Gun Law Forum


News, discussion and analysis on US gun laws

The Absurdity of Gun Lobby

By Junling Hu

Imagine a group of drug dealers come together to organize a political group. They actively recruit members among drug users, and they brazenly claim any regulation on recreational drugs is against constitution. They then promote drug use among young people and general population. What will happen to this country? This is exactly what NRA has been doing with guns. NRA is an organized group of gun dealers, assisted by membership of gun users. It fights against any regulation on guns, and it tries to promote guns among young people. .

The true motivation of NRA is not serving its member, many of whom have moderate views on gun regulation. The true motivation of NRA is getting huge profit from gun sale. That also means getting more people to use guns.  How to achieve that? Claiming gun as the only way of self-defense while police are not to be trusted; marketing guns as sexy, forcing states to pass laws that allow people to carry gun everywhere, forbidding lawsuits against gun dealers and manufacturers. The list goes on and on.

Far from its original mission of safety training for hunters, NRA has become an organization that promotes death, a result of putting gun everywhere. By doing so, they have wrecked havoc on this country for the last 30 years, starting from the establishment of ILA (Institute for Legislative Action), the NRA’s lobby branch, in 1975.  Today, ILA has 20 million annual budget, about 80 full-time staff members and trained lobbyists. It helps that ILA’s parent NRA has annual budget of $200 million.

ILA promotes an extremist agenda. That is: any regulation on guns is an encroachment of personal freedom. The absurdity of this argument leads to the following outcome: Any consumer product in the United States, from teddy bears to cars, is subject to government safety regulation, except guns. The lack of safety standard and child-proof features leads to many tragic accidents at home, killing children of 4 or 5 years-old. Another outcome is lack of registration or licensing for guns, making it extremely easy for criminals to get hold of guns. ILA is against assault weapon ban, and against closing gun show loophole. It is against microstamping that would allow law enforcement to trace criminals. On the other hand, ILA is pushing for concealed-weapon law in states, allowing people to carry weapons on streets. It’s pushing for weapon on university campus, in shopping mall and in churches, and most absurdly in workplace.

ILA’s lobbying effort is helped by the large member of NRA. From late 1970s to 2009, NRA membership grew 3 times, reaching 4 million today. Many of these people join because they use firearms, but they are unknowingly becomes NRA’s propaganda target. Inciting fear that the government is taking away their guns, ILA successfully creates a cohesive group that passionately write campaign letters. Promoting misinformation on gun death and gun usage, ILA promotes the myth that more guns leads to less crimes. In reality it’s the opposite. ILA further promotes an insurgent philosophy, where people defend their freedom by guns instead of by ballots.

The most dangerous result of NRA lobby is forcing guns into international domain. Right after 9-11, NRA lobbied to allow pilots to carry guns into their cockpit, which leads to many disputes with other countries where guns are not allowed. Today, NRA is arguing for arming ship crews with guns, where crew members are mostly civilians and the presence of guns simply make internal dispute more volatile and confrontation with pirates more deadly. US stance on gun issue also runs into dispute with other countries whose harbors do not welcome guns.

The profound absurdity of gun lobby has made the United States most violent country in the industrial nations. The gun death rate of US (10.3 per 100,000) is the highest among all countries with national income higher than $15,000. It’s 2 times of Canada (4.8 per 100,000), 5 times of Germany (1.6 per 100,000), 25 times of UK (0.4 per 100,000), and 100 times of Japan (0.07 per 100,000).

It is time for us the face the absurdity of gun lobby and its deadly consequence. We cannot be held hostage by a group of extremists. We ask for common sense gun laws, and demand basic public safety.


Filed under: Gun and liberty, NRA

Why do we need regulation on guns?

Gun is a consumer product, sold for money and purchased by individuals. While all consumer products includinggun11 teddy bears are subject to strict federal laws, guns are given a free pass. There is no safety regulation on guns thanks to NRA’s lobbying effort. Unsafe guns lead to accidents and death of adults and children at home. The real suffers are gun owners.

Gun is also a lethal weapon. Falling into the wrong hand, it enables a criminal to kill, a gang member to fight, and a teenage to get revenge. Guns are more deadly than tobacco, alcohol or gambling combined. While all of these are off limit to youngsters, and a 20-year-old can be arrested for drinking beer, he can walk free for buying a gun.

The debate of gun laws was muffled by the slogan, “We need less government regulation”. It is as if government regulation is always a bad thing. These people ignore the fact that government regulates every aspect of our life today. From water to air, to drugs and toys, everything touching us is regulated by law. Without clean air act, we will be breathing dirty air ejected by power plants, we will be drinking unsafe water. Without government regulation, medicine with fatal side effects will not be pulled off shelves and toys with lead poison can stay on the market. Government regulation ensures our housing safety, our food quality, our driving safety (through speed limit and safety belt law). As we live in a society, government acts as the mediator and enforcer that no individual can do.

The freedom of owning a gun has little to do with abiding gun laws. Everyone can own a automobile, but they still need to register and get license for their cars. Everyone have the freedom of owning a house, but they still to watch for zoning regulation and fire safety requirement.

Sensible gun laws governs manufacturing standard, product safety, and accessible by minors and criminals. Sensible gun laws ensure the safety of our street, our school, and most importantly the safety of our home.

Commons sense gun laws such as closing gun show loophole, assault weapon ban, and child-lock are fundamentally needed to ensure guns not fall into wrong hands. Yet, all these basic laws are fought against by NRA lobby. How far can we go in this extremist view of so-called “individual freedom”? The consequence of suffering is demonstrated by deadly shooting every day, in every corner of America. Each day, more than 80 people die from gun shooting, from accidents at home, to dispute with neighbor, to random shooting on the street. The deadly consequence of “gun freedom” is the death of our young, 4-year-old shot while playing with guns, 15-year-old while in heat of argument, 19-year-old walking out of a nightclub.

American does not have to be a society soaked in blood, because the bloody consequence was caused by powerful gun lobby that stripped away our basic protection from law. Let’s work to enact sensible gun laws. We ask for sensible regulation on guns, as we ask for regulation on food and drugs. Gun issue is no longer a private matter but a public safety issue. It affects all of us. Let’s pass sensible gun laws now.

(Blog by Junling Hu)

Filed under: Gun and liberty, , , ,

Threat of gunfire limits our liberty

by Mike Fox,  Letter to The Editor, Baltimore Sun

In response to Dan Rodricks’ column “On guns, we lost an opportunity” (April 21), I would say that as a nation and a people, we cannot be too vain or too fearful to address gun violence and find new ways prevent it.

The National Rifle Association and its allies would have everyone believe that any form of gun control is a slippery slope to banning guns entirely.

But are seat-belt laws and speed limits a slippery slope to banning cars?

The truth is that the NRA represents a small minority of American gun owners and that although most Americans support the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns, most also support tougher gun laws.

For all the banter about Second Amendment freedoms and gun rights, we are not truly free if we are not free from fear and free from violence in our communities and homes.Mike Fox

Filed under: Gun and liberty