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ETpro's avatar

Is the NRA for or against legalization of drugs?

Asked by ETpro (34217 points ) April 14th, 2012

I don’t know their official position, but since they are essentially a trade and lobbying organization representing the interests of weapons and ammunition manufacturers, I’m guessing they strongly oppose legalization of drugs. The war on drugs creates a huge market for weapons and ammo. The cartels have to be heavily armed, dealers have to be armed, smugglers have to be armed. Law enforcement has to be armed to fight the drug cartels and their minions. And individual citizens in areas where the drug wars rage often feel the need to be armed as well for their own protection. Am I guessing right that the NRA would be a very strong opponent of legalization and taxation of the drug trade?

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30 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

They have no official stance, just like they have no stance on gay issues, abortion, NASA funding, or how tasty Teddy Grahams cookies are. They tend to support Republicans because Republicans tend to be more gun-friendly, not because the NRA as a whole is a conservative thinktank or whatever. The NRA is a single-issue lobbying/advocacy group. Any other implication is consequential.

Also, Remington, Colt, Ruger, Winchester and other big gun manufacturers aren’t secretly relying on the NRA to help line their pockets by selling to drug runners. Cartels don’t buy in bulk from these companies; they get them from overseas or steal them… Or get them from the ATF…

Linda_Owl's avatar

Since there is profit to be made from the sale of guns, I think the NRA would (generally) be against the legalization of drugs – any drugs. The NRA does tend to support the Republican candidates because (as stated by @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard ) the Republicans tend to be more ‘gun friendly’. I have guns & I am a good shot, but I am definitely NOT a Republican. I have no problem with hunters, as long as they eat what they shoot & are not just out for a trophy. I would like to see an end to the War On Drugs. It is way too expensive & it has proven to be a war that we cannot win. Drugs should be de-criminalized. Whatever a person decides to use, personally, should be up to the individual – however, they should not get high & try to drive (like the people who use alcohol do). Many of the NRA members are right-wing conservatives who inject religion into the gun equation & injecting religion into any organization is a losing proposition – especially where guns are concerned.

jaytkay's avatar

Remington, Colt, Ruger, Winchester and other big gun manufacturers aren’t secretly relying on the NRA to help line their pockets by selling to drug runners.

How do you know that?

Drug runners use guns from “Remington, Colt, Ruger, Winchester and other big gun manufacturers”.

The “legitimate” manufacturers are producing quantities way beyond the needs of the legal market.

Is that an accident?

TexasDude's avatar

@jaytkay because they all have gov and police contracts. Not drug cartel contracts. These companies produce millions upon millions of rifles that often wind up gathering dust in police and government armories (which accounts for “quantities way beyond the needs of the legal market.”) The overwhelming majority of cartel weapons are acquired for dirt cheap from China and other nations looking for a buck. The American weapons they have are often stolen or otherwise unscrupulously acquired from these sources I mentioned, or in some cases (operation Fast & Furious) acquired directly from American Federal Agencies. Jose Cortez of whatever cartel you pick isn’t having his orders filled by Colt and Remington. It’s not a larger conspiracy fueled by the NRA.

jrpowell's avatar

I have an ad for Big 5 sporting goods in my bathroom. I was actually looking for a gun so I thought I would look for a deal. There is a ad for a Ruger. So the argument falls apart since they sell to middleman.

King_Pariah's avatar

@johnpowell He’s talking about automatics and other such weapons, not the semi auto, 10 round mag rifles for citizen use…

jaytkay's avatar

Trying to conflate “bulk” and “gov and police contracts” with “all sales” is quite the dodge

I see people really like to follow those NRA talking faithfully.

jrpowell's avatar

@King_Pariah :: Where did he say that?

TexasDude's avatar

@jaytkay and @johnpowell see what @King_Pariah said. I didn’t say that explicitly but thats what I was referring to. Most drug runners use military hardware which you can’t just buy at a gunshop, contrary to popular belief. Also, I’m not “dodging” anything and I’m not parroting propaganda, so hold off on implying that, please.

Also, These companies have to sell through an FFL (federal firearm license)-holding dealer when selling to individuals. When you buy a gun from them, you aren’t buying directly from them but from an FFL dealer who has in turn, bought it from the big company. Once they sell to an FFL dealer, what that dealer does with the weapon or who he sells to is out of the company’s hands and in the hands of the dealer. Again, not the same as buying straight from a gun manufacturer. The manufacturer just knows that an FFL holder has placed an order. That’s all. I’ve worked with gun sales before. I know how this works behind the scenes.

jaytkay's avatar

“Once they sell to an FFL dealer, what that dealer does with the weapon or who he sells to is out of the company’s hands and in the hands of the dealer.”

Nice. Sounds like, “I just sold the kids heroin. I didn’t make them USE it!!”

TexasDude's avatar

@jaytkay that’s a false analogy. The weapon manufacturer and FFL holder are still expected to follow a very, very large and dense book of laws, which (also contrary to popular belief) are aggressively enforced by the feds. Break these laws and you don’t get to sell anymore. and you got to club fed for a very long time.

WestRiverrat's avatar

The NRAs official position is that drugs or alcohol and guns do not mix. They do not take a position for or against legalization of drugs.

FFL holders are all vetted by the ATF and FBI before they get their license. This includes background checks and often onsite inspections to see that they are maintaining the required records. Most of the stories from Fast and Furious I have seen say the gun shop owners all reported the suspicious sales but were told to make the sales by the DOJ.

woodcutter's avatar

One has nothing to do with the other. Totally different worlds. The NRA is not some big monolithic sentient being. It is comprised of millions of people who come from different walks of life but have one common interest, and that is gun rights… not the economy, not drugs, not abortion rights, not the Palestinian/ Jewish conflict…just second amendment affairs. It’s THE reason they are so successful. We don’t get involved in all that other shit. There are other entities who do that, or don’t.

woodcutter's avatar

”:The war on drugs creates a huge market for weapons and ammo.

You have to be fucking joking. That,or it is you that creates a huge market for drugs. That comment is such a stretch that it’s ridiculous, seriously? When was the last time you saw a grenade launcher in a real gun dealer’s place of business? I’ll answer that one for ya. You have never seen such military weaponry sold in the states, ever. The drug cartels get their firepower from other country’s militaries as well as illegal arms dealers from who knows where. Also as mentioned earlier our very own BATFE. Yes it’s true. Your tax dollars at work, sending guns bought with taxpayer monies and sent packing south of the border. This was intensionally done to create the excuse for a demand letter to start up a gun registry in the border states. What’s a few hundred dead Mexicans in the grand scheme of things? Not much according to Atty Gen. Holder.

ETpro's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Mexican authorities say that 95% of the weapons seized from the drug cartels are traceable to US gun stores. They may be stolen, sold out of the back of a car at a gun show, or delivered through the bungling of ATF’s Fast and Furious but how ever they arrive in the hands of the bad guys, some manufacturer made them. Eliminating the criminal enterprise buying them would decrease the market for guns. Now that doesn’t say the NRA is supporting continued criminalization of drugs, but it does deflate the argument that the guns the drug criminals use aren’t manufactured. @jaytkay‘s point that The “legitimate” manufacturers are producing quantities way beyond the needs of the legal market. stands the test or reason.

@Linda_Owl I like to shoot too. I am definitely not anti gun. Like you I don’t appreciate big game hunters killing threatened species just to mount trophies on their walls. And I’m on board with your list of things that are inimical with guns.

@WestRiverrat I have confidence that gun shop owners do the responsible thing. But I can see firsthand that lots of guns being made by legitimate manufacturers end up in the hands of the cartels. It matters not how they get there. The fact that they do absolutely does affect the demand for guns and drive manufacturing of them.

@woodcutter The NRA has lots of members, but it also has a monolithic leadership. They clearly do advocate for the interests of gun manufacturers. I don’t consume illegal drugs, so your second broadside is a lie, a personal attack, and has no place in this discussion. Clearly the US demand for illegal drugs supports the trade. But legalization or decriminalization could change that. It is entirely disingenuous to pretend that policy has nothing to do with the current situation.

TexasDude's avatar

@ETpro that is 95% of traceable weapons, which in itself only accounts for a very small percentage of total cartel weapons recovered.

woodcutter's avatar

95% of the weapons seized that the Mexican authorities let the FBI look at that have intact serial #’s. It’s no coincidence they happen to be traceable back to the states. What, you really think the Mexicans are going to let US investigators look at all those weapons found? Especially the one’s that came from Mexican armories? Not going to happen.

ETpro's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Here’s another link. Waiting for evidence that refutes my suspicions.

woodcutter's avatar

Even if every single gun in the US was confiscated there would still be thousands of deaths related to the drug trade in Mexico. The US is convenient because of locality. When a country has as many police and military involved with the cartels as Mexico has, there will be no end to it. Even if the NRA could make all drugs legal it would probably be in the best interest of the gun owners as it would be on less thing to make them the boogieman.

I wonder, as all the people who are druggies, do they look into their mirror after they hit the pipe…knowing full well that many people died in the process of bringing them that high, do they feel at least somewhat to blame? Or does it ease their conscience some to blame gun owners and gun makers and the bad drug laws? Who is creating the demand that makes it happen? I would like to see the drug war ended. I would not like to see guns demonized as a quick feel good fix to help people with bad behavior better cope with their demons

I’m suspect of quotes of seemingly close numbers of smuggled contraband. The very nature of the practice seems to make such claims only a guess, at best. The smugglers could be stopped if there was a will to do it. The long arms of the cartels are everywhere it seems.

TexasDude's avatar

@ETpro 3,480 U.S. origin guns of 4,000 successfully traceable [emphasis mine] by ATF. These were the arms investigated out a total of 30,000 firearms seized in Mexico 2004 to 2008. Source.

That’s around 11.5 to 12% of all guns recovered between 04 and 08 (I’m having a hard time finding numbers from more recent years) in Mexico being sourced from the US. That’s not a majority or a huge amount. I never said that smuggling from the US didn’t happen. I said that it wasn’t as common as you are saying it is, which these statistics support. Also, finding actual statistics on this in the first place is difficult because both the US and Mexican governments have fudged the numbers at different points and done a lot of sweeping under the rug. (Go back and look at @woodcutter‘s earlier points about why they would do this).

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter I am NOT suggesting confiscating guns. Please read the OP. It is about legalization of drugs, not making gun ownership illegal. How did we get there?

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard It matters not who manufactures the guns the cartels use. It matters not how they get them. Their insatiable need for firepower coupled with their massive cash reserves DO drive gun manufacturing.

TexasDude's avatar

@ETpro apparently it does matter since you originally brought it up with the claim that 95% of the cartel guns came from the US. Is it really affecting US manufacture rates that much if they are only getting a small number of the total guns from the US? Gun manufacturing is up because US civilians have been buying them in record numbers since 2008, not because the Zetas are going to Gander Mountain to buy inferior civilian weapons. The numbers are just too inconsequential in comparison. If you are wanting to tie the NRA to an increase in gun manufacturing then look to fear-mongering over the Obama election, not drug running. That’s where the record increase in manufactureing and sales came from. Supplying drug runners with weapons is a minuscule factor in comparison.

woodcutter's avatar

@ETpro I’m not saying that you are suggesting gun confiscation…come on. It appears you are convinced that American gun makers are using the drug war to further their profits. All gun dealers have so many rules to go by they are essentially walking a tightrope in order to stay in business as it is. It’s really easy to screw up with BATFE rules with simple honest paperwork mistakes ( misspelled words, wrong abbreviations, etc). There aren’t near as many gun dealers as there once was. It’s not worth the hassle. The ones who choose to stay in business aren’t going to risk heavy fines, business closure, and possibly prison time to do any funny business with gun sales. Trying to tie legitimate manufacturing in with the actions of third party operators is really stretchy. Whether you imply this or not is immaterial. It comes off looking as if you are.

The painful truth is, ( for the gun control crowd), thousands more law abiding Americans every year are becoming interested in gun ownership. We are buying / collecting firearms in record numbers to the point that many gun makers have stopped taking orders until they can catch up. They can’t make them fast enough. Josh Surgarman is a very delusional person. I would consider the source every time he writes anything. Gun sales through the roof in the US and violent crime has dropped to an all time low in recent years. All this according to FBI records. The American gun control movement has realized how insignificant they have become with this and so their next big gripe has shifted focus on gun crime in other countries to stay somewhat relevant. They give the NRA their power.and president Obama has done more for the firearms industry than anything the NRA members could have possibly dreamt of.

ETpro's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard & @woodcutter Hold on there, guys. Go back and read the OP. I said “weapons and ammunition manufacturers”, not “American gun makers.” Corporations form all over the world pour big money into lobbying and advocacy groups in the US to better their profit position.

As to the size of the market, I will grant you that the bogus “Obama’s going to take your guns” idiocy is a big factor in the gun market upswing here in the USA. But you want me to believe that the entire police forces and military of Mexico, Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia are overwhelmed by the cartel’s firepower and brutality, and that Guatemala and Nicaragua are in jeopardy, but the cartels are lightly armed. Sorry, but I have to call BULLSHIT on that theory.

woodcutter's avatar

The cartels are not lightly armed. They are heavily armed. And those arms are longer and longer to the point they are involved in the politics of these govts. The corruption as well as the playing both sides against each other give the cartels their influence and power.
The OP was about the NRA wanting drugs legalized or not. it’s a uniquely American civil rights group. So it would be easy for us to think that was the tack of it all, US guns and ammo makers, and by extension US gun owners/ buyers.

woodcutter's avatar

On the foreign influence, I would have to say these countries do NOT want to see drugs legalized here ever. They are providing the dope for the drug market as well as the weapons and they have a sweet deal going so it would not surprise us to hear those country’s govts are lobbying to keep drugs illegal. So much money to be made that there will never be an effort to cut off the gravy train. It’s a win/ win for the bad guys, as well as most govts.

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter That brings us closer to the heart of the matter I was really interested in. The NRA does advocate for laws that will increase gun sales. They do receive major funding from gun and ammunition manufactures here and abroad, as well as from gun wholesalers and retailers. They along with ALEC have pushed state legislatures and governors to adopt “Stand your Ground” laws. And the way those laws are written (by ALEC) and interpreted leads any rational adult to the conclusion they should be armed. So the NRA does serve as a surrogate of the weapons industry. But I really don’t know what advocacy position they take on the War on Drugs. That’s why I asked, and so far, despite all the who-struck-John, I still don’t know.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@ETpro it is the same answer. The NRA does not have an official position on the war on drugs, or any other topic not related to the second ammendment. They are a single issue organization.

That is one of the reasons they are as strong as they are, they do not spread their efforts over a broad area so they have plenty of funds to spend on the one thing they care about.

ETpro's avatar

@WestRiverrat Sorry, but I know that’s not true. The NRA advocacy for “Stand your Ground” laws has the effect of driving large increases in gun sales. It is NOT a defense of the second amendment. It is corporatocracy at work. And where the NRA’s funding comes from testifies to why that might be.

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t buy any part of the notion that “stand your ground” will urge non gun owners to suddenly buy a gun, or more of them. We have to get past and bury the unfair label that those interested in firearms are uneducated and easily swayed trogs. It’s a huge decision for someone to make and it is an individual and deeply personal choice. There are too many places where a person in fear of a horrendous ass beating has to worry about the courts if they survive it. A person in a fight for their life shouldn’t have to worry about that. Every single law gets abused somehow and this one does also. The idea that the NRA is behind rising gun sales is a happy coincidence at best. The majority of US citizens are pro gun and pro 2A and it isn’t hard for the NRA to get contributions at all. All groups that represent different segments of society have their large and small contributors. The idea that people are ignorant of the benefits of gun ownership without the NRA is really selling them short at best ,and down right insulting at its worst. It’s the oldest civil liberties group in the U.S. since 1871.
It might shock some to learn that it is not only right leaning people who support the NRA. Democrats do too, gasp! People of all stripes support them. If a Dem who has a solid pro gun record is running for office against a luke warm Republican, cough, Peter King..cough (example), he, or she is going to win. NRA doesn’t play the typical politics games. If you are good with them you are going to be elected, period. Doesn’t matter what your affiliation is.

All causes revolve around money and vise versa. Always has, always will. Remember, everyone has second amendment rights even those who don’t care for guns, it’s there when you decide to take advantage of it.

See you at the range.

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