America’s gun religion

This starts partway through the article. The author takes us from childhood target shooting to military life…to this!

How did we get from a little NRA indoor firing range with .22 target rifles to an entire convention hall filled with weapons of war and nostalgia for America’s enemies from the Civil War and World War II? How did we get from guns as tools to guns as lifestyle? How did we get from guns manufactured specifically for target shooting and hunting to guns manufactured for killing people and styled as “military” and “tactical” and “assault”? How did we get from magazines like Field and Stream, featuring stories about hunting, to Guns and Ammo, featuring stories about the Hecker and Koch HK416A5 with its “slimline telescopic butt stock” and “Non-stop NATO Stanag 4694 top rail” and magazine capability holding up to 100 rounds of military-grade 5.56 X 45mm NATO ammunition?

Three letters: NRA. Beginning in the 1970s, the National Rifle Association transformed itself from a shooting sports organization into a political lobbying arm of the Republican Party. It formed a PAC, the Political Victory Fund, in time for the 1976 elections and started endorsing and funding conservative, mostly Republican, candidates. The NRA invited Ronald Reagan to address its 1983 convention, in advance of his campaign for reelection in 1984, when they endorsed him for a second time…

…Guns went from tools to politics to identity. A gun went from something you use for a sporting purpose, like target shooting or hunting rabbits, to a thing that makes a statement about you. Hollywood went right along with them, from a .44 magnum revolver in “Dirty Harry” that said I’m a tough guy, to fully automatic AR-15 assault rifles with grenade launchers in “Scarface” that said I’m a killing machine and I’ll kill everyone I can see.

Truly worthwhile read. I can sympathize. I grew up in Connecticut when the state was still proud to call itself the arsenal of America. My family lived through the transition Lucian Truscott describes. One time or another, everyone in my father’s generation – in his extended family – worked for a gun manufacturer. One of my uncles spent his life’s work as a lead prototype gunsmith for a gun company. Another was a factory manager.

I was fortunate enough to pre-date the NRA conversion. I was rebel enough to have a gut reaction of disgust and revulsion to the “new” NRA and Reagan politics. I watched Truscott’s worst nightmare as it formed.

RTFA. I hope our benighted land is someday capable of turning this particular aspect of fascist ideology around. And goes on to work on the rest, as well.

4 thoughts on “America’s gun religion

  1. nicknielsensc says:

    My first exposure to shooting sports was an NRA-certified range and hunter safety course. The range is long-gone, replaced by a sub-division (another unwelcome change).

  2. Glory says:

    Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill Friday that makes handgun carry permits and background checks on unlicensed sales optional in Iowa.
    As of July 1 it will be legal to carry concealed firearms into all of the state’s public places without any prior safety training or a permit, which the Governor says will protect the Second Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens.
    https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/04/02/iowa-kim-reynolds-signs-law-allowing-no-permit-carry-purchase-handguns-conceal-carry-constitutional/6965689002/

  3. Wayne's World says:

    The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre testified this week during his organization’s bankruptcy hearing that there was a good reason he spent so much time on a friend’s 108-foot yacht, called Illusions.
    Illusions was “the one place that I hope I could feel safe,” he said, “where I remember getting there going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here.’” And you know what? I believe him. The only detail of this story that is frustrating is the thought that he knew a solution that would guarantee absolute safety, and he was keeping it so quiet. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/09/we-must-get-everyone-america-yacht-protect-them-gun-violence/

  4. Let us prey says:

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has had only one Senate-confirmed director since 2006 — B. Todd Jones in 2013 — and it won’t have a new one anytime soon. The White House said Thursday that President Biden has withdrawn the nomination of David Chipman, a former ATF agent who later advocated for new gun safety laws as a top official at the gun violence prevention group Giffords, after it couldn’t find 50 Senate votes to confirm him. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/09/biden-nominate-new-atf-head-511034
    Which Senators Have Taken the Most NRA Money? https://elections.bradyunited.org/take-action/nra-donations-116th-congress-senators

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