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October 30, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

The NRA’s distorted mission

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Regarding the recent Senate vote on background checks for weapons purchases: How, by any distortion of logic and common sense, can a reasonably thorough background check do any disservice to efforts to address random killings that have occurred recently? Gun rights advocates argue civil liberties and the fear of an oppressive government that is plotting to usurp those liberties, but the truth is much less complicated and easy to understand — commerce wed to politics and sales supplanting values. And the fingerprints of the National Rifle Association are all over this unholy union.

Soon after the Civil War ended, the NRA, whose original objective was primarily to sharpen an individual’s shooting skills, became the politically driving force that it is today. Sadly, what many fail to see is that it is commerce rather than concern for safety that is at the center of this force more than 100 years later. And the most cruel irony? The advocacy by the NRA of the need for yet more guns in the hands of even more people to promote personal safety.

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  1. It's amazing that some people in favor of expanded background checks still don't get it. It was the law, as written, that defeated the passage of the background checks. Even Senators Toomey and Manchin who crafted the compromise bill admit to it. There were two evils in the bill to the Second Amendment that were not addressed: National registry and private gun transfers between friends, family and neighbors. If these issues were addressed adequately, the T-M bill would have passed.

    Carmine D

  2. "If your on prescription drugs in NY they'll deny you a permit and confiscate the guns you own."

    Misinformation and fearmongering in nothing new to far right radicals and the NRA. It is amazing that people will read some idiots post in an online blog and comment about the media not reporting fictitious news. Another case of "Obama taking a 34 ship flotilla as escorts to India", "secret FEMA reeducation camps" and "Sharia law is practiced in Michigan."

    The NRA tries to keep people in fear of the "forever-invisible-boogeyman" but do nothing to stop terrorists, domestic or foreign, from buying weapons or explosives.

  3. Enjoyed the letter, Mr. Esperian.

    No one can ever change the NRA and their constant effort to run interference for the pro-gun manufacturer lobby interests. It's what they do. And throughout the years, they have done their job well.

    But, due to recent gun violence in America, people are waking up.

    Right now, we are seeing the American people putting their foot down and saying enough is enough.

    They are putting their elected officials on notice that they really need to start worrying about a passing grade from their constituents.

    And not the NRA.

    It's up to the American people to set their priorities.

    The politicians, like Senator Heller, who seems to worry more about the NRA than the voters, needs to start being afraid.

    Very afraid.

    The old way of politically doing things is gone, baby, gone.

    The voters out here have the power. And we are sitting in the front of the classroom, sitting up straight and attentive, and we want an "A."

    And not the NRA who sit in the back of the classroom, slouching and arrogant, inattentive, content they can just buy an "A" grade.

    It's a new day, politicians. You don't wake up, you're gone.

  4. Author, the NRA is simply the voice of its members and others who support reasonable gun rights. The People didn't want to begin to go down a slippery slope. By the way, background checks, existing or otherwise, had nothing to do with Newtown.

  5. "...commerce wed to politics and sales supplanting values. And the fingerprints of the National Rifle Association are all over this unholy union."

    Esperian -- the NRA's membership is perfectly at liberty to peacefully assemble as a named organization and instruct their elected representatives. Or exactly what part of the First Amendment do you need explained?

    "The NRA tries to keep people in fear of the "forever-invisible-boogeyman" but do nothing to stop terrorists, domestic or foreign, from buying weapons or explosives."

    VernosB -- evidently you've never had the experience of needing a gun. I have, and the local news is full of violent attackers and home invaders. You're failure to imagine such a confrontation completely discredits your "forever-invisible-boogeyman" point.

    "But, due to recent gun violence in America, people are waking up."

    Colin -- hardly. It just fills the popular media's need to stay constantly relevant, and that's the hot topic right now. We the herd have been killing and maiming since the beginning of our species. Now it seems every time someone pulls a trigger it's on the front page. But our little girls (R.I.P. Jade Morris) are just as dead when the weapon is a razor blade in the hand of a family friend. Or beaten to death by his mother and her new man because the Bible told them to do it.

    "By the way, background checks, existing or otherwise, had nothing to do with Newtown."

    FreedomRadio -- excellent post! And no one's mentioning Newtown recently voting down a new levy to upgrade their schools' security.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken

  6. KillerB: To say that all of us out here are "the herd," "sheep," and that the news media guides us....is getting old. You are seeing right now that this thinking is only getting people killed. People are waking up to the fact that you just let it ride...just ignore this stuff....hope it blows over....don't work. The voters out here are realizing that the lives of innocent people are piling up out here due to inactivity. It's a new day. To just say, oh, well, it's always been like that and will always be like that....don't cut it anymore.

    And Senator Heller and the NRA goons he runs interference for...because they lined his pockets with money....will soon find this out.

    The voters out here aren't as blind as they think.

    The good people of the State of Nevada will NEVER forget how he voted on this background check bill. He knew that legislation couldn't have went anywhere without bi-partisan support. And he knew that his lame excuse came straight out of an NRA lobbyist guide handbook.

    The very next time an act of senseless gun violence occurs in America...and the weapon was acquired for a criminal to use....through a gun show at the Las Vegas Convention Center...the blood will be on his hands. All because of his vote. He can't shove that off on anyone else. His hands will be the ones covered with blood from another act of senseless killing of an innocent life.

    He could have voted to save a life.

    He didn't.

    Money was more important. People? Meh. They're expendable.

    Way past time to hold our elected officials accountable.

    WAY PAST TIME.

  7. " To say that all of us out here are "the herd," "sheep," and that the news media guides us....is getting old."

    Colin -- then show you think critically for yourself. And where do you get I "say that all of us out here are "the herd," "sheep..."? Only some of you. Yeah, it's old -- Socrates mentioned it about 2,400 years ago.

    "We must choose between freedom and fear -- we cannot have both. If the citizens of the United States persist in being afraid, the real rulers of this country will be fanatics fired with a zeal to save grown men from objectionable ideas by putting them under the care of official nursemaids." -- Scales v. U.S., 367 U.S. 203, 270 (1961), Justice Douglas dissenting

  8. I read that also, LastThroes, in a Huffington Post article.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01...

    Like I said in a previous post... People need to wake up and vote.

    Because it is proven beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever that an ENTIRE political party destroyed any hopes for even the slightest possibility of common sense gun control safety legislation ever occurring in America. The Tea/Republicans should be collectively ASHAMED of what they did. Especially with the revelation that just about 91 percent of the American people were for background checks. And that poll was taken before the vote happened.

    Also, Senator Heller KNEW that 87 percent of Nevadans wanted this to happen.

    I say this again: The next innocent life that dies from gun violence where a criminal got a weapon from a gun show anywhere in Nevada...that blood will be on Senator Heller's hands.

    That legislation should have happened. And it could only be passed bi-partisan. Democrats in the Senate alone could not do it.

    But Senator Heller only cares about his stupid political party. NOT Nevadans. He could care less about us.

    In my book, this labels him as a vile, disgusting opportunist who only sympathizes with the criminal dregs of society. Because he stands up for their rights. More than for fine upstanding citizens of America who call Nevada their home.

    SHAME ON YOU, SENATOR HELLER! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

  9. Some people will argue a point at the drop of a hat. Future is willing to drop the hat himself to see his repeated of-topic rants against Dr Goswell posted. The only point I see is that he obviously feels NO laws will stop evil-doers, therefore ALL laws are worthless - except, just possibly, the Biblical one "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth..." but only so long as it's done NOW!

  10. CarmineD: Toomy/Manchin wasn't a law, it was a proposed amendments to EXISTING law. Specific wording in the amendment addressed a National registry: "Nothing in this title, or any amendment made by this title, shall be construed to- . . .
    (2) allow the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a Federal firearms registry."

    Transfer between family members was also specifically addressed: "(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply if-...(C) the transfer is made between spouses, between parents or spouses of parents and their children or spouses of their children, between siblings or spouses of siblings, or between grandparents or spouses of grandparents and their grandchildren or spouses of their grandchildren, or between aunts or uncles or their spouses and their nieces or nephews or their spouses, or between first cousins, if the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law..."

    It's always desirable to actually READ legislation one is interest in rather than relying on Faux News to "paraphrase" it.

  11. KillerB - "evidently you've never had the experience of needing a gun."

    Actually I have, I've been shot at and stabbed. I'm also a gun owner, however I strongly believe we need background checks in order to track weapons being sold to criminals. I'm pretty sure they don't manufacture their own weapons.

    I find it hypocritical that politicians use fearmongering tactics about terrorists to promote the sale of weapons, but do absolutely nothing to stop said terrorists from buying weapons or explosives.

  12. "...I've been shot at and stabbed. I'm also a gun owner..."

    VernosB -- then you're two up on me and deserve respect for it. So either I wasn't clear on your "bogeyman" bit or you weren't clear with your meaning. I do disagree with the purpose of your "fearmongering" point -- the terrorism bogeyman is a useful tactic to abrogate our Constitutions. Otherwise why is the Patriot Act still with us?

    In the 50s it was McCarthyism fueled by the Red scare, in the late 60s-early 70s it was the Nixon paranoia, then came the War on Drugs. All excuses to erode our Constitutions to the point government is actually the criminal -- in some situations it has about much authority to be in our lives as a home invader.

    "We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." - Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

  13. The NRA's position that this country's citizens should be well-armed to guard against an opressive government. It is clear that they believe that voting and the political processes now in place will not preserve Democracy.

    This also means that they DO NOT support the US Constitution which does not allow armed rebellion for any reason. It does not allow citizens to arm themselves AGAINST the Government but only to protect the Government. This makes the NRA clearly and without a doubt, un-American.

    Creating strong mistrust of this government are the same actions used by seditious organizations that are intent upon destroying Democracy and installing their own republic of dictators to govern.

    Why does the NRA mistrust this Government? Because they CAN'T CONTROL IT. Who controls the NRA? Not even it's members. The NRA is controlled by back room megalomaniacs like Grover Norquist who considers the US Government his adversay, something to destroy because will not obey him.

    Mistrust of any Government is the FIRST STEP in getting rid of it and installing another organization. It can happen here.

  14. "The NRA's position that this country's citizens should be well-armed to guard against an opressive government. . . . .This also means that they DO NOT support the US Constitution which does not allow armed rebellion for any reason."

    SunJon -- for your first point, you left out it's the U.S. Supreme Court's position, backed by the Second Amendment's history. Read Heller. Need the link?

    For your second, you're being willfully ignorant. Even Lincoln recognized the inherent right, expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

    What else did you make up?

    "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -- Abraham Lincoln, first inaugural address, 1861

  15. Robert:

    You're barking up the same old tree. I read the T-M bill several times. And the posts here, by you and others, lacking understanding about it. It is no longer a proposed law, it failed.

    If the national registry was addressed and prohibited in T-M, then what was the punishment for violation? None is the correct answer. No punishment allows the bill, if it were law, to be broken without consequences. Not much enforcement, would you say?

    On the private gun transfers: Why does decriminalizing private gun transfers pertain only to family? How about friends and neighbors? Don't they count too? Apparently not in the bill.

    Carmine D

  16. Thanks, VidiVeritas. Just calling it like I see it. I can't see it no other way. It don't matter if I stand on my head and read it upside down, it still says what it says. I can't interpret this whole mess as anything else.

    The simple fact is this...

    Senator Heller, by his vote to put common sense background checks on firearms to a screeching halt, shows one and only one thing.

    He values gun sales.

    Not kids.

    Like I said, the next mindless gun violence act that happens, and it is directly linked to a Nevada gun show loophole, where a gun was sold directly and/or indirectly to a criminal and used, the blood will be on Senator Heller's hands.

    SHAME ON YOU, SENATOR HELLER! SHAME!

    I, for one, will make sure the entire voting population of Nevada NEVER EVER forgets what you did.

  17. "SHAME ON YOU, SENATOR HELLER! SHAME!"

    Colin -- you're coming off like an annoying 3 year old constantly repeating the same whine to get what he wants.

    "Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have." -- Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), Republican Senator from Arizona, 1964 candidate for President

  18. KillerB,

    I do agree with your assessment of McCarthyism, the Nixon years and the fake drug wars. I dislike the fact that Obama continued the Patriot Act. I was referring to clowns like Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann and their ilk who try to convince others that this president is evil. That he wants to take your rights and jail you in FEMA reeducation camps. They are doing exactly what Joe McCarthy did in his day which ruined the lives of thousands of innocent people.

  19. "I was referring to clowns like Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann and their ilk who try to convince others that this president is evil. That he wants to take your rights and jail you in FEMA reeducation camps. They are doing exactly what Joe McCarthy did in his day which ruined the lives of thousands of innocent people."

    VernosB -- Cruz and his ilk are just doing their jobs under their right to free speech and as part of the balances built into our federal Constitution. Although I dislike Bachmann especially, I have to disagree with you on their validity -- after Waco and Ruby Ridge nothing this government does surprises me.

    "Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams "Thoughts on Government" (1776)

  20. "It is interesting how an amendment to allow slaveholders in the South to form armed militias to retrieve slaves could have been morphed into this! Such is the power of the arms manufacturing lobby and their tool, the NRA!"

    notacon -- the militia has its origins in history pre-dating those slaveholders. Next time try doing some homework, like actually reading that Heller decision.

    "That history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the ablebodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people's arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents. This is what had occurred in England that prompted codification of the right to have arms in the English Bill of Rights." -- District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. (slip opinion at 25) (2008)

  21. At Sandy Hook Elementary School, it was reported all twenty elementary school children EACH had anywhere from three to eleven bullets in their bodies. The senseless gun violence claimed their lives as well as the lives of six administrators/teachers who were there to educate/protect them.

    Background checks was only one in a series of bills that were to address common sense gun safety to be enacted. The easiest, simplest and innocuous bill to address a shortcoming in gun sales. But Senator Heller doesn't agree. NRA told him not to agree.

    And he has also shown nothing but insolence towards getting anything done on anything as a Senator. He follows along with all the rest of his Tea/Republicans with the mistaken belief that if President Obama and his administration is for something, then he is against it. Even if its a no brainer or something he agrees with or even something the entire State of Nevada sanctions. Obama must fail, according to him.

    Talk about childish. I'm not the childish one.

    Senator Heller is on break right now.

    In other places, the elected officials are holding town hall meetings. To meet with their constituents and answer questions.

    Where is Senator Heller?

    Oh. Wait. He's hiding. He is afraid of the voters after his despicable vote.

    Senator Heller is trash.

    Senator Heller is a coward.

    He votes against the will of the good people of Nevada and then....promptly hides. Because he knows what he did. He values the NRA's passing grade. Not Nevada's.

    The voters of Nevada will NEVER EVER forget his cowardly vote on gun sale background check legislation.

    And I will do my damndest to make sure they remember this when it comes time for his reelection.

    Senator Heller always tells people he's a "moderate." No, he's not! He's just like the rest of the run-of-the-mill right wing crazy elected officials. He can't fool me.

    I side with the family members of people who had loved ones killed. Their voices are not to be disregarded because of some right wing ultra-conservative political agenda. The people out here are not trying to trash the Second Amendment. They are trying to make it workable where there are some kind of rational gun controls. The National Rifle Association don't control the Second Amendment! They only control the sale of guns.

    To do nothing is....madness.

    SHAME ON YOU, SENATOR HELLER, FOR SIDING WITH THE CRIMINALS AND NOT THE GOOD PEOPLE OF NEVADA.