On the Altar of the Black Rifle: The NRA’s Failure

|Author: V|

I am a gun rights absolutist. I mean that.  There is nothing I qualify the position with.  Obtain a weapon with which to wage war. That is your mandate.  It is an unconditional mandate. This mandate became such in my mind via simple means.  There is a very basic hypothetical one must indulge to determine the degree to which, if at all, he believes something.  I like to call this the Apocalypse Diametric. It’s simple. One looks at the two sides of a given debate, and determines the fundamental insanity of each, and subsequently decides which is preferable.  They both result in an apocalypse of a sort. In the case of the gun, it is no different. The most fundamental conclusion of the gun control side explains itself: guns are perfectly controlled. A single entity maintains exclusive access and use of all guns over all others.  Extrapolate whatever conclusion you would like. The pro gun argument is everybody has access to a gun. Extrapolate whatever conclusion you would like. I will examine the logical insanity of each path as they appear to me.

The first consolidates all practical political power into a single entity with zero conditions.  You have no power and are completely subordinate to the entity that does. You do not have a wife because you cannot defend her.  You do not have children because you cannot protect them. You have no home because it cannot be preserved. Even the fiercest fascist starts getting squeamish when one talks like this.  To be told you are nothing. If you want the State – democratic, monarchist or whatever, to have all the guns – it will always look like this. You simply cannot say no to a man with a gun if you cannot meet his threat with equivalent or greater force of arms.  Everything you own is his because you cannot defend it from him. This state of being is permanent. As weapons are perfectly controlled, you cannot obtain one to fight back. Enjoy the rest of your life. It might be very short.

The second scenario positions itself as what I see on both a primordial and cognitive level, less grim.  That is to say everybody on the planet murders each other with their absolutely unfettered access to firearms.  In a primal sense, I care less about this because not only is the punishment more than earned if it progresses to such a level of sheer wanton violence, but also because it is less designed.  Most legal systems do after all give deference to criminals with no intention of hurting others over those with the explicit expressed intent to do so. If it were the eventual state of an undisturbed human race to in a sense, shoot itself in the head, I would see it as no different than a leaf falling from a tree come Autumn.  This scenario stands in contradiction to one in which a single man would put a gun to the head of all the unwilling others. Which most stokes the flames in your heart? Which is more tragic? To me, it is the difference between watching all the leaves fall from a tree, and watching a mad man pluck them one by one.

I have decided that I am more willing to watch the human race self-destruct via ceaseless slaughter by means of the gun than allow another to lay claim against all I mean to possess or protect, and I do not begrudge any man or woman who sees it the same.  Thus, it would be a greater tragedy to have one person denied access to a firearm meant to protect what they cared for most than to have the entire Earth engulfed in a pile of lead because anybody could have one. If your wife, your husband or your child means not the world to you, I imagine this premise disgusts you.  But this is what the phrase implies, “to mean the world…” Though it is only a thought experiment, I do not believe most people accept the second premise as the preferable one, even if I do and however unlikely it may be. The NRA is certainly no different in this regard.

In 1934 the NRA supported what was at the time the only federal firearms law.  The National Firearms Act of 1934 was iconoclastic in the sense that guns had maintained themselves as an unregulated tool of the modern age for every day of the country’s existence up to that point.  The bill was not special, rather it was created as most laws are. As always, it was meant to constrain the behavior of those least willing to behave. Gun rights began their rapid descent down the drain in response to bootleggers gunning each other down on the streets of Chicago, and the subsequent Congressional effort to counter it.  Of course, as gun rights proponents are so apt to point out, one prohibition – in this case, alcohol – led to another. The bill specifically targeted so-called “gangster weapons”, and would begin the trend of vilifying particular weapons by means of a spooky prefatory clarifier. Machine guns, short shotguns, and sound suppressors got the axe.  In 1938, the NRA supported the National Firearms Act of 1938, which stipulated that all firearms manufacturers and dealers receive a federal license to continue to do so. 30 years later, the NRA backed provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 that banned criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining firearms. This presents numerous problems.

The first is that “criminal” and  “mentally ill” did at the time and continue to mean the same thing as it pertains to firearms ownership.  The NRA’s history in supporting the abolition of gun rights for the mentally ill consolidates in a contemporary context by their support of Emergency Risk Protection Orders, or Red Flag Laws to the uninitiated.  Such laws essentially mandate that family members or law enforcement can petition a judge to allow them to temporarily remove firearms from the possession of the legal owner if they are deemed to be a “threat” to themselves or others.  The implications here should be obvious. For one, something is not a right if it is conditional. On that note, being temporarily separated from your personal property by means of force is not indicative of something you have a right to.

Secondly, the term “legal owner” is paramount here.  That is to say no law has been broken. Nothing has been done.  How does one prove a crime can be prevented? How can one prove a crime will be committed?  If the “threat” did not result in an arrest for said threat, how was it a statement or action that warranted any response at all? Red Flag Laws are downstream from the entire philosophical position of the control argument: because somebody somewhere could do something bad to someone, it is justified for the law to coerce the guns out of the possession of whomever owns them.  There is no logical conclusion to this line of thinking. It is universally applicable. It can be applied to anything from cars, to forks, to toasters, to flip-flops, which is precisely why these laws are moronic. Which is also why the NRA likes them.

Beyond the fact that almost all the federal gun regulation that has come down the pipe in the last 90 or so years was shoved through with the NRA’s backing, what is lacking from the NRA beyond an understanding of their own purpose, is a genuine dialectic.  The point of the Second Amendment is to provide the citizenry with the means by which to wage war. So it is interesting that the NRA seems committed to the argument that the civilian-pattern AR-15 deserves defense on the basis that it is not, in their opinion, a warfighting tool.  They say as much on their own channel as per a video posted March 29th, 2019.  The NRA has even had a hand in referring to such weapons as “modern sporting rifles”.  I can spend a moment demolishing this argument. The AR-15 was designed in 1959, itself a scaled-down version of a larger-bore 7.62 battle rifle called the AR-10.  The former of the two was chambered in a smaller cartridge per the demands of the military, and though its bigger brother was never formally adopted by the US military, the AR-15 was designed specifically to compete for military contracts.  ArmaLite engineer Jim Sullivan was tasked with scaling the AR-10 down to accommodate the smaller and newly-developed .223 Remington cartridge, and after testing and evaluation, the rifle was adopted and has been in use ever since.

The differences between the original AR-15 – which eventually became designated as the M-16 – and today’s incarnation of essentially the same rifle are myriad, but ultimately inconsequential.  The gas system, bolt carrier group, buffer system, and fire control group are virtually identical, and continue to function identically. The only sincere difference in terms of function between a civilian-legal rifle and its military counterpart is that the latter of the two is select-fire, either burst or fully-automatic.  However, even Jim Sullivan has declared that the civilian variants of the rifle are no less lethal than the military versions. Shoulder-fired rifles are simply not designed with robust enough bolts or barrels to maintain steady full-auto fire. The NRA knows this as well as I do. They argue the opposite because they are cowards.  To be sure, there are two correct responses to the assertion that the AR-15 is a weapon of war. The first of which is “so what”, the second is “not yet, but it will be”.  That’s it.  Do any of us actually imagine the opposition has an answer to these statements?  Do we really think that Piers Morgan has an astute enough knowledge of political history or even the political vocabulary to offer a retort to either one of those statements?  

The NRA however, likes to get people like Dana Loesch to prostrate herself in front of double-digit IQ harpies at CNN-hosted town halls to explain the difference between semi-auto and full-auto as if any of them actually care.  The nitwits the NRA hires to represent their arguments actually get baited into explanations regarding the military designation of assault rifle versus the legal definition of assault weapon, and then promptly get drowned out by the shitlibs groaning a collective sigh of pain and scorn, all while the screeching bald girl from Stoneman Douglass grins and the Harvard pity admission that looks like Christian Bale with rickets mean mugs the camera.  The NRA is better at getting bullied by people one standard deviation away from retarded and actual children than they are at defending gun rights. Dana, according to her own statements, had to change her residence after receiving death threats from people on the control side.  Some of these people want her and her kids dead.  They want to watch her kids killed by the same weapons she defends.  These “debates” only exist to serve one side.

The most embarrassing thing about getting that woman up on that stage is listening to her talk about how the FBI and ATF need to do better jobs stepping on throats rather than criticizing the very existence of these organizations and their respective roles in infringing on the 2A to begin with.  States need to do a better job reporting their prohibited persons to the FBI’s NICS database, so she says. There shouldn’t be a FBI-run NICS database.  It makes zero sense for a gun rights advocate to criticize the FBI for being partisan against right-wingers, Trumpers, and gun-owners and then suggest that it ought to be in charge of which person doesn’t get a gun.  But she won’t tell you that either, because the NRA supported the creation of the NICS in 1993 too. They won’t tell you that they supported more than half of the state-level legislation that has come out since Sandy Hook either.  They won’t explain why they back a POTUS who advocated infringing on the Fourth, Fifth, and Second Amendment to stop potential mass shootings. They won’t challenge him on the bump stock ban. They had almost nothing to do with the Heller decision.  And still, the NRA is being eaten alive by the opposition, the precarious position of attempting to stay moderate in a political climate in which such a tactic is worse than worthless. I wish the NRA were the demons the opposition made them out to be.  Imagine thinking defending ownership of semi-auto weapons, technology that has been around for over 100 years, was somehow radical.

When he was alive, Charlton Heston used to show up to NRA conventions and say “from my cold, dead hands”. Dana should have walked onto that stage with an AR-15, said the same thing and walked off.  That’s what the discourse should be. This isn’t up for debate. There is no discussion. If you want it, come take it. Say that to grieving mothers. Say it to petulant teens. Say it to the impotent politicians.  

Come and fucking take it.