I feel a little light-headed tonight, but not to worry, I’m sure that it is nothing more serious than my new haircut. It has been a while since the last one, so the rug on my head needed some shearing. Like I said, my head feels a lot lighter now then before. I suppose that this preamble is not the best introduction to a political post. It kind of undercuts the validity of any arguments that I might make, but I did get my hair cut tonight.
Tonight, I chose to take aim at the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. I haven’t spoken about the Newtown massacre or the ensuing gun violence debate, except in the most oblique of references. I guess that you could say that I have been holding my fire. A more tone-deaf and ill-conceived response to the mass-murder of twenty first grade students could not have been better orchestrated by the most strident of gun control advocates then the case that Mr. LaPierre has brought before the court of public opinion. I don’t know what rock he climbed out from under, but I recommend to the gun rights lobby in general and the NRA in particular that they put LaPierre back in the closet immediately.
First off, he is not that good a spokesman. He doesn’t have a silver tongue and he certainly doesn’t have a friend in the camera, but most importantly he doesn’t seem to have a brain for this campaign. I offer the NRA’s PSA involving President Obama’s daughters as Exhibit A. Back in the nineties, the NRA established itself as the big bad boy lobby that you just didn’t mess with, but in the ensuing years the NRA has been so successful with their lobbying that they have succeeded in moving the goal posts all the way down the field and now they are marching them out of the stadium. This has left them in a less tenable political position then if they had shown some self-restraint.
The issues that the NRA is now pursuing would have once been considered beyond the pale. Let’s examine a few of them. Under the rubric of the Stand Your Ground laws, the NRA is effectively advocating armed vigilantism. Florida’s Treyvon Martin is the resultant poster child of these laws. The NRA’s initial response to Newtown was to arm all the teachers. This suggestion so blew-up in their faces that they backed off a bit and now advocate stationing armed guards at every elementary school. Also, they have suggested another government-funded healthcare program, this time directed at the mentally ill. But there is more.
The NRA is now lobbying for the deregulation of silencers, both to protect the hearing of children and so as not to scare away the deer during hunting season. Silencers are legal, it is just that they are licensed in such a way that effectively bans them. This is an idea that I would like to return to later. Finally, not content with concealed carry laws in 49 of 50 states, the NRA is now advocating open carry laws. Some states have already enacted these laws. The idea behind these open carry laws is one of wholesomeness, as expressed last week by a gun rights activist on NPR. To paraphrase, concealing the gun implies shame of the gun, openly caring the gun shows pride in it.
I’ve railed long enough now, at least long enough to stir up all of the gun fetishists out there. Yeah, I know all about your 2nd Amendment rights. I don’t propose outlawing assault weapons or even large magazines, but I do propose taxing them. After last year’s Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, the Feds can tax just about anything. Every time a tax is raised on cigarettes, cigarette smoking declines. I think that the same would be true for guns. Of course, such a tax would greatly enhance the prestige and power of the ATF; otherwise know as the Bureau of Vices, but that would be just adding insult to injury. After getting all of this of my chest, I somehow feel totally grounded.