aren’t synonymous. Unless Ted is implying Israel is behind the gun control movement, which would seem rather odd to me, he can’t even get his bigotry symbolism right.

Speaking of bigots, they really are my least favorite part of, well, pretty much any movement. My support for gun rights stems from my belief that everybody should enjoy a right to self-defense. I don’t care what your race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or any other defining characteristics are. Hell, I don’t even care what species you are. If you’re an organism you have a right to fight anything that attempts to kill you.

My advice is that individuals involved in the fight for gun rights should strongly consider disassociating themselves with Ted Nuget. He’s a vile piece of shit that contributes absolutely nothing of value.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 10th, 2016 at 10:30 am

The Great American Outdoor Show Will Be Safer This Year

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There has been some disagreement between the City of Harrisburg and the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA is hosting its Great American Outdoor Show in the city. In addition to brining a good deal of money to local businesses the NRA is also making a donation to the Civil War Museum. However, the mayor of Harrisburg wants to shutdown the museum so he’s a bit peeved that the cash is going there instead of his gang in blue. Now the mayor wants to exact revenge:

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse says Harrisburg City Police will not staff the upcoming gun show, which is sponsored by the NRA.

In the past, the city staffed officers and the NRA made a donation to Harrisburg City Police in return. In 2015, that donation was $50,000.

This year, Papenfuse says the NRA is donating money and most of it is going to the Civil war Museum, which the mayor wants to close.

And in so doing he inadvertently made the event safer. Without the local gang in blue meddling with the event the attendees don’t have to worry about being extorted, assaulted, or kidnapped.

So the secret to hosting a safe event in Harrisburg is to make a donation to the local Civil War Museum instead of the gang in blue.

A Problem Only Government Could Create

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The International Business Times has an article discussing the limited liability granted to gun manufacturers:

As the United States grapples with a rash of mass shootings, some are calling for tighter laws limiting who can purchase firearms — a politically controversial subject that has yielded more rhetoric than legislation. But another, lesser-known dynamic effectively shelters gun manufacturers from government oversight: Under legislation dating back to the 1970s, Congress has consistently adopted positions championed by the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association, writing special provisions that have effectively exempted firearms from regulation by consumer watchdog agencies.

Of course the article insinuated it is the fault of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which lobbied for the grant of limited liability:

Cementing these exceptions to safety oversight constituted a significant political victory for the National Rifle Association in the 1970s and helped pave the way for high-profile gun rights battles to come. Gun owners themselves, however, are left with little recourse to hold companies accountable for faulty products outside the civil court system. Whether gun manufacturers choose to recall a firearm is entirely at their discretion. If they do, there is no mandatory protocol to follow to alert owners, and no official repository of recall notices.

But this isn’t a problem created by the NRA, it’s a problem created by the State. The reason gun owners are generally oppositional to attempts by the State to regulated any aspect of firearms is because those regulations ultimately get used as a form of gun control.

The ongoing smartgun debate is a classic example of safety being used to justify a prohibition. Instead of acknowledging access control technology as something worth investigating the gun control community wants to mandate its use. That adds costs and unreliability, both because the technology is in its infancy, to firearms. And since the technology cannot be retrofitted into older firearms mandating its usage can remove all existing firearms from the market.

Safety regulations always sound good on paper, especially if they’re for protecting the children, but it’s only a matter of mandating too many safety features to make a production functional or cost effective to create a ban.

When the State passes a law it’s not a contract. The State can change the terms at any moment without the consent of the people. A law passed under the auspices of consumer protection has no clauses guaranteeing it won’t be used to create a legal prohibition. There’s also no recourse if a consumer protection law ends up being used to create a ban.

One has to be a fool to willingly enter a binding agreement without recourse that authorizes the other party to change the rules whenever they want. If people want to pursue improving the safety of firearms they should start an independent non-governmental entity to certify firearms much like Underwriter Laboratories. That would allow for safety certification that allows for recourse, namely ignoring the standard, if it’s used outside of the initial scope it was created for.