This weekend, the National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention in Phoenix. The Arizona Daily Star reports that if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought it was a Republican campaign rally.
One of the speakers, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, claimed President Obama’s position in support of reinstating the assault weapons ban is “threatening to deny Americans their second amendment right.” But Steele previously held the same views on assault weapons as Obama.
Steele wasn’t the only conservative proffering hypocritical attacks. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the NRA gathering that he will oppose any “separate agenda” to rein in gun-owners’ rights. Unsurprisingly, McCain didn’t discuss his 2001 position on eliminating the so-called gunshow loophole:
In 2001, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., rattled the gun-rights lobby by collaborating with Sen. Joe Lieberman, then-D-Conn., on a bill to eliminate the so-called Brady law “loophole” that allows gun sales at shows without background checks.
“Criminals and gun traffickers have figured this out,” McCain said in a May 15, 2001, Senate floor speech announcing the ultimately unsuccessful measure. “Gun shows are the second leading source of illegal guns recovered in gun trafficking investigations. According to a recent report by Americans for Gun Safety, ‘the states that do not require background checks at gun shows are flooding the rest of the nation with crime guns.’ While 95 percent of buyers are cleared within two hours, the 5 percent who are not are 20 times more likely to be a prohibited purchaser. Background checks are an essential part of keeping guns from criminals and other prohibited individuals.”
McCain said he has “no plans” to revive his old legislation.
60,000 people are expected to attend the NRA convention this weekend, many of them rallying against what they perceive as “a growing hostility toward gun rights under the Obama administration.” “Our rights are under attack like never before, and at all levels of government,” NRA lobbyist Chris Cox said. And of course, the irrational panic induced by the NRA is helping drive the organization’s membership numbers. Watch a video compilation of some NRA members expressing their irrational fear that Obama will take away their guns: