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Shocker: NRA Finds Ways to Grow its List

Buzzfeed has run an article on the fact that NRA is “campaigning against the threat of a national database of firearms or their owners. But in fact, the sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners.”

If they were like most groups that operate in DC, they’d consider themselves to have something like 33 million members (or however large their non-member contact list is), but are we supposed to be surprised by this? I only wish NRA was adept at using the types of sophisticated data mining techniques I’ve read about at work with the Obama Administration, but I’ve never gotten the impression their information technology capability even rose to close that level of sophistication.

Pretty clearly Buzzfeed is trying to damage NRA with this article. The fact is NRA would be stupid not to try to get lists of permit holders in states that have yet to make those lists private. It’s worth nothing that of the two states mentioned int his article, NRA has pushed for privacy laws in Iowa and passed the privacy laws in Virginia, the two states mentioned in this particular article.

But the biggest failing of the article is to assume that gun owners are opposed to gun registration for registration’s sake. We’re opposed to it because it gives officials a convenient list to come knocking on doors once the end game is reached, like they’ve done in New York City already. I’m really not concerned that Wayne LaPierre is going to come knocking on my door demanding I turn in my guns, and even if he did, NRA doesn’t have a list of every gun I own. I’m very concerned Diane “Mr and Mrs America, turn them all in” Feinstein would be quite willing to send government agents around, likely at gunpoint for dangerous folks like us, to collect them.

I’m far less concerned if someone knows I’m a gun owner, versus whether they know what guns I own. We already have de facto registration in this country via form 4473, but one reason the 4473 was preferred over a centralized registry is that in a desperate situation, 4473s are (well, mostly) local, in private hands, and can be effectively burned. Even absent that kind of civil disobedience, any list the government compiled wouldn’t be comprehensive anyway, because there are still legal avenues to transfer firearms without the 4473. In short, without a registry of guns, any confiscation effort will be futile, and will certainly be very incomplete.

5 Responses to “Shocker: NRA Finds Ways to Grow its List”

  1. Zermoid says:

    Well in PA the state knows every handgun you’ve ever bought, and since the instant check went thru most of the rifles too. Only thing they don’t fully control is private sales of long guns.

  2. Rwilson451 says:

    It is my understanding that when the FFL calls in for a pics check they don’t ask for or are given any data on what your buying. As you know PA does require a separate form for pistols, so, yes they do know what pistols you own. This does need to be fixed

  3. Andy B. says:

    The Buzzfeed article reminded me that when I used to be associated with a network of self-described “hardline” RKBA groups that were none too fond of the NRA, they would frequently chortle over how the NRA was coming around to adopting this or that tactic that the hardline guys had been exploiting for years.

    Almost everyone in these networks were email and snailmail list whores, who were past masters at every technique known to man for harvesting contacts = potential donors. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that, per se, except that some of it became more than a little unseemly. For example, using outdated, hysterical quasi-hoaxes to get people to sign bogus “online petitions,” for no purpose other than data harvesting. Or, admit it, if you wanted to look at the Ron Paul campaign for an example, flat-out theft of fellow-travelers’ mailing lists.

    I seem to remember a quote from “The Merchant of Venice,” that ends “. . .and it will go hard, but I will better the instruction.” Looks like maybe the NRA is getting around to bettering the instruction from some of their lesser competitors.

  4. Cat McGee says:

    Hmmm I don’t take the Buzzfeed article as negative at all. It was just informational and included alot of quotes. There was no new information or new ideas. Most articles like this start out by trying to “slam” the organization but end up just giving the same back-and-forth quotes.

    • Nathaniel says:

      The tone of the article is clearly designed to insinuate that the NRA is run by a bunch of hypocrites because if registration is really so bad, why are they doing it too!??!??!?1!one

      The obvious rejoinder is that the purpose of registration determines the morality of the act. The NRA’s list is there to make it easier inform its members of pending legislation, solicit donations, and so on.

      When the government registers firearms, it’s clearly for the purpose of aiding future confiscation efforts. What other purpose could there possibly be? Anti-gunners even admit this when they say that they only want to confiscate illegal guns from prohibited people. But then they turn around and try to make your gun illegal and you a prohibited person.

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