The National Rifle Association spokesman's not-really-all-that-rapid-response to Barack Obama's call for gun control in Tuesday's State of the Union is an essay in The Daily Caller, in which, after two months of scrutiny, he comes up with a new case for more guns. LaPierre writes, "Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival." Americans don't just need guns to fight criminals anymore, LaPierre says, Americans need more guns to fight the weather.
He needs to make this new case, because crime rates are at a two-decade low. Maybe there's not a lot of crime now, but there will be!
LaPierre says President Obama's policies will bring chaos:
It has always been sensible for good citizens to own and carry firearms for lawful protection against violent criminals who prey on decent people.
During the second Obama term, however, additional threats are growing...
Obama is leading this country to financial ruin, borrowing over a trillion dollars a year for phony “stimulus” spending and other payoffs for his political cronies. Nobody knows if or when the fiscal collapse will come, but if the country is broke, there likely won’t be enough money to pay for police protection. And the American people know it.
Then, his next words are "Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe." He does not elaborate on whether this concern about the perils of extreme weather puts him on the same side as the president on climate change.
OK, OK, LaPierre didn't mean to suggest that bullets can fight wind, but that doesn't make it any clearer what weather-related dangers he thinks guns would ward off. After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. "Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all," he writes. There were reports of some looting after the storm — "Reported arrests in Manhattan, Coney Island, Brooklyn, and Staten Island for looting at businesses like supermarkets and sneaker stores totaled 20 last week" wrote the Christian Science Monitor" — but an anarchic hellscape of people dueling for food and water in New York City is from science fiction, not recent newspapers.
But we don't blame LaPierre for getting it so wrong. He may be relying too much on the Drudge Report which tried to whip up fears of widespread looting ahead of Sandy by linking to a collection of joking tweets from frat boys far from the storm's path posted at InfoWars under the headline, "Gangs Plan Hurricane Looting Spree Via Twitter."
The NRA has suddenly become much more high-profile in the wake of the Newtown elementary school massacre, and the spotlight has revealed the group is a bit stuck in the 1990s. After the shooting, LaPierre held a press conference attacking old violent video games and films like 1994's Natural Born Killers as the true cause of violence. The group initially defended itself with old slogans that have been around a decade. But a lot has changed since then, and the gun control debate isn't focused on urban crime, but on unstable loners in the suburbs. It needed to say something new.
LaPierre promises to bring more lawsuits to challenge gun restrictions, and urges gun enthusiasts to donate so it can buy more political ads. In asking more gun enthusiasts to join the group, LaPierre admits it doesn't represent anywhere close to a majority of gun owners. "We must reach out to the tens of millions of gun owners who are not yet NRA members—to the gun owners who care about their own rights but who have been duped by Obama and the national media into believing that the Obama and Bloomberg gun controls will only affect other people," he says. "We will not surrender. We will not appease. We will buy more guns than ever."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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