There already is a national gun registry. It’s called the NRA membership list.

A colleague made an interesting point this morning.  If the NRA and its paranoid membership are so worried about the government creating a national gun registry, lest the government use that list to confiscate guns, they should stop worrying: The best list in the country already exists.  It’s called the NRA membership.

Sure, the NRA membership list doesn’t contain a gun registry of “all” firearms owners in America.  But it does contain a list of many of the most paranoid, crazy, militant gun owners.  The very people a “fascist” government would be most concerned about.

Why does this matter?

Well, the NRA keeps saying that [insert Democrat here] is going to come to take away your guns.  And that’s why the NRA doesn’t want the government creating a national gun registry.  The list, they fear, might be used by the “jackbooted thugs” as a veritable shopping list of available guns to confiscate:

Interestingly, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is already barging into gun dealers shops across the country violating the McClure-Volkmer Act by violating gun owner’s privacy by copying the shop’s 4473s the agency does not already have an electronic copy of.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo -– a man who gives you a pretty good idea of where gun control is going -– said, on the front page of the New York Times, that “confiscation” of firearms is an option. Obviously, having a registration list makes such a task much easier.

So I have to laugh when I see the NRA ginning up paranoia amongst gun owners, in an effort to list-build and get donations, such as the appeal the NRA made in its recent disgusting ad targeting the Obama girls:

nra seeking donations membership gun registry

While I get the NRA trying to convince as many paranoid gun owners as possible that the evil government is coming to take their guns, if I were afraid the government were going to take my gun (had I one), the last thing I’d do is give money or, worse, become a member of the NRA.

Think about it: If you’re worried about a tyrannical government making a gun registry with every “lawful” gun owners on it, so that the government could then go down the list and one-by-one barge into your homes and take away your beloved surface-to-air missiles, why would you willfully add yourself to a list of known gun owners?

I think of the gay example.  When I was in the closet, I was certainly already interested in gay rights – I knew I was gay, I was simply afraid of everyone else finding out.  That meant, I didn’t subscribe to any gay news magazines like the Advocate, and I even was afraid to buy “gay” things, like the Advocate, with my credit card, for fear that I’d be on some database marketing list as “gay.”  And I sure as hell was not going to join a gay rights group and get on their database of known “gays.”  Sure it was a bit paranoid, but welcome to life in the closet (I’m sure pre-DADT-repeal military members know exactly what I’m talking about).

Gungun registry

Gun via Shutterstock

In essence, paranoid gun nuts oppose a national gun registry for the same reason closeted gay people don’t want to be on a list that says they’re gay.  So why, then, would “closeted” gun owners want to join a gun organization, or even give a gun organization a donation, lest the government barge in (or hack in), take that organization’s list, and use it to track down many of the most virulent, militant gun owners in America?

Sure, I don’t think the government would ever confiscate the NRA’s list and then use it as a gun registry to confiscate every gun in America.  But gun nuts like the NRA, and their members, worry about this kind of paranoid thing all the time – it’s their bread and butter.

And it doesn’t have to be the government at all.  How about somebody outside of the government – Anonymous, fore example – hacking into the NRA and stealing the database of gun owners?  Not like that’s an impossibility. If Anonymous can hack Mexican drugs lords, they can certainly handle an American non-profit.

And let’s not forget the occasional technical snafu, or criminal, making private lists public – how many times have we heard about laptops being left in a coffee shop with a list of thousands, if not millions, of Americans’ social security numbers etc?  It happens.

For example, the time Sony “lost” data for 25 million people:

The crisis at Sony deepened on Tuesday as it admitted that an extra 25 million customers who played games on its Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) PC games network have had their personal details stolen – and that they were taken before the theft of 77 million peoples’ details on the PlayStation Network (PSN).

Or the time the VA “lost” records for 1.8 million people:

The Department of Veterans Affairs began notifying 1.8 million veterans and doctors Monday that their personal and business information could be on a portable hard drive that has been missing from an Alabama hospital for nearly three weeks.The hard drive may have contained numbers and other personal information from about 535,000 individuals and billing information on 1.3 million doctors nationwide, the VA said. That’s more than 37 times more people than authorities initially believed were affected.

So don’t tell me this is clearly fanciful.  This stuff happens far more often than we’d like.

I just think it’s ironic that the NRA is capitalizing on paranoid-gun-owning-America’s worst fears of the government to build its membership and donor base, and by doing so they’re building the very national gun registry they claim to fear the most.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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