Is AARP Anti-Gun?

I hate junk mail. Junk mail comes in many flavors – there’s those newsprint things with ads from the discount stores and supermarkets (they make excellent kindling for my grill, so at least they have one redeeming feature). There’s the come-ons from credit card companies, car dealers, et cetera. And then there are the direct mail solicitations that come, courtesy of data-mining some database or other that I’m on. These typically drive me nuts, because I’m not buying what they’re selling. Case in point – missives from the American Association of Retired Persons, a.k.a.: the AARP. They are the nation’s biggest advocacy group for “seasoned citizens” and apparently, they hate guns as much as Bloomberg and Brady combined.

Full disclosure: I’m not (yet) old enough to be a member of the AARP. And I freely admit to having a major burr in my saddle from getting direct mail solicitations from them, asking me to join. I’m bloody well not a senior citizen now, and you’re gonna have to drag me, kicking and screaming, into “old age.” Bastards.

Be that as it may, membership in AARP has its privileges (as they say), for they are one of the most powerful lobby groups in the nation. (The NRA would be the other.) To hear the AARP tell it, they speak with one voice for those over 55, and they make a compelling argument. After all, older people tend to vote, make political contributions, be actively involved in the political process, and have specific needs/goals (Medicare, drug benefits, health care, etc.) specific to their demographic.

When all the brouhaha came up about ObamaCare, I was surprised to see AARP come down on the side of the Administration. Surprised, because it looked as though ObamaCare would sell out seniors and their health care in exchange for insuring those who don’t have (or don’t want) medical coverage.

Ah, but the AARP used their clout to get legislative “cut-outs” – essentially exempting that organization from major portions of the law, and working out a deal where the organization actually benefits from the changes. Note that I said “the organization actually benefits.” Not the members, for they are taking it in the oversized Bermuda shorts on the deal.

So it’s not unheard of for the AARP to come out with a position contrary to what’s good for the membership. Which makes their support of restrictive gun laws both unsurprising and disappointing.

AARP treats “guns in the home” as a disease. Seriously. Don’t believe me? Check this article out, that lauds (of all places) Cali, Columbia as a shining star and innovator in gun control legislation. (Columbia? Really?)

But if you want to know how AARP really feels about gun ownership, just ask ‘em. Here’s a excerpt from an AARP reply to just such an inquiry. I’ve added in my own interpretation of their remarks. (Think of it as “Closed-Captioning for the Thinking-Impaired”):

…thank you for contacting AARP headquarters on the issue of state and federal gun policies. We appreciate hearing from you. Not really. We’d prefer you just shut the Hell up and send us your money, you bloody troublemaker.

This is a difficult subject for people to discuss without misunderstanding. We do our best to obfuscate, but apparently, you understand our position all too well. Even though you may not agree with AARP’s objectives on this one issue, I hope you find our work toward prescription drug coverage in Medicare, for example, and many other important issues worthy of your continued support. Lookit, dipweed – we’re trying to buy you off with discounts. Can’t you just be satisfied with that?

The AARP policymaking process is a long one, beginning in September and continuing through February annually. And it’s far too complicated for the likes of you. AARP’s all-volunteer National Legislative Council thoughtfully develops each policy after reviewing the pros and cons and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors, also a distinguished cross-section of volunteers. Don’t pick on us! We’re volunteers! Public policies are reconsidered and approved anew each year. We could change our mind at any time. So don’t push us. Input from members like you, along with other members’ suggestions, are carefully reviewed and contribute to establishing AARP priorities. And after we review your input, we file it in our special round filing cabinet that gets emptied every night.

At this time, the Board of Directors has recently restated AARP policy to reduce misunderstanding and better fit the current legal environment on this issue. We’re tap-dancing as fast as we can. We do continue to support careful measures to restrict the availability of handguns to certain populations. Make no mistake…we’re down with Bloomberg and we’re Brady’s bee-yatch. Yet, our policy does not preclude responsible citizens who are educated in gun safety from gun ownership. Yet.

However, respected research continues to indicate that the use of firearms in assaults and robbery-particularly handguns-is directly linked to the high death rate from interpersonal violence in the USA compared with other industrialized countries. In other words, we cherry-pick which research we like, and use big words and run-on sentences to try and confuse you. Did it work? At a time when having enough resources to provide adequate healthcare for older Americans is a special concern for AARP, the medical costs of treating gunshot victims exceeds $1 billion a year. Which is, ironically, how much we stand to make per year, with the sweetheart deal we cut with Obama. Of course, you’ll never see a penny of that. But our CEO’s gonna be livin’ large!

The prevalence of random violence featuring handguns in some
neighborhoods has resulted in numbers of older people becoming virtual prisoners in their homes. Of course, we’re overlooking the fact that if they owned a handgun, shotgun or carbine, they wouldn’t feel that way. Just ask any senior that’s put a cap in the ass of some scumbag breaking into their home. Talk about empowering! But we could care less if YOU feel safe. We, on the other hand, can afford all sorts of security measures. Sucks to be you, doesn’t it? Increasingly, families are suffering the loss of children and grandchildren who are the victims of violent crimes and senseless shootings. We could start an education program, teaching seniors how to safely store their guns and still have them available for self defense, but why go to that trouble, when it’s easier for us to get in bed with the like-minded Progressives? While registration requirements do not eliminate criminal or psychotic misuse of handguns, such requirements reduce the availability of guns, just as laws do not eliminate but do reduce the availability of illegal narcotics. Reduced availability to inappropriate users means lives saved. And it’s our position that if you’re over 55, you’re too damn senile to own a gun. I mean, you’re buying our B.S. while we take advantage of you – proof enough you’re not in control of your own affairs to know what’s going on. Cough up the guns, gramps.

I want to emphasize that AARP policy does not preclude gun ownership for responsible citizens, just as no federal or state law precludes ownership for responsible citizens. We wish it did. And rest assured, we’re working on it. Our policy now states:

“Congress should eliminate gaps in and strengthen enforcement of the Brady Act and other federal gun laws. States should enact legislation to eliminate gaps in and strengthen enforcement of federal and state gun laws, particularly with regard to possession by juveniles, convicted domestic abusers and those under domestic violence restraining orders.” We start with “reasonable restrictions,” move on to defining who a “responsible citizen” is and then…oops. I’m giving away our game plan. Forget I said anything.

I hope this information has been helpful. Bite me. While you may disagree with the Board on this particular policy, we hope that many other issues, objectives, and services of AARP so beneficial to older Americans encourage you to remain or become a valued member of the association. Here are some lovely mailing labels with your name on it. See the shiny colors? Now go take your meds like a good boy. We appreciate your participation. No, we don’t.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is any way your headquarters staff may be of assistance in the future. We have to say that. Please don’t take us at our word. Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch. It is an important part of my job to consider carefully the concerns of every member. I hate my job. I have to listen to crap like yours every day. You should be glad I don’t believe in guns. I might have to put a cap in your ass myself if you don’t shut the Hell up.

[Name withheld]
Member Service
AARP