Saturday, January 5, 2013

Neil Macdonald is not a member of the National Rifle Association.

At least I assume he is not a member based on this op-ed he wrote.  He probably should be a member, however.  Members of the NRA vote to elect the leadership of the NRA.  So if you do not like the NRA's position on the availability of assault weapons or on the advisability of having an armed guard in every school, join the NRA and vote for leadership that does not espouse those positions.  The alternative is joining anti-gun groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  I hope I do not insult anyone associated with the Brady Campaign by pointing out that the NRA has been cleaining the Brady Campaign's clock lately when it comes to both gun legislation and court decisions.

What do you think Mr. Torvik?  Would infiltration be a more effective means of change than joining the current anti-gun groups?


  1. Infiltration does not seem to me to be a real good strategy here. The NRA isn't powerful and effective because it has some special institutional sauce that gun-control advocates could steal. It's powerful and effective because a lot of people agree with the views it espouses. In other words, gun rights aren't popular because the NRA supports them; the NRA is popular because it supports gun rights.

  2. That said, let's put the "success" of the NRA into perspective: Did you know that household gun ownership peaked in 1977 at 54 percent, and had falled by 2010 to 32.3%? That personal gun ownership peaked in 1985 at 30.3% and has falled to 20.8%?


    So fewer and fewer people own guns, even while the NRA has been successful at preserving and expanding the right to own guns.

    Meanwhile, the US crime rate—including the murder rate—has plummeted since the early 70's. Gun homicides in particular are down (by about half!) since the early 90s. (See Figure 42.)

    What are we to make of these stats? I'm not sure. But maybe they show that, overall, things aren't so awful in this country after all, and demonizing organizations such as the NRA (as emotionally satisfying as it may be) is not particularly constructive. Indeed, by objective measures it seems that things are getting better and better: fewer and fewer gun murders, even while citizens have increased rights to own the guns that they seem to love so much.

  3. Intersting points in your second post. I was unaware of those gun ownership stats. The media certainly makes it seem like this is not the case given all the articles about people buying guns in anticipation of new gun control laws. Perhaps this means that existing gun owners are becoming more heavily armed.

    1. That's a good hypothesis. I doubt there are a whole lot of people who are paranoid about Obama cracking down on gun rights who don't already own guns.

      But who knows—maybe gun ownership is on the upswing again.


Comments on posts older than 30 days are moderated because almost all of those comments are spam.