Offshore Gun Talk

|

The National Rifle Association is still searching for ways to escape McCain-Feingold's restrictions on political speech. According to U.S. News & World Report, the ideas on the table include broadcasting from a Mexican border blaster or even an offshore pirate radio station:

Instead of trying to buy a domestic radio or cable TV station, the NRA might go gunning for its enemies from outside U.S. borders. Rifleman Wayne LaPierre tells us he may skip the whole controversy by buying or teaming with a Mexican radio station on the U.S. border. That would beat dealing with the new rules and overcoming licensing hassles. "If I could find a radio station in Mexico with 50,000 watts," he says, "I would go with them. Fifty thousand watts would cover over half the country." He might also set sail in the Good Ship NRA and broadcast from international waters. "We're going to look at every possibility," he says, "to not get shut out of the electoral process."

NEXT: Soldier Blue

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Gadfly, I fail to see what that has to do with the McCain-Feingold situation as we are seeing it today.

    Stifling speach on any grounds is a very touchy issue. Regardless of your, or anyone elses view on the NRA’s political stance, the fact that they are publicly speaking out against the M-F SCOTUS debacle is GOOD for ALL of US.

    “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death your rights to say it”

    Such a pity that most Americans have forgotten the spirit of those words….the horror of it all is, they have forgotten the spirit because they are ‘patriots’. The hypocracy of the masses amazes me.

  2. In 1998 (the most recent year for which this data has been compiled), handguns killed:
    373 people in Germany
    151 people in Canada
    19 people in Japan
    11,789 people in the United States

    C’mon, Germany, Canada, et al. You’re just not trying!

  3. Gadfly, population is the key factor if you want to examine ratios. Do the math Dummy. /R

  4. Its obvious by reading this thread why America doesnt care about the real issues anymore. People are too focused on the players to care about the issues.

    The issue here is the reigning in of free speach rights in the guise of protecting the candidates. Thats the issue here, but of course the thread has started on a runaway course of gun control debate once again because one of the major players here is the NRA. If it were NOW in the NRAs place the thread would decend into pro/anti feminisim, if it were the anti-defemation league in the NRAs place you people would be arguing anti-semitisim in the media…. Americans have lost sight of the forest for the trees, and sadly so have most of the posters here at reason.

    Leave gun control debate for gun control issues, and focus on the issue at hand. It only serves one interest by focusing the national debate on the M-F SCOTUS decision to a NRA/gun control debate, and it certainly isn’t YOUR or MY free speech.

    Its the oldest tactic in the history of the world, divide and conquer, its amazing how easily people fall for it.

  5. U.S. deaths per 100,000
    Automobiles 18.1
    Guns 14.2

  6. Late for the Boom, relax it’s only a sidebar. /R

  7. Lemme pile on.

    As far as I know, a handgun never killed a person. It was a free-thinking individual with the intent to kill.

    That intent could be for a number of reasons. One could be a woman who wants to protect herself from a rapist, who most likely is much bigger and much more vicious.

    So much for the feminist “empowering”..

  8. I scraped these numbers from the Intarweb. The US has more gun deaths, but they also have more citizens and more gun owners. The ratio of gun deaths per owner looks bad for the us. There are 3x more gun deaths per owner in the US than in Germany. This seems to imply that US gun owners are more likely to kill, but that also means that the problem is US GUN OWNERS and not the GUNS themselves.

    US gun deaths in 1998 = 11,789
    US population in 1998 = 270,248,003
    Percent of US population killed by guns = 0.004%
    Percent of US gun owners = 29%
    Number of US gun owners = 78,371,921
    Gun deaths per gun owner = 0.015

    Germany gun deaths in 1998 = 373
    Germany population = 81,904,100
    Percent of Germany population killed by guns = 0.0005%
    Percent of German gun owners = 10%
    Number of German gun owners = 8,190,410
    Gun deaths per gun owner = 0.005

  9. “In 1998 (the most recent year for which this data has been compiled), handguns killed:”

    …. nobody.

    Inanimate objects don’t kill people – other people do. And the ones that do are the ONLY one’s responsible for it in any way, shape, form or fashion.

  10. Gadfly:

    Now subtract the lives that are saved every year due to guns (impossible to calculate), as well as those deaths associated with self defense. Additionally, subtract all gun deaths related to law enforcement. My guess is those numbers would be reduced significantly.

    Now get back on topic.

  11. “Would that mean they would be exempt from the rules, leaving the Democratic party free to attempt to shut down their right-wing opponents using this law while having their message broadcast loud and clear? Maybe it won’t screw them that much afterall.”

    err, i really think this is kinda crazy. there are plenty of conservative and liberal media outlets to go around.

    it makes much more sense that ideological nitwits (fill in your favorite here) would support something that ultimately screws them in the end because it accomplishes a short term revenge of some sort against a real or imagined enemy.

    though that makes little sense from the standpoint of someone who stepped back and thought about the issue for two minutes. though i have no illusions about how easily bought and sold politicians are, being largely a group of fucktarded shitsticks, this is the wrong way to go about fixing the problem.

  12. dhex makes a very good point. Why should the rights of every American Citizen be curtailed in an attempt to compensate for lack of intgreity on the part of a few hundrd politicians in Washington.

  13. While I applaud any action that highlights the dangerous absurdity of this law, I would have more respect for any group left or right that had the guts to just outright defy the law in the country.

    A group can have all the cojones to stand up to the law in the world, but without a radio/TV outlet to stand up with you and run your ad, it’s not going to matter. With broadcast licenses being granted and withheld at the whim of the FCC, it’s going to be harder to find a broadcast outlet with the guts to defy the law.

  14. dhex,

    “fucktarded shitsticks”

    oh my. can i use those? with proper footnoting, of course. fantastic.

    damn. that’s good. most excellent. perfect description of “them”…
    *snap snap snap*

    drf

  15. The NRA is just catching headlines here, folks. There will be a gun rights 527 organization up and running in no time. All you have to do to beat M-F is set up an unincorporated organization to pool the money and get the word out. The NRA wants to make sure whatever they set up is not deemed to be sham or a shell by some anti-gun bureaucrat.

    While they figure out how to do this in the manner best suited to getting around M-F, they are making (publicity) hay while the sun shines.

  16. Gadfly wrote:

    373 people in Germany
    151 people in Canada
    57 people in Australia
    19 people in Japan
    54 people in England and Wales, and
    11,789 people in the United States

    Gadfly, it’s impossible to evaluate these statistics without first establishing whether it was good people or bad people who were killed by people using handguns. If it was 11,789 muggers, then that speaks well for handguns, doesn’t it?

    (This is only partially tongue-in-cheek)

  17. ironic that the nation that for decades has broadcasted into enemy nations to spread the concepts of “freedom” now will have others doing the same to them.

    i’ll bet castro is all too eager for some disenfranchised political group to come to havana and set up a 100,000-watt flamethrower of free speech.

  18. “It’s only illegal if it’s done in the United States.” Sort of like buying vicodan over the counter. I’m not accusing them of violating the law; I’m accusing them of looking sleazy by jumping across the border where they can get away with more. Other examples of people doing this: perscription drug abusers, people looking for cheap hookers, people who want quickie divorces, rich girls looking for secret abortions pre-1973. I think all of these behaviors should be legal, but it’s not exactly the best company to put yourself in when you’re looking to influence public debate.

    rst, civil disobedience includes sticking your neck out and accepting the legal consequences. In fact, getting the “legal consequences” covered in the media is part of the idea. In this case, they are fleeing the country to avoid the legal consequences. The proper comparison wouldn’t be MLK marching down the streets of Birmingham to protest white racsim. It would be MLK marching down the streets of Nairobi to protest white racism.

  19. The NRA is just catching headlines here, folks. There will be a gun rights 527 organization up and running in no time. All you have to do to beat M-F is set up an unincorporated organization to pool the money and get the word out. The NRA wants to make sure whatever they set up is not deemed to be sham or a shell by some anti-gun bureaucrat.

    While they figure out how to do this in the manner best suited to getting around M-F, they are making (publicity) hay while the sun shines.

    R.C. is probably right, but I’m still tickled at the sight of the NRA reviving old memories of the border blasters and the offshore pirates.

    Incidentally, the border stations’ range isn’t what it used to be. The golden age of Mexican broadcasts to the United States — Wolfman Jack and all that — came when our southern neighbors had a more leftist government that enjoyed defying U.S. law. A series of treaties have subsequently hemmed in the stations’ power.

  20. joe: My guess is that it looks sleazy to those already opposed and cool to the supporters. One can really only change a mind that is still somewhat open.

    I think the general process is looking for favorable “litmus tests” to gain support. Undecided about guns, but think ducking the law is unsavory, then you go against the NRA based on this secondary guilt-by-association manuver. Or if free speech is the stronger test, you go pro-gun based on this NRA move. So to me, what happens is people decide not on the actual issue, but on the way it relates to their other predetermined stances.

    Gadfly: A certain number, and therefore threat, of gun-related deaths helps to keep people polite. It ain’t all bad news as long as you don’t take the bullet yourself. 🙂

  21. I don’t think running off to other countries so you can avoid rules that everyone else plays by looks good to most people.

  22. I see it as basic human behaviour, like stepping out for a smoke, or driving to the next State for fireworks, or moving the home office to Bermuda. Those who play under crappy rules are too stubborn, lazy, or poor to relocate. 🙂

  23. Joe,

    It might when they are getting around a rule as horrible as M-F

  24. Wouldn’t getting cuffed and stuffed on national tv for running an ad (or refusing to pay a fine for running an ad, or whatever has to happen before you get arrested) make the point better?

    Of course, the NRA would have to have a principled support for free speech that it’s willing to suffer for in order for that to happen. And based on this story, they don’t seem to.

  25. civil disobedience includes sticking your neck out and accepting the legal consequences.

    So, the NRA isn’t Ghandi. Big surprise. It’s still not illegal. This isn’t civil disobedience. This is exploiting legal loopholes to accomplish an end. Kind of like soft money.

  26. so i can go to mexico and not go to jail, or i can take th ehgh road and get railroaded and go to jail to make a moral point… since my name is not mohatmas gadhi.. im going to mexico!

  27. Wouldn’t getting cuffed and stuffed on national tv for running an ad (or refusing to pay a fine for running an ad, or whatever has to happen before you get arrested) make the point better?

    back when you could be guaranteed due process, yes. in the advent of jose padilla, not so sure.

  28. actually, i gotta agree with joe on this one. part of the nra’s fundraising efforts do rely on the imminent threat – both real and imagined – of forcible disarmament by the government. can you imagine heston being arrested on TV for refusing to pay a fine? oppositional groups do best when they have a greater impression of opposition to toss around – i.e. pro abortion groups did best in their fundraising when republicans loomed large.

  29. Then wouldn’t the NRA running off to Mexico make the point stronger because the imminent threat to liberty by the government is obviously exposed?

    In other words, if joe’s bitching about it, hasn’t the point gotten across anyway?

  30. Nothing hits the “law and order,” “nonthreatening,” “boy next door” buttons like fleeing to Mexico to engage in illegal behavior.

    This is “not accusing them of violating the law”?

    Best PR since “jack booted thugs.”

    Of course the uproar over those comments were distortions of what the letter actually had said and little criticism was sent the way of the congressman who initially coined the term a decade earlier.

    The alternative, setting up a PAC to run ads immediately before the election and raising money from individuals to fund the PAC, is truly too horrible to contemplate.

    Doesn’t the NRA-ILA fit this description?

    The Mexican strategy is a poor one- the message would only be heard in areas where such radio stations can be heard, and then only on radio stations that are also popular as well.

    If the NRA was able to buy time “illegally” would the media companies also be fined, or would the NRA be the only ones in trouble for skirting the law? This isn’t simply about “buying airtime” on stations that have tended to refuse to sell time to the NRA for ads; this was about deciding to purchase radio stations within the US or outside as well. Or to attempt to buy time on those Mexican stations (which apparantly they’d not pursued before?)

  31. Nothing hits the “law and order,” “nonthreatening,” “boy next door” buttons like fleeing to Mexico to engage in illegal behavior. Best PR since “jack booted thugs.”

  32. “We’re going to look at every possibility,” he says, “to not get shut out of the electoral process.”

    The alternative, setting up a PAC to run ads immediately before the election and raising money from individuals to fund the PAC, is truly too horrible to contemplate.

  33. While I applaud any action that highlights the dangerous absurdity of this law, I would have more respect for any group left or right that had the guts to just outright defy the law in the country.

  34. fleeing to Mexico to engage in illegal behavior.

    It’s only illegal if it’s done in the United States. The radiative characteristics of EM are a consequence of basic Newtonian physics, and it’s too bad for the FCC that radio waves have no knowledge of national borders. Really, I weep for them.

    It’s not like they’re going to be squelching out your classic rock station. The old rule still holds…you actually have to tune in to hear the station. And if you don’t want to hear it, then you know what to do.

  35. What is the illegal behavior exactly? Buying a US radio station isn’t illegal, just more hassle than not also considering buying a Mexican one.

  36. I’ve always found the left’s defense of an ATF empowered to engage in no knock searches on the say so of one’s neighbor interesting. Change ATF to DEA and suddenly by golly such behavior DOES look like that of jack booted thugs.

  37. It is truly a sad day for this country with we have to look to Mexico for our free speech rights.

    Samuelson was right: The SC decision was a constitutional crime. I hope the Mexicans are more sensitive to the needs of free speech.

  38. Campaign finance “reform” just strengthens the PR power of incumbency, and increases the stranglehold of mainstream media on what the public hears about the candidates.

    And it doesn’t just restrict the rights of rich people. It also prevents ordinary people from pooling their money through advocacy groups like the NRA.

  39. what i can’t figure out is how could the groups which support this bill not realize how badly it’s going to fuck them as well?

  40. I thought they’d be exempt if they purchased their own station–including in the US–and presented their advocacy as editorials. Does McCain-Feingold even prevent that? Or have they just decided that’s too much expense/hassle? Seems their audience would be rather limited if they had to broadcast from Mexican.

    Joe, do you truly hold all civil disobedience (in fact or even just in spirit) in such low regard, or just when it’s by your political opponents?

    StMack, again, I wonder why they’re not planning to just buy a US station or stations as I previously heard they were going to. But to the extent that such direct civil disobedience requires the cooperation of others, such as in the case of buying ads from existing TV or radio stations, you may not be able to defy the law even if you have every desire to.

  41. Joe,

    Clinton’s use of forign campain contributions was illegal; there is nothing illegal about the NRA buying time on Mexican radio.

  42. In 1998 (the most recent year for which this data has been compiled), handguns killed:

    373 people in Germany
    151 people in Canada
    57 people in Australia
    19 people in Japan
    54 people in England and Wales, and
    11,789 people in the United States

  43. Gadfly:
    Source? Methodology? Peer review?

  44. dhex,

    If owning the station exempts your editorial comment, could that be why the “liberal” radio network that has been trying to get off the ground was looking to actually buy radio stations as opposed to syndicating their shows. Would that mean they would be exempt from the rules, leaving the Democratic party free to attempt to shut down their right-wing opponents using this law while having their message broadcast loud and clear? Maybe it won’t screw them that much afterall.

  45. The source was obviously “Bowling For Columbine”!

  46. Out of curiosity, why is it that the threads with the most postings are always about drugs or guns?

    No idea. Most people reading reason.com may feel more passionate about these issues than others here.

    That being said, even when you use the pro-gun numbers from this thread, the U.S. of A. is way out in front in terms of gun deaths.

    Which is why looking at rates is more valuable, since I certainly don’t know what the population is for those other countries.

    The canard about how many “bad” people are included in the totals is a strawman big enough to gag the bovine of your choice. The American mania for firearms is sad. But hey, lock and load, pardners

    I agree; the mania of people who have this urge to restrict firearms ownership from law abiding persons is indeed very sad.

  47. I have no “urge” to restrict firearm ownership. But who the hell needs a fully automatic assault rifle as part of their plan for home defence. I mean, honestly, what kind of neighborhood do you people live in? I find a Remington 870 does nicely for my piece of mind.

  48. Weishaupt: Actually I agree with your assessment of the utiltarian value of “fully automatic assault rifles” such as the AK-47 or AR-15. They are underpowered, weak rounds with limited range.

    Granpa’s 30-06 and Uncle Bob’s scoped .270 are more deadly instruments.

    But since you have already given the gun grabbers moral saction to steal whatever weapons are “most deadly” and I have proven that every deer rifle in the nation is more deadly than an AK-47, you have given moral sacntion for the gun grabbers to steal every “sniper rifle” in the nation.

  49. “In other words, if joe’s bitching about it, hasn’t the point gotten across anyway?’

    So now I’m Everyman? Not hardly.

    H0mi,

    illegal here. Legal there. Is that so hard?

  50. Actually the only ?canard? is to throw out numbers about how many deaths were caused by someone using X without providing any context.

    These numbers are supposed to give the impression that Americans are less safe because of the number of deaths caused by someone using a hand gun. However it does not necessary follow that because someone was shot with a hand gun that the rest of us should feel any more or less safe.

    If it was a DGU (defensive gun use) such as a woman shooting a would-be rapist than such an action is arguably a safety-enhancing event (unless you?re a criminal).

    Much is probably the same with criminals killing other criminals (which I?d be willing to bet is a significant portion of the statistic just as it is when they talk about people being killed by someone they know, it usually means a rival gang banger rather than a close relative and friend).

    Numbers pertaining to people who use a hand gun to commit suicide as opposed to using some other method ought to be taken out as well regardless of whether a person is more or less likely to kill themselves with an available hand gun since it is not a threat really to anyone other than the person committing suicide.

    Which then would leave us with (a) people using guns to commit crimes and harming others and (b) people being killed with a gun by accident (which to me means a need for better training ? something the NRA has done successfully for years). Any comparison of gun deaths per capita between different countries ought to concern itself strictly with these two scenarios if it intends to analyze the impact of guns on public safety. *

    TW

    * Although perhaps an argument could be made that DGU?s should count in the plus column since they arguably enhance public safety in which case we subtract from people who die because of a crime or accident through the misuse of a gun while adding in criminals who were killed by citizens and law enforcement in self-defense and not count suicides or criminals taking each other out of the gene pool.

  51. I have no “urge” to restrict firearm ownership.

    Good. I would hope not.

    But who the hell needs a fully automatic assault rifle as part of their plan for home defence.

    What does it matter whether I have a “need” for this or not? Who gets to determine this “need”?

    illegal here. Legal there. Is that so hard?

    If it’s legal there, then they are not engaging in illegal behavior. And saying they’re “engaging in illegal behavior” sounds like you’re saying they’re “violating the law.”

  52. Out of curiosity, why is it that the threads with the most postings are always about drugs or guns? That being said, even when you use the pro-gun numbers from this thread, the U.S. of A. is way out in front in terms of gun deaths. The canard about how many “bad” people are included in the totals is a strawman big enough to gag the bovine of your choice. The American mania for firearms is sad. But hey, lock and load, pardners.

  53. I will say it again. I am not a gun grabber. But if your soul reason for wanting to own a .50 cal. sniper rifle, or a bazooka, or a small tactical nuclear weapon is: “because I can”, then at least be honest enough to say so. To do otherwise takes away from the side of the angels in this argument, because your average urban schlub equates assault weapons with drug violence, regardless of the facts. As far as I am concerned, once you have proven your ability to handle a firearm safely, whether through military or civilian provided training, buy all the freaking guns you want. But do not use specious arguments to justify their purchase. We are, presumably, adults here, and sometimes ‘because’ is okay.

  54. But if your soul reason for wanting to own a .50 cal. sniper rifle, or a bazooka, or a small tactical nuclear weapon is: “because I can”, then at least be honest enough to say so.

    It’s entirely possible I have no interest in owning any of these, but find myself tiring of having to defend a “need to own one” by those who propose to ban such things in the first place. It’s none of their business why I would want to own one, and the lack of a “need” is a poor reason to favor of a ban on anything.

    I’m not justifying their purchase- I don’t think that there is a reason to have to justify the purchase by law abiding citizens in the first place.

    To do otherwise takes away from the side of the angels in this argument, because your average urban schlub equates assault weapons with drug violence, regardless of the facts.

    We are, presumably, adults here, and sometimes ‘because’ is okay.

    I’m not sure how you can square away these 2 sentences with one another- they seem to contradict one another.

  55. h0mi: You want guns? Buy guns. You want a briefcase nuke? Build one with the scrapings from your glow in the dark watch collection. All I’m saying is do not try to trump up any sort of justification for it. You do not need to in my eyes, or any other logical person’s. This debate left the logic runway years ago, however. In the U.S. you are constitutionally guaranteed the right to own firearms. Any other explanation beyond: ‘The constitution says so’ is playing into the regulators hands.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.