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NRA: a international terrorist organisation

Written By: - Date published: 9:13 am, September 6th, 2019 - 22 comments
Categories: australian politics, blogs, Dirty Politics, International, Politics, Simon Bridges, us politics - Tags: , , , ,

I was joyful to see that the San Francisco board of supervisors has declared what I have long thought; that the National Rifle Association in America has for many years been acting as a terrorist organisation.  

It follows a shooting attack against the Gilroy Garlic Festival, south of the city, which killed three in July.

and

The resolution says the US is “plagued by an epidemic of gun violence” and accuses the NRA of using “its considerable wealth and organisation strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence”.

“All countries have violent and hateful people, but only in America do we give them ready access to assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, thanks, in large part, to the National Rifle Association’s influence,” the resolution says.

In my opinion, that is a very accurate portrayal of the activities of the NRA. In the case of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, the mass murderer was a 19 year old male who appears to have been sucking up on pseudo-nazi skinhead  ideology.

The gunman opened fire with a WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle,[13] shooting 39 rounds.[14] He had a 75-round drum magazine and five 40-round magazines.[14] The gunman bought the gun in Fallon, Nevada, on July 9, three weeks before the festival.[1] The possession and sale of the weapon are banned in California, but legal in Nevada.[13]

That was a serious level of firepower. Fortunately this shooter was ill-disciplined sprayer of rounds and, unlike our own coward shooter in Christchurch, this younger idiot chose a harder target than people praying in a mosque. Three armed police officers responded with pistols severely wounding him.

However the proximate cause of this largely thwarted disaster was a direct consequence of the decades of hard work by the NRA in a well funded and concerted effort by their activist executive and their gun-making firm funders to try to reduce controls on assault weapons – state by state. The idea of selling a young idiot an expensive semiautomatic weapon with high capacity magazines with no other reasonable purpose other than killing large numbers of people is exactly what they are promoting.

This is not only in the US. In Australia, far right politicians and the NRAA and other gun idolaters have been wooing the NRA for funding and expertise in how to perpetuate similar legal atrocities across the Tasman. Which probably partly explains the creepy unwinding of the controlling gun laws in Australia by political targeting of states in the decades since the Port Arthur massacre.

Similar activities haven’t been as directly observed here. Mostly it appears that the beleaguered NRA has been using our own efforts to clean up gun control largely as a fund raising exercise. However the way that some of the stranger parts of the local gun lobby like COLFO (Council of Licensed Firearm Owners) has been framing their language and targeting their political lobbying is highly reminiscent of the NRA. As the Gun Control NZ pointed out in a press release last month after National party leader Simon Bridges appeared to swallow COLFO assertions wholesale about the costs of a gun registration system.

“COLFO appear willing to say almost anything to get attention. They have been exaggerating their membership numbers for years and have failed to provide any evidence as to how they obtain knowledge of the majority of their members’ views. The evidence from Police and media suggests that participating gun owners are happy with the buyback.” says Hera Cook.

I’d add that COLFO appear to be out of tune with actual licensed firearm owners. A recent survey showed little support for their position. While it showed considerable agreement between gun-owners and non-gun-owners in what the government has been doing with gun control. Gun  trusted 

In addition to asking about trust in groups such as police, medical practitioners and corporations, we asked people how much trust they had in gun owners and the pro-gun lobby to do the right thing. This scale ranged from 1 (no trust at all) to 5 (complete trust). Unsurprisingly, gun owners reported a higher average trust level in other gun owners: 3.4 compared with 2.7 among those who did not guns – a moderate to large effect size.

When looking at trust in the pro-gun lobby, gun owners still reported higher levels of trust than non-gun owners – 2.7 vs 2.2. But the overall levels of trust were much lower than in gun owners generally. Gun owners tended to rate the gun lobby similar in trust as corporations and politicians. Those who don’t own guns rated the gun lobby as only more trustworthy than bloggers or online commentators.

Ouch, I can understand that last sentence after having dealt with it for a while. The loudest voices in NZ online communities for the last decade has been the sleazy criminal behaviour that proponents like Cameron Slater exhibited. After listening to that putrid and unlawful bile, the rest of the online community gets tarred with the disgusting ichor that overflows from the Whaleoil garbage and its many imitators. That we have been legally dealing with the blight on our communities has been less obvious.

Perhaps licensed gun-owners should start to deal with the blight of such unrepresentative mouthpieces trying to claim their name in a similar way.

But for the rest of us, I’d suggest what we should push for is to treat the NRA as just being another terrorist organisation. We have the appropriate legislation for this 

The designation of terrorist entities is one measure New Zealand takes to contribute to the international campaign against terrorism. The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002(link is external) (TSA) provides for a list of terrorist entities to be established and maintained in New Zealand. Police are responsible for coordinating requests to the Prime Minister for designation as a terrorist entity.

A designation under New Zealand legislation freezes the assets of terrorist entities and makes it a criminal offence to participate in or support the activities of the designated terrorist entity. This includes in particular dealing with the property of the designated terrorist entity or making property or financial services available to the entity. Other support for terrorist activities such as fundraising and recruiting or harbouring terrorists is a criminal offence whether a group is designated or not

The current lists include many organisations who promulgate and support violence worldwide. I think that the NZ government should support the San Francisco initiative and be pressed to add the National Rifle Association of America to the same list. This will ensure that if they start to interfere in our internal politics in the manner that they have been doing in sates of the USA and Australia, that they can be monitored and controlled.

 

22 comments on “NRA: a international terrorist organisation ”

  1. Leaps 1

    Yes, well done indeed San Francisco – standing up to the NRA bully boys is a brave thing to do and it needs to be done.

  2. Andre 2

    Yep, the NRA has been so successful spreading terror that schools are now being designed specifically to slow down active shooters.

    https://slate.com/business/2019/08/school-shootings-design-architecture-sandy-hook-columbine.html

  3. ianmac 3

    NRA declared a Terrorist Organisation. Yep. That fits. But what action could be taken?

    • lprent 3.1

      Amongst other things, putting them on the list of terrorist organizations means that the intelligence agencies will be required to look at their local contacts.

    • Rae 3.2

      The acceptance by the main population of that title, and just let it permeate.

  4. A 4

    I heard from an old timer that the NRA used to be really good (this is around 1970s? I can't recall). They taught safety to their members and caution. That was then…

    • lprent 4.1

      They were a gun safety organisation for most of their history from the 19th century up until recent decades. But from the 1970s onwards they seem to have been focused into being a sales lobby for the gun manufacturers.

      • New view 4.1.1

        From the 1998 Charlton Heston headed the NRA for five years. I believe he was instrumental in raising the public profile and increasing the power and popularity of the NRA. They have huge influence over successive governments but more than that the abuse of that power for the promotion of their ideals and financial gain is almost treasonable. Labelling them terrorists is fine by me and I’m a firearm owner. Too many Americans have had an insane love affair with firearms (mainly for self defence!!) for too long. If the SanFrancesco board want to draw attention to this long-standing blight on American society with this accusation. Well done and good luck.

      • A 4.1.2

        Ahh. That makes sense. I don't think the label inappropriate.

  5. Wayne 5

    Lprent

    Although I understand the sentiment, you know perfectly well there is zero prospect of designating the NRA as a terrorist organisation under the Terrorism Supression Act. The Board of San Francisco’s action is intended to be symbolic. The Board knows they can’t go beyond that. But a designation under the TSA has real effects.

    I also think asking the government to do so (if you are actually serious about that, though I don’t think you are) just creates problems for government. They have to say “no” for reasons you know well.

    • lprent 5.1

      Why not?

      They make about as much sense as about half of the organizations on those lists because they are far more international, far more political in their intrusions in the domestic policies of other countries, and probably responsible for more deaths.

      • Wayne 5.1.1

        Iprent

        You know that the NZ government won’t do this. The reasons are obvious. Whether you like it or not, the NRA is a legal organisation in the US. Any action by NZ to declare the NRA would be seen as a hostile action by the US government.

        As you know perfectly well the NZ government doesn’t indulge in “virtue signalling” stunts.

        This item is your own virtue signalling. Fine for an individual or for civil society, but not for government.

        Anyway you know all this, and I should not get distracted by it,

        • Stuart Munro. 5.1.1.1

          The NRA is no more relevant to or welcome in NZ than NAMBLA was. We banned them, and we can ban the NRA too.

          • New view 5.1.1.1.1

            It’s not what they are but what they’ve achieved that’s the issue. Any wealthy cooperation that’s big enough to throw the incumbent government a bone (a lot of bones) is going to test that governments resolve not to be bribed. Sounds easy. Heard of Google or Facebook.

    • Anne 5.2

      If it looks like a terrorist organisation, sounds like a terrorist organisation and acts like a terrorist organisation then it is a terrorist organisation.

  6. Barfly 6

    "a international" – "an international" – sorry for being picky

  7. Although I understand and appreciate the sentiment herein expressed, on this one I beg to slightly differ. Non-state terrorist organisations are those that commit acts of politically motivated violence, not those that enable them (I will leave aside the notion of state terrorism, to include state terrorism in and outside of war. Here I refer to non-state politically-motivated violence, often irregular in nature, against non-military targets). Tying the two together is a slippery slope on which the valid methodological practice of conceptual transfer–where concepts borne of different contexts are transferred to new ones without loss of definition–is replaced by conceptual stretching, where concepts are distorted in order to be applied to contexts that they were not designed to address.

    This has already happened with the sloppy application of the term "terrorist" to all sort of hate crimes that have nothing to do with terrorism (which requires targets, subjects and objects that are distinct from each other). And let's remember: while some of the mass murders committed in the US have been ideologically motivated (e.g. El Paso, Pittsburgh), most others (Las Vegas, Sandy Hook etc.) are not. That makes it even more problematic to hang the terrorist label on the NRA because much of the violence that it supposedly is tied to is non-ideological in nature.

    That is the flaw in the suggestion to apply the term "terrorist" to organisations that, as evil as they may be, do not themselves engage in acts of politically motivated non-state violence. This is akin to designating a Communist Party as a terrorist organisation just because some Marxist-Leninist rebels that share ideological beliefs with it engage in guerrilla warfare using terrorism as a tactic. Or, stretching the notion a bit, designating the Green Party as a terrorist organisation because some animal rights and environmental activists engage in violent direct action against people and property (something that many on the right hand side of the political ledger just might welcome). Again, it is about the slippery slope between those who advocate certain views and those who commit violent acts based upon shared belief in some of those views. I prefer to not go down that path.

    Unfortunately, in the spate of anti-terrorist legislation passed world-wide after 9/11, organisations that fund, front or in a variety of ways enable terrorist groups to operate have been designed as terrorist entities themselves. That was a mistake. They should have been treated as accessories or conspirators but not as the equivalent of perpetrators of ideologically motivated violence. The distinction may appear to be a fine one but is necessary because it recognises, much as in the case of protective offensive speech versus hate speech, the distinction between words and types of deeds. That does not exonerate them of complicity or even culpability in the event of a terrorist attack if links between enablers and perpetrators are proven, but it does differentiate between the degree of complicity or culpability involved. And since terrorism is defined by the act of violence rather than the cause being espoused, this allows us to focus on physical acts rather than motivation when designating individuals and groups as terrorists.

    Now, if the NRA can be shown to have direct (institutional) links to white supremacists and/or engages in the incitement of violence against others, then it can be charged with being part of a criminal conspiracy or, if the links to actual acts of terrorism are established, as part of a terrorist entity. But until that is the case I would prefer to leave the designation of terrorists to perpetrators rather than enablers.

    I agree that the SF designation is more symbolic than substantive. On the other hand, I also like the idea that localities can use a symbolic designation to prevent organisations like the NRA from operating within their jurisdictions. It is just another form of the "local standards" argument that allows local governments to enforce housing codes, public order laws, noise control etc. But from my somewhat pedantic perspective it would have been preferable if SF had designated the NRA as a "crime enabling entity" which, however less emotive and regardless of the NRA's legal status, gets closer to what it actual does in the public sphere.

    In any event, as Wayne has mentioned, it is unlikely that this particular Labour-led government is going to follow SF's lead even if the NRA has interfered in the gun legislation debate after March 15. Besides the semantic issues I have raised and the practical difficulties involved, it has displayed a degree of timidity when it comes to confronting powerful overseas actors on contentious matters. With the NRA holding one of the main strings controlling the actions of the empty shell in the Oval Office, it is simply a case of not wanting to buy a fight with a a larger partner.

    • New view 7.1

      PGB. I won’t take up quite so much space as you. It’s subjective. I don’t like them a lot so calling them terrorists is ok for me. It’s how I see them. I couldn’t give a monkeys fuck what the correct definition is. They have no moral values they’re manipulative and powerful. I’ll call them what I like and I’m ok with you having a more educated definition of terrorism.

  8. Chris T 8

    The NRA aren't terrorists.

    They are just a massive lobby group.

    Always wondered why they had so much power given they only have a self proclaimed (so probably exaggerated) 5 million members, out of a country of 327 million.

    Assuming it is to do with how much money they give to the Reps and Dems, as both bow to their whim.

    • Incognito 8.1

      So much power in the hands of so few. How could this happen in a society that values equity and is governed democratically?

  9. vto 9

    Mr Prent you should lobby the government to do this. It would be surely less difficult than both Kirk giving the finger to the French atomic testing and Lange giving the finger to the US nuclear ships.

    Unfortunately Adern ain't in the same league though.

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