Home > Uncategorized > Here’s the Solution to Lagging Gun Sales: More Concealed Carry and More Guns in Schools

Here’s the Solution to Lagging Gun Sales: More Concealed Carry and More Guns in Schools

George Zornick of the Nation writes about the National Rifle Association’s proposed solution to lagging gun sales: pass legislation to make concealed carry the de facto law of the land and, while you’re at it, pass laws to arm teachers! Mr. Zornick writes that while some NRA members were cool to Donald Trump’s candidacy, Wayne LaPiere, their President, recognized that Mr. Trump was a kindred spirit:

LaPierre understands the gun-rights movement as a culture war first and a battle over gun laws second. Before Trump spoke at the annual meeting, LaPierre declared: “It’s up to us to speak up against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites, and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats.”

Based on Mr. LaPierre’s definition, I am now one of “America’s greatest domestic threats” based on my educational background, political leanings, and daily writings… despite the fact that I own no weapons apart from my books, ideas, and laptop. To bolster the preposterous claim that people like me are a “threat”, NRA promotes the need for those threatened by presumably seditious ideas like sanctuary cities, to arm themselves. Here’s a description of a presentation offered at the NRA convention:

Steve Tarani is giving a presentation—“Current and Emerging Threats: How It Affects You!”—sponsored by the outdoor-supply store Cabela’s. Tarani presents himself as a former CIA employee who worked briefly on Trump’s security detail, and he wants the members of the assembled crowd to understand the “active threats” in their daily lives.

“The Department of Homeland Security defines an ‘active threat’ as any bad thing, basically, that can happen to good people,” Tarani says, clicking through PowerPoint slides of terror attacks, protesters clashing violently with police, and a map of “migrant streams” from Mexico with cartoonish red arrows crossing every inch of the southern US border. He tells his audience that “Al Shabab, Al Qaeda, ISIS members, etc., in addition to these capos” from Mexican drug gangs, are traveling along the bright-red routes into “sanctuary cities” across the country. “Let me ask you: Do sanctuary cities contribute to the safety of our communities?” Tarani asks, as people throughout the room shake their heads in response. “Not in any way,” he intones. “Not in any way.”

Once Mr. Trump was elected, though, gun sales plummeted because owners assume that there is no need to stockpile weapons any longer since there is no threat of confiscation by the federal government— a non-existent but persistent threat that persisted throughout the Obama presidency. But the NRA, who are a lobbying arm of the armaments industry, have the solution: legislation!

As it always does, however, the gun industry has a plan to revive sales. The modern-day gun capitalists have been designing pocket-size concealed-carry weapons that are being marketed as sensible self-defense tools. Annual statements and earnings calls from the major gun manufacturers make it clear that they see small handguns as the innovation that will turn their numbers around. Remington, for example, introduced the RM380 Micro Pistol in 2015 and last year added the “newly enhanced” R51 concealed-carry pistol. A promotional video for the R51 boasts that it has “snag-free sights for an easy draw from concealment.” Most other manufacturers are bringing similar products to market.

Seen in this light, the NRA’s aggressive campaign for concealed-carry laws—even as it pushes liability insurance for concealed-carry users—reveals it, at heart, to be a trade group whose sole mission is to boost sales for the industry that largely funds it. The same is true of the Trump administration’s immediate moves to increase hunting spaces on public lands and to allow the use of lead ammunition there.

And Mr. Zornick offers several examples of other executive actions Mr. Trump has taken to expand the availability of weapons to people who formerly were unable to acquire guns:

The Department of Justice issued a memo changing how the FBI defines a “fugitive” for the purpose of placing someone on a no-buy list for federal gun-owner background checks. Until now, the FBI prohibited anyone with an open warrant from buying a gun, but the new DOJ memo defines “fugitive” only as someone who has fled the state where the warrant was issued—so a lot more people with open warrants will be getting their gun purchases approved. Prior to this, from 1998 to 2017, the FBI denied over 175,000 gun sales because of an open warrant.

President Trump also signed legislation that would prevent the Department of Justice from using Social Security records to identify mentally ill people and prevent them from purchasing guns. Obama had added these background checks in 2016, but Congress passed a repeal under the Congressional Review Act…

And on his first day as Trump’s secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke canceled a ban on the use of lead ammunition by hunters on federal lands, which environmentalists worried would damage their ecosystems. Zinke also directed any agency managing federal land to identify areas where hunting could be expanded….

But these moves are mere appetizers for the NRA. Its top priority now is to get Congress to pass—and President Trump to sign—concealed-carry reciprocity legislation, which would require every state to recognize a concealed-carry permit issued by any other state. In other words, California—a state with a strict permitting process, in which a person must demonstrate the need for a concealed weapon—would have to allow anyone with a permit from, say, South Dakota to carry a weapon around. (In South Dakota, you can get a concealed-carry permit with a half-page application and a $10 fee; there’s no training required, and you’re not even fingerprinted.) Under the proposed legislation, if you live in one of the 11 states that don’t even require a permit, you’d be able to carry a concealed weapon anywhere you travel…

Gun-rights advocates are also pushing legislation that would make the ownership of gun silencers commonplace. Right now, you have to spend $200 in fees and undertake months of registration to buy a silencer, but the so-called Hearing Protection Act would eliminate all that and make silencers as easy to buy as guns or bullets.

And at least one state, Pennsylvania, passed legislation allowing teachers to carry guns in school. As blogger Steve Singer wrote in Common Dreams, this bill was passed at the same time as the legislature has short-changes schools in that state and faced countless incidents where school guards engaged in physical clashes with students.

If all of these measures loosening the requirements to acquire weapons and providing teachers and school personnel with access to guns increase the threats to citizens, there is no need to worry because any citizen, including “domestic threats” like me, will be able to acquire weapons… unless… the NRA decides that they would support gun control in some cases by banning sales to potential “domestic threats” like academic, political, and media elites. Maybe it’s time to erase all my blog entries, Facebook comments, and op ed articles….

 

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