Down Memory Lane

Thanks to Greg for pointing out that Google has newspaper archives, and you can search through and look at old newspaper archives.  For instance, this article from the Eugene Register, dated October 29th, 1981, certainly would make the folks down at the Brady Campaign pine for the good old days:

What is the fastest growing outfit in the country?  A likely candidate for that honor is Handgun Control, Inc., which recently announced a current membership of 451,000.

Just six months ago it was only one-quarter that size, and thus has quadrupled its membership in the half-year that saw the killing of singer John Lennon and the wounding of President Reagan, both with handguns.

They had a goal of reaching a million members by March 30th 1982.  Looking at articles from around that time, it would seem they never reached their goal.  In this March 29th article, they speak of having a bit north of 565,000 members, only 165,000 of which had contributed any money.

Interestingly enough, you can do a search and see when the media was speaking most about the issue.  The one thing you can definitely see is how assassination of prominent figures does drive the issue.  But it seems to be that we, as a nation, most talk about the gun control debate, when gun control is a major political issue.  Look at the spikes in the 90s, to see what I mean.

I also found this article from 1967, when the NRA refused to let Teddy Kennedy speak at their annual meeting.  Or how about this article from July of 1968 speaking of the NRA trying to derail a bill to register and license guns and gun owners, and this article here which speaks of the Gun Control Act of 1968 being passed by the Senate, and then this one which shows the Senate bill in trouble . They even call us the “gun lobby.”  Notice also that most of the articles speak to NRA’s opposition stymies progress every step of the way, despite the fact that many of our modern revisionists like to argue that NRA just rolled over on GCA ’68.

Shame shit, different decade.  But man, do I hope the Secret Service is on the ball with Obama.  There’s a common thread that runs through all these articles, if you read them.  And Ted Kennedy was at forefront of all these bills.  No wonder the Brady folks really miss him.

11 thoughts on “Down Memory Lane”

  1. Yes, but the media ALWAYS claim the big bad evil NRA is styming progress every step of the way. These are the same people who got every single other bit of the gun issue wrong.

  2. Perhaps there was simply not the support – public and legislative – for a bigger bill.

    The media always love to say the NRA is big, evil, and radical, and that assault weapons are flooding the streets, and Ron Paul is a crazy racist, and 9mm pistols are death machines, and God only knows what else.

  3. There always is the chance that gun bills can be stymied by the real grassroots, operating on instinct and not based on what their “leadership” is saying. And that is usually when the grassroots is right.

    In December 1993 the Pennsylvania House passed a Republican version of an “assault weapon” ban, because it was “better” (a compromise?) than the Democrat version, in that it banned fewer weapons. Over the holidays House members got assailed so badly by their constituents that they returned in January and had to make an embarrassing procedural maneuver, essentially admitting en masse that they “didn’t know what they were doing,” to un-pass the legislation. Many organizations, state and national, subsequently attempted to claim credit for what in fact was a spontaneous uprising based on only what people read in their newspapers. In those pre-internet days, the time-frame had been too short for most organizations to get directions out to their members, and for the members to respond. Plus, had the “leadership” exercised any worthwhile influence, the legislation wouldn’t have passed in the first place.

  4. Sorry to continue so long-winded, but I thought of another anecdote that may be relevant:

    Anti-gun public officials who want to make themselves appear courageous in standing up to a fire-breathing dragon often cite the NRA as their adversary, when the NRA in fact has been nowhere in sight. When I took a local official to court over a firearms issue, backed only by our county-level group and donations from several area clubs, that official styled himself in the media as “standing up to the NRA.” The NRA was never involved at all, in any way.

    It really isn’t relevant to the current thread, but one of the ironies of that scenario was that the same public official who claimed to be “standing up to the NRA” had been reelected more than once as the “pro-gun” candidate for the office.

  5. Thanks so much for those links. They should make some good bed time reading for me.

    It seems to me there’s widespread apathy among the non-gun-owning public on these issues. Gun owners naturally tend to be interested, in many cases passionate. I think the percentages are shifting, though, at least I hope they are. Every year the 30,000 or so violent gun deaths should produce significant numbers of converts to the cause of gun control. The rest is just math. No wonder you guys are stockpiling weapons and ammo. You’re days are numbered.

  6. “You’re days are numbered.”

    You talk like a klansman, and you spell like one, too.

  7. “Every year the 30,000 or so violent gun deaths should produce significant numbers of converts to the cause of gun control.”

    The problem with that is that the murder rate in the US is dropping every year.

  8. mikeb302000 Said,
    August 29th, 2009 at 2:12 am
    “Every year the 30,000 or so violent gun deaths”

    JD re: It’s more like 10-12,000 “violent gun deaths”. The majority of the 30,000 are suicides and the remaining few are accidents, I don’t believe they would be considered violent.

  9. Comatus, Thanks for pointing out my spelling mistake. That’s embarrassing. It was supposed to be a joke anyway.

    JD, I have to disagree that a self-inflicted bullet to the brain is not violent. The point was that the surviving loved ones of those suicides will in many cases become strong gun control supporters. Don’t ya think?

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