NRA: Official pimp for the multi-billion dollar gun industry

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the lobbying arm of the firearms industry. It uses fear, racism, and focus-group tested catchwords like “freedom,” and “self-defence” to pimp sales for the over 300 firearms manufacturers in the United States. While the NRA represents itself as an association of gun enthusiasts, its real purpose is to serve the interests of gun manufacturers.  To that end, it bullies elected officials into passing laws that will make it easier for the gun industry sell more rifles and handguns. It promotes gun sales among the public by stoking fear and racism. It conflates patriotism with gun ownership, suggesting individuals have a patriotic duty to own a firearm.

Playing off fear and racism, the NRA says “good,” people should carry a gun to protect themselves from “bad” people whom they perceive as threatening them or their loved ones. In its latest strategy to boost gun sales, the NRA has, with the help of ALEC, passed “Stand Your Ground” or “Kill at Will” laws in dozens of states across the country. By encouraging a vigilante mindset, these new laws have resulted in a large increase in “justifiable homicides.” Unfortunately, the recent shooting in Florida of “bad” hoodie-wearing, unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin by “good” gun-toting, neighborhood watch citizen George Zimmerman may add to that statistic.

It’s no surprise that gun sales and concealed weapons applications have boomed since Barack Obama was elected. That’s because NRA president Wayne LaPierre has been spreading the rumor that President Obama “has a secret plan to take away your guns.” The NRA has cynically used the election (and racist feelings against President Obama) to gin up gun sales—because the NRA is not about what is good for the country, it’s about promoting gun industry profits.

Politicians pander for NRA campaign contributions

At the 2012 NRA convention in St Louis, MO, Newt Gingrich—while simultaneously reaching for new heights of absurdity and new lows in pandering—called for “universal gun ownership.” In delivering the ultimate gun industry wet dream, he promised if elected president to submit a UN resolution calling for the arming of everyone on the planet. Yes, really. As quoted from Digby: 

The right to bear arms comes from our creator, not our government,” Gingrich said. The NRA “has been too timid” in promoting its agenda beyond American borders. The Bill of Rights was not written only for Americans, he said. “It is a universal document.”

“A Gingrich presidency will submit to the UN a treaty that extends the right to bear arms as a human right to every person on the planet.” Every world citizen, he said, “deserves the right to defend themselves from those who exploit, imprison, or kill them.” For his latest big idea, Gingrich earned a standing ovation from the crowd of roughly 5,000.

The jaw-dropping irresponsibility of Gingrich’s craven statement, aimed squarely at the primitive reptilian brain—the one in all of us that responds to fear with fight or flight—boggles the mind.  But then again, the GOP specializes in pandering to the lower aspects of our human nature in order to win elections for their corporate overlords.

The social and economic toll of gun proliferation in the United States

The Medical school of the University of Utah has collected some powerful statistics that throw a stark light on the devastating effects of gun proliferation. In the end, gun ownership has huge economic and social consequences for the United States. Here are a few highlights:

In the U.S. for 2010, there were 31,513 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 19,308; Homicide 11,015; Accident 600. Firearm injuries are among the top ten causes of death in the U.S., right up there with cancer, stroke and heart disease.

There are over 200,000 non-fatal gun injuries per year in the U.S. Many of these injuries require hospitalization and very expensive trauma care. An older study from 1994 revealed the cost per gun injury requiring admission to a trauma center was over $14,000. The cumulative lifetime cost in 1985 for gunshot wounds was estimated to be $911 million, with $13.4 billion in lost work productivity.

A 2003 study of firearm deaths in high-income countries used data from the World Health Organization (WHO). To put these statistics in perspective, the total population in the United States for 2003 was 290.8 million while the combined population for the other 22 countries was 563.5 million. There were 29,771 firearm deaths in the US and 7,653 firearm deaths in the 22 other countries combined. In other words, of all the firearm deaths in these 23 high-income countries in 2003, 80% occurred in the US.

Accidental shooting deaths are most commonly associated with one or more children playing with a gun they found in the home. The person pulling the trigger is a friend, family member, or the victim. In the period from 1979 to 2000, accidental firearms deaths involving children declined in the U.S., aided by child access prevention laws and felony prosecution of offenders. A study of non-natural deaths in a large American city revealed that half of such deaths in persons from 10 to 19 years of age were due to homicide, and firearms were involved in 88% of them.

In a 2004 study, regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and suicide in the home. Persons who own a gun and who engage in abuse of intimate partners such as a spouse are more likely to use a gun to threaten their intimate partner.

In a 2009 study, individuals in possession of a gun at the time of an assault are 4.46 times more likely to be shot in the assault than persons not in possession.  So much for the “self-protection” argument for gun ownership.

Forget public safety, there’s money to be made in selling lethal weapons

According to Hoovers, a Dun and Brandstreet company: “The US gun and ammunition manufacturing industry includes about 300 companies with combined annual revenue of about $6 billion. Major gun and ammunition manufacturers include Browning Arms; Freedom Group (which includes Remington Arms, Marlin Firearms, and Bushmaster Firearms); Olin; Alliant Techsystems; Sturm, Ruger & Company; and Smith & Wesson. The industry is highly concentrated.

To underscore the lucrative nature of this business, large private equity firms like Cerberus and The Freedom group have been buying up gun manufacturing companies, like Remington and Bushmaster, because they have decided there is an opportunity to grow the industry beyond what it is and make even more money.

Changing the conversation about guns in America

Do we want a country where everyone is paranoid and armed to the teeth? Or do we want a country like Denmark, which has the lowest rate of deaths involving firearms of the 23 largest industrial countries? The reason Denmark has the lowest rate is because guns are illegal in Denmark and the laws against them are stringent, putting anyone who carries a gun and is not legally allowed to do so in jail. Only police officers and soldiers are allowed to carry guns. Other weapons, such as knives or lead pipes are now considered deadly weapons in Denmark, and in recent years stricter laws have been passed for assault with those deadly weapons.

The current conversation about gun ownership in the United States is based on a misguided interpretation of the Second Amendment. Widespread ownership of guns is considered a given in American culture and discussion about guns is myopic, limited to “responsible” gun ownership vs. irresponsible gun ownership, legal gun ownership vs. illegal gun ownership, or open carry vs. concealed carry. Elected officials are afraid of the NRA and rarely take it to task . To avoid hundreds of thousands of gun injuries and deaths per year, and to create a more peaceful and safe society, we need to call out the NRA as the official pimp of the gun industry—and begin the discussion about disarming America.

Madonna Gauding Madonna Gauding (252 Posts)

Madonna Gauding is a freelance writer, illustrator and book designer living in St. Louis. MO. She is the author of 10 books on a variety of "mind, body, spirit" topics.


  • Proteus0909

    Top 10 causes of death in America per the CDC (2010):

    1 Diseases of heart
    2 Malignant neoplasms
    3 Chronic lower respiratory diseases
    4 Cerebrovascular diseases 
    5 Accidents (unintentional injuries) 
    6 Alzheimer’s disease
    7 Diabetes mellitus 
    8 Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis 
    9 Influenza and pneumonia 
    10 Intentional self-harm (suicide)

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_04.pdf

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001570593329 Brian Gonnelly

    What a hill of ultra-liberal dung. If a majority of Americans actually were of the same opinion as this writer is, all that need be done to change things would simply require voting out of office any legislator that favors the 2nd Amendment; ah, you DO remember that little ditty, don’t you? It s a matter of record that over the past decade the NRA’s stature amongst the general American voting public has improved consistently one year after another. CCW licenses are now issued one way or another in everyone of the 50 states. A decade ago, such was not even near the case as it is today. The week after the Aurora shooting, firearms sales rocketed 40 percent in Colorado compared to the same week of a year ago. Lawful firearms ownership by the American general public is at an all-time high and is accelerating. Are you seriously going to contend that it is the NRA that is responsible for all of these developments? The NRA is only as strong as the voting American general public allows it to be. That fact may gall you, but hey. . . that’s what democracy is all about. It is my understanding that in Israel, every citizen of military age is REQUIRED to keep in their home an honest-to-god assault-rifle and/or assault-pistol. The citizens of this country don’t seem to have a “gun problem.” So having a prolifiration of lawful firearms in a democracy is not in and of itself problematic. Firearms are just tools. There is no “good or bad” inherent in them. Firearms are not the problem; PEOPLE are the problem. As a nation we need to fix public education, assure universal access to psychological medical assistance, eliminate the “lower class,” quit fighting wars all over the globe, and assure every citizen of working age a job. AND, we need a federal law that if one uses a firearm while committing a premeditated felony, and is convicted of such; the penalty is DEATH! Correct these REAL problems and the so-called “gun problem” will evaporate. But that would take REAL work to pull off; bellyaching is so much easier! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001570593329 Brian Gonnelly

    See below, please.  BJG.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kenneth-Williams/100000104244858 Kenneth Williams

    300 gun manufactures with annual revenues of $6 billion per year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kenneth-Williams/100000104244858 Kenneth Williams

    By your insane reasoning because McDonald’s sells the most hamburgers so they must be the best. Fox News has the most viewers so they must be the best. After the recent massacre at Sandy Hook elementary people have finally opened their eyes. The founding fathers could never have envisioned citizens having semi automatic assault weapons and drums holding 100 rounds of armor piercing bullets. Guns are the problem and only a frightened Tin Foil hat wearing Tea Bagger would disagree.

  • Hank Seiter

    Thank God the NRA stands against gungrabbing Marxist whores like you.

  • Chasck1

    How about we actually start dealing with the habitual criminals who possess firearms. Why does the database the Feds use to approve the sale of a firearm not include all the needed data, for instance those who are under treatment for mental illness.  Why do judges keep giving life long criminals another chance over and over again.

    Our justice system is a joke and the criminals know it, lets fir this first, please.

  • Skrsr1

    And NOT A SINGLE WORD about the thousands of lives saved, robberies averted, rapes nipped in the bud by legal firearm owners.

    Image that.   Tell the WHOLE story…….for once. Betting myself, you didnt even look at those statistics.  Wont fit in your “opinion”.

  • Eric Soto

    lol, promotes gun sales? uhhh no its the White House fault that gun sales and ammo are at a record high.

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  • lightingengineer

    The major unspoken problem is that about 5% or less of the population commits about 50% of the murders in this country. (FBI statistics) Most of these murders are the result of arguments. We could save about 4000 black lives every year if the black murder rate equaled the non-black murder rate. The black murder rate without guns is higher than the non-black murder rate with guns. Even though our black communities are being terrorized by a feral black male “gansta” sub-culture, the cowardly self declared progressives will never acknowledge this as long as they can blame guns.

  • telvis1

    Madonna Gauding as long as you believe your BS.