Skip to comments.The NRA’s star may be on the wane (barf alert)
Posted on 04/22/2012 7:12:47 PM PDT by marktwain
ONE of the things Europeans find incomprehensible about America is its love of guns. There are two reasons they dont get it. One is that Europeans live in a much more urbanised, regulated and crowded part of the world. More importantly the concept of owning a gun as an essential civil liberty is entirely absent. There is no second amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms, and there is little sense that it is up to the individual to defend ones family and property.
The organisation most associated with Americas culture of guns is the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRAs lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)which drafts model legislationhave been enormously successful at pushing pro-gun laws in state legislatures. These days the debate is no longer whether assault rifles ought to be banned, but whether they should be allowed in bars, churches and schools. One group, Students for Concealed Carry, even argues that carrying concealed weapons on university campuses would be an effective means of self defence.
On the face of things, then, the NRA is a wealthy and powerful organisation. At a recent event, one speaker boasted about the political pain the organisation caused Bill Clinton during his presidency. More recently, according to OpenSecrets.org, it spent $7.2m during the 2010 election cycle. Its influence can also be seen in the way politicians respond to its demands. For example, at the height of its powers in the 1990s it succeeded in quashing research into gun-related injuries and deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But Paul Waldman, of the American Prospect, has recently argued that the NRA's dominance is a myth. He has looked closely at the figures and writes, Despite what the NRA has long claimed, it neither delivered Congress to the Republican party in 1994 nor delivered the White House to George W. Bush in 2000. He also argues that NRA money has no impact on congressional elections, as it spreads its money over so many races, and that NRA endorsements are almost meaningless as most go to incumbent Republicans with little chance of losing.
One also has to wonder if the organisation has a winning strategy for the future. Although the number of firearms in the country continues to rise, most of these sales are to repeat customers. Over the last three decades the number of households with guns has steadily declined. Changing demographics are blamed. For one, America has become more urban (gun ownership is less common in cities). White males, the gun-loving sector of American society, also make up an increasingly smaller percentage of the population. What the industry actually needs is more Latino, black and female gun enthusiasts. But the NRA isnt delivering these.
The people who turn up to NRA conventions, like the one held this week in St Louis, remain older white men. At this year's event, the main sign of women in the hall were the skimpily clad girls advertising guns. The NRA's magazines feature ads for leaf mulchers and Viagra, but not apparently the "sexy, fast and practical" bra gun holster.
More cause for concern came on April 17th, when the American Legislative Exchange Council ended its task force responsible for promoting pro-gun legislation. This followed the controversy over ALECs ties to "stand your ground" laws around the country. ALEC will now focus its efforts on jobs, free markets and growth, but not firearms.
All of these developments suggest an attenuated NRA. The organisation has had its political power called into question, lost an ally in promoting gun laws, and caters to an ageing demographic, on top of pushing a potentially dangerous product that is of less interest to American households. Time will tell, but it seems reasonable to wonder whether the NRA has as much firepower as it claims.
It is amazing how this story is recycled every election year.
Sure. Its constituency is losing ground every year as more and more people buy guns and ammunition.
Makes sense to me /s
Gee, I missed the all the stories about how the NRA’s star was on the rise.
In fact, I’ve never seen so much as a single story in The Economist, or anywhere else in the MSM, about how the NRA was winning anything, prevailing anywhere... even while the NRA was quietly and effectively fulfilling its mission.
Somehow the elite media forgot to write those stories. Now I’m supposed to take it to heart when they write the opposite.
Now there's a hard-hitting piece. All of the evidence cited in it indicates that the NRA has been very successful, but its demographic is too old and too white and therefore...wait for it...therefore...drum roll...therefore WE WONDER!
The NRA is a DC-based lobbyist organization. That's it. That's all it is. Its success has been based on organizing and presenting the issues to a voting public that turns out to be remarkably pro-gun. Its weakness is based on the political compromises it has made - support of Harry Reid, for example - not all of them wise ones, because it is a DC-based lobbyist organization.
What the author misses is that it doesn't matter if the membership - 4 million or so - is disproportionately old, white, and male. What matters is that the young and non-white and female voters listen and vote accordingly. And they do. And anyone who thinks otherwise is free to champion gun-control laws in Congress and pay the price.
Yeah it’s clear where the sympathies of this article lie. But there could be cause for concern going forward for the Second Amendment.
Yes, the correct, Individual-right interpretation has been endorsed twice now by the Supreme Court as hand-gun bans in Chicago and Washington DC have been struck down. But both were 5-4 decisions. If Obama wins this year, then it’s a safe bet that Ginsburg will go ahead and retire thus allowing the Left to hold that seat. Perhaps Breyer would do the same, though I doubt it. Then you have to consider Scalia and Kennedy, both of whom are getting up there in age. I don’t think Scalia would retire unless his health forced him to, but who knows about Kennedy. Either of them go, and then it’s over for the Supreme Court. The left will then have a majority.
Then you have to consider the nation’s immigration-driven demographic changes. Though this article intends it as a slight to say that white men are the primary gun enthusiasts (because after all, anything dominated by white men must be inherently evil), it is nonetheless true. It is highly unlikely that the NRA, or any pro-Second Amendment group can make growing Hispanic and Asian communities into champions of the Second Amendment. It simply isn’t part of their culture, and probably never will be.
So yes, now things are good for the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court has got it right, and the so-called Assault Rifle ban couldn’t be reenacted even when Obama had a majority Democrat Congress. But all it takes is one swing on the Court to overturn the previous decisions and establish the bogus collective-right interpretation. And as demographics make it harder for the GOP to win, then you could see the Left become aggressive in pushing anti-gun and anti-Second Amendment legislation.
More households have acess to a firearm than ever. I don’t know where they’re pulling these stats other than out their a$$.
The Economist is just trying to make the liberal dream a reality by saying it is so. In fact the opposite is true. When a surprising number of common people have concealed carry permits, and over time come to be glad they carry for the security it offers, they will think twice about ever putting that right at risk again.
The Economist must have missed an important milestone:
State reaches 100,000 milestone for carry permits
By Ben Vincent
Sunday, April 22, 2012 11:00 a.m.
Updated Sunday, April 22, 2012 9:40:36 p.m.
With hundreds of applications flowing in every day, the Department of Justice last week issued the 100,000th concealed carry permit in the state since the law passed last year, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced Friday.
Van Hollen said the department has been flooded with applications, reaching the 100,000 milestone in just six months. Van Hollen estimated the state would approve 125,000 permits by the end of the first year.
Making the announcement in one of the DOJs rooms where the permits are printed off, Van Hollen applauded the efforts of the DOJ staff and law enforcement officials for making the distribution of permits a smooth and efficient process.
There were doomsday people out there, before concealed carry was passed, who were predicting, of course, the doom and gloom that when we put more guns on the street, that were going to have more problems, Van Hollen said. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Van Hollen said the permits have been less controversial than opponents would make it seem and said the state has not had any problems so far, adding that concealed carry laws also exist in 48 other states.
According to Van Hollen, handgun permits and purchases have increased at a record pace since the law was passed.
***More importantly the concept of owning a gun as an essential civil liberty is entirely absent.****
That is because Europe has had a culture of LORDS, Nobles and serfs, something the FREE PEOPLE of the US has never had.
As a French Nobleman said 600 years ago, “If you arm the serfs for a war, they are reluctant to give up their arms and return to being serfs.” (Or words to that effect).
I notice a comment recently that of the new democracies formed in the last 50 years, not a single one has the equivalent of a First Amendment recognizing the right to free speech or a Second Amendment recognizing the right to keep and bear arms.
For all those new constitutions, a citizen’s rights flow from government and not the other way around.
Last time I checked Switzerland was still part of Europe. Every household in the nation has a fully automatic modern battle rifle and a thousand rounds of ammunition in the front hall closet. Citizens engage in competitive target shooting which is practically a national pastime. They also have near zero gun crime.
WWII Wehrmacht officers made jokes about the Swiss riding around their mountains on their rickety bicycles. A German Field Marshal was reported to have asked his Swiss counterpart "What would you do if we marched a division across your border?" The Swiss Officer replied "We would shoot them all and then reload". The Germans NEVER did attack Switzerland...
Lots of lefties keep threatening to leave here for europe. I wish they would.
Eff Europe and it’s subject/socialist way of life. That’s why by far the place anyone anywhere wants to come is America. Still, even with Obamunism.
Talk about reaching. They also completely gloss over the record number of women now arming themselves.
A poorly written and researched article.
“Over the last three decades the number of households with guns has steadily declined.”
bill clinton will disagree. He personally said the gun issue cost the democrats the 1998 elections.
By :European” I assume he doesnt mean Switzerland. Nobody has been dumb enough to try taking their guns in centuries.
“Although the number of firearms in the country continues to rise, most of these sales are to repeat customers.”
This is factually incorrect. The percentage of households owning a gun in the US is at an all time high.
The demographic argument (old white guys) is nonsense too. My wife is a firearms instructor. 1/3 of her students are first-time shooters who just bought or are about to buy a gun. More than half of her students are women. She has qualified over 700 students for their carry permits in the last year and a half—so she has a pretty good sample size.
Europe has been the cradle of marxism and the USA has been the cradle of freedom, if you siscount the SOOPID marxist that stoopid people TEMPORARILY electid. Europe, Russia and China are going to be in serious hurt in November no matter the promises Zer0 made in the open mike incident.
The Socialists and Feminist troops of the European Union are having a go at it through the legislature. They have made some headway. Guns are much more highly regulated in Switzerland now than they were 20 years ago.