Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mike Weisser's Open Letter to Wayne La Pierre

Dear Wayne:

Sorry I couldn't make it to the annual meeting. I'm a Life Member and I try to get there every year. But this year is different. If I showed up you'd tried to get me to help you fight a "culture war." But if there is a war going on, you represent the wrong side.

I just watched your speech. I think it's time you dropped this nonsense about protecting our "rights." Be honest and tell it like it is. The reason you're opposed to background checks has absolutely nothing to do with the Second Amendment. It's about making it as easy as possible for everyone to own a gun. More guns means more profits for the gun companies, and that's who you really represent. 

In 2011, Ruger's stock was trading at $21 a share, now it's at $51. Smith & Wesson's stock was three bucks a share, today it's almost nine. I remember after the 2010 elections when it looked like the Obama administration was going to be toast, gun dealers like myself couldn't give away the inventory. Now we can't keep anything on the shelves. You keep referring to the president as an enemy of the gun industry. The truth is that Barack Obama is the best salesman the industry ever had.

And the reason he's such a good salesman, Wayne, is because you and your allies have spent the last 20 years making every gun owner believe that the only reason we have any gun laws at all is because the Washington "elites" want to take away all our guns. So when a tragedy like Sandy Hook occurs and well-meaning people react to such senseless violence by looking for ways to make it harder for guns to get into the wrong hands, you and the other "protectors" of the Second Amendment get right to work convincing responsible gun owners that such laws are aimed at them. You are protecting illegal and "irresponsible" gun owners, and lumping them in with the majority of legal gun owners who are careful with their weapons. That's because an irresponsible gun owners' money is just as good for gun companies as a responsible gun owner, and you want to protect your market share, even at the expense of innocent lives.

It's easy to cloak yourself in a holier-than-thou mantle of God-given rights to avoid looking at the facts. And the facts are that private-citizen vigilantism doesn't protect anyone from gun violence; it actually results in more violence and deaths. It's easy to disparage the 90 percent of Americans who are in favor of expanding background checks by telling your audience that some unnamed Congressman from some unnamed state hasn't gotten any calls. But maybe the time has finally come when most Americans are more worried about ending the 100,000+ firearm deaths and injuries than whether you and your NRA cult of followers can Stand and Fight.

For all your talk about defending liberty Wayne, I'll give you something more important to defend: the young children whose lives always seem to take a back seat to how many guns you can get Americans to buy. I'm talking about children at Sandy Hook, a 4-year-old in New York, a 2-year-old in Kentucky. There's something immoral about denying any connection between the deaths of children and the explosion in gun sales that you claim show how much we love our freedom. I'd rather have those kids alive, even if it costs me more than a few bucks in gun sales. I joined Evolve so I could be part of an organization that wants gun owners and non-gun owners to lead with solutions that can talk about saving human lives and preserving our Second Amendment rights. That's patriotic and that is a future worth fighting for.


  1. This is the same fellow you quoted in an earlier piece. He's saying the same rubbish here.

    Mike and Mike, owning a gun is a right that belongs to everyone. A person must do something seriously wrong to have that right curtailed. That's true about every right, by the way.

    It's easy to cloak yourself in the belief that your proposals will keep people safe, but when we consider that the majority of firearms deaths are suicides and many others are criminal-on-criminal violence, things don't look as simple. Suicidal people will find a way, as Japan, Canada, and Ireland illustrate. Criminals also find a way, and as long as they keep it amongst themselves, I'm not going to get all broken up about that.

    But let's also note the two regions in U.S. territory that have the highest rate of homicide: the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Those two also have the most onerous restrictions on legal firearm ownership and carry. Chicago competes in both of those categories, of course.

    Now we can argue about how guns get into those two cities, surrounded by or near to freedom-loving states, but if gun control works, surely an island can manage it.

    Get back to me, either one of you, when you have something to offer that would even work. We'll discuss how it fits with basic rights at that point.

  2. Let me get this straight, he says the NRA opposed the bill because of corporate profits? Does he understand that this bill was about the private resale of USED firearms? That is like saying Walmart profits from the resale of their items on the unregulated Craigslist market. Just dumb. It's only purpose is to rile up the left- the only ones who respond to invoking the corporate boogie man. The actual effect, if you think about it, is the exact opposite. Guns are robust. They last a long time, and the technology is very slow to advance. That makes for a strong used market that competes with the new market. This bill hampers the used market by adding cost, time, and severe legal liability. Ironically, it's the FFLs that benefit (like the author of this screed), because he gets a take in used sakes, AND the law forces two potential customers into his shop. "oh, do you need a holster for that 1911 you just bought from your buddy? How bout some ammo (if I had any)?"

    This is a perfect example of the NRA sticking up for individual gun owners. The fact that you guys keep spouting the same nonsense tells me you have no respect for your audiance's ability to think. I guess that is the audience lawrence O'donnell and company are used to talking to.

    1. That doesn't really work, TS. The private sale of USED weapons stimulates the marked for NEW weapons, don't you think. Do you know anybody who has fewer guns now than he did a year ago or 5 years ago?

    2. Most of mine are used. Why pay full price for something that stays functional for a long time with a little care? Of course, my first gun was a new-in-the-box revolver that I ordered on-line. Since it's a muzzle-loading black powder revovler, there was no background check.

  3. MikeB: "The private sale of USED weapons stimulates the marked for NEW weapons, don't you think."

    No, I don't think that. How about finding me one quote from an economist to support this? In any industry (or is this another case where “guns are different because they are different”?)

    1. Just think about it for a minute. All the guys who sell used guns privately, do you think the usually have fewer guns now than they did a year ago. No, they usually buy more than they sell. That's the nature of an obsession with a fetish item like a gun. Some of the replacement guns are bought new.

      Here's a simpler case. A guy sees a new gun he wants. In order to offset the cost, he sells one of his older guns that he's not so hot about any more. You see?

      So, yes, private sales of used items stimulate the market for new items.