Hunters and the NRA


Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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112 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:


    To what extent do you think the NRA oversteps, vs. performs a vital function? If you’re interested in personal firearms ownership, I can totally see why you might support the NRA regardless of whether or not you think they overstep frequently, but I’m curious as to your assessment.

    I look at this and this, and I confess the alarm bells go off in the back of my head and make me wonder if those donations (particularly to incumbents) are really to further gun rights, as opposed to giving funds to politicos that are ideologically aligned with whoever is in charge of the purse over at the NRA on many more fronts than just “private firearms ownership”.

    Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I look at those numbers and I conclude that whoever is currently in charge at the NRA is more… well, at least *as* inclined to collect funds from gun enthusiasts and donate it to the old boys network in the GOP than they are in anything else.

    (standard disclaimer: about 95% of the gun debate bores me to tears on both sides, because the arguments are so shoddy)Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      Overstep is probably a poor choice of words on my part. If anything I would describe it as ‘stubbornly resistent to even the most modest of policy proposals’. They won’t tolerate any new gun laws that are seen as a step away from regulation-free gun ownership.

      I would prefer they work with the government to deal with gun crime in a more comonsense way. The last ime they really did much was Project Exile which was too extreme IMO. They have to have some reasonable ideas if they would just be willing to present them to their membership. In some ways though they are also held hostage by the most extreme of the gun rights crowd.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        > In some ways though they are also held hostage by the
        > most extreme of the gun rights crowd.

        Well, this is a predictable outcome of a single-issue group. The ones that care the most gravitate towards the leadership positions.

        > They have to have some reasonable ideas if they would
        > just be willing to present them to their membership.

        This is one good way of trying to head off that predictable outcome.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Gustave Le Bon:

          The leader has most often started as one of the led. He has himself been hypnotised by the idea, whose apostle he has since become. It has taken possession of him to such a degree that everything outside it vanishes, and that every contrary opinion appears to him an error or a superstition.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I’m not an NRA member, & not terribly well versed in the politics & history of the NRA, so take what I’m about to say with a salt lick.

        I think the NRA was pretty reasonable about working with the government to craft laws that protected rights, but fought trafficking. Right up until that idiotic Assault Weapons Ban went into effect. I think the NRA (& the membership) lost their faith & trust that the government will treat with them fairly.

        And the arbitrary & capricious behavior of the BATFE the past 20 years or so has not helped that trust at all.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


          I agree that they didn’t start the fight. But I also think that just because the other side goes extreme doesn’t mean you have to do the same. I think a more nuanced policy would demonstrate just respectful most gun owners are about gun safety.Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko says:

            To my mind, the real evidence of the NRA’s unreasonableness isn’t that they became associated with the Republican Party when Gun Control was popular on the left. It’s that they have remained steadfastly Republican while the Dems have lost interest (or, less charitably, retreated in disarray from) gun control. I have no problem with gun rights and am not interested in any new gun control legislation, so I’ve got no problem with a single-issue group that passionately opposes it. What I do have a problem with is an irrational, paranoid single-issue group that can’t take yes for an answer from the left.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:

      Sorry I didn’t realize the 2nd amendment was a “shoddy” argument. Sadly if the NRA hadn’t supported Heller, we not have been able to re-affirm that the 2nd is still part of the constitution.Report

    • Avatar M.A. says:

      Hunters are not generally against requiring gun safety classes; the NRA is.
      Hunters are not generally against requiring licensing of gun owners and registration of guns; the NRA is.

      The ugly reality is that a “well regulated militia”, if we actually had one, would include records of who had what training and what guns they had on hand. If a gun was sold, we’d require record of who it was sold to. This wouldn’t be “so the government can take them away”, this would be so that if the government ever needed to call people up, they’d know who could be most effectively called up to what unit and what they were trained to do.

      What the NRA is for is gun-possession anarchy, in simple terms.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        “Hunters are not generally against requiring gun safety classes; the NRA is.”

        Are you sure about that?

        • Avatar M.A. says:

          The NRA is against requiring licensing to carry/own. As in, requiring that people take safety classes and register their weapons similar to how they have to get licensed to drive and register their cars.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

            The NRA supports hunter safety classes. Those are required in most states for people that hunt.

            What is so important about registering weapons?Report

            • Avatar M.A. says:

              What’s so important about registering cars?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                There’s nothing in the Constitution about cars. They weren’t invented yet.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                neither is there anything in there about mortars, and yet you can do a HELL of a lot more damage with one than a gun.
                Also, they’re a bit easier to come by, at least in Ohio. Oh, sure, they’re supposed to not be incendiary weapons… supposed to be safe…Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                Paying taxes? There’s a huge infrastructure built around automobiles.

                So again, what is so important about registering weapons?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Well, the Second Amendment does say well-regulated, which just might imply something about keeping those weapons in armories. By my lights, the Second Amendment applied to the citizen militias of the day. Might add, beyond this new PPACA gotta buy health insurance law, the only other time the US government ever made such a law was to oblige citizens to buy their own military supplies, including weapons.

                Registering weapons is entirely Constitutional. The Second Amendment cannot be pulled apart into two pieces to avoid the first clause.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Well, the Second Amendment does say well-regulated, which just might imply something about keeping those weapons in armories. … The Second Amendment cannot be pulled apart into two pieces to avoid the first clause.

                Not that I’m arguing that gun registration is unconstitutional, but legally this argument doesn’t work. The first clause of the 2nd Amendment is boilerplate, merely explanatory. It doesn’t actually control the substantive part of the Amendment in any way. It tells us why the right exists, but doesn’t say the right can be restricted to that end.

                Imagine if the free speech clause carried a similar explanation.

                Open political debate being necessary to the functioning of a republic, the right of the people to the freedom of speech shall not be abridged.

                Would we then be arguing that only political speech is constitutionally protected, and I don’t actually have a constitutionally protected right to sing “I like big butts and I cannot lie”?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Let’s examine the texts. There are two.

                As passed by the Congress:

                A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

                As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:

                A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

                Grammatically, this right of the people is dependent upon the necessity of the security of a free state. Some imaginary reading of the First Amendment simply won’t do. Confine your discussion to your interpretation of why this amendment reads as it does.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Would we then be arguing that only political speech is constitutionally protected

                We would if we were Robert Bork. You know, the strict constructionist that the liberals so unfairly torpedoed.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Grammatically, this right of the people is dependent upon the necessity of the security of a free state.

                I didn’t argue that it wasn’t. I argued that the right being dependent upon that necessity does not mean the right is limited only to what’s necessary to secure that necessity.

                Confine your discussion to your interpretation of why this amendment reads as it does.

                Your habit of trying to give other people orders is really pathetic, a sign of weakness.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Shrug. I’m not the one rewriting the First Amendment either. Why does the Second Amendment read the way it does? Either you’re going to answer that, or you won’t.Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                So according to you, James Hanley, the protection of the “right to keep and bear arms” as it relates to the keeping of a “well-regulated militia” involves some misanthropic, paranoid delusional psychopath being able to stockpile unregistered heavy weaponry in his basement for the purpose of getting into a fight with the police?

                Because from my perspective we would be better served with each person trained to carry, registered with a license, and the serial number and make of each purchased weapon associated with their license in a database, preferably with bullet fingerprinting records as well. That way the gun owners are “well regulated”, as in the first part of that amendment’s text.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Why does the Second Amendment read the way it does? Either you’re going to answer that, or you won’t.

                To the best of my knowledge, Blaise, nobody knows. It’s a bit of an oddity

                But there are some pretty standard rules of legal interpretation, among which is that a justifying clause is not a limiting clause. Here is Scalia’s statement of that principle in D.C. v. Heller:

                The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause.

                I’m no fan of Scalia, but he’s not being Scalia there–that’s just boilerplate legal interpretation.

                Here’s the famous statement by 19th century Michigan judge Thomas Cooley:

                The Right is General. — It may be supposed from the phraseology of the provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia; but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. …[T]he law may make provision for the enrolment of all who are fit to perform military duty, or of a small number only, or it may wholly omit to make any provision at all; and if the right were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people from who the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose. But this enables the government to have a well regulated militia;


              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                So according to you, James Hanley, the protection of the “right to keep and bear arms” as it relates to the keeping of a “well-regulated militia” involves some misanthropic, paranoid delusional psychopath being able to stockpile unregistered heavy weaponry in his basement for the purpose of getting into a fight with the police?

                It’s funny that you write that after I wrote,
                Not that I’m arguing that gun registration is unconstitutional,

                It’s almost as though you don’t care what people actually say, but just want to make shit up about them.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                We know how the law was interpreted.

                Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.
                Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

                So, it seems Heller struck down some DC ordinance. That’s fine. The fact is, Scalia has detached the first half of the Second Amendment from the second half on his own say-so. We don’t have militias any more, but the Constitution still mentions them:

                To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

                So it seems the government can summon up a militia. There’s our guidance, whatever Scalia may say about it. So perhaps, if we are to be guided by Article 1, Section 8, gun owners should be required to register for service with the National Guard.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                That’s fine. The fact is, Scalia has detached the first half of the Second Amendment from the second half on his own say-so.

                Incorrect. As I said, Scalia followed standard legal interpretation. He did nothing “on his own say-so,” nor did he “detach” the elements of the 2nd Amendment; he just pointed out that the first clause was only explanatory, not limiting.

                So it seems the government can summon up a militia. There’s our guidance, whatever Scalia may say about it

                Scalia agrees; you’re not actually rebutting him. But “guidance” as to the purpose of the Amendment is not the same as being a limit to its reach.

                That was the point of my First Amendment analogy, which you rejected too quickly, not understanding how a legal scholar would have viewed the hypothetical.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The founding fathers would have been completely opposed to a bunch of crazy white men using their own military-grade weapons to take on a legitimate government.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I say he detached the two clauses in Heller. Are you a legal scholar? We’re just two putzes on some blog thread.

                Scalia wants to have it both ways. He wants to say SCOTUS can strike down an ordinance. So far so good. Read Justice Stevens’ dissent you’ll see what I’m on about here.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Are you a legal scholar?

                It was part of my major comps in grad school, and I have taught con law.

                I’m not a top-flight legal scholar because I got bored with the topic and left it behind after a while. But I know a little more than the average putz on a blog thread.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Gun related deaths per year in U.S.: ~30,000

                Auto related deaths per year in U.S.: 2010: 32,885Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                Primary purpose of a vehicle: to drive from point A to point B.

                Primary purpose of a gun: to deliver a small lead pellet at high velocity to a target.

                Chance of a car being used deliberately to inflict bodily harm on a human being: small.
                Chance of a gun being used deliberately to inflict bodily harm on a human being: large.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                James is leading you into a red herring argument. There are 270,000,000 guns in the USA. There are 254,212,610 cars in the USA. Roughly equal.

                The deaths are sorta proportional as well. True, there are fewer homicides using a car as a weapon, but it’s not uncommon. People don’t spend several hours a day with their gun in their hand, either.

                The fact is, trying to say Guns Are Dangerous is a losing argument. Cars and guns are both used in the commission of crimes, too. The problem isn’t the guns or the cars, it’s the people owning them and how they get them and what they do with them.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                The problem isn’t the guns or the cars, it’s the people owning them and how they get them and what they do with them.


                And unfortunately both give a heightened sense of invulnerability and manliness when in the hands of fools.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I notice you haven’t responded to my comment here about how responsible gun owners and dealers should work this out themselves. I make a good many points to which nobody responds.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I’m glad we agree on the subject of idiocy. I’ve tried to point out why gun registration is important, for the same reasons auto registration is important, not that anyone’s going to respond to that line of rhetoric. Much heat and no light in all these God, Guns ‘n ‘Bortion posts.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Estimated number of civilian owned guns
                in the United States: 270,000,0001.

                Estimated firearm injuries (fatal and non-fatal), including accidents, as well as deliberate injuries, each year: ~97,000.

                Odds a civilian owned gun will be involved in a gun injury in a given year: 0.0036%.

                If that’s your definition of large, I encourage you to send me $1,000 because there’s a large chance I’ll send you the secret to ever-lasting happiness in return.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                How many gun owners? Number of guns isn’t the relevant stat — number of owners is. Actually, if you want to be technical, number of people with access to those guns — though given the wide disparity and how Americans treat guns, that’d be difficult to suss out.

                I know one guy that keeps his revolver and ammo on a closet shelf. It’s his only gun, and he hasn’t fired it in 20 years or more. His entire family has access to it, they know where it is.

                My father-in-law owns upwards of 20 guns — mostly shotguns and rifles for hunting, but includes two pistols, at least one antique and two recreations (including a muzzle-loader).

                They’re all stored in one of two gun-safes, ammo stored in another locked case. His wife knows the combination to both, no-one else does. (It’s in his will, though)

                I’d like to think my father-in-law is more representative of American gun safety, but sadly I doubt it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Well, the number of guns is important, if only to establish a baseline. Gun theft is a serious problem and those weapons do end up in the hands of criminals.

                I’m not worried about responsible gun owners. I worry about gun safety: people buy firearms with little to no instruction on their maintenance and upkeep, especially in the matter of ammunition, old ammunition is a very serious problem. So are rusty weapons, just waiting to blow up in their owners’ hands.

                The entire gun debate is meaningless to outsiders. This is a problem only faced by gun owners and gun dealers and until they come to terms with the problem, seconds out. If responsible gun owners are sick of being lectured on this subject and harangued by anti-gun zealots, it’s their own goddamn fault: they have not responded with reasonable proposals which might obligate gun owners to behave in a responsible manner. Much bleating and aw-shucks-ing about how the NRA doesn’t represent gun owners will not solve the problem.

                While the NRA continues to bully anyone who utters a peep about the obligations created by gun ownership, we shall continue, in the words of T.S Eliot, going round the prickly pear at five o’clock in the morning.Report

              • Avatar rexknobus says:

                I guess everybody reads stats and gets something different:

                “Estimated number of civilian owned guns…270,000,000”

                My take: Jeez, anyone who is particularly worried about having their guns taken away is a goof. Get over it.

                “Estimated firearm injuries…97,000”

                My take: that number seems small to you? Really?

                “Odds per gun…0.0036%”

                My take: what does that have to do with anything?

                Tell you what…send me $1,000 and I will personally guarantee (with a $10,000 warranty) that no jack-booted thugs will come take your legally owned firearms away. Address upon request.


                (and for the record — Marine Corps vet; hunter; I knows my firearms)Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                There’s a distribution per subpopulation thing going on, there.

                “Random Dude living in Wyoming 5 miles from another human being owns 400 firearms.” is different from “Specific Dude in this apartment building owns 20 and the gangbangers on 2 know he just left for vacation”.

                Arguing gun safety with statistics is a perfectly fine tactic, though. You squirrel down into the numbers and any way you twist and turn them, pretty much no matter how you alter your base assumptions, you’re going to come out to, “guns really aren’t any more dangerous than any other thing capable of inflicting lethal harm on a human being, which includes most household chemicals, all sorts of transportation options, virtually every tool built or designed by man, an even the goddamn stick sitting on the ground outside my office.”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                I agree that’s important, too. A 2005 poll suggests 3 in 10 Americans own guns, or something like 100 million people. How many have access to those guns? Who knows? As your post indicates; it depends on how well those owners control them. My neighbor’s dad kept his in the bedroom closet; one day my neighbor pointed it at my chest, just for kicks. One gun, neighbor, dad and mom–at minimum–had access to it. Since I had a key when they were gone to feed their dog, I suppose I had access to it, too.

                But there are an estimated 191 million drivers, too, and presumably most of those have access to a car. So I’m not sure just where the comparison on that line takes us.

                I’m not trying to say guns are inherently safe or there are no reasons for concern. I own no guns myself, and I’m quite ambivalent on the issue of gun control.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                “Odds per gun…0.0036%”
                My take: what does that have to do with anything?

                It was a direct response to:
                Chance of a gun being used deliberately to inflict bodily harm on a human being: large.

                “Estimated firearm injuries…97,000?
                My take: that number seems small to you? Really?

                Where did I say that number seems small? I’m pretty sure I never did. For the record, I think the ~2 million adult auto-accident injuries treated in emergency rooms each year is depressingly high, too.

                “Estimated number of civilian owned guns…270,000,000?
                My take: Jeez, anyone who is particularly worried about having their guns taken away is a goof. Get over it.

                Heh, I’m not sure I can argue against that.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                And the number of people who died just after they were breathing is in the millions.Report

          • Avatar Scott says:


            Why don’t you try a better analogy? Drivers ed isn’t required for you to register a car, usually you need proof of insurance and title. Heck in some states you don’t need drivers education to get a license. Yes you may need to take a test but it isn’t very hard. Surely you can do better, b/c claiming that the NRA isn’t interested in safety is just liberal BS.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’m a fan of the JPFO. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re like the NRA, only absolutely humorless and completely uninterested in compromise for temporary political advantage.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    While I disagree with your assessment of the necessity of the NRA, I generally approve of this. If we are to make any headway on reasonable interpretations of the Second Amendment as a nation, it will be when gun owners and dealers enter into an honest discussion within their own ranks on what constitutes responsible gun ownership and sales. Really, they’re the only people who face this issue and they’re the only people who can do anything about it.Report

  4. “I am part of that demographic because I choose to give my money to Ducks Unlimited rather than the NRA because I am more comfortable with their mission and the way they pursue it.”

    I find this interesting, Mike. This may just be a Canadian thing, but Ducks Unlimited was incredibly dishonest about their their mission when I was growing up. Their ad campaigns had zero to do with hunting. They tried to position themselves as just a standard environmental group with no other agenda. It worked, too. It took quite a while before it became widely known that DU was a pro-hunting lobby.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


      I don’t know how old you are but I’m 37. It may also be a American / Canadian thing. In my experience DU has always been very open about their mission. Go to their website and it’s filled with pictures of people waterfowl hunting. They have also sponsored a weekly hunting show for years.Report

    • Avatar James B Franks says:

      Jonathan, was it on a national level or state? I don’t recall them being anything but honest in Minnesota about their goal of conservation so that they can keep hunting. Then again my Uncle was a member so I may just be remembering what he told me.Report

      • Mike and James,

        I’m 36, so it would have been during the 80s. It always seemed like a national (Canadian) campaign, but it might just have been for Ontario.

        I’ve just looked at the two websites, and, and the American site is quite upfront about supporting hunting. The Canadian organization hides their support. The About Us and the menu links offer no hint that they are a pro-hunting group. However, do a search for “hunting” and you’ll see that they’ll teach you how to hunt.

        So, yeah, the deceit seems like a purely Canadian thing and not a reflection on the American DU.Report

  5. Avatar DRS says:

    I’m a Canadian and I used to work for a national environmental organization, often in cooperation with other national organizations with an interest in the environment – note the distinction.

    Every environmentalist I worked with loved DU. They did not hide the fact that they were a hunting group, and what they didn’t know about wetlands, marsh and coastal preservation was not worth knowing in the first place. Yes, they killed wildfowl but there were no ducks on the endangered species list (at that time, mid-1990’s to mid-2000’s; things might be different now but I don’t think so).

    The really great thing about DU was that they had an active cross-Canada membership who were not shy about using the phone. A right-wing, populist Reform Party with many MP’s from western Canada had been elected to the national parliament, and many of them told us quite snootily that environmental issues were for citified, sissified Easterner and that their constituents didn’t care about such things.

    Then they found out what it was like to get emails, letters and phone calls from their duck-hunting constituents – 500 to 1,000 per week. What do you know? Turns out hunters care about the environment! Who’d’a thought?Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      I’ve had a similar experience here. They do some awesome projects and work closely with the Fish & Wildlife department.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Yes, they killed wildfowl but there were no ducks on the endangered species list

      Thanks in part to DU itself, as a result of its efforts to protect duck habitat.Report

  6. Avatar trizzlor says:

    She isn’t worried about firearm restrictions because the firearms she uses are likely safe. This strikes me as naive. … If hunting was banned, we would still shoot. We cherish our guns and for that reason, the NRA remains important to outdoorsman.

    Interesting post and it’s great to find out about the diversity of gun organizations, but this part is really unclear to me. McCaulou is saying that the most draconian gun-control laws would not effect her lifestyle because none of those restrictions would significantly effect long-guns or hunting ranges. What is naive about this assumption? Clearly she’s not talking about laws that would ban hunting. Has there been a credible attack made on long-guns and hunters in the past that indicates she is wrong? Does the NRA action on hand-guns and trafficking (particularly the recent directions pushed by the odious Wayne LaPierre) have a positive impact on McCaulou?

    If your claim is that hunters and hand-gun owners overlap significantly, I think that’s entirely fair. But McCaulou’s claim is that there are also significant amount of divergence between the two groups.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      The Assault Weapons Ban was the most recent attack on long guns I can think off.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor says:

        That’s true, but does the ASW actually effect her guns and the way she uses them? I’ll admit I run in hunting circles that are into restoring WWI rifles so I’m out of my depth, but are there that many hunters that need a bayonet *and* a grenade launcher on their rifle?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          The AWB was not limited to guns with bayonets and grenade launchers. That was a big part of the problem. They took semi-automatic weapons and called them assault weapons. Some of the justifications, that these semi-automatic weapons had similar cosmetics as automatic weapons, or that they could theoretically be rigged to become automatic weapons, and so it became not even about what the weapons could or could not do. It energized a lot of people.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor says:

            Will, I must be misreading this then, is “rifles able to accept” doing a lot of the heavy lifting here to make so many semi-autos considered assault?Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              Well, either that or I am misunderstanding the law. My understanding was that the right guns that were (too) easily converted into the wrong guns were considered the wrong guns. I did a cursory search and can’t find any clarification.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


          I hunt several game species with a semi-auto rifle with a 15-round capacity. It didn’t have all of the characteristics of an ‘assault rifle’ so it remained legal. However, the actual function of the gun is no different than the rifles they did ban. The AWB was so arbitrary that one could easily see my gun falling under scrutiny under a new version of that bill. That’s where the fear coems from and also why I think McCaulou’s position is naive.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            So people wrote a stupid law. that’s normal, ain’t it?

            Can you write a law that would protect shnooks in the city, while letting you hunt freely (or at least have fun while hunting?)?

            I’d prefer not to be the country where we need hand grenades in our back pockets as getaway/distraction devices.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              You often have to travel through cities to get to the country.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                not the issue (and who doesn’t have a beltway?)
                I want a characterization of “dangerous guns” versus “just for hunting, mostly”, if there’s one you can draw.
                (I’ll accept “there are no dangerous guns” if you can support it… postal workers seem a decent counter for that…)Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                What if you live in the city (like I do) and you have to drive through part of the city with your guns to get to the place where you shoot them? Or to an urban gun range?

                The only distinction I would make between guns is fully automatic and everything else. Full auto does create a unique danger but that is already covered by federal law.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                This reminds me of the Gun Free School Zones Act, which was struck down by the Supreme Court. It banned carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. My children went to an elementary school smack dab in a residential neighborhood–houses beside, behind, and across the street. Presumably any hunter in those houses was in violation of the law–committing a federal crime–if not through simple possession of their gun, then each time they took it out to the car to drive out to the country to go hunting.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I pretty much doubt that legal access to full auto weapons is going to change much of anything in the long run.

                Full auto weapons are really good for suppression fire against an onrushing horde of suicidal attackers, but they’re terrible at everything else except going through lots of ammunition really fast… including shooting at a bunch of people who are *running away* while trying to get maximal casualties per round.

                Not that I think they need to be legalized, either. But if I had to choose between “random psycho nutjob gets their hands on an Uzi” or “random psycho nutjob gets their hands on a 9mm and a couple of extra magazines”, I’d go with giving him the Uzi. He’ll be empty a lot sooner, and hit a lot less.Report

              • Avatar Scott says:


                Fully automatic weapons are legal to own under federal law though not all states allow them.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Well. Legal.

                The last time I checked, if you want a legal .45 thompson vintage WWII submachine gun, the price tag is rather exorbitant. That whole, “You can’t register full auto guns with the federales if they were made after 1986” thing.

                Of course, you can get an appropriate FFL license and own just about anything as long as you’re willing to let the BATFE crawl up your colon whenever they feel like it.Report

            • Can you write a law that would protect shnooks in the city, while letting you hunt freely (or at least have fun while hunting?)?

              It seems to me that a law ending the War on Drugs would do a far better job of this than just about anything else. Crazy talk, I know.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                i agree with ya there.
                people use frontier justice because they can’t depend on the police, not because they want to.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “Even if the N.R.A.’s worst nightmare were to come true nationwide — expanded background checks, mandatory waiting periods, limits to the number of guns purchased by an individual per month — hunting could continue as it has for more than a century, with rifles and shotguns.”

    “What she is saying here is that she isn’t bothered by the spectre of a full handgun ban or draconian regulations because she feels shotguns and rifles would be protected.”

    Is that really what she is saying? She didn’t even mention a handgun bun. Was that to be assumed from the phrase “NRA’s worst nightmare”? If we stick solely to the things she mentioned… “background checks, mandatory waiting periods, limits to the number of guns purchased by an individual per month”… why would those impact hunters?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      She didn’t mention a handgun ban, but it should automatically be incorporated in “the NRA’s worst nightmare.” I mean, we can’t exactly say that a substantial number gun control advocates don’t want a handgun ban, because we’ve had them.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        That seems fair. Thanks. Quibbling rescinded.

        Mike, I said it once before but I think it is worth repeating… I really appreciate the posts you’ve offered up on (for lack of better words) gun and hunting culture. I’m not a hunter and don’t have a particular interest in it and I have even less interest in guns. Just not my cup of tea. But your posts are approachable and shed a new and inviting light on something otherwise foreign to me. Thanks!Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          Thanks Kazzy. They aren’t always the most popular posts at The League but it’s what I know.

          My goal is not to persuade anyone to hunt or own guns. If someone does take an interest though, that’s awesome. I am just realizing more and more that the hunting and gun communities have to make ourselves more open to non-hunters and non-shooters or we risk becoming a secret society of sorts. I was rough on McCaulou in this post but she’s doing good stuff overall and it’s part of a larger effort that I want to be a part of.Report

          • Avatar M.A. says:

            I think that the gun advocacy groups do not to themselves any good by being unwilling to meet halfway on reasonable ideas, nor do they do themselves any good by the behavior of some of their staunchest advocates.

            Let’s face it, the stereotype of an NRA advocate is a guy who never served in the military but thinks he did because he plays around in an unofficial “militia” that gives each other fake military ranks; who dresses up in camo most of the time, stockpiles guns in his house and thinks that the “gubmint” is somehow going to come take them away for some nefarious purpose. The kind of guy who’s dangerous to himself any anyone around him. The sort of wife-beating control freak asshole who’d shoot his daughter’s laptop over a Facebook post.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley says:

              Wow, the stereotype is the group’s fault? Let’s explore that one a little further, but choosing a group you like, instead of one you disdain. For example we could explore why the stereotype of liberals as state-loving socialists driven by their envy of the rich is actually their fault. We could have all kinds of fun with this b-ass-ackward approach.Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                Guys like this don’t help the NRA’s case.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                That guy is basically LARPING. He doesn’t hurt the NRA at all.Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                Says you. Not how everyone else sees it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Folks like this don’t help liberals’ case.

                We could play this stupid game all day, or we could agree that cherry picking morons doesn’t really prove anything except that there are plenty of morons in this world.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Seriously, “Look at this idiot; he is the 1 idiot in a hundred who makes me hate the other 99” has got to be the worst argument anyone can make about just about anything.

                Don’t you think it was about time that this site got it’s liberal TvD? At least there’s now some balance in the Force.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                There are better ways to find balance.Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                Chance of the advocates of gun safety/hunting courses being on Fox News to talk about NRA goals: zero.

                Chance of the inbred JT Ready types being on Fox News to talk about NRA goals (and why it’s important to hunt wetbacks on the border with assault shotguns, and why Obama is the worst socialist ever, and a dozen other right wing memes): he was on just last week.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Chance of me caring? Approaching zero.

                Or put differently, I’m sure Tom has a liberal he thinks is whacky showing up on MSNBC to counter your redneck on Fox News. You guys could probably do this forever. I wonder what either of you will have accomplished.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              I like how you ramped that up from someone who likes guns and is maybe a bit paranoid to beating his wife and firing his gun in the house. That’s a totally reasonable leap in logic.Report

              • Avatar M.A. says:

                I’m pointing this out; that is how the other side sees the (fervent) NRA crowd. Because the most vocal types from the NRA side don’t engage in reasoned discourse; it’s always about absolutes and screeds about “government taking away our liberty” and how they “need the guns to protect ourselves from gubmint overreach.”

                Every time some idiot flaps his gums about needing guns to protect himself from”the government coming into his home”, the NRA’s case is hurt. That’s the point I am making. And the most public pro-NRA faces are people like JT Ready, or that national embarrassment Ted Nugent.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                In my experience people find exactly what they want when they are looking for representative samples of a certain group. That video is on YouTube. So is this one:


              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                no, he ramped up from “the new KKK” to beating his wife.

                If you don’t believe me, visit detroit. Be white, male and in the city and people be crawling out of the woodwork to recruit ya to “militias”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                More bullshit from Kimmi, who never fails to fail to provide any evidence supporting her position. I’m white, male, live in Michigan, and not one of my trips to Detroit has ever included a recruitment pitch from a militia member.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                That’s precisely what the miltias tell you to say.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                Hanley’s actually a half-hispanic, quarter-asian, quarter-african-american female.

                The “middle-aged white guy” schtick is an act.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                You forgot 1/8th Eskimo.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                this guy reported being hassled about joining more than a couple of times while he was grabbing photos.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Really? I just went to that site and didn’t find any such statement. Further, googling Yves Marchand militia didn’t bring up any such statement.

                And even if he did get hit up a couple times, that’s a far fucking cry from militias “crawling out of the woodwork to recruit” you.

                I haven’t responded to you in a long while because your constant stream of bullshit isn’t worth giving attention to. But you pushed my button with this particular bit of shit slinging.Report

              • Avatar Scott says:


                I live in the South and no one from the KKK or a militia has ever tried to recruit me.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      Kazzy, I admittedly read between the lines a bit but, as Will points out, I think what she describes would be a handgun ban.Report

  8. Avatar Anderson says:

    Only loosely related to this piece, but there was an interesting article in the Atlantic a few months ago about the history of the NRA (and gun control in general.) Oddly enough, the NRA was not always the kind of organization that you write about here. In Adam Winkler’s words, “In the 1920s and ’30s, the NRA was at the forefront of legislative efforts to enact gun control. The organization’s president at the time was Karl T. Frederick, a Princeton- and Harvard-educated lawyer known as ‘the best shot in America’—a title he earned by winning three gold medals in pistol-shooting at the 1920 Summer Olympic Games. As a special consultant to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Frederick helped draft the Uniform Firearms Act, a model of state-level gun-control legislation.”

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    As an aside to this conversation – Kentucky has a new law that goes into effect today. Gun owners can cary their guns concealed without a permit while at home or in a business they own. It seems a bit silly to me but it’s another step towards non-permit concealed carry, which I think is on the horizon in the not-too-distant future.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      So previously you could only carry a gun in your house if you had it in plain sight? I guess we wouldn’t want people who live alone to surprise themselves with their own gun, eh?Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        Like I said, it’s pretty silly on the home part. I understand the business part more. There are a lot of small business owners that would probably liek to take advantage of that.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          I can see why a business owner would want it–particularly depending on type of business, location, and hours open.Report

          • Avatar M.A. says:

            I wouldn’t have issue with a business owner carrying concealed on his own property. But I’d want him/her to prove basic firearms training, get licensed, and the gun be registered (preferably, I’m all in favor of a gun-fingerprinting database).

            Beats the hell out of some idiot who doesn’t know what they’re doing shooting themselves with their own gun because they had it in “concealed carry” tucked into their pants pocket while loaded.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Are you talkingto me?Report

  10. Avatar Roger says:

    Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse.Report

  11. Avatar damon says:

    I’m a life NRA member and you’re right they are only tangent-ly a hunter support group.

    Of course, I don’t make any distinction between safe firearm handling and hunting and the right to own them. If you own firearms, it’s contingent up you, the owner, to understand and use them wisely, just like any tool. The NRA is rightly more concerned with access to firearms than hunting issues, but frankly, they roll over and are willing to negotiate more than I prefer. Frankly, I don’t think the NRA is extremist enough.

    Real hunters, and I don’t know about Lily Raff McCaulou, take pride in ensuring that the animal does not suffer, “one shot, one kill” and all that. We respect the animal and appreciate that we have taken its life for the purpose of food and are grateful. We do not condone wanton killing or needless suffering and do not associate with those that do.

    And your right, Lily is naive if she thinks that those who are anti gun would stop their efforts before they got hunting banned.Report