The NRA's Open Mouth, Insert Foot Problem

In addition to their very bad month in July, it seems like every time a member of the gun lobby opens its mouth something terrible, inaccurate, or downright offensive comes out.

Take NRA lobbyist Brian Judy’s remarks in Silverdale, WA, for example, where he belittled Jewish people who support background checks and compared the initiative to require checks for guns bought through the gun show loophole to Nazi Germany. But after making such an offensive and off-colored statement, media outlets such as the Seattle Times can’t get Judy or NRA executives to apologize or even clarify if his statements represent the entire organization.

"A call to NRA lobbyist Brian Judy, whom we last wrote about when he told I-594 opponents gun control caused the Holocaust, went unreturned. Likewise, a call to Chris Cox, the NRA’s executive director for lobbying and who is listed as campaign manage for Washingtonians Opposed to I-594, did not return a call seeking comment."

While Brian Judy is staying silent, his friends in the gun lobby continue to open their own mouths and offer up extreme ideas. Some are even backing his anti-Semitic comments with more Nazi comparisons. His colleague Adina Hicks, the NRA’s field representative in Washington, had this to say about Judy’s comments:

“Brian Judy has been getting hammered by the media for speaking the truth and giving a history lesson.”

A history lesson? Does she think Jewish people have forgotten the Holocaust?

Additionally, Niki Kenyon, a supporter of Judy and writer contributor for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), also thinks Brian Judy is right about background checks being like the Nazi regime. In a blog post on JPFO’s website, she goes on to attack Keith Dvorchik, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, for supporting background checks and asking that Judy resign for his comments. Kenyon writes:

No, Initiative 594 is not intended to target Jews, but the idea is fundamentally the same ..How does Dvorchik  not understand this? … Maybe he is too far removed from the horrors of the Holocaust, despite his self-righteous ‘I'm right because I'm Jewish, and my people suffered’ pronouncements...Brian Judy understands this, and Keith Dvorchik should get down on his ignorant knees and thank him for the reminder, since he, as the leader of a Jewish group – a group of people who are supposed to never forget the abuses they suffered at the hands of statists and tyrants – appears to have forgotten his own people's horrifying history.”

How many times must the Nazi comparison be debunked? No, background checks are not a tyrant plot to confiscate lawfully held private guns as so many opponents have said. Discussion around background checks should move beyond name calling and bogus comparisons and get to the real issues that are affecting communities. Background checks would reduce the amount of violent threats at the hands of criminals and a majority of Washington voters already support background checks. Initiative-594 simply closes the loophole that allows guns to be sold over the Internet and at gun shows without any checks whatsoever.

\That is not the worst of it. Nationwide Brain Judy’s friends at the NRA are busy trying to convince people that children should be taught how to shoot a gun in school. In a recent video, NRA commentator Bill Johnson argues:

“Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency. It wouldn't matter if a child's parents weren't good at it. We'd find them a mentor. It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade.

Right, because learning how to read is as important as learning how to shoot a gun. With an average of 87 people killed by a firearm each day, imagine how much higher that number would be in the NRA’s ideal world.

If that wasn’t enough, the NRA is quietly opposing efforts to reduce the killing of elephants for ivory. The number of elephants is dwindling every year yet, the NRA is outraged with new ivory laws by claiming “they were an attack on gun owners wishing to sell firearms that contained ornamental ivory.” New regulations would restrict the ivory trade in the U.S., which is the second largest importer of illegal ivory. While the NRA is claiming that they are helping small gun owners, their real prize is the ivory imported by the wealthy safari-goers.

These out of touch and off color statements do not represent the American people and their thoughts on gun violence. Thankfully, Washington voters have a chance to respond and stand up to the thoughtlessness of the gun lobby. In November, Washington voters can say, “our voices speak louder than your bottom line,” and support Initiative 594 to expand background checks, reduce crime, and save lives.