Wayne LaPierre’s 'Red Dawn' Moment

NRA leader warns the Chinese want to know who has guns.

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The National Rifle Association and CEO Wayne LaPierre are pushing for more armed security in schools.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—What's the problem with universal background checks? If you listened to National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at the Conservative Political Action Committee you learned that not only is it a tool for the U.S. government to come take your guns—you probably knew that already—but for the Chinese and Mexican governments to as well. I guess maybe he's watched "Red Dawn" one time too many?

LaPierre went into what has become his usual line against universal background checks—that it's just a ruse for a nefarious agenda. "In the end there are only two reasons for government to create that federal registry of gun owners—to tax them or to take them," he said at one point. (It's worth noting that the NRA is somewhat schizophrenic on background checks, sometimes supporting them and sometimes seeing them as the next step toward fascism.)

[ See a collection of political cartoons on gun control and gun rights.]

I'd heard the anti-U.S. government paranoia before. But I hadn't heard this bit before:

What's the point of registering lawful gun owners anyway? So newspapers can print those names and addresses for criminals and gangs to access? So that list can be hacked by foreign entities like the Chinese, who recently hacked Pentagon computers? So that list can be handed over to the Mexican government that, oh by the way, has already requested it.

Umm. Why would the Chinese care about who in the United States owns guns? Or the Mexicans for that matter? Are the Chinese and/or the Mexicans coming to invade? He didn't elaborate but it's certainly the implication of the comment. Why else would they want to know which U.S. citizens are armed?

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Like I said, maybe before he came on stage he watched the classic 1984 film "Red Dawn" to psych himself up? If you've seen the movie you'll recall that at one point one of the invading Cuban officers (when did Mexico pass Cuba on the threat-meter?) instructs one of his subordinates to go to the local sporting goods store and retrieve "form 4473" which, he says, has "descriptions of weapons and lists of private owners." (Another shot opens with the camera on a bumper sticker promising, "They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers;" the camera then pans down to an American corpse clutching a handgun—and then a Communist jack-boot slams down on the arm and an invader pries the weapon away.)

On a serious note, however, this is just classic of LaPierre, and of a piece with his fantasy that after Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn became some sort of "Mad Max"-esque wasteland where only the armed survived: It's fear mongering—you'd better be armed because the urban folk and the foreigners are coming to get you.