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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

What makes a conspiracy theory too goofy even for the NRA?

Talking Points Memo: Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation aimed at combating a threat to gun rights that even the National Rifle Association has described as pure fiction.

A bill introduced late last week by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) would ban federal agencies, excluding the Pentagon, from buying more ammunition during a six-month period if it currently possesses more than its monthly averages during the Bush administration.

The conspiracy theory that incubated the bill is that the Obama administration is trying to buy up bullets so ordinary Americans have less access to them in the marketplace.

“President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Inhofe said in a statement. “One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition.”

Only it’s false — as no less a pro-gun organization than the NRA declared last year.

Last fall, the NRA issued a statement saying the claim was being pushed in an “Internet rumor mill” and was designed to “stir up fear.” The “more incendiary authors,” the group said, “suggest that these government agencies are preparing for a war with the American people.”
Wait a minute, this should be right up the NRA’s alley; government conspiracy, stockpiling ammo, a big coming something or other requiring some Second Amendment Heroes standing up to a suddenly oppressive government… This thing’s got NRA crackpottery written all over it.

Except for one thing: the NRA doesn’t represent gun owners and it doesn’t protect anyone’s rights. It exists for one reason: to sell guns and ammo. If federal agencies were suddenly buying a whole bunch more ammo, the reaction at NRA headquarters wouldn’t be “OMG THE END IS NEAR!” The reaction would be to pop the champagne cork. If the background check vote proved anything, it’s that the NRA does not care where firearms manufacturers’ profits come from — police, criminal, or in between.

Unfortunately for the NRA, they’re right and the whole story is bullshit. But they never climbed on this myth’s bandwagon because they don’t want to encourage people in thinking that it would be wrong for the government to suddenly and drastically increase their consumption of ammunition. An increase in sales is an increase in sales — and that’s what the NRA is all about.

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