Another rant by NRA’s Wayne LaPierre – this time on Obama’s Inaugural address –where he zeroed in on one particular line from the President’s speech: “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.”
Speaking at the 56th Annual Weatherby Foundation International Hunting and Conservation Awards in Reno, NV the CEO of the NRA said “We’re told that to stop killers we must accept less freedom”. “If that is absolutist, then we are as absolutists as the framers of our Constitution and our founding fathers. And we are proud of it!” LaPierre accused Obama of wanting to “whittle away God-given freedoms,” as he slammed Obama’s plans to reduce gun violence introduced last week. According to LaPierre, the right to own semi-automatic weapons and guns without limits on high-capacity magazines was protected under the Constitution. He also rejected the idea to create a federal registry of gun transactions, saying the only purposes of that would be to “tax them or take them.”
As pointed out by The Huffington Post: LaPierre quoted former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a one-time Democratic congressman who served on the high court in the 1930s). “Justice Black understood the danger of self-appointed arbiters of what freedom really means, like President Obama,” LaPierre said.
But Black may be a problematic hero for LaPierre. In 1939, Black and his fellow Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously in a landmark gun control case, United States v. Miller that the Second Amendment does not provide or protect blanket access for citizens to any type of firearm.
“It’s a way of redefining words so that common sense is turned upside down and no one knows the difference,” LaPierre said. “The president doesn’t understand you. He doesn’t agree with the freedoms you cherish. If the only way he can force you to give ’em up is through scorn and ridicule, he’s more than willing to do it — even as he claims the moral high ground.” He then accused Obama of trying to “turn the term of absolutism into a dirty word.”
But maybe it’s LaPierre who doesn’t understand. Absolutist thinking has been identified in therapeutic studies as a style of thinking believed to promote emotional distress, particularly anger, when people are confronted by situations which do not conform to their demands concerning what ought to happen. It is not a distinct thought process, however, but a key aspect of a framework of beliefs and reactions which are thought to make people vulnerable to poor psychological and physical health when faced with personal, domestic or work problems. This pretty much describes the NRA or at least LaPierre’s thinking process. So maybe it IS a dirty word in that respect.
According to an article in Little Green Footballs in July 2012 – nearly 6 months BEFORE The Newtown Massacre, support for gun control is rising and NRA Members Agree: More Gun Regulation Makes Sense:
1. Requiring criminal background checks on gun owners and gun shop employees. 87% of non-NRA gun-owners and 74% of NRA gun owners support the former, and 80% and 79%, respectively, endorse the latter.
2. Prohibiting terrorist watch list members from acquiring guns. Support ranges from 80% among non-NRA gun-owners to 71% among NRA members.
3. Mandating that gun-owners tell the police when their gun is stolen. 71% non-NRA gun-owners support this measure, as do 64% of NRA members.
4. Concealed carry permits should only be restricted to individuals who have completed a safety training course and are 21 and older. 84% of non-NRA and 74% of NRA member gun-owners support the safety training restriction, and the numbers are 74% and 63% for the age restriction.
5. Concealed carry permits shouldn’t be given to perpetrators of violent misdemeanors or individuals arrested for domestic violence. The NRA/non-NRA gun-owner split on these issues is 81% and 75% in favor of the violent misdemeanors provision and 78% to 68% in favor of the domestic violence restriction.
Following the devastating mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, support for stricter gun control laws is now the highest it’s been in a decade and has surged 18 points since the spring of this year, according to a new CBS News poll.
It seems that the President is right on target and it’s LaPierre who ‘doesn’t understand’ – not even the members of the NRA. But Obama did not mention any of these measures in his inaugural speech on Monday. In fact, gun control was only mentioned indirectly in a speech that gave higher billing to climate change, gay marriage and immigration reform.
The president merely stated that “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are … safe from harm” – a statement that incorporated a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.
LaPierre’s response was to accuse the president of “name-calling” gun owners as extremists, and of attempting to steal their weapons – a charge that the NRA has made repeatedly over the last four years and one that Obama has repeatedly denied.
LaPierre’s speech was his first public comments since an appearance on “Meet the Press” two days after the NRA’s press conference. Since then, the NRA President David Keene handled most of its media appearances. With other spokespersons like Ted Nugent, who recently suggested that gun-owning Americans needed to do something to “fix”…the president, it seems the NRA is imploding from the top down – and that may be one of the best outcomes we can hope for.