On Tuesday, after three years of trying to convince recalcitrant Republican legislators frozen in perpetual genuflection before arms dealers to pass responsible gun-safety legislation, President Obama did the next best thing. He offered a well-thought-out, well-vetted series of executive orders to expand background checks on gun sales, clarifying who is “in the business” of selling firearms.
Additionally, these measures aim to expand research on smart-gun technology, require reporting of guns lost in transit between manufacturer and dealer, facilitate the hiring of more FBI agents to process background checks, and improve the NICS background-check system.
You know, some real Pinochet-level, authoritarian shit.
Or at least you’d think that from the reactions of Republican stoolies running for president and American Politburo members cowering in fear that the 99 percent reelection rate of their ilk might somehow forget to include them. In other words, those craving easy National Rifle Association campaign checks like a quick fix behind the Capitol and/or future shovel-ready NRA jobs and/or speaking fees for past sucking up.
Their reaction—in a degeneration of Cesare Beccaria’s theory on crime and punishment—was swift, severe...and stupefied. Sure, it’s no surprise to anyone paying even the scantest attention to politics. Even impartial and conservative observers have wondered whether this once great party can continue to operate when its leaders seem to have mass-shotgunned The Blood of Kali. But coming from these poor (mostly) white souls, the cries of tyranny when the president is doing something 90 percent of Americans (and 85 percent of gun owners) support are rich indeed.
For if you’re looking for real tyranny, look no further than the NRA. Recent weeks have made clear that as it becomes more embattled—i.e., loses—it is moving past mangled euphemisms and apocalyptic prediction to straight-up threatening and encouraging violence against opponents. Sedition, domestic terrorism, call it what you will, but a group that already was about as cuddly as the characters on Fury Road has now shifted into first. For example:
Just four days before the fifth anniversary of the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the NRA targeted a pair of Brooklyn lawmakers Monday with a menacing image of bullets next to photos of the two gun control advocates.
America’s 1st Freedom, an NRA publication, tweeted the image of state Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, both Democrats, weeks after they announced legislation aimed at controlling the sale of ammunition.
The two lawmakers and other local supporters—including Mayor de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams—condemned what came across as a veiled threat.
Cute, right? In case you are feeling charitable, thinking those 1st Freedomers didn’t mean any harm, the NRA promoted another article—decorated with a picture of nooses—suggesting “radical” Democrats will be hanged after they start a civil war over gun rights.
I know, maybe NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre just drank a bit too much cough syrup the night before. But then why, after some faculty at Bowling Green State University chose to exercise their actual first freedom by petitioning their state representative to oppose a loony open-carry bill, did an NRA affiliate in Ohio choose to do this:
Recently, the Buckeye Firearms Association went a step further and blasted criticism at Bowling Green State University faculty members who had written to State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, asking him to not support legislation allowing concealed carry of firearms on Ohio college campuses. House Bill 48, which has since passed the House, allows hidden loaded weapons to be carried on college campuses, school safety zones, day care facilities, public areas of airport terminals, police stations, and certain government facilities…
The Buckeye Firearms Association went on to publish the names and email addresses of BGSU faculty who contacted Brown with their comments, plus a photograph of [geology professor James] Evans, who had used his private email to send his comments. The result, at least for Evans, was a rush of emails to him from the association’s members, with wording that he characterized as threatening.
Let’s not even bother with NRA board member Ted Nugent’s public threats against the president of the United States, after which the Secret Service felt it necessary to pay him a visit. And notice we haven’t even touched upon the Fabulous Bundy Boys, who’ve chosen to go through their midlife crisis not by buying a Porsche or going to a strip club but holing up in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon waving guns and crying government tyranny.
Obama has done what any human president would do, upon watching the slaughter of his country’s civilians in the real world, while Y’all Qaeda and Yokel Haram stockpile guns for the coming episode of The Running Man because they’ve run low on Olanzapine. These are background checks, plain and simple, and they still won’t go as far as needed without Congress.
Tyranny would be letting terrorists, criminals, cowardly domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill continue murdering and maiming scores of people every day because the most puerile, thick-skulled 10 percent of our society can’t understand statistics and fear the monsters on Maple Street.