Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the NRA’s waterboy

I was in a larger discussion with Joe Sudbay, our former deputy editor here at AMERICAblog, about gun control, and Joe was talking about Democratic congressman John Dingell (D-MI) and all the damage Dingell has done over the years carrying the NRA’s water.

Here are a few paragraphs from Joe on the John Dingell problem, then more from me.

John Dingell is an NRA champion. He’s gone above and beyond the call of duty for them. He’s long been their Democratic validator. Dingell served on the NRA Board for years. It was Dingell who first called federal law enforcement officers “jack-booted,” before the NRA latched on to the idea.  (Dingell preferred to call federal law enforcement officers “jack-booted fascists,” while his NRA bosses preferred “jack-booted thugs.”)

And the reason guns aren’t regulated as a consumer product is because of John Dingell. When the Consumer Product Safety Commission was established back in 1972, Dingell insured their jurisdiction didn’t include guns. So, the only consumer product designed to kill has no consumer regs. There are a number of things gun makers could have done to prevent death and injury. For example, every time you read a story about an unintentional gun death because the shooter didn’t know the gun was loaded, it meant there was no load indicator. For that, you can blame Dingell. I know a lot of people think the guy walks on water, but he’s got quite a legacy of dead kids in my view.

Also, in the wake of Columbine, back in 1999, we actually had momentum to pass legislation requiring background checks at gun shows. The Senate passed it in May, with Gore breaking the tie vote (back in the days when the Senate actually voted on issues instead of filibustering them). When the bill went to the House, John Dingell dutifully pushed an NRA-back measure, which passed and derailed the process.

Quite a legacy. And, I’m sure Debbie, his wife, or their gun nut son, Chris, would love to continue it.

And Joe is spot on.  Here’s a Washington Post story from 1999 about Dingell doing the NRA’s dirty-work on gun show background checks:

 House last night approved a plan to weaken some of the existing rules for background checks at gun shows, in a vote that revealed the enduring power of pro-gun forces in Congress.


Democratic Congressman John Dingell, one of the NRA’s top allies in Congress.

The action signaled a tactical victory for the National Rifle Association, House Republicans and some conservative Democrats, who appeared to be succeeding in forestalling more aggressive proposals for regulating gun shows — an idea that has gained momentum after the Littleton, Colo., school shootings.

On a 218 to 211 vote, the House endorsed a proposal by Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) to water down a Senate measure requiring background checks for all weapons sales at gun shows. By 235 to 193, the House also shot down a competing proposal that more closely resembled the Senate plan, which is favored by gun control advocates.

The Post explained how Dingell actually watered down existing federal law:

The Dingell plan would narrow the range of gun shows that are now subject to federal background check requirements. The amendment also would limit all background checks at gun shows to 24 hours, rather than the 72 hours the law now gives federally licensed dealers to make sure felons do not buy weapons.

The problem with changing the requirement to 24 hours is that it might not be adequate time to do a sufficient background check. Which is why gun nuts prefer it.

And Joe is correct as well about John Dingell being the man responsible for exempting guns from the purview of the Consumer Products Safety Commission.  Here’s a short excerpt from Dennis Henigan’s book, “Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths That Paralyze American Gun Policy“:

It’s important to remember the members of Congress who betray our party, our country, and our children.  Never forget.

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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21 Responses to “Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the NRA’s waterboy”

  1. lynchie says:

    Not much. You should research how reaching the Bilderberg Group is here is a web site of their membership.

  2. righton says:

    Your motto, “A great nation deserves the truth” appears to mean, “the truth according to John”.
    The 2nd amendment and what it stands for has nothing to do with politics. Does the 4th amendment only apply to certain individuals. Over 25 percent of Democrats own firearms. Why would one Democrat hate another because he stands for the Constitution. He (Dingell) did take an oath to uphold the Constitution did he not? The NRA is a representative of tens of millions of Americans who believe that any politician who attempts to infringe upon a constitutional right will suffer the consequences of their actions. So I guess you’re OK with the NDAA.

    And as far as safety standards for firearms, I can assure you that it does not take an engineer to figure out if your gun does not work properly. That is why all firearm manufacturers have extensive warranties on their products. Most are for the life of the firearm. If a firearm has been found to be experiencing a dangerous condition the manufacturer will release an immediate recall.

  3. Wadda think it took to meet his needs?

  4. lynchie says:

    Too true, too true.

  5. BeccaM says:

    I know, and the logic is flawed and circular. Criminals don’t obey homicide laws either. Or laws against burglary, rape, or a whole host of other crimes. So by their logic, we shouldn’t bother trying to outlaw them.

  6. Badgerote says:


  7. nicho says:

    And, for the record, the tobacco industry was one of the creators of the Tea Party. One of their goals is to get all no-smoking regulations reversed.

  8. Naja pallida says:

    Their argument has always been that criminals don’t obey gun laws… without ever even bothering to consider that less guns equals less people getting shot by guns. No matter how you want to twist it.

  9. Naja pallida says:

    When Obama announced the creation the super PAC that would support him, he essentially said that the only way to win in the existing system was to exploit the dirty money. Problem comes when it is less the politician exploiting the dirty money, and more the dirty money exploiting the politician… which is really more of what we have. A bribe is a bribe, even if you package it up nicely as campaign donations.

  10. nicho says:

    And why is it that I feel safer walking the streets late at night in big cities in countries that do have gun laws vs. the US?

  11. cole3244 says:

    dingell is just another dem who has forgotten where he came from and who got him there, now he hob nobs with the rich & powerful and only need the 99% at election time, like most of the dems in wash.

  12. BeccaM says:

    If gun laws don’t work, then why have gun-caused deaths — both homicide and suicide — dropped precipitously in Australia ever since they banned semi-automatics and large capacity magazines?

  13. karmanot says:

    Ever hear of the phrase: ‘Dingell carry’?

  14. Badgerite says:

    It is kind of reminiscent of the power of the tobacco lobby for so many years. They tried and succeeded in covering up their own medical research that showed how harmful their ‘product’ was for decades. And they had the members of Congress going after the FDA and making cigarettes exempt from regulation. They did this, of course, because they KNEW how harmful their ‘product’ was and how lucrative. I think the gun industry has done roughly the same thing. It is not a secret to anyone who reads that the drug cartels in Mexico that good ole Wayne complains about in his rant actually buy their guns from American gun manufacturers. They are arming both sides, citizenry and criminal with this terrible military weaponry that law enforcement has to deal with every day. And I rather doubt that Wayne LaPierre lives in a survivalist bunker, but one can clearly see that that is his ‘client base’ and that is who and what he is appealing to. This is not about guns for sport or self defense. And it never has been. Not to mention, it has been reported (whether it is true or not one can’t say) that Adam Lanza’s mother had that kind of weaponry in her house because she feared just such a scenario as good ole Wayne paints for her. And it came about. At the hands of her own son.

  15. nicho says:

    Actually, gun laws do work. Sane countries have proven that. It’s only the knuckle-draggers and mouth-breathers in the US that believe more guns make us safer.

  16. TuxedoCartman says:

    Something about him… particarly his smile… reminds me of the scary preacher from Poltergeist II.

  17. We are all so lost gun laws dont work if people would put as much money and news time into fixing our mental health system we could save some. Lives!

  18. TheAngryFag says:

    Unfortunately he has not pissed off Ann Arbor enough. He now represents them due to gerrymandering when his district and Lynn Rivers’ district were merged setting them up for a battle of Dearborn versus Ann Arbor… unfortunately Dearborn won.

  19. Indigo says:

    The NRA? That would be the currently fashionable cult aka Redneck Scientology?

  20. lynchie says:

    Is anyone who claims to be a Dem or is identified to be a Dem really left leaning or just running as Dem in an area which is predominately Democratic. I believe everyone in Congress from the President on down has enough dirty money, votes for corporations interests, votes against their constituents, dirty deeds to condemn all of them to prison time. Dingell is just another in a long list of congressmen who take the kickbacks, bribes and off shore payments and could give a shit about whether the needs of the people are met.

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