The Gun Industry and Its Efforts to Shirk Responsibility.
The Gun Industry and Its Efforts to Shirk Responsibility.
By James C. Whiteside
Abstract: The gun industry’s first order of deception is to deny guns’ vital design-- they are made for killing. To escape being labeled “Merchants of Death” the industry plays on a society addicted to ignoring inconvenient truths in order to embrace reassuring lies. Access to lethality is the second order of deception. It is portrayed as protection when in actual usage possession will be useless or irrelevant unless coupled with extensive training and continual practice. Casualties are given the status of human waste without respect, merely “collateral damage” in a “rights” defined ownership. Industry deceit is voluminous and foremost. A shortlist of its deceitful actions is included. The industry’s third order of deception is to starve its oversight agency, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) of resources.
The gun lobby claims it is not responsible for assault and mayhem. Such occurrences the industry judges to be totally separate and unintended by gun manufacture, which it claims is a necessary, reasonable and legal business. The N.R.A. has gone so far as refusing to cancel its convention in Denver less than two weeks after shootings at nearby Columbine High School killed 13 people. As 7,000 people protested, the N.R.A.’s then president Charlton Heston declared that the N.R.A. ‘cannot let tragedy lay waste’ to gun rights”[i]
The N.R.A. never has time to talk politics about the shootings immediately after an incident. It is never the “right” time. Such talk is said to be disrespectful of the grieving families—as though the loss of their loved ones wasn’t? The association suggests prayer. The time never comes to talk politics and the same answer is given after each succeeding tragedy.[ii]
All in all the industry will oppose any efforts that supposedly might or could possibly restrict profit. Our society permits them to do this by deceptive advertising, day and night, without ever mentioning that a gun’s primary, vital, functional design is for killing. Here we have the penultimate societal condition for the avoidance of an inconvenient truth in preference for the reassuring lie. The ultimate condition for generating murders individual or mass, is the availability of access. Tobacco, of course, takes first rank in such a killing hierarchy along the same lines of deception—no death was said to be intended, even when the tobacco industry was caught adding ingredients to quicken and support smoking addiction.
The effort of such a consortium of profiteers is to maintain permission for an unlimited, mass distribution of lethal military firepower in a civil society. Under the disguise of “entertainment” and “protection” the association and the manufacturers demand and are permitted to have, unlimited access to Congress and state legislatures in order to avoid unwanted regulation and control. When listening to the gun industry talk about protection by guns it is worth remembering that it is always protection for guns that is central to the profit system.
For such a system the profit motive is foremost and fundamental. Any limitation is considered a “taking” and therefore can be litigated. Civic functionality and purpose are remote, seldom considered and regarded as unworthy of consideration if they could possibly or remotely reduce profit. Notice that this is also true with environmental waste and resource destruction in industry generally. Such occurrences are disregarded as a cost to be “externalized” upon the larger society. The result of gun misuse in this country has forever been stated by the industry to not be its fault.
Here is a heartfelt lesson in industry deceit, to our grievous injury. Are not our children our most precious resource? They and their educators have now been folded into that industrial category of “waste,” part of the externality of all gun caused violence. They have become persons to be ignored and then offset by the industry’s tactical silence and known ability to “slow-roll” any legislation that is introduced to stop such violence.[iii]
A short list of the extent the industry will go to protect itself rather than the citizens of the United States and the various means, devices, defeats and wins the N.R.A. has carried for the industry are as follows:
- The latest dissembling was the N.R.A.’s attacks on Hollywood and violent video games. Games which are undoubtedly involved. Yet the N.R.A. did not disclose that the firearms industry and the video game manufacturers have produced marketing links providing an internet showroom for guns. Gamers can click though the website to manufacturers and sellers.
- The gun lobby attacks any legislator who dares to oppose the lobby on any issue. Debra Maggart, chairwoman of the Republican caucus in Tennessee supported the N.R.A. so far as to vote for a bill to allow guns in bars! The N.R.A. and other groups spend approximately $155,000 to defeat her in a primary because she later refused to vote for allowing guns to be locked in cars in parking lots outside work places. She was defeated for re-election
- The N.R.A. has spent 10 times more lobbying since the beginning of 2011 than all gun control groups combined.
- A bill to ban high-capacity magazines like those used to shoot “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head—more than 130 Democrat signed on as co-sponsors. Not a single Republican would.” The bill was defeated
- Aggressive efforts to dismantle law enforcement gun databases so as to defeat background checks on purchases
- $17 million spend in 2012 was small compared to other outside groups for other purposes.
- Defeated a 2009 amendment allowing a concealed weapons permit to be valid in any state. Though defeated, 58 senators voted for it.
- After the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 Congress was able to pass a modest measure to improve the federal background check system. “But the N.R.A. secured a broad concession to push states to allow people with histories of mental illness to petition to have their gun rights restored.”
- Spending $14 million in 2012 to rally voters against President Obama failed.
- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $10 million in 2012 to boost centrist candidates, and those favoring gay rights and gun control. He says he is prepared to do more.
- The N.R.A. wields one of the biggest sticks in politics—a $300 million budget, millions of members around the country and virtually unmatched ferocity in advancing its political and legislative interests.”
- Winning their most important priority—Supreme Court recognition of an individual constitutional right to bear arms.[iv]
- After the Columbine shootings the N.R.A. prevented the closing of the gun-show loophole allowing private sales at shows without background checks.[v]
[ii] David Weigel. “How the N.R.A. Defeats National Tragedies” Slate. Dec. 17, 2012
[iii] Nicholas Confessore, Michael Cooper & Michael Luo. “Silent Since Shootings, N.R.A. Could Face Challenge to Political Power. The New York Times, Dec. 18, 2012
[iv] Adam Liptak. “Justices Extend Firearm Rights in 5-to-4 Ruling.” The New York Times. June 29, 2010.
[v] Lichblau, opus cit.