Showing posts with label Bushmaster AR-15. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bushmaster AR-15. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is right, NRA is venal…and more

Lee Fang recently in The Nation asked: “Does the NRA represent gun manufacturers or gunowners?”  He doesn’t answer the question specifically but does point out, “Is the NRA working for casual gun-owners, many of whom, according to polling, support tougher restrictions on gun ownership— or is the NRA serving the gunmaker lobby— which is purely interested in policies that will promote greater gun sales and more profits?”  The answer should be blatantly obvious to any rational human being who has followed the unswerving radicalism of Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA).
Wacky Wayne laPierre
Wacky Wayne and his 2nd Amendment rights absolutism has become ad nauseum but what is absolute is the fact that LaPierre’s zany antics are clearly in favor of promoting gun manufacturer profits, along with his near-million dollar annual salary, and not what a majority of gun owners want.  And it is pretty clear that the NRA now has financial ties to the $12 billion a year gun industry based on their donations to the NRA since 2005 of almost $39 million. 
As an example, Freedom Group, which owns Bushmaster, the company that made the AR-15 military-style rifle used by Adam Lanza in his bloody assault on Sandy Hook has donated between $25,000 and $49,000 to the National Rifle Assn. (NRA).
In the Huff Post, Josh Sugarman, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, said, “I think it’s much easier for policymakers to defend the NRA when they’re perceived as efforts on behalf of gun owners. That equation changes dramatically when they’re seen as defending the gun industry.”  So we have a triple threat going here.  1.) The possibility the NRA’s recent shenanigans will turn off Congress.  2.) The possibility the same will turn off some NRA members.  3.) And finally it will turn off the America public.  All in all it adds up to real trouble for Wayne LaPierre and his minion gun nuts.
This long-standing ability of the NRA to bulldoze congressional leaders is already on the wane as evidenced by the last election.  During the presidential and congressional elections, the NRA spent $17.4 million, while President Obama was reelected and the organization failed to win six out of seven Senate races.  Nowhere was the heat on to defeat Obama like its pursuit by the NRA’s head Wayne LaPierre, except maybe with Sen. Minority leader Mitch McConnell four years ago.  When the President took office, McConnell said the main goal of the GOP was to see that Barack Obama was not reelected.
So what does all this have to do with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (left picture) calling the NRA “venal?”  First, the definition of venal is: “Willing to sell one’s influence, especially in return for a bribe; open to bribery; mercenary.”  Further, the explanation of “mercenary” is: “Working or acting merely for money or other reward.”  Wayne LaPierre has taken an organization that has a record of supporting reasonable gun control laws and turned it into a façade that gives a new meaning to corruption and unscrupulous lobbying.  And it is time that the NRA should be investigated based on its non-profit status.
In 2012 GOP pollster Frank Luntz conducted a survey for Mayors Against Illegal Guns and found that 74% of NRA members support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases.  Wacky Wayne LaPierre and his NRA gun nuts have been adamantly against this and any new gun law, no matter how reasonable.  In 2004 the NRA fought successfully for Congress not to renew the assault weapons ban, the kind of weapons used in many of the recent mass gun massacres.  It was Dianne Feinstein that pushed through this law originally passed in 1994 under Bill Clinton’s administration. 
The NRA is constantly instilling fear into its members telling them that President Obama is going to take away their guns.  Many of them gullible enough to buy this crap run right out and buy more guns.  And that makes the NRA and gun manufacturers both happy and wealthy, but simply leaves these members with less in their bank account.  If this kind of momentum is allowed to continue, it will be necessary to eventually pass a law on how many guns are allowed in one household.  By now the absurdity of this whole issue should be obvious, even to the gun nuts.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Would banning high capacity magazines and requiring universal background checks be a good start to stricter gun control?

Let’s consider this scenario.  If you limit the magazine size of a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to 10 rounds (perhaps even 7 like the latest New York law requires) have you basically reduced the firearm to what many typical rifles are capable of shooting?  In checking an Outdoor Life recommendation of the best 2012 hunting rifles, I found the Ruger American Rifle with a 5-round capacity including a magazine.  I don’t know how typical or popular this rifle is with hunters but it seems to have received the recommendation of a major hunting magazine.
The American Hunter
I don’t think any gun control advocate out there favors taking away a hunter’s right to enjoy his sport, and anyway, assault rifles aren’t the biggest problem in gun violence, handguns are.  According to the FBI, in 2011, 6,220 people were killed by handguns, 323 by rifles.  But it was the sheer horror of the brutal killing of 20 children ages 6 and 7 by a shooter using his mother’s assault rifle with a 30-round magazine that has brought the gun control issue to the forefront.  The question is, would that Bushmaster AR-15 revert to the same capability as the Ruger reduced to a 10-round or less capacity?

Unfortunately, the universal background check would not have prevented Adam Lanza from killing these little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but it could have prevented Jared Loughner from getting the weapon he used to kill 6 and injuring 13 in Tucson in Jan. of 2011, including former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords.  What must be done in parallel with requiring these background checks is to make the reporting of felons and the mentally ill to the appropriate databases mandatory by law enforcement and all states.  Common sense?  Yes, but one of the biggest shortfalls in maintaining gun control.

The New York Times reported, “All federally licensed firearms dealers are required to run background checks through the computerized databases that comprise the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS).  But the requirement does not cover guns that are sold by unlicensed sellers at gun shows and in other private sales, which account for about 40 percent of gun purchases in the country.”  The  National Instant Criminal Background Check System reports 16,808,538 requests for firearm background checks in 2012 with 976,255 denials.
The latter means that 15,832,283 permits were issued in 2012, which also means that 6,332,913 gun purchases could have been made—based on the 40%--without background checks.  Even if a fraction of this figure resulted in guns ending up in the wrong hands, is it any wonder why guns deaths in the U.S. are so high?  According to a CNN article, the FBI says more than a million people failed background checks to buy guns in the last 14 years because of drug use or mental health issues.  Congressional approval is required for universal background checks but other moves need only executive actions.

Some of the President’s proposals are not given much chance of making it through a Republican House because of gun lobbyists, namely the National Rifle Assn. (NRA).  This organization claims to have added around 250,000 new members to its already 4.2 million.  An NRA spokesman says the numbers are those who are passionate about 2nd Amendment rights, a claim that is really getting old.  What the NRA spokesperson didn’t say about that 250,000 is the fact that 74% of them support background checks.  The Frank Luntz poll of NRA members also found that 75% want more restrictions on concealed carry.
If the President gets better background checks plus a ban on high capacity magazines, we can wait until 2014 and a more progressive House and Senate to add more to the list.  Here’s my want list on gun control from an earlier January post:

1. Ban all assault or assault-type weapons

2. Ban all high-capacity magazines over 5 rounds

3. Close gun show loophole

4. Background checks for all gun purchases

5. Mandatory training for anyone owning a gun

6. Mandatory state reporting of the mentally ill

It’s like a Christmas list.  You just keep asking for what you want until you get it.  The NRA should be on notice that the gun control advocates won’t give up this time.

Tell you congressional representatives what you want done about gun control;  Senate here; House of Representatives here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Walmart should set an example for gun control

Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. with 4,000 stores, almost half of which sell rifles, shotguns and ammunition.  But one-third of Walmart stores sell what they call “modern sporting rifles,” more commonly known as assault rifles.  The kind of weapon that killed 20 little children and 6 teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.  The question that this retail giant must answer is whether profit is more important to them than human lives.
Walmart initially declined to meet with AG Eric Holder along with other gun retailers, but thought better about their decision and relented.  No doubt concerned about the public face this displays to Americans concerned about saving the lives of innocent victims like those at Newtown.  Whether or not this will convert into an attitude of cooperation with gun control advocates remains to be seen.  What is sure is the fact that a majority of the public now wants to see new stricter gun regulations and just may shop accordingly.

In 2006 when Walmart started concentrating on urban areas instead of the rural population, it replaced firearms with other sporting goods.  And then the 2009 recession hit with sales and profits taking a dive across the country.  Struggling, they decided to start selling guns again with advertising and promotion targeting rural areas again where the gun culture is definitely more prevalent.  It always seems to come down to the bottom line, even when it involves products designed to kill.

George Zornick in The Nation reports, “Gun sales are a key part of Walmart’s recent sales spike, and have shot up 76 percent over the past two years.”  So do they really want a ban on assault weapons?  But if Vice Pres. Joe Biden gets what he wants, the fact that Walmart is a certified gun retailer will require other independent sellers to go through the chain for their background checks.  In the end, some of these customers could simply change their business to Walmart.

Bushmaster AR-15
Zornick also reported that, in consideration of the Sandy Hook victims, Walmart had removed the Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle from its website, an obvious public relations ploy since all other assault weapons remained.  Freedom Group, who produces the weapon, said, if Walmart should reduce gun sales, it could adversely affect their bottom line since 13% of their sales came from the retailer.  However, the Bushmaster AR-15 did remain on store shelves.
What is pivotal in this issue is that Walmart could be the key factor in getting gun control legislation passed.  If the giant should take a reasonable position on gun control, it is very possible that other major firearms retailers like Cabela’s would follow their lead. thinks that if Walmart, along with other major gun retailers, would “partner” with the White House, the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) would no longer be considered as representing the American public, leaving only gun manufacturers.
Unlike the sleazy gun stores, particularly the gun shows, both of which appeal only to gun worshippers, Walmart has a public image they must maintain and right now the American public has decided it has tired of gun violence due to the number of firearms on the street.  This is the fault of the gun lobby, most notable wacky Wayne LaPierre’s NRA, plus the Republicans and some Democrats in Congress.  Who will Walmart side with and just how aggressive will their action be?  Rationally minded folks are watching and if they don’t see what they like, many will react with their pocketbooks.

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