Today you can find on the website of The Washington Post, above articles reporting how the NRA successfully blocked new gun regulations, ads paid for by the NRA, telling Congress to "Get serious" about doing something about gun crimes. That's called "chutzpah."
Over at National Review Online, there's a larger version of the ad.
"Enough politics," the NRA demands, then insists Congress pass some laws, somehow. And next to that ad, an article titled, "Every proposal on gun control fails in the Senate," something for which the NRA pushed very hard by including the vote on the filibuster in its score-keeping system. (Though, we'll admit, a filibuster is an excellent way of ensuring that politics are curtailed.)
Back at the Post:
That story, "Obama the Emotional," is about the president's furious speech, accusing the NRA and its allies of having "willfully lied about the bill." Above that: "Get Serious, Congress," signed, the NRA.
Yesterday, Slate's Will Saletan spotted another NRA ad which also ran at the Post. That ad read, "80 percent of police say background checks will have no effect on violent crime," encouraging readers to contact their senators, asking they support the police and support yesterday's background check filibuster. The Senate, being then unserious and not having had enough politics, complied.
As Saletan notes, the "80 percent" stat was itself a bit of a fudge, if not a lie. The full survey — conducted by PoliceOne.com, a sort of social site for cops — is just that, a survey. People choose whether or not to participate; on the site's main page right now is an enticement to "Take our Cybercrimes Survey and Win!" (Don't bother. You only "win" a "recently-written Thomson Reuters white paper on Predictive Policing.")
It then — relying on the honor system to ensure those responding were actually public safety officers — asks a series of questions. Like:
- "What effect do you think the passage of the White House’s currently proposed legislation would have in improving police officer safety?" ("None": 60 percent)
- "What effect do you think a federal ban on manufacture and sale of some semi-automatic firearms, termed by some as "assault weapons," would have on reducing violent crime?" ("None": 70 percent)
- "Do you think a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would reduce violent crime?" ("No": 96 percent)
- "Do you think that a federal law prohibiting private, non-dealer transfers of firearms between individuals would reduce violent crime?" ("No": 80 percent)
There is not, however, a question about the effect of more background checks on violent crime. Saletan thinks that maybe the NRA used that last question above, but there's a very big difference between "prohibiting private, non-dealer transfers" and "having background checks at gun shows."
There is a question that reads, "Would requiring mental health background checks on prospective buyers in all gun sales from federally-licensed dealers reduce instances of mass shooting incidents?" A plurality of the police and police impersonators taking the survey said no to that one, too, which is too bad since the NRA supports that proposal.
As referred to in this ad:
An ungenerous interpreter would suggest the evidence at hand indicates that the NRA is participating in politics, and perhaps not terribly seriously.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.