How can the National Rifle Association oppose something as checking whether someone is legally barred from buying a gun before they purchase one, i.e. universal background checks? Because the NRA is not reasonable anymore. Ninety percent of Americans support universal background checks, and the NRA itself supported the policy in 1999. You can see the group's paranoia grow in a year's worth of covers from its Freedom magazine, posted by Talking Points Memo. Particularly paranoid is its November 2012 issue, in which a black-gloved clenched fist hovers above the words "How and When Obama Will Come For Your Guns: The Election Before The Knock On Your Door."
The NRA will present its alternate plan to prevent mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary on Tuesday, as it looks triumphant in stopping an assault weapons ban and has a good chance of stopping universal background checks. Why block a law it once supported? Because the NRA now believes the intention of universal background checks is to create a government list of gun owners, tax the guns, share the list with other governments, and take the guns away. The NRA was not always so paranoid. Old copies of its American Rifleman magazine show cheery sportsmen hunting wild animals, or photos of cool new handguns.