Buzzfeed is shocked and appalled by what they see as the obvious hypocrisy of the NRA. They’re out with a breathless piece laying bare for all the world to see the dirty secret that, while the NRA riles up its legion of dedicated members with the specter of national registration, the gun rights org has assiduously worked to create its own wide and deep data base of gun owners’ info. Because there’s really no difference between a vast an expanding government bent on establishing de facto (if not actual) registration in violation of current laws and an association of 5 million firearms owners using entirely legal means to grow the organization and effectively represent its members. Anyway, here’s Jeff G.’s take as published at timesunion.com and reprinted here with permission . . .
Some people who support taking away gun rights from law abiding American citizens are making a big deal out of their sudden realization that the NRA keeps a mailing list. The NRA collects name and address from members who join the NRA, as well as from people who take gun safety courses, purchase hunting licenses, get pistol permits, or attend gun shows. The NRA has been doing this for years, almost as if the NRA is trying to get the names and addresses of people who like guns or may be gun owners!
Oh, wait, that actually shouldn’t be a such a surprise. The surprise is that some people are now trying to mislead the public into believing an address list is the same thing as a “gun registry.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize the difference between a mailing list and a “gun registry.” The NRA is opposed to gun registries. It fights against laws that would mandate gun owners provide (at risk of criminal prosecution) the serial number into a registry for each and every gun legally purchased. An actual gun registry could thus be used for confiscation.
So let’s see what we have here. On the one hand we have a grass roots pro-gun organization collecting addresses of people who are interested in guns. And on the other hand we have a government entity that wants to force by law all gun owners to enter into an official gun registry their purchase or transfer, by specific serial number and personal identifying information, of each and every gun transaction, even private sales or trades. And some people want you to believe the mailing list is the same as a gun registry?
Is it really a surprise to anyone that a pro-gun organization might acquire some information on those who may be interested in guns, and those who might support their causes? They will send you mail, and let you know if some politician is about to try and ban guns. They may ask if you want to join the NRA. They may even – gasp – ask if you want to buy some NRA merchandise. Sounds like they are some sort of pro-gun organization!
Shouldn’t there be a law against people organizing to talk about guns, creating literature about guns and hunting, organizing shooting matches, teaching gun safety, and making voters aware of proposed unconstitutional laws against gun ownership? If we allow an organization to do that stuff, the next thing you know there will be credit card companies collecting names and addresses of people who might want to use their services. Or the humane society might start sending out information to pet owners!
Contrast what the NRA, or any organization that puts together address lists, is doing, with the possibility of a government mandated universal background check system and gun registry that can be used to confiscate guns. In fact, the State of California is already proving that background check data can be used to confiscate guns.
I am not necessarily against background checks, although I do not think they will effectively reduce crime. However, if we were to have background checks, we would need stronger promises than merely saying the federal government can’t create a registration list with it. We would need to be clear that states could not use that information to confiscate guns. We would need to make state gun registration lists illegal so that they were not backdoor run arounds on federal prohibitions against registration.
People who say that the failed Manchin-Toomey background bill “explicitly PROHIBITED the federal government from creating a database” apparently do not understand that the registration information still could be passed to states. Nor have they read the fine print where it does not actually prohibit the entire federal government from building a registration database for confiscation, but merely specifies that the Attorney General cannot do so.
That loophole would be big enough to support a super highway of registration information used for confiscation.
Some people like to exclaim, “the government would never confiscate guns!” Curiously, those same people are also the ones who support gun bans. Really? You want the government to ban guns, but you don’t want them to confiscate the banned gun? That makes no sense at all. Even I support having police make the best and most efficient use of data available. Having the police arrest criminals is a good thing. But the concern about a gun registry is that the California-style confiscation tactics might also be used to take guns away from the law abiding.