Know Your Enemy (The NRA) | Building Background Knowledge
July 30, 2016
The Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the lobbying arm of the NRA. Established in 1975, ILA is committed to preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ILA is also deeply committed to putting forth shrewd, yet incoherent, arguments that help perpetuate an ideology of fear in its constituency.
We literally GAGged at the title of a recent NRA ILA article, "The AR-15 Is The Musket of Its Era". The thesis of the article maintains that inherent in our Constitution is the principle that Americans are in charge of their representatives and not the other way around. As such, ownership of the AR-15 is a reinforcement of one’s inalienable right to bear arms. Similarly, banning assault weapons, like the AR-15 is an infringement of 2nd Amendment rights. (yawn, c'mon girls give it a rest.)
Here’s an excerpt from the article. Again, we GAGged:
“In truth, the AR-15 is the contemporary equivalent of the musket—an everyday gun for everyday citizens. Fundamentally, the AR-15 is democratic. It is the yeoman’s gun; the people’s gun; the Brown Bess of our era. It is what William Blackstone was referring to when he praised private arms; what George Orwell had in mind when he sought to keep the “rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage;” what Ida B. Wells imagined when she recommended that endangered blacks give a rifle “a place of honor” in their homes. As the standard firearm of its day, the AR-15 does not represent some bizarre over-extension of the right to keep and bear arms. It is the very core of that right.
This being so, it is unsurprising that the AR-15 has played a valuable role in ensuring that the Second Amendment can be enjoyed by everybody. The old line that “God created men, Sam Colt made them equal” hit on a key truth: Namely, that the right to self-defense remains largely theoretical absent the widespread availability of easy-to-use methods to provide for that self-defense, like firearms.”
Where to begin? “In truth”? How about in falsity? First, we think Ida Bell Wells-Barnett would be horrified by the out-of-context usage of her words especially by a right wing, Southern white power group like the NRA. Ida B. Wells was a Civil Rights activist who condemned the oppression and punishment of blacks. Guess what tool was used to keep blacks in their place pre and post Civil War? Guns. Guess what tool was used to contribute to the criminalization and fear of blacks during Reconstruction and the modern day? Guns. Rifles didn’t give blacks a sense of honor. Rifle ownership by blacks was a byproduct of the culture of violence they were forced to live within. How is living out of fear a form of honor?
Secondly, the AR-15 is not “an everyday gun for everyday citizens”. Statements like these belie a stunted intellect, are a misnomer, and are overly simplified (to meet the needs of your single-issue agenda). The musket was designed for use for infantries who engaged in military combat. It was not designed for everyday citizens during the 17th century. Similarly, the AR-15 was designed for the United States military to kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency. AR-15s were banned at one time in this country (‘94-‘04). The conceit that an AR-15 is a talisman of our Constitutional right and part of our national history is inaccurate. It’s a lie and a scam. More than this, it is profoundly insensitive to the lives lost (Sandy Hook; San Bernardino; Colorado; Oregon), by this readily available deadly weapon. The only thing the NRA honors is fear.