Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The National Rifle Association Lies ... Again

No surprise. The National Rifle Association is lying.


Few organizations have a sleazier reputation when it comes to political stuff in election season.

Lying is part of the NRA modus operandi, especially in Presidential elections, and so it is this time around.

But you don't have to believe me.

FactCheck is a neutral source, and they have actually done the work of flagging the false claims made by the NRA in their mailers and TV ads.

Here is what they say -- and what the NRA has said in response.

The bottom line, according to FactCheck.com,
is that the NRA ads are lies.

As the folks at FactCheck note on their web site:

The NRA is circulating printed material and running TV ads making unsubstantiated claims that Obama plans to ban use of firearms for home defense, ban possession and manufacture of handguns, close 90 percent of gun shops and ban hunting ammunition.

Much of what the NRA passes off as Obama's "10 Point Plan to 'Change' the Second Amendment" is actually contrary to what he has said throughout his campaign: that he "respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms" and "will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns."

The NRA, however, simply dismisses Obama's stated position as "rhetoric" and substitutes its own interpretation of his record as a secret "plan." Said an NRA spokesman: "We believe our facts."

We believe our facts? Wooooeeeeee!

Doesn't that sound like folks fresh from the alternative-universe that George Bush has been living in for the last eight years?

Doesn't that sound like the alternative-universe John McCain is living in right now?

Who needs facts? We make crap up and your job is to salute it! That's the mantra of George Bush ("Mission accomplished!") and John McCain ("the economy is fundamentally strong")

Apparently the NRA believe its members don't want or need the truth -- they can do fine on "truthiness."

They don't want want or need the facts -- they just make do with a bunch of stuff made up whole cloth.

Fact Check notes that the NRA has lied boldly: "We find the NRA has cherry-picked, twisted and misrepresented Obama's record to come up with a bogus 'plan.'"

The flier looks almost as though it comes from the Obama campaign. It uses the same color and font scheme as well as the campaign's sunrise logo. And on some points it is right; Obama has called for national legislation against carrying concealed firearms, and he would revive and make permanent the expired ban on semi-automatic "assault weapons," for example. On other points it exaggerates. Obama has spoken in favor of government registration of handguns, for example, but has not called for registration of all "firearms" including hunting rifles and shotguns. But the TV spots and fliers also make claims that are directly contrary to what Obama actually says about guns.

And so what does Barack Obama REALLY think about the Second Amendment and your right to hunt and protect yourself and home?

Here's what he has actually said and written:

... Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns.

And what is John McCain's position on guns? The same as Obamas! Both support the Second Amendment, and both want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and crazies.

Well, let's go to the video clip -- the video that the National Rifle Association does not want any of its membership to see.

Want to know more?

Read through an earlier post from this blog about the Second Amendment entitled The Liberal Case for Gun Ownership.

That's where I come out on guns, and that's about as pro-Second Amendment as you can get.

And so, in theory, I should be an NRA member. But I am not, and I never will be because the NRA lies like most animals breathe, and this current campaign is a perfect example.

I will not support liars.

And neither should you.



Chas S. Clifton said...

Has Senator Obama ever voted *against* a gun-control bill in either the Illinois legislature or the US Senate?

His use of "hunters" (and I'm a hunter) suggests to me that he still does not accept the notion that self-defense is a human right.

It's a pity, because he is the stronger candidate in so many ways, but the NRA is likely right on this.

(My apologies for originally posting this comment on the wrong post of yours.)

PBurns said...

The links in the post give you Obama's record, Chas.

But let me ask you a question: Why have you not asked about John McCain's position on guns?


Will you vote for McCain knowing he supports banning gun shows?

Will you vote for John McCain knowing that he voted to ban the type of gun MOST LIKELY to be used for self-defense purposes?

Will you vote against John McCain despite the fact that he supports mandatory safety locks on certain guns?

Will you vote against John McCain because he says he is "open" to voting for an assault weapons ban?

That is John McCain's record on guns -- and it is not hard to find.

But you have not asked about it.


No matter; this post is not about guns; it's about LYING.

The NRA has been caught lying.


And they do it all the time.

And, as the video tape in the post makes clear, John McCain has actually LED in the fight against guns in the past; one reason the NRA declared him their Number One Enemy a few years back.

Push comes to shove, Barack Obama and McCain are about the same on guns, but GUNS ARE NOT A PRESIDENTIAL ISSUE.

Gun laws are not decided by the President; they are decided by Congress, state legislatures and the courts. The fact that so many people think America is a monarchy is scarey to me. The Second Amendment is in the Constitution, and NO ONE in Congress is trying to change it. That said, the Supreme Court has said (correctly) that the states can regulate guns as they see fit short of a ban that would bar folks from having normal working weapons for home protection and hunting and recreational shooting. Obama supports that position (embraced by the most conservative Supreme Court in US history), and has been pretty clear about it. What that means is that crazies and criminals might not get to own guns (at least not legal one). As for the rest of us: the courts have clearly expressed skepticism about any kind of normal weapons restriction, which is not to say that "time, place and manner" restrictions" are going to be declared illegal. Loading a deer rifle on the street and aiming the scope at small children playing in the school yard *might* be illegal even if you don't pull the trigger. Local laws will apply.

But guns for home protection, and even protection against the state? Obama is pretty clear on that. In 2006 Obama voted AGAINST confiscation of firearms from private citizens, particularly during times of crisis or emergency. Obama clearly understands the Second Amendment. Unlike John McCain he is actually a constitutional scholar.

Yes, Obama opposes the expressed manufacture and advertisement of bullets as "armor-piercing." That is current law. John McCain does not -- he thinks the bullets being sold down at the Pick-n-Pay should be able to say "Manufactured for the Express Purpose of Killing Cops" right there on the side of the box.

Pardon me if I am with Obama on this one; I live and work in the Washington, D.C. area which is terrorist-central, and if some lunatic named John Mohammed (just to pick a name out of the air) starts sniping people dead at the Home Depot (the one I actually go to), I would like the cops to suit up and shoot the SOB dead, and not the other way around. The odds are a little bit better for the cops if the bullets do not say "Will Kills Cops Dead" right on the side of the box.

But good people can disagree on that.

What I think we cannot disagree on on is that the NRA is a liar.

Exampe: Because Obama opposes the expressed design and marketing of armor-piercing bullets and thinks bullets made and sold for this expressed purpose should be restricted to the cops and the military (i.e. the current law) the NRA is running ads here in Virginia saying that Obama wants to take away amunition used for deer hunting.

Now shoot what you want, but NO ONE I know uses bullets expressly made to be armor piercing to hunt deer or anything else. And the reason for that is pretty simple: It is illegal to sell and market weapons as armor-piercing. And so for the NRA to say Obama wants to take bullets away from deer hunters is a LIE. Illinois is one of the most deer-hunting states in the nation, and they elected Obama to the Senate because they KNOW his position on guns. Does the NRA say that in their ads? They do not! Do they tell you that John McCain voted to take away from law-abiding Americans the single most important weapon ever made for home protection (the Saturday Special)? They do not! Do they tell you he is willing to entertain an assualt weapons ban? They do not! Do they run the video tape of his support of ending gun shows (the one I feature in the above post)? They do not!

Omission is also a lie in this case. Truth is a full picture.

But the NRA lies. They lie like most animals breathe. And that is what this post is about.


Chas S. Clifton said...

1. I never said anything about McCain's positions, whether they were superior, inferior, or the same.

If you wish to point out his weaknesses in that area, go ahead.

But I do see people who are Second Amendment-issue voters leaning towards him, including some who might otherwise go for Sen. Obama.

2. Congress makes laws, but the executive branch enforces them. The president's views can affect who heads BATF and other agencies interacting with gun owners.

3. Check Dave Kopel's take-down of FactCheck at the Volokh law blog.

Chas S. Clifton said...

"es, Obama opposes the expressed manufacture and advertisement of bullets as "armor-piercing."

But Patrick, you must not be a rifle shooter, or you would know that *any* rifle bullet over about 5 mm is "armor-piercing," even the venerable .30-30. Only the heaviest body armor as worn by some combat troops might stop them. A lot of typical "bullet-proof vests" will not.

"Armor-piercing" is a smoke-and-mirrors issue, just like "gun show loophole."

PBurns said...

Chas, you're missing it.

Yes, any heavy cal rifle bullet can do through a vest (if said vest is without insert) if it is fired from a rifle at a reasonably close range. But MARKETING a bullet as "armor piercing" is NOT legal now, nor has it ever been, nor has the expressed creation of an armor-piercing bullet to cut through a ballistic vest. (Some bullet designs work better than others, as we both know).

I know quite a bit about ballistic vests as they have been the subject of a lot of False Claims Act litigation after Toyobo put bad Zylon cloth on the market. A huge number of the vests out there being used by police forces had problems (and some still do). That said, most ballistic vests (even the defective ones) will stop a handgun round, and MARKETING ARMOR-PIERCING BULLETS AS EXPRESSLY DESIGNED TO CUT THROUGH BALLSTIC VESTS AND KILL COPS is what the bill would actually ban. The legislation in question is a design-and-marketing restriction. I bet you did't know that! And no reason you should; the NRA will not tell you and few people ever take the time to actually read legislation (I do not always have the time myself).

But go back now and read what I wrote. I wrote it that way for a reason; that's the way the legislation is written. It does not ban a .30-30 (less and less folks shooting that cal these days) or a .50 cal elk round either. It bans MARKETING THOSE ROUNDS AS BEING ABLE TO DEFEAT A BALLISTIC VEST, and it bans making them SPECIFICALLY to defeat ballistic vests.

Labeling and intent in manufacturing is a VERY important part of a lot of manufacturing and regulatory oversight. And, truth be told, you would not want it any other way.

For example, it is legal for a doctor to prescribe an atypical antipsychotic medication such as Zyprexa for weight gain (a side effect of the medicine), but it is ILLEGAL for a company to market that drug as a weight-gain drug. There is a billion dollar False Claims Act under seal on that issue -- and parallel cases with Risperdal and Seroquel.

For another example (there are a lot), beer is legal but it is illegal to market beer based on alcohol content, or to even label the alcohol content on a bottle of beer (go ahead and look -- it's not there). Why is that? Simple: Experience has shown that beer companies will MARKET THE INEBRIATION of beer to their teenage consumers and, as a result, a predictable number of young people will come to predictable harm as a result.

The same principle follows with armor-piercing bullets.

Yes a high-cal bullet fired from a close-enough range from a rifle will defeat a ballistic vest, but it's not the way we want deer rounds to be sold and if well them to be sold that way, there will be a predictable outcome (more dead cops).

I could not help but notice that you danced away from the fact that John McCain voted in FAVOR of taking away all those home defense weapons owned and used by the common man? Millions of guns owned by law-abiding folks were made illegal overnight, and John McCain helped. And yet a .25 cal Raven is a perfect tool for home defense, isn't it?

And how about John McCain wanting to close down all those gun shows? Yes, you are right that it's a phony issue, but John McCain is a table-pounder on the issue, demanding that this "loophole" be closed.

Those are John McCain's positions on guns. And they are not about advertising restrictions.


PBurns said...

Chas, you have sent me to a web site with the word "conspiracy" in the title, and to a post written by a guy (David Kopel) who is a benefactor- member of the NRA?


I went to the web site, and it winds around and goes nowhere. If that's a "take down" in the libertarian world, I want to see what they call ice-skating.

Seriously, for all the typing, the author (who has a clear point-of-view and political ax to grind) comes out saying not too much more than:

"Never mind what a nonpartisan independent fact-checking site run by the former chief lobbying reporter for CNN has to say (Brooks Jackson), let me tell you what a right-wing NRA-lifer with a conspiracy-bent thinks."

"And forget what the candidate SAYS and has REPEATEDLY SAID, listen to what I claim he thinks and will do."

"And never mind if John McCain's record is no different, and that John McCain has actually voted in the U.S. Senate and House to ban self-defense weapons owned by gun owners, has been the STAR of TV Ads opposing gun shows, and has openly said he would entertain a ban on assault weapons. I will not talk about THAT because McCain is (insert trumpets and wave 100 American flags made by children in China) a REPUBLICAN. Please ignore the senile old gun-grabber who wants to put Andrew Cuomo on the Supreme Court. Instead, focus on the Black Guy and be very afraid. He cannot be trusted."

"Volokh Conspiracy" indeed!!

It's gonna be a cold day in hell when I'm going to listen to either a Russian like Volokh or a senile old fart like John McCain say a perfectly good handgun like a Rohm .22 or a .25 Raven cannot be used for self-defense or dispatch in the field. But apparently that's OK with Volkh and David Kopel as they have said NOT ONE WORD about it and that's what John McCain voted to do -- ban those guns most commonly used for self defense in this country.

In his silence, David Kopel has shown that he is not only OK with banning guns ... but that he will look the other way when Republicans do it. Look at what he has said and NOT said. By his actions, we can judge his intent.

And the intent is not to defend the Second Amendment, is it? If that was the goal, John McCain's track record would have been front and center and dead-square in the bullseye.


Chas S. Clifton said...

"Conspiracy" may be an unfortunate choice, but the blog was started by a law professor.

Seriously, Patrick, don't channel Ted Kennedy on armor-piercing bullets -- that is so unbecoming.

If you want to attack John McCain, go after his opposition to Amtrak, and I will be right with you yelling "Hear hear."

Chas S. Clifton said...

Meanwhile, has Barack Obama ever seen a gun-control bill that he didn't like?

PBurns said...

YES Barack HAS opposed gun control legislation -- I mentioned it in my post.

The bill was HR 5441 "To prohibit the confiscation of a firearm during an emergency or major disaster if the possession of such firearm is not prohibited under Federal or State law," and there were two Senate votes (S Amdt 4615 to HR 5441 and final passage) and Obama voted right (i.e. for the Second Amedment) both times and in direct OPPOSITION to Hillary Clinton. The first vote (the important one) was 84 - 16 and was recorded vote number 202). See link here >> http://www.votesmart.org/issue_keyvote_member.php?cs_id=V3872

As for Ted Kennedy, I have never read him on guns. Why would I? Oh riiiiight -- because BOTH OF HIS BROTHERS WILL KILLED BY ASSASSINS. Thanks for reminding me of that. You think he might have thought about the issue a little bit? There is some history there, from what I understand. He might have a right to his opinion on THAT one!

I note that you have been NON-RESPONSIVE about McCain's track record and about my points about marketing rifle rounds as "PERFECT FOR KILLING COPS." What's your opinion on that? Is it OK to market a .50 caliber bullet with a cop's picture on the side and a target over his head? That's wjhay the vote was about. How would YOU have voted on that one???