The NRA's Obama Gun Hypocrisy Ad: The Right to Self-Protection Doesn't Imply Federal Armed Guards in Every School


The NRA, on this day when the president issues his set of proposals in response to the Sandy Hook shooting (none of which would have done anything to prevent the Sandy Hook shooting, natch), releases a much-derided video wondering why, if the president has armed guards for his kids, can he be such an elitist hypocrit as to not enthusiastically support government-funded armed guards in all schools?

That "put a gun in every school" proposal is the NRA's favorite "let's pump up the security state and maybe gun sales through huge new federal contracts" idea, one that has nothing whatsoever to do with defending Second Amendment rights, the group's alleged mandate.

Still, an important point is hidden in their ad, though one that applies only to those who say no private citizen should own a gun, fortunately not really at issue in today's proposals. The ad makes it clear that everyone seems to recognize that in a world where guns exist, having guns (whether in your hand or the hands of hirelings) can be very important indeed in exercising the core human right of self-defense.

However, the ad refuses to recognize proportionality and effectiveness and the fact that the president's children face unique risks and probabilities of attack. Thus, the NRA with this ad plays into out of proportion fear-mongering that allows people to look at very rare events like mass shootings in school and decide that huge blanket measures are necessary in trying to fight them.

It simply isn't true that massive, expensive, and potentially troublesome measures from the federal government are called for or made necessary by Sandy Hook at all. In fact, "doing something" can be worse than doing nothing, whether it be the unnecessary expense, dubious effectiveness, and potential hazards of armed federal guards in all schools, or the attempts to criminalize innocent actions like selling guns or owning certain tools and preventing huge classes of people who never have and never would harm anyone from effectively exercising the right to self-defense that Obama is hyping today.

The ad, by the way, despite what some critics think, does not say the president's daughters should not have taxpayer-funded protection.It just says that yours should as well.

UPDATE: I initally misinterpreted the ad as an implied poke at the president's kids Secret Service protection, not just armed guards at their private school. However, NRA's Wayne LaPierre did suggest last month that Congress should "act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation." So, the NRA is responding to a private school's choices with a call for a huge new taxpayer mandate.

UPDATE TO UPDATE: The Washington Post insists that the president's kids school doesn't even have armed guards, so my initial read of the ad, though it appears not to be the NRA's intent, is the only read of it that makes acutal factual sense.

My book on the legal roots of the Second Amendment fight, Gun Control on Trial.

The ad: