Watching National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre squirm and stutter and sweat yesterday on Fox News Sunday was fascinating. He was attacked left and right and up and down by Chris Wallace. When confronted with the controversial ad that called President Obama’s children “elitists” who deserve no more protection than the average American kid, host Chris Wallace pointed out that LaPierre himself appeared to be an elitist because he had arrived at Fox studios with his OWN armed security.
When all of his lame attempts at logic failed, and he ran out of excuses for opposing universal background checks, LaPierre resorted to tactics that are in his comfort zone and have been foolproof in the past: fearmongering.
He warned that universal checks could lead to a national registry:
“I think that what they’ll do is they’ll turn this universal check on the law abiding into a universal registry of law-abiding people, and law-abiding people don’t want that. I mean, my God that’s the last thing they want.”
Wallace pointed out the complete absence of logic and slippery slope behind LaPierre’s argument.
“Forgive me, sir, but you take something that is here and you say it’s going to go all the way over there,” Wallace said. “There’s nothing that anyone in the administration’s said that indicates they’re going to have a universal registry.”
At that point, LaPierre essentially threw out any attempt at valid reasoning and said that he was just going on a hunch. The hope being, of course, that it will fly with ever-paranoid and fearful right wing Americans. He even had his example ready in the form of an astonishing red herring: Obamacare!
“And Obamacare wasn’t a tax until they wanted it to be a tax,” he said. A few minutes later he said “I don’t think you can trust these people.”
LaPierre and the NRA consistently resort to scaring gun owners with the threat of a “universal registry of law-abiding people.” However, federal law prohibits this and establishing a national gun registry is virtually impossible.
The NRA backed gun control in 1999. Wayne LaPierre, then Executive VP of the NRA, said this at the NRA’s 1999 annual meeting:
“First, we believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America’s schools, period . . . with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel.” (NRA Archives, May 1999. Note that the link now re-directs to the Programs page. http://www.nrahq.org/transcripts/denver_wlp.asp)
But Wayne LaPierre has changed his stance completely and now says that:
“I have finally become convinced, after fighting to get the mental records computerized for 20 years and watching the mental health lobby, the HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] laws, and the AMA [American Medical Association] oppose it, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said. “The mental health lobby won’t let it happen.”
While he vehemently opposes “a universal registry of law-abiding people,” he is supportive a universal registry of mentally ill people, or computerized mental health records. I’m pretty sure some of those “law-abiding people” would end up on that list…
LaPierre suggested that he would “change civil commitment laws” and “interdict” mental health patients. Yes, the AMA would have strong objections to that. It would be in blatant violation of HIPAA laws and it was the issue of patient privacy that drove the AMA’s past concerns about universal background checks.
President Obama issued an executive order last month that seeks to address states’ concerns about HIPAA restrictions. to make it easier for states to report information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which was created by the Brady Act, while addressing patient privacy concerns. This same executive order calls to ensure coverage of mental health treatment. The GOP and Mr. LaPierre need to be careful what they ask for.
Source for quotations is this video. You can watch it all here:
I am an unapologetic member of the Christian Left, and have spent a lot of time working with “the least of these” and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. I’m passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics I discuss, subscribe to my public updates on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me via LinkedIn. I also have a grossly neglected blog. Find me somewhere and let’s discuss stuff.