Gun Control

No, the NRA Is Not Urging Its Members to Assassinate Gun Control Supporters, Culture War

A lame headline provokes even lamer charges of incitement to violence.

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NRA

The headline above Chris Cox's article about "universal background checks" in the March issue of the NRA magazine The American Rifleman is not exactly inspired. But neither is it an invitation to assassinate supporters of gun control, as Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) claims to believe.

"This is a call for violence by the @NRA against @GabbyGiffords, who was nearly killed by gunfire and @SpeakerPelosi, the most powerful legislator in America," Swalwell tweeted on Saturday. "The NRA should face legal consequences. But let's put them out of business with boycotts and ballot boxes."

Fred Guttenberg, the father of a student who was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, concurred. "This article and incitement of violence against our current house speaker @SpeakerPelosi and former Congresswoman and gun violence survivor @GabbyGiffords is a terror tactic from a terror group," he tweeted. "Th[is] is the NRA today."

You may be surprised to learn that the article by Cox, the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, is not a fire-and-brimstone diatribe against enemies of the Second Amendment but a calm dissection of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, a bill championed by Pelosi and other House Democrats that would require the involvement of a federally licensed gun dealer in almost all firearm transfers. The "call for violence" supposedly can be heard not in the article itself but in the headline: "Target Practice." That phrase, you see, is superimposed on a photo of Pelosi at a lectern, announcing the background check bill. Over her right shoulder you can see an out-of-focus Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who was gravely injured in the 2011 mass shooting at a Tucson shopping center. So clearly the NRA is urging its members to murder both women.

Or maybe not. The subhead of the article says, "Congressional Democrats Target Gun Owners for Persecution With Extreme Firearm Transfer Bans." The article argues that the bill Pelosi is pushing, which cannot reasonably be expected to have much of an impact on violent criminals, exposes innocent gun owners to the threat of fines and jail while setting the stage for more ambitious measures, such as the national gun registration system that would be required to actually enforce "universal background checks." You may or may not agree with Cox's analysis, but it jibes with the headline and subhead, neither of which is, by any stretch of the imagination, a "call for violence" or a "terror tactic."

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) made that point in response to Swalwell's tweet. "How can you claim this?" he wrote. "Are you deliberately lying or did you just not read it? The article is about legislation targeting gun owners, not the NRA targeting Democrats. If your goal is to ensure that 'outrage culture' is alive and well, continuing to divide us, congrats."

If you need to be outraged by something, I nominate Swalwell's argument that people who oppose the policies he favors "should face legal consequences" for exercising their First Amendment rights.

Update: Cox's article has a new headline: "What Lurks Behind 'Universal' Background Checks?" The new subhead: "House Democrats are making a big play for laws even they admit won't work. What, then, do they really want?"

NEXT: "Federal Judges Are Appointed for Life, Not for Eternity"

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  1. I agree with the argument, but the headline was menacing and counterproductive. They should retract it and apologize. I will defend your free speech even if you use it against me. I will not extend you the same courtesy on gun rights.

    1. They should retract it and apologize.

      Fuck that noise. They can’t be responsible for Swalwell’s stupidity.

      I will defend your free speech even if you use it against me.

      Pretty brazen to say this right after the sentence that demonstrates it to be a lie.

      I will not extend you the same courtesy on gun rights.

      Well, your previous two sentences prove you to be pretty fucking disingenuous on the 1A, so, I’m going to make my own decisions with regard to you, me, and the 2A.

      1. I defend your free speech, so yes the newsletter can publish this. But that doesn’t make it right. Meaning, it’s up to the people to call them out. This is better than a government crackdown, which I will oppose (with the exception of ‘imminent lawless action’). You don’t understand free speech, so I can hardly expect you to understand gun rights. This is why I cannot support you on this issue.

        1. Meaning, it’s up to the people to call them out.

          It’s not the people calling the NRA out.

          This is why I cannot support you on this issue.

          It’s almost getting to be OBL-esque ‘honest satire’. Not quite there but moving in that direction.

          1. The whole point of the Second Amendment is so you can protect me when the government becomes tyrannical. I’m not exactly getting the warm fuzzies from you.

            1. No, only a SMALL part of the 2A may be argued is about protecting you when the gov’t becomes tyrannical.

              And that is the subordinate clause (subordinate at best because the 2A as a whole is not a grammatical sentence) which only expresses the “idea” that a “well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state”.

              The dominant part of the 2A, and the only part that actually has any force, is the statement that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

              Indeed since the militia clause of the 2A neither added to nor subtracted from Congress’s control over the militia it can be argued the clause is superfluous.

              1. The clause is superfluous.
                But I’d say that 2a is very much about protection against a tyrannical government.
                Remember who wrote these things.

                1. But I’d say that 2a is very much about protection against a tyrannical government.

                  I’m as much a dedicated 2A supporter as much as anyone here, but I think that’s stretching the text of the Amendment. The purpose of it was to allow citizen militias to maintain their own arms and provide for their own defense, because the Founders were suspicious of large standing armies outside of wartime. It was understood that a free people had the right to defend themselves, which is why they included the language that the right to keep and bear arms shouldn’t be infringed upon.

                  Now, it’s plain that the Founders also believed that a tyrannical government deserved to be resisted, violently if necessary, because they talked about it both in the Declaration of Independence as well as their other writings outside the founding documents. However, it’s a stretch to say that those writings and the text of the 2A are explicitly bound; it’s more appropriate to say that they complement one another and provide historical and philosophical context, rather than provide direct justification.

                2. It certainly wasn’t the WHOLE point as Dajjal claims.

                  Maybe they would have written it a little differently if it was.

                3. The 2A merely recognized the natural rights of man. Whether or not the government recognizes that right, the right exists nonetheless.

              2. “because the 2A as a whole is not a grammatical sentence”

                Nah, it’s perfectly grammatical, aside from the extra commas, which were pretty common in the era.

            2. “I will not extend you the same courtesy on gun rights.”

              What do you expect in return, dip-shit? We gun owners will protect ourselves and one another, not your sorry troll ass. If you do not respect our rights when you don’t need them, why should we bother with you when you do?

        2. Well go ahead “call us out”.

          I don’t give a f&*k.

          Ok, and beyond that don’t try to have the gov’t take my guns.

          They won’t get the response you want and you might be caught in the crossfire since you’re part of the problem.

          That “scare” you enough to stop advocating for laws that would make me a criminal for non-criminal behavior?

      2. Mind you, isn’t this the same idiot who said guns are dumb because the government can just NUKE you?

        1. “Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, warned gun owners Friday that any fight over firearms would be “a short one,” because the federal government has an extensive cache of nuclear weapons.” Washington Times, November 18, 2018

          1. He’s almost as good as AOC, revealing just what the Left really has in mind.

          2. “?any fight over firearms would be “a short one,” because the federal government has an extensive cache of nuclear weapons.”

            Now that he’s opened his stupid mouth again, I’m still wondering:

            If having nuclear weapons ensures victory, why have we only used them against one enemy in 74 years? We’ve never fought another nuclear power so it’s not like they could have retaliated.

            And how insane would it be to nuke your own country?

            And… what exactly would he nuke?

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      4. SwallowWell is a dedicated gun-grabber and all-around leftist piece of shit, so nothing he says can be taken as a good-faith argument.

        1. It would be a complete tragedy if he happened to fall into a cauldron of molten iron.

    2. “the headline was menacing and counterproductive.”

      So is the proposed legislation. Nobody on the Gun Control Fascist bandwagon is due an apology. Their persistent attempts to criminalize the exercise of an enumerated Constitutional Right is insulting at best and threatening at worst. Screw ’em.

      1. Obviously you’re looking for a fight. Which is fine except that we’re talking about guns, and now it’s scary. You can’t win this way. You are proving my point, so thanks at least for that.

        1. Your strawman is afraid of fire, not projectiles.

        2. This is one of the most extreme gaslights I’ve ever seen. Dems push legislation to strip people of their Constitutional rights without passing an amendment and you accuse someone responding to their ridiculous legislation of looking for a fight.

        3. It is the other side that is looking for a fight.

          The problem is they don’t think we’ll actually fight.

          They might want to reconsider.

        4. I’m not looking for a fight, but if the Dems start one, I’ll oblige them.

        5. We know from the records of the debates on the Constitution and Bill of Rights that the Second Amendment was written to ensure that the common citizen would have easy legal access to military grade weapons. This makes anyone who advocates for Gun Control without amending the Constitution a scofflaw. Further, a scofflaw who wants to loose the government from the necessity of obeying its own laws. Governments that do not obey their own laws have a blood soaked history. People who worship the State and wish it unfettered power frighten and anger me.

          If they don’t frighten and anger you, you are a fool.

    3. It is not possible to speak in a manner that cannot be misunderstood.

      The headline was not menacing, nor counterproductive, you are simply not capable of understanding the distinction between the message conveyed and your own misunderstanding.

      You really should retract and apologize your call for a retraction and apology.

      (You see how this works now???)

    4. Bullshit! It’s pretty clear the meaning is that gun owners are the target that Pelosi & Co. are targeting. The fascist representative from California, Swalwell, who has in the past called for using nukes on the American public, is simply trying to stir controversy where none exists. Unlike his preferred mass killings of innocent Americans who would simply exercise their Constitutional rights.

      How dare one speak against the “god’ Swalwell! He will strike thee dead!

      Meh, fuck that noise. He’s an impotent bitch trying to gain notoriety because that’s all that mediatopia understands.

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  2. What? No orange man bad?

  3. If there’s anyone who won’t be irrationally compelled to behave violently, it’s people with a gun fetish.

    1. All the years I’ve been too busy to spend any real time here, and I return to find you still trolling for all you’re worth. Is your offline life really that boring?

      1. It’s just that my job is rather George Jetson-esque.

        1. You’re a robot maid like Irona in the Richie Rich cartoons?

        2. In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses[2] and normalizing tangential discussion,[3] whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.

          Own it bitch

        3. If that is true, then MAN! do you need to find a job that engages your enthusiasm. I’ve had jobs that left me that bored, and they suck suppurating moose balls.

          Of course we’d miss you….like a rotten tooth.

          1. Wow, I’ve never been bored enough to just try to start fights for entertainment. (This from a guy who has spent most of the last two years in a wheelchair… but I’m almost clear of it, now!) I have always spent a lot of time researching investments, though, plus I have a wife, kids (the youngest still in college) and grandkids, pets and livestock to look after.
            I stay busy.

      2. Tony needs something to do in between depositing his loads in the rectums of young teenage boys, who by his recent admission, may or may not still be alive.

        1. Gacy reincarnated? Totally believable.

      3. Bots have no offline life.

        1. But NPCs will despawn if enough people leave the area.

    2. If there’s anyone who won’t be irrationally compelled to behave violently, it’s leftists who hate speech that contradicts with their views people with a gun fetish.

      FTFY.

    3. I will tell you what irrational is. I own a gun. A revolver. Perfectly legal in all senses of the word. A friend of mind is quite Leftist and against guns. He has gun control bumper stickers on his car.

      One day while visiting he learns that I own a gun. He immediately wants to see it, to hold it, to play with it. I keep telling him it’s NOT a toy even when unloaded. He still want to hold it in his hands.

      That’s irrational. It’s disturbing. He’s the one with a fetish.

      I’ve got no problem with requiring gun safety classes being required (at the state level) to purchase guns. Taking safety classes is a good thing in itself, making it required seems sensible. Just like having to pass a driving test before being allowed to drive (something sorely needed in my home state of California!). This person just cemented this into place. People need a healthy respect for guns. They are not toys.

      1. But you don’t need to pass a drivers test to be allowed to drive. Only to drive on public roads.

      2. “I’ve got no problem with requiring gun safety classes being required (at the state level) to purchase guns”

        Well I do.

        Before the Civil War the SC said in Dred Scott that “if blacks were citizens they would have the right to keep and carry arms wherever they go”.

        That’s the right an American citizen has.

        And I don’t need to pass a test to have it.

        So f off with your “tests”.

        1. This VA Gun Owner could not possibly agree more with you, sir.

    4. Hey Tony how’s it working out for you trying to pathologise everything you don’t like as a “fetish”? What about men inserting their penises into each other’s rectal cavities? That’s definitely not a fetish though, right?

      Don’t get me wrong, as a libertarian I have no problem with your life choices, fetish or otherwise, but think on that will you?

      1. ps – That’s not in any way me suggesting that being gay is a choice. What you do, generally speaking, sexually or otherwise, is a choice. Anyway no response so at least you probably have a life or something unlike ol’ Potato who has returned to reply to his own comment.

  4. If there’s anyone who won’t be irrationally compelled to behave violently, it’s people with a gun fetish.

    I hear taunting people who have gun fetishes, promising to break the rules, sneak into their houses, and steal their guns while they aren’t looking is *the. best. way.* to steer them off a path of violence and give up their guns.

    1. Only if the right people are doing it for the right reasons to be on the right side of history.

    2. I shot a coyote (in November, I think) that was stalking the livestock. Otherwise, all my victims have been paper for some time now. Given all the talk about violence from the SJW/Antifa types, my fetish runs toward ammo. From what I hear from my friends in iffy places, the stuff runs out fast.

    3. There are countless free people in this world who are living even better lives than the average American who have little or no access to guns and they don’t give a shit.

      1. Any many of those people’s freedoms depend on guns in the hands of Americans and other allied forces.

        Don’t believe me, let’s back out of NATO and watch them scream foul.

        1. But they do not depend on amateur fatass rednecks in America with an apocalypse fantasy. I don’t think anyone’s arguing that we should disarm the armed forces.

          Guess how long those idiots will survive an actual apocalypse with only an arsenal but no medical or farming knowledge.

          1. Assuming there are no doctors or EMT who vote Republican, do you believe most farmers, ranchers and fishermen are democrat office dwellers who spend time at Starbucks sipping Latte?

            1. Yeah farming is such an odd choice. I’ve known many farmers, never one without at least a varmint rifle.

          2. I’m kinda curious about the sort of rednecks you hang out with. All of the rednecks I know have plenty of farming knowledge, and while they aren’t doctors they do have a lot of knowledge of basic healthcare and simple remedies. In general they’re the most adaptable and self-sufficient people I know.

            1. I’m kinda curious about the sort of rednecks you hang out with.

              That would be his cousin-lovers that he’s always going on about.

            2. It won’t be good enough. Of course the only thing I’d be capable of is tastefully decorating the bunker.

          3. “”But they do not depend on amateur fatass rednecks in America with an apocalypse fantasy””

            So. They still rely on Americans with guns. The guys that grew up shooting guns are much better at hitting targets than people who did not. Who do you want to protect you when shit goes down? I’ll take guys, and even girls that comes from a family of gun owners and grew up shooting.

            They live closer to the land than city slickers. people in the cities will have a much bigger issue with an apocalypse.

            I don’t think you ever think things through. But I’m sure you’ll move the goal post.

            1. A lot of these fools also don’t seem to know where the U.S. military gets most of its recruits from. Or that a lot of these “amateur fatass rednecks” are actually veterans.

            2. I don’t think you ever think things through.

              This is possibly the most obvious thing I’ve ever seen said here about Tony.

      2. There are countless free people in this world who are living even better lives than the average American who have little or no access to guns and they don’t give a shit.

        I hear taunting people who aren’t like the vague countless free people that you don’t name makes them want to agree with you and be more like the vague countless free people that you don’t name.

        Did somebody put you in charge of tormenting the fetishists into becoming members of the countless free people or is this irrational and idiotic quest your own concoction?

      3. If everyone in Venezuela had an AR15 and twenty rounds, do you think maybe those food trucks would be getting past the army and into the country?

      4. Much like the Kuwaitis in 1989.

      5. There are also free people who live in near-zero crime societies because they don’t have certain undesirable populations, but let’s keep pretending that they have no crime because there aren’t many guns as opposed to said undesirable people.

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    1. ^ As a gun runner.

  6. “The NRA should face legal consequences.”

    Swalwell should face re-election consequences.

    1. This dude reps one of the bluest districts in the country, in a state that’s effectively a single-party Maoist collective now. The only way he’s going anywhere is if it comes out that he’s deliberately infecting teenage hookers with AIDS.

      1. I heard that Swalwell likes to deliberately infect teenage hookers with AIDS.

        1. Second time in a row I have seen that allegation; it is now confirmed fact, in a New York Times kind of way.

  7. Organizing to vote out politicians who hold anti (private) gun ownership views is assassinating those politicians politically and thus a threat of violence.

  8. How can you lose calling your opponent a would-be assassin? (Unless they take the difficult route, as a “public figure,” of prosecuting a defamation claim).

    You get your accusation out there, plus the headline of “NRA denies issuing death threats,” which of course a guilty person would say and in any event the denial reminds the reader of the original accusation.

  9. “This is a call for violence by the @NRA against @GabbyGiffords, who was nearly killed by gunfire and @SpeakerPelosi, the most powerful legislator in America,” Swalwell tweeted on Saturday. “The NRA should face legal consequences. But let’s put them out of business with boycotts and ballot boxes.”

    Funny, only Republicans have been victimized by mass shootings caused by political supporters of the opposition. Giffords assassin was a random nutjob. The GOP shooter was a fervent Bernie bro.

    1. And they are still trotting out Giffords for these photo-ops.

      Leave the poor woman alone. Hasn’t she gone through enough?

      1. She’s nothing more than a political prop at this point. Her fucking ghoul of a husband is actually using her to bolster his Senate run in Arizona. Asshole, how about you stay home and worry about your wife’s health instead of using her as a shield to aggrandize for political power?

      2. They dragged James Brady out in his wheelchair until he died. You think they’re going to pass up the chance to do the same to Giffords?

        Wasn’t it a Dem who shot her, BTW? Maybe we should just disarm all the registered Democrats.

        1. It was a seriously deranged crazy person. I don’t think party affiliation is particularly relevant in that case.

  10. What I find most amusing about articles like this is that the empty headed author has given absolutely no thought as to what would happen if gun owners in the US were actually provoked.

    In my experience people with guns tend to dominate people without them. I’m pretty sure the Brooklyn dwelling hipsters are going to lose on this one.

  11. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) made that point in response to Swalwell’s tweet. “How can you claim this?” he wrote. “Are you deliberately lying or did you just not read it?”

    I’m beginning to suspect that Crenshaw is a Reason commenter.

    1. Maybe one of his staffers. If he were a regular, he’d know that ‘both’ is always an option.

    2. Who the fuck has time to read before you tweet? That’s crazy talk!

    3. I fucking hope so!

  12. “Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, warned gun owners Friday that any fight over firearms would be “a short one,” because the federal government has an extensive cache of nuclear weapons.” Washington Times, November 18, 2018

    Now THAT is what I call a threat.

  13. No, the NRA Is Not Urging Its Members to Assassinate Gun Control Supporters

    Why not?

    1. Even if they did, it would not even come close to Swalwell’s threat to use nuclear weapons on American citizens, on US soil no less.

      1. Just the soil in the middle, which he flies over on his trips to D.C.

        1. Right; that where that GD basket of deplorables live, not those wonderfully rich and cultured people on the West and NE Coasts live who voted for Hilldog, [because they figure they’re well off and rich enough to believe they can virtue signal without consequences to themselves].

      2. Swalwell’s explicit threat trumps any alleged implicit threat.

    2. Because if the day comes when it’s justified, we can figure it out on our own.

  14. Speaking of fire-and-brimstone, someone near my friend’s homeless shelter disrespected the two of us several days ago, which meant I had to return to Brooklyn this morning to speak more clearly. It is a good thing the guys from the wellness center gave me tips on non-verbal communication.

    1. I do always enjoy your stories, sharmota

      1. As one would enjoy the stories of a burned out street dwelling addict?

        At least that is how I read it, but perhaps I am missing something [like lucidity].

        1. I do not believe that she (?) is homeless herself. Although, if I was homeless, I would make sure I regularly posted on Reason comments. That would be my number one priority.

        2. Far from burned out.
          There’s an understated enthusiasm to them, and a wonderfully esoteric mix of vagueness and odd specifics presented in a confidently familiar but aloof tone.
          A+ style

  15. It’s funny to read the comments in the Washington Post about the NRA supposedly demonizing Rep. Pelosi, while calling gun owners gun nuts, ammosexuals, rednecks,bubbas, Russian stooges, less than human, etc.

    Makes you wonder who’s doing the actual demonizing.

    1. Many of the readers of the WAPO, apparently, along with their Pravda allies [which is most of the media]; I believe they are becoming increasingly disconnected, along with their Democratic front runners for the time being.

      1. WaPo commenters are fn animals, and have been that way for at least the last 5 years

        1. Oh, and the entire progressive movement, including those Rs, has been in the midst of a psychotic breakdown since early 2016

          1. TDS; it’s a beautiful thing

    2. The best ones are the comments which show they can’t see a gun, or even the word itself, without thinking of a penis.

  16. If the anti-gun crowd actually believed that gun owners are the violent extremists they claim to believe we are, they’d be more polite.

    1. ^This.

      I’ve been a gun owner for over 30 years, and during that entire time I’ve been subjected to insults, insinuations, and downright lies from the anti-gun fanatics. I haven’t shot one of them yet; I haven’t even slapped one of them, in spite of the fact that they richly deserve it.

      Not only am I quite easy to get along with, I also have an understanding of the responsibility that comes with owning a firearm. I’m less violent than a lot of these “woke” folk. And Swalwell can’t teach me one fucking thing when it comes to responsible gun ownership.

      1. I think that when you know how easily you could kill another person, most people will consider more carefully the implications of using violence. Seems to be true of most all of the gun owners and users I know.

      2. I think this highlights a general schism between the left and right. The left wants to individualize benefits and collectivize responsibility. The right wants people to be responsible and to an extent share in the benefits of that. Maybe this distinction is why I see Reason writers as being so leftist

    2. Or dead.

  17. “No, the NRA Is Not Urging Its Members to Assassinate Gun Control Supporters”

    Well… maybe they should

    1. It’s vaguely disguised comments like these that responsible gun owners should denounce. But they won’t. And that’s why (like Muslims), the vast majority get tarred by a few knuckleheads.

      1. “Gun Control Supporters” being victims of Progressive educators can’t help themselves, so probably ought not be punished.

      2. No, we could all be Mother Theresa and the anti-gun people would still vilify us.

        I’ve put up with it for 40+ years and from now on my reply to them is FYTW.

      3. Fuck off, Eric, we all know you’re progressive.
        Thus, while not forgiving, we aren’t surprised that you misunderstood the statement as both a joke and literally.
        Go back to huffpo

      4. This comment is so far from the mainstream that even acknowledging it enough to denounce gives it far more exposure than it would otherwise get

        In other words, its better to ignore Nardz than to denounce him

  18. “All options have not been taken off the table.”

  19. When you have a preset agenda, truth no longer matters to you.

  20. @SpeakerPelosi, the most powerful legislator in America…

    I thought the people had the power and that she was just a representative of the people in a government set up to protect the rights of said people.

  21. Swalwell’s official response to the Hebdo massacre concluded with the words “Je Suis Charlie”.

    While decrying actual terrorism is easy, the final statement is a de facto support of free speech. He can’t both support the type of speech inclined to generate violence from radical Islamists and also suggest that the speech in The American Rifleman might generate violence from radical gun-owners, without being some sort of myopic hypocrite.

    I suppose it’s also possible that he’s had a change of heart, but somehow I doubt it.

  22. How can you have this article and not mention Swalwell’s threat to nuke American to kill 100,000,000 gun owners placed randomly throughout the country?

    1. Because while it was incredibly stupid (and he will be mocked for it for the rest of his political life), nobody actually takes it seriously, and it’s difficult to believe he meant it as a literal threat of nuclear fire against Them Gun People rather than a ludicrously bad argument of “the government has way more firepower than you so you lose!!!”

      That’s why – it’s irrelevant inside-baseball.

  23. we can see no cogent reason to limit ourselves to gun control supporters…any of the criminals inhabiting this mafia government is fine

  24. Is it just me or did the NRA change the article?

  25. They lie. We’re used to it.

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