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This morning’s Washington Post series The Secret Life of Guns rehashes a theme expressed during their last extended salvo: the Nation Rifle Association (NRA) sucks. “The controversial proposal by officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives calls for a measure strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association: requiring gun dealers to report multiple sales of rifles and shotguns to ATF. The gun issue is so incendiary and fear of the NRA so great that the ATF plan languished for months at the Justice Department, according to some senior law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity but would not provide details.” Once again, the WaPo paints a picture of the NRA as a shadowy organization dedicated to thwarting a “common sense” law enforcement proposal because . . . oh wait. Seems they forgot that bit . . .

The NRA opposes gun registration because they believe the federal government should not have access to personal information on American citizens who purchase firearms. They consider a federal database of gun owner info to be a dangerous infringement of their right to bear arms, an over-reach that could give the government power to ID and confiscate their weapons. As they did in post-Katrina New Orleans.

It doesn’t really matter if you see this fear as gunloon paranoia or a right to privacy that should be sacrificed on the altar of expediency. The issue is what Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan disingenuously called “settled law.” I refer you to Section 18 U.S.C. 926(a) of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.

No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established.

Now you could say that the current ATF record keeping process, including the eTrace system that this “quiet” proposal sought to expand, is illegal. And you’d be right. But the Washington Post has an NRA-shaped blind spot that prevents it from seeing gun control from anything other than an advocate’s point-of-view.

In the NRA alert cited by the WaPo (click here for the link that the paper inexplicably neglected to include), the gun rights group sets out its opposition to multiple long gun registration in different terms. Simply put, it won’t work.

BATFE doesn’t follow up on most of the multiple sales reports it receives on handguns, so there’s little reason to think it would do things any differently with reports on long guns. Theoretically, more multiple sales reports and NICS checks would make it easier for BATFE to conduct commercial record traces on firearms, but as the report points out, “most trace requests that are submitted to ATF from Mexico are considered ‘unsuccessful.'” Only 27 percent of traces between 2007 and 2009, on firearms seized in Mexico, were successful.

BATFE traces are of such dubious value that, the report notes, “Mexican law enforcement authorities do not view gun tracing as an important investigative tool. . . . One Mexican official stated that U.S. officials talk of eTrace as if it is a ‘panacea’ but that it does nothing for Mexican law enforcement. An official in the Mexico Attorney General’s office told us he felt eTrace is ‘some kind of bad joke.'”

Surely such considerations are important when deciding if the NRA is, as the WaPo clearly sugests, a hindrance to the ATF’s work. Never mind. The Post doesn’t. From this flimsy platform, they swan dive into a pool of demonization. Apparently, the NRA’s power is a bad thing, not a good thing.

The result [of the NRA’s political muscle] is that a president such as Obama, whose campaign platform called for tougher gun laws, finds his freedom of action circumscribed.

That would be the same President Obama who wrote “I believe in the Second Amendment. Period.” To its credit, the Post lets the NRA defend itself,—and then kicks it with the other journalistic jackboot.

NRA officials say their efforts protect the rights of gun owners. “We don’t represent criminals who misuse firearms,” said Chris W. Cox, director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “We don’t represent dealers who willfully and knowingly violate the law. We represent honest, law-abiding people, including honest dealers who are often targeted in an unfortunate way.”

Last year, the NRA perturbed ATF agents by sending dealers an article by an industry lawyer. “You never, ever have to speak to an ATF agent or inspector,” the article said. “You have the absolute right not to answer any questions that an inspector may pose to you.”

So reminding Americans of their right to remain silent is wrong? To quote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who are those guys? While the Post article presents a potted, more than slightly antagonistic history of the NRA, I’d like to know the history of this Washington Post series.

Did anyone involved with this year-long investigation question the series’ underlying assumption that gun rights groups in general and the NRA in specific are the enemy of law and order? Did anyone suggest that gun dealers perform a valuable service, and should not be smeared in a non-judicial rush to judgement on a few alleged bad apples? That innuendo should not be the legacy of the paper’s tradition of “real” journalism?

I think not.

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  1. The NRA deserves our full support if for no other reason than it being hated by WaPo, the Brady Scam, the Violence Policy Center, the Joyce Foundation, MAIG and all other libiots everywhere. Where do I send my check?

  2. The NRA RULES! I can’t even remember how long I’ve been a good loyal member, but it’s been a long long time.

  3. NRA sucks! Just joined to recieve and expired coupon and cap that fits my infant and a request for more money. I contacted NRA explaining this insult of welcome aboard. NRA responded saying this was a welcome package but did not send a current coupon or man size cap. I asked and clicked on (take me off your list twice) still getting requests for more money. NRA is a money hungry, hypocritical organization that I am still trying to get out of. NRA is not to be trusted!

    • the nra is there to provent blood sucking liberals from taking away our rights to protect ourselves. i’m not saying the nra is perfect but they are necessary if you believe the government should fuck off rather than tell you weather or not you can own a gun

  4. The media promotes violent revenge fantasies!!!! Mass murder suicides are done to get attention and the idiotic-reactive-get-the-story-out-first-don’t check-any-facts MEDIA is fully responsible for glorifying the psycho paths. FYI 3 students killed 10 injured in a bus accident today… LETS BAN BUSES!!!!!!!

    I am the NRA and I vote.

  5. Not familiar with “provent” is that a new word? Spell check… However if you mean prevent them then how about we forget government and Fuck all laws that are preventing the exercising of the bill of rights. However liberal or not anyone may feel the opinion of an idiot is
    still idiotic and best kept private.
    And if the idiot must speak then speak correctly else be found out for the idiot within.
    And that is whether not “weather”

  6. First of its not the NRA’s fault sick people choose gun free zones where law abiding citizens that do carry a gun for protection are restricted to carry, not the NRA’s fault, the blame is on our government for making up such stupid laws that restrict the right to protect ourselves in certin locations

  7. The NRA is a tool of the gun industry. Do you yahoos actually believe that the gun manufacturers give a rats ass about your goofy 2nd Amendment rights. The CEO’s and boards of these companies want to put as many guns in the hands of as many people, whacko, felons or otherwise, that they can. Period. The more people killed by some nut case with an AK-47, the happier they are. And you know what, if it was your family that was wiped out, they would be ecstatic. Because more bozos would run out and buy guns. Use your heads. Money trumps everything. Give me a freakin’ bazooka any day.

  8. All you idiots saying that the nra is what kills people then you have no idea of reality.
    Do you really think gang bangers and cartels are part of the nra?
    Do you think they are law abiding gun owners who purchased their guns LEGALLY?
    There is always some nut that goes on a rampage and makes people question if tighter gun laws will fix this.
    Look at california you fools.
    Notorious gang land with defenseless citizens who are killed every year because of such restrictions by criminals WHO DO NOT OWN A GUN LEGALLY.
    So until you get that through your narrow-minded heads there will be no shortage of idiots in this world.

  9. Reading comments here and at most gun advocate sites is an experience of horror, hate, and sheer irrationality. I hope that I never encounter any of you people in my daily life and given I am a liberal academic in a large city this is as close as I think I will get.

  10. Wrongright, most of the guns purchased on the streets of America and by the drug cartels in Mexico were legally purchased in the U.S. to being with. It is you who are an idiot and doubt you have enough intelligence to follow modus ponens. (Look it up.)

    • Correct. People that argue that bad guys don’t buy guns through controlled channels need to take it back one step and see how many of those guns initially entered through legal channels. Reduce the number of guns overall and reduce gun violence.

      • And reduce the law-abiding citizens’ access to firearms. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, a falling one leaves them all stranded.

  11. DS, buses are an efficient means of moving large numbers of people to work and other destinations. We need transportation as a part of social and economic life. We don’t need guns. Now do you see the simple difference?

  12. Ken, I dont think they would be ecstatic I just think they dont care. The money is all that matters.

  13. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  14. If you don’t like the 2nd Amendment, you are free to go to another country at any time. This country was founded by people who believed it was a right from our Creator. If you want to have your rights stripped away, go to Cuba, China or North Korea. We are armed and ready to defend our rights here!

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