The gun nuts and nutty rhetoric and logic

nutsOregon just passed a new law requiring background checks on all gun sales. This makes 7 states plus the District of Columbia having now required that all gun sales have background checks. It’s more than interesting to watch the gun nuts go all nutty about the idea that everyone now needs to go through a background check when purchasing a gun. These folks take it all personally as if the law was meant to punish them. Think about it. How could a law that requires Brady background checks,which most of these folks already undergo when purchasing their guns at federally licensed firearms dealers, punish them? What about the tired old mantra that we need to enforce the laws already on the books?- an excuse to stop progress towards safer communities. It’s backwards thinking promoted by the corporate gun lobby. Don’t believe them. This law will only stop people who shouldn’t be able to purchase guns from purchasing them anyway.

Gun nuts have been getting away with these talking points for many years. Apparently they don’t like laws that get in the way of unfettered access to guns. They want their guns with no hassle, no laws in the way.

The thing is, this nutty way of thinking allows felons, adjudicated mentally ill people, domestic abusers, and others who shouldn’t have guns to get them easily. The Million Mom March and Brady Chapters have been advocating for expanding Brady background checks for the last 15 years. Even after the horrific shooting of 20 first graders at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, the gun lobby stood in the way of common sense. Our Senators couldn’t even muster support for something that made so much sense and was a compromise piece of legislation, after spending time with the parents of the nation’s most horrific shooting. Shame on them all.

Other groups have joined the fray since May 14, 2000 increasing the number of people advocating openly and loudly for Brady background checks and other measures to keep our children and our communities safe from devastating gun violence. Most of these got involved after the shooting in Newtown because they, like the rest of us, were horrified that something like this could happen in our country. They are getting a dose of the gun lobby’s nuttiness that the rest of us have experienced for many years. They are also experiencing the fierce opposition to even the smallest measures to make us safer.

Together we are having an impact however. We welcome the new folks who have joined us in the fray. We already know that the general public and even gun owners and NRA members are with us. For at least 15 years, polling has been consistent about that. We also already know that some of our politicians have been cowed by the corporate gun lobby whose minions speak of gun confiscation and taking away rights if we just but pass small but reasonable measures to keep the majority safe.

What we need now is for the gun nuttery to be openly recognized. We can look to this recent article in the Washington Post about a “constitutional” Wisconsin Sheriff and his extreme nutty views about guns and gun violence for what the minority is thinking. His views are crazy and unsubstantiated but somehow he continues to be re-elected. Let’s take a look:

Less than 24 hours after Officers Benjamin J. Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 24, of the Hattiesburg Police Department were gunned down during a traffic stop, Milwakuee County Sheriff David A. Clarke linked the deaths to events in Ferguson, Mo., and said in a series of tweets that the president is to blame.

[Four suspects in custody after shooting deaths of two Mississippi police officers]

“Obama started this war on police intentionally,” Clarke wrote. “Right in line with his community agitating.”

Clarke, a conservative folk hero who has predicted that a second American revolution will be fought over gun rights, is a regular Fox News guest with55,000 followers on Twitter. In 2013, he ran radio ads telling people to fight back against violent criminals instead of relying on 911, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

America’s 1st Freedom, an NRA publication, has called the outspoken Clarke “NRA’s Favorite Sheriff.” Earlier this year, he was presented with the Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Right then. The NRA leaders love this guy. He is a perfect foil for their extreme views about the world. And he is encouraging people to protect themselves from all of those violent criminals out there waiting to get them rather than to rely on his very own services as a Sheriff. You really can’t make this stuff up.  From this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. set off alarm bells Friday with a radio spot some view as a call for citizens to arm themselves.

In the radio ad, Clarke tells residents personal safety isn’t a spectator sport anymore, and that “I need you in the game.”

“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Clarke intones.

“You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back.”

Clarke urges listeners to take a firearm safety course and handle a firearm “so you can defend yourself until we get there.”

“You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?”

The thing is, what Clarke says is simply not true. Continue reading the article. This is the fear and paranoia that the corporate  gun lobby needs in order to stay in business. It’s what we in the world of gun violence prevention movement have been fighting against. The fact that our politicians have been duped into believing this nutty rhetoric should be alarming and a lesson for why we need to keep working to advocate for what we know is right.

The gun lobby has actually become more nutty in the 15 years since I have been involved. They have gained ground by weakening gun laws all over the country claiming that any law to strengthen our safety is a violation of their rights. Their other specious claim is that any stronger gun law punishes their own. That, of course, is not true and ridiculous but they manage to get away with it because of our own lawmakers’ lack of backbone when it comees to challenging this “logic”. Here are just a few of the inane efforts to deceive gun owners, the public and lawmakers:

George Zimmerman made the news again. This time, he was on the other end of a gun nut who shot at him in a claimed road rage incident in Florida. The shooter has been in other disputes with Zimmerman and claimed “self defense.” Ha! You just can’t make this stuff up. It’s just plain nuts that Zimmerman was not held legally accountable for the death of an innocent Black teen-ager and even nuttier that he is out and about causing more trouble.

How many more incidents should be tolerated for the man who has already killed another human being?  This is the 4th one since he killed Trayvon Martin. Some people should not have guns and yes, they should lose their gun rights. This is a guy who is the poster child for what can go wrong in our twisted and dangerous gun culture. We don’t need Stand Your Ground laws so people like Zimmerman can walk away from a murder. We don’t need guns everywhere carried by anyone.

Maine’s Governor, along with 5 others, signed on to an amicus brief to attempt to repeal California’s strong conceal/carry law- claiming punishment for gun owners. Nuts.

The NRA’s own Wayne LaPierre is lying again- using a false conspiracy theory claiming that President Obama is out to ban all ammunition sales. He’s wrong but never mind. Nuts.

The Tennessee Governor signed a law also similar to one signed in Indiana to interfere with federal gun regulations because, you know, states shouldn’t follow federal law. How this benefits gun owners and law abiding citizens is not spelled out. It will actually benefit the felons and others who should not have guns. My theory is that this is on purpose so when felons have more guns, the gun lobby can hysterically cry that more citizens need their guns for self protection against the felons with guns. It’s nuts. What could possibly go wrong?

And in a cynical attempt to roll back “knife rights” the NRA is involved in legislative measures to allow possession of more dangerous knives for “law abiding” citizens. Nuts. From the article:

“I don’t see knives posing that big of a danger to the public,” Representative Harold Dutton Jr., who sponsored the bill, said in an interview. “Now that we’re going to let everybody have a gun, I think we ought to set knives free.”

This twisted “logic” is actually more nutty than we think. The gun nuts like to argue that knives take more lives than guns. They are wrong of course and it can be easily proven. The claim is that knives kill more people than long guns. That would be true. But total gun homicides in this FBI report from 2011 were 8523 compared to total knife homicides of 1694.

Here’s my theory. If we allow more dangerous knives we will certainly have a rise in deaths from knives. Then the gun lobby can say that knives are just as lethal as guns so what’s the problem?

The thing is, these measures increase the likelihood of deaths and injuries to innocent people all over our country. It’s just plain nuts.

We are better than this. But arguing with nuts is just nuts. It isn’t worth the argument. The problem is that our legislators refuse to use logic and get cowed by the nuts. They are bullied into taking positions counter to public health and safety. And what we will surely see is an increase in deaths and injuries. In states with strong gun laws and fewer guns, there are fewer gun deaths. The same is true in most other civilized, developed democratized countries not at war. We have the proof. We just need our elected leaders to speak the truth and not be afraid of the nuts.

Isn’t it past time to speak the truth and get on with ways to save lives? Why are the gun nuts winning the argument with our elected leaders? They shouldn’t be. If you believe, like most Americans do, that too many of our leaders are lapdogs for the gun lobby, please let them know how you feel. Also please join a group working on preventing gun violence. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Million Mom March, I see a strong and committed group of Americans who are not going away. We are stronger than ever and we will call out the nutty gun logic so we can base policy on facts.


I found this article that was written along the same theme that I wrote about in this post. That would be that the gun lobby’s fueling of fear and paranoia is a vicious circle. When the fear causes more guns and more guns cause fear, we have a serious problem. We are not talking about just any consumer product. We are talking about deadly weapons designed to kill people. From the article:

The gun rights movement warns of a society riddled with pervasive threats—increasingly, they come from police officers, or their absence, or their recklessness. And the NRA gets its way: there are more guns on our streets than ever. This in turn makes the job of policing that much harder—and the possibility of police violence more frequent. Perhaps police might retreat from criminal encounters, which increasingly risk turning out badly—where someone dies, or they are charged with a crime. Either way, the gun rights movement will bellow that we need still more guns and more armed citizens. Despairing in the face of criminal and police violence, African Americans appear to be joining this view.

We are mired in a classic negative feedback loop. The gun rights movement is good at making its predictions come true. It bemoans a society delivered unto violence, coming from every corner, and will make sure of that.

This is more than nutty. It’s dangerous and unacceptable. I know we can do better.


I am going to update this post both as another example of the nuttiness and stupidity of the gun nuts and in response to a comment made that I shouldn’t call all hard core gun guys nutty. This is the new mantra from the NRA who do say they represent about 4 million members, more or less- Hillary Clinton is now going to take away the guns that Barack Obama didn’t manage to get his cold dead hands on. From the article:

The NRA then baselessly links this non-existent firearm registry scheme to gun confiscation, declaring, “Gun registration has been considered the holy grail — the queen on the chessboard and the key to the kingdom — by every gun-ban group, every genocidal regime and every would-be tyrant around the world since King George sent his redcoats to seize the colonists’ arms at Lexington and Concord. That’s not hyperbole. It’s history.”

The article concludes, “Hillary Clinton’s apparent ultimate aim is as direct and undeviating as an argon laser: ‘Universal’ background checks … which depend on universal gun registration … which inevitably, invariably, leads to gun confiscation.”

So we will now be hearing this for the upcoming election cycle because the NRA’s leaders have to find a way to gin up the fear and paranoia to make sure to protect gun sales and the industry. It’s just plain nuts. The worst of it is that so many people believe it. I suppose they didn’t notice that President Obama did not actually manage to get their guns. Never mind the facts and common sense.

11 thoughts on “The gun nuts and nutty rhetoric and logic

  1. MiddleOfTheRoad says:

    I support background checks. But as I understand the objections, via a friend who is a gun guy, is that licensed dealers don’t really want to process private transfers without charging an arm and leg for it. There’s also a strong fear of registration among gun people, and something about all the forms being kept in a big ATF warehouse when dealers go out of business. I don’t quite understand that part of the argument.

    But why not set up a system where a person goes online and runs their own check with the FBI, prints out a certificate which certifies the person is eligible to buy a firearm. Then the dealer or private seller checks photo ID, and then either through FBI’s web site, an FBI smart phone app, or a phone call to the FBI, enters a validation number on the cert, and the system then verifies for the seller whether the certificate is still good, the name, DOB, and zip code of the buyer. The seller would then keep the certificate, as a record of who the firearm was sold to. My friend who I talk to seems to think this would be acceptable to most gun owners. Would it be acceptable to people on your side? It would seem to me if each side were willing to give a little, this is a solvable problem.

    1. That idea has been raised many times. It just won’t work to have private sellers calling to the NICS on their own. I have spoken with law enforcement about it and they agree that it would not be a good system for many reasons- too many accessers of the system- privacy, etc. In states where expanded background checks have passed, the system is working out fine. There has been no confiscation anywhere over background checks and there will not be. We have had a system of Brady background checks at licensed dealers for 20 years now and there has been on confiscation as a result. These are reasons those in the gun lobby give as excuses for not passing the bills in the first place. But we have good examples of how the system works so we know it will. From what I know, the sellers are not going to charge more than they already do for a background check.

      1. RogerRoger says:

        I am the friend mentioned above. I can assure you dealers charge money to process firearms, about 20-40 dollars, depending on the shop. This happens most often under the current system when people need to transfer between residents of different states. Forcing all transfers through FFLs will only drive the cost up, since you’re increasing demand for the service. It costs the dealer as much time as a sale, and time spent processing paperwork for a transfer is time they aren’t selling from their inventory. Also consider the dealers have to store all those records for 20 years.

        I understand the privacy issues that could be at play with a “check yourself” system, since anyone with a person’s vital statistics could run a check on someone else. But the system wouldn’t tell you why. It would just be a up or down determination. I don’t see how volume would be a problem. When you consider what Amazon does, or the fact that the NSA can keep records of every phone call made, it would seem that’s a bit of a cop out (if you’ll forgive the pun) if FBI is claiming volume would be a problem.

        I get that this isn’t about confiscation, and I’m certainly not one that thinks the current Brady check is a serious inconvenience when purchasing a firearm from a dealer. I would probably be one of those gun owners answering to pollsters that I’m OK with background checks. But it seems to me that just ignoring and dismissing legitimate concerns people on my side of the issue isn’t just going to result in little or nothing changing. In order to make a universal system work, it will take cooperation from gun owners. I’ve heard in Washington they are having gun shows in rural counties with sheriffs and other county officials who won’t enforce the new law.

        I’m OK with some regulation. I am not a member of the NRA, but nor do I think they are (always) crazy (except for Ted Nugent, he’s always crazy). NRA seems very bombastic to me, in how they go about things. But I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss the concerns of more hard core guys as nutty.

      2. Thanks for your polite comments. I don’t think anyone is dismissing these ideas. I just think they have been considered and been determined not to work out well. As for the hard core gun guys, it’s hard not to find them nutty when they talk about confiscation and the President coming for their guns. Armageddon is just around the corner for some of them. And then they make the rest of the reasonable people look bad. I hope that people like you are willing to engage in the conversation in a positive way and work towards something sensible that won’t “punish” law abiding gun owners as is always claimed by the gun nuts. As to the cost, I realize there is a cost involved to background checks. Guns are expensive products. Buying accessories, getting a background check, paying for a hunting license, etc. all go with it. Just as with a car purchase, the price is not actually the sticker price. There are license plates, sales taxes, etc. It’s all part of buying products and doing business. Cigarettes cost a lot of money. Going golfing costs a lot of money. It’s a choice to buy a gun. Getting back to the background checks, my church has to do a background check every time they hire a new employee. It’s the cost of being responsible. School teachers have to get a background check, as do accountants and other professionals. It is just is one of those ways of keeping our kids safe and making sure people are not trying to harm us in any way. And I find it ridiculous that sheriffs are not enforcing the laws on the books. That is not a good way to keep their communities safe. Would they want to be responsible for a domestic abuser who purchased a gun with no background check who went out and shot his wife/partner/girlfriend the next day? They should be held accountable and maybe arrested themselves for not following the laws they are there to enforce. The fact that some sheriffs don’t believe it is their job to enforce the laws is just crazy and unacceptable.

  2. paladin says:

    please stop calling Trayvon Martin an innocent teenager. #1 he was a wanna be thug #2 do you not believe in our court system? were you in the courtroom to here ALL the testimony? nuff said.

    1. Trayvon Martin was an innocent walking through a mostly white neighborhood while black and wearing a hoodie with a bag of skittles in his hand. He was unarmed and was shot by someone who, now that we know what we know about George Zimmerman, should not have had a gun. The fact that you used the word thug here is all I need to know about you. It’s way too easy to categorize young black men and teens as thugs. The connotation is not a good one. And to be suspicious of them because they are “thugs” or black is leading to the deaths of people who should still be alive today. Were you in the courtroom by the way? Did you hear ALL the testimony by the way? Enough said.

  3. paladin says:

    “The fact that you used the word thug here is all I need to know about you.” Ah huh you don’t know me as well as you assume. You are making me out to be a racist and I would like an apology. I said Trayvon was a wanna be thug, I did NOT say trayvon the “black juvenile” was a wanna be thug. I also said nothing to the affect of categorizing young black men as teenage thugs. There was no connotation of any sort. Where I live we have a handful of black people in our town I know a few of them and they are all hard working people, I know a few white people in my town that I would categorize as wanna be thugs. I don’t care what color you are black, white, brown, blue, efing pink, if you are a thug your are thug. Why does race always come in to play?
    No I was not in the courtroom btw, but a jury of 12 of George Zimmermans peers found him not guilty. I think it does our court system a disservice to second guess the outcome.

  4. paladin says:

    since when does being black mean you are a thug, really?? When I went to school a “thug” was a criminal or was working on being one. Lets stop the race baiting.

  5. As I said, you used the word. Things have changed since I went to school and most likely since you did as well. This is a conversation that is on going right now because of all that is happening in cities around the country. We all have some serious soul searching to do and some solutions that will create better relationships between us all.

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