NRA ramps up campaign against background checks
February 12th, 2013
12:04 PM ET
9 years ago

NRA ramps up campaign against background checks

Washington (CNN) - The National Rifle Association is trying to build momentum against the proposed expansion of background checks for gun purchases.

At a gun show in the Virginia suburbs this weekend the NRA's lobbying arm set up a booth to lobby against the gun control measures being pushed by the White House. Prominently displayed at the booth were two signs – one opposing the bill being pushed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, that would ban military style assault weapons and the other was against imposing universal background checks saying they "would not be universal."

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NRA officials handed out a flyer titled: "NO to 'Universal' Background Checks" saying "While banning guns and magazines is being actively promoted by the anti-gunners, the criminalization of private firearm transfers is the centerpiece of their anti-Second Amendment efforts. This is part of a strategy to chip away at our Second Amendment rights under the guise of being 'reasonable.'"

What gun control proponents are trying to do is close the so-called "gun show loophole," which allows many private purchases, many of which occur at gun shows, not to have undergo federal background checks.

Any purchase by a federally licensed dealer – whether at a store or at show – must undergo such a check.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, however, estimates 40% of gun purchases in the U.S. each year are through private sales – ones that don't undergo background checks.

Some political experts have said the expansion of background checks has the best chance of the various proposals to pass.

But the NRA is pushing back hard. It has prominently posted an op-ed, first printed in USA Today, by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on the front page of its website in which he says: "Criminals won't participate in a 'universal' system. They'll always steal or get their guns, and everything else they want, on the black market. Reasonable people know that criminals will never be part of the 'universe.'"

The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns sponsored an ad in the Washington, D.C. area during the Super Bowl to lobby for the checks expansion by highlighting a 1999 comment LaPierre made: "We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere. For anyone."

The fight over gun control is playing a prominent role in the lead-up to President Obama's State of the Union with both sides trying to take advantage. Members of Congress have invited more than 120 survivors and family members of victims of gun violence to attend the president's address, and some of them will be featured at a Washington press conference Tuesday to demand action on the gun control proposals before Congress.

On the other side the NRA is continuing to see a major influx of new members spurred by the debate. The organization set a record of 450,000 members two weeks ago. Those attending last weekend's show – the largest in the D.C. area - got a free admission into the show if they joined the NRA or renewed their membership.

The show hiked its entrance fee this year. Organizers posted a sign outside the show warning: "Admission has gone up because we are using the money to fight so you can keep and bear your guns." It also said it has already spent $25,000 "to stop impending legislation by hiring lawyers, lobbyists and writing bills."

There were waits throughout the weekend to get into the show. Once they were inside, besides the NRA booth, there were not many obvious signs of the raging debate. One dealer did post a note at his booth saying "Obama hates me."


Filed under: NRA
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    The NRA's argument that background checks hurt "law abiding citizens" is completely ridiculous. By definition, laws are supposed to affect everyone. For example, we have traffic laws that affect everyone. And, we would have a lot more traffic accidents if we did not have traffic laws.

    February 12, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Alexander Hubbard

    I don't understand why, or how the NRA believes that universal background checks are "part of a strategy to chip away at our Second Amendment rights under the guise of being 'reasonable." It IS reasonable to stopped people from illegally purchasing guns at gun shows. By closing this loophole our nation becomes a little safer.

    February 12, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Pam from Iowa

    requiring background checks for sales at gun shows would slow down the sale, possibly cut into profits......yeah.....its ALL ABOUT THE MONEY for the NRA !!!
    The NRA is not concerned about rights at all!

    February 12, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. Guest

    Yet identification to vote is ludicrous...absurd even????

    February 12, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    These are the same people who came out strongly in support of background checks after Columbine in the 90's. They see an opportunity to increase sales and memberships by demagoguing it this time, so that's what they're doing. They even reduced membership fees by 70% just to get more members and then claim "the threats to our rights creates a massive membership surge"...yeah, or perhaps the drastically reduced fees did in accordance with economics 101 They're disingenuous, dangerous, dishonest grifters whose sole goal is gun sales. That's it. They care about nothing else and if your children have to take a few slugs to the dome in order to protect their profit margins, then that's an eminently affordable cost of doing business as far as they are concerned..

    February 12, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Donna

    What good are "background checks" when all the people in this country under psychiatric treatment are not required by law to disclose their medical condition? Just more useless laws to hinder law abiding people from exercising their constitutional rights.

    The leftists know they cannot ban guns outright in this country so they have decided to simply pass law after law after law to make it more and more difficult and expense to get a gun, and eventually nearly impossible for the average person. And then if bt some miralce you do get a gun, there are thousands of laws just laying in wait to make you a criminal, so they can take your rights, and gun, away from you.

    Wake up America.

    February 12, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Boo

    Somebody should ask that head case LaPierre why he was previously FOR background checks and now he is not....the fact that it is easier for me to purchase a gun than it is for me to adopt a dog or cat at an animal shelter (they require references and check you out) is mind-boggling. Only in America....jeezy creezy!

    February 12, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Criminals won't participate in a 'universal' system. They'll always steal or get their guns, and everything else they want, on the black market. Reasonable people know that criminals will never be part of the 'universe.'"

    Wha a pile of batcrap.

    Criminals won't participate in a safe and sober driving system. They'll always drink and drive, or smoke anything else they want, and can get on the black market. Reasonable people know that criminals will never be part of the safe driving 'universe.'

    Criminals won't participate in a tax system. They'll always fail to file tax returns or file fraudulent ones or everything else they want. Reasonable people know that criminals will never be part of the tax payers universe.

    Criminals won't participate in a financial regulatory system. They'll always steal or extort or defraud or create Ponzi schemes or find loopholes and end-runs around regulatory requirements. Reasonable people know that criminals will never be part of the regulated financial industry.

    The list goes on. The argument that 'some people won't obey anyway, so we shouldn't make any rules about that at all" is broken, illogical, hivemind ideologue-speak, and the only reason it continues to get used is because nobody in the MSM has the freekin balls to say "that's nonsense and everyone f-ing knows it."

    February 12, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Jay D

    Of course the NRA doesn't support (use to support – flip floppers) universal background checks. Why would they? It would reduce the overall amount of gun sales to legitimant gun owners and criminals. Bad for business, but good for criminals and straw purchasers. After all criminals are the gun manufacturers best customers. I mean without criminals where would they be. God forbid we make an effort to take away some (not all) the guns from the bad guys.

    February 12, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Republicans; the "Not Intended to be Factually Accurate" Party

    Imagine there was a new product that was based on repetetive EXPLOSIONS, that would eject dangerous pieces of metal out of itself at dangerous speeds which can indiscrimenately harm people.

    Wouldn`t we have strict product liability for such a product? Wouldn`t we require that product to be REGISTERED and perhaps require the users to carry insurance? Wouldn`t we require users to be trained, tested an licensed to use that product?

    An automobile is essential to being able to live, work, protec,provide, maximize a citizen`s opportunities in 2013. As compared to 1776, it has supplanted the "GUN" in utility.

    No intellectually honest or capable American can argue against applying automobile calibber laws to guns.

    February 12, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. AprilElaine

    So the NRA refuses that every American get a background check when purchasing a gun? I just don't see how that makes any kind of sense to anyone?! Not a very smart move NRA...

    February 12, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Guest

    Yet identification to vote is ludicrous...absurd even????
    ------------------
    Voter ID is not ludicrous. Selective Voter ID is unconstitutional. Passing a law a that says student IDs are not good anymore, but a gun permit is.....that's unconstitutional. Passing a law that says your driver is not good anymore, but that you have to obtain a new special ID from a state DMV office....that's unconstitutional.

    You should also read the Voting Rights Act. It clearly states that laws that adversely one demographic or another are unconstitutional. The language is such that the rationale for putting the law in place is totally irrelevant. All that matters is the effect that a new law has, or would have, on a voting population. In other words, all of your arguments for why these capricious voting laws are good, don't mean anything. Your arguments are irrelevant.

    February 12, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Yet identification to vote is ludicrous...absurd even????"

    Voter fraud that would be fixed by requiring voter IDs = proven to be a non-existent, imaginary problem based on facts, evidence, historical record, etc.

    Guns not being tracked and ending up in the hands of criminals and the mentally ill via loopholes, lack of appropriate registration systems, tracking of transactions and failures of enforcement due to lack of information = undeniably real problem that leads to increased incidence rate of violent acts involving unregistered guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

    Thus ends today's lesson in how to understand the difference between inapposite things and avoid the analogy failures that result. You're welcome.

    February 12, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. RF

    Criminals get some of their guns from sloppy gun owners who leave their guns not locked up!

    February 12, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. For what it's worth

    Did the NRA hire all the ex campaign staff of Mitt's? What kind of crud is this? LOL, Last time they were all for better background checks and now they are opposed? They are really digging their own grave now, letting the people know that they really want no change and no regulation. Just like Mitt lost his campaign by saying one thing in public and something else in private, the NRA just shot themselves in the foolt.

    February 12, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Guest

    Only Obama can change his position? Was against gay marriage now conveniently for it for political reasons, thought debt was unpatriotic and now doesnt care one bit, etc etc blah blah blah

    February 12, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    It should be simple: You buy a gun, it gets registered in your name, just like your car does. Someone else commits a crime with said gun, you should be held strictly liable for it. Who is going to "straw purchse" then? Who then is going to fail to lock them up and stick a trigger lock on them and hide the ammo in a different safe? Wanna give it to your grandkid? Fine. Register the gift like you would with your car AND, if he's a minor, you have to remain on the registration as still strictly liable if anything happens. Don't like it? Buy insurance if you can find an insurer stupid enough to create the policies you'd need.

    February 12, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Greg in Arkansas

    I went to a major sporting goods retailer in NW Arkansas on Saturday, the NRA had a booth set up with a line of people waiting to join the NRA........the fine print......the store was giving a $30 store credit to everyone that joined the NRA that day.....wonder how many "joined" just to get the FREE $30....?

    February 12, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    AprilElaine wrote:

    So the NRA refuses that every American get a background check when purchasing a gun? I just don't see how that makes any kind of sense to anyone?! Not a very smart move NRA...
    -------------
    It makes perfect sense when your entire executive board is comprised exclusively of people who are owners and top executives of companies that sell weapons and ammunition. Not an average Joe the Hunter among them.

    February 12, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. jinx88

    The only reason why the NRA wants no background checks is because it may be less gun sales which in return means less money for their crooked association. There is absolutely no reason not to do a background check.

    February 12, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Malory Archer

    Donna

    What good are "background checks" when all the people in this country under psychiatric treatment are not required by law to disclose their medical condition?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You can thank your hero raygun for that little tidbit – and the fact that his Mental Health Patients' Bill of Rights made it next to impossible to get help for people who don't want help. The mentally ill don't see themselves as being sick; they see everyone else as having a problem.

    February 12, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Chris

    The NRA says "Guns aren't the problem – people are." Then they turn around and refuse even the most basic screening of people.

    February 12, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. RandyWakeman

    According to the 1997 FBI study of inmates, 2% of the guns came from gun shows. Not much of a loophole: surely anyone would try to address the 98% before plowing out the field in search of the 2%.

    The main problem is not the "tax on a right" that it is, but that there is no such thing as a "Universal Background Check." It can do nothing for stolen or black market guns: does anyone think that the 600 identified gangs in Chicago are suddenly going to start "background checking" each other? That's about as realistic as Bonnie background checking Clyde.

    Look at the tragedy that the media loves to tout. Columbine: well, 2/3 guns acquired legally by a girlfriend. Virginia Tech shooter– passed background check, as did the Aurora shooter, as did the Giffords shooter. More background checks that don't work may help people feel better, but all they are is more background checks that don't work.

    The recent discussion all stems from CT, of course, where there already is an AWB, the guns were acquired legally . . . and came from Mom. No law could have prevented that, it is hard to know the unknowable. While "survey says" universal background checks are popular, that isn't any reason to go through life playing "Family Feud."

    If you have 10,000 people that call a duck a dog, it is still a duck. Replacing background checks that don't work with more background checks that don't work, termed "Universal" but obviously cannot be . . . it makes no sense, but adds another layer of government that costs big dollars.

    February 12, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    Jay D

    Of course the NRA doesn't support (use to support – flip floppers) universal background checks. Why would they? It would reduce the overall amount of gun sales to legitimant gun owners and criminals.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    A Sheriff in a neighboring county recently announced a gun buy back program, and stated that the weapons turned in would be destroyed. The way the gun nuts acted, you would think the Sheriff was rounding up newborn babies for stew – acting like a living thing was being abused, and it raises questions about their mental state when they're more concerned about an inanimate piece of metal than they are about post-born human beings.

    February 12, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If we know what happened to the gun, then we can try to find out the people who sell them to gangs, etc.

    February 12, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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