I love the clip above, which comes from a recent Fox News Sunday interview of NRA head Wayne LaPierre. I applaude Chris Wallace for coming at him so hard and calling him out for that shameless ad the NRA put out which focused attention on the President’s children. “That’s ridiculous and you know it, sir,” Wallace told LaPierre at one point. LaPierre probably thought an interview on FoxNews would be a piece of cake, talking to the choir. Wrong! Wallace nailed him over and over.
People who favor gun reform have been using (not unfairly) Wayne LaPierre’s words to Congress in 1999. “We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone,” he said, representing the NRA’s position to Congress.
Why, now, is Wayne LaPierre totally opposed to that? What changed? I’m guessing it’s the influence of the gun and ammo industry, which provides so much funding to the NRA. “Follow the money,” Woodward and Bernstein were told. It applies to lots of things. In the current hysteria which has resulted in guns and ammo selling out and prices going way up, who is profiting? Not the president. Not Joe American. It’s the gun industry…which gives tens of millions of dollars to the NRA, and to numerous politicians.
In his 2013 testimony before Congress, Wayne LaPierre came down strongly against straw-purchases. If you use your good background to buy a firearm for a criminal, LaPierre wants to prosecute you. But he wants to keep the gunshow loopholes open, which means criminals can skip the straw-purchase middlemen altogether and buy guns directly. Yeah, that makes sense.
Why do NRA members tolerate having Wayne LaPierre represent them? A good majority of NRA members, according to polls, favor universal background checks. Yet LaPierre is against it, and thereby represents his constituent members as being against it. In fact, LaPierre seems to oppose any and every idea for reform.
In my view, LaPierre is most interested in representing these two constituencies:
- The gun and ammo companies who significantly fund the NRA, and who reap big bucks when conservatives whip gunowners into a frenzy because “they’re gonna do away with the 2nd amendment.”
- The survivalist wing of the NRA–those members who envision black helicopters descending to confiscate their guns.
Most NRA members are decent, ordinary Americans. If I were an NRA member, I would be embarrassed by LaPierre. I certainly wouldn’t endorse everything he says out of some notion of loyalty.
I, personally, wouldn’t be opposed to joining the NRA. But not as long as LaPierre is the face of the NRA.