The Political Power of Gun Owners

Right now, if all goes according to schedule, Sebastian and I are likely in the National Archives looking over the Civil War pension applications from two of his ancestors and one of mine. This new genealogy hobby has opened the door to new political issues for us since, as you might expect from an overly expansive government, there are efforts to shut down resources utilized by genealogists. Since someone, somewhere might possibly misuse data, we must ban the estimated 80 million genealogists in the country from access to vital information!

What I found interesting and relevant to post on this blog was a peek at the influence of NRA on the political process compared to some other interest groups.

Back in 2012, there was a hearing held on the uses and value of the Social Security death records, and genealogists were not even on the witness list. In fact, it goes further than that:

No genealogist has ever been permitted to testify at a hearing regarding the SSDI. Melinde Lutz Byrne, at that time President of the American Society of Genealogists, sat in the hearing audience when Commissioner Astrue uttered his remarks. Her in-person testimony was banned by Chairman Sam Johnson.

Can you imagine a situation where Congress would refuse to listen to any pro-gun group at all on any major gun issue? Let’s face it, even if they only invite NRA to try and pick on them, even anti-gun lawmakers tend to want to hear from the opposition for at least political points. That doesn’t mean they take the pro-rights arguments seriously, but at least they allow a voice to be heard. The genealogists can’t even be heard – not even once.

I just found that to be an interesting little perspective on how hard gun owners have worked to be taken seriously. Now we just need some 2014 election wins to help remind lawmakers why they should keep listening to us.

4 Responses to “The Political Power of Gun Owners”

  1. Sigivald says:


    Turns out genealogists won’t vote against you – guaranteed, every time, no matter what else – if you vote against their hobby interest.

    Gun owners will, and make sure as many people as possible join them.

    That makes for very attentive politicians.

    • Sigivald says:

      (That and there’s a hell of a lot more gun owners, even engaged ones, than genealogists, at least outside of Mormon areas.

      And the Mormons have had an interest in it long enough that as far as I understand it they largely have their own parallel data sources for their known relations, probably already as far back as before Social Security, and thus don’t care nearly so much about the Death Index.)

  2. Bill says:

    Perhaps the Genealogists could form their own PAC and take the smackdown to the SSA.

  3. Andy B. says:

    It has just occurred to me that this is probably another example of, when The State discovers something has utility for its interests — e.g., unimaginable mountains of personal data — it becomes jealous and wants to keep it all for itself.

    It wants to know who your grandfather talked to in 1935, therefore it must be dangerous information for you to know, lest you arrive at an unguided conclusion. It is somewhat analogous to how there are no weapons too deadly for our kids to carry on behalf of the government, and none so benign they should be allowed to carry them for themselves.