Charlie Pierce has a suggestion on how to institute gun control: go after the companies that make and sell them.
This could be the start of something real — a disinvestment campaign, modeled on the one aimed at companies doing business in South Africa and, later, at the tobacco industry, on the part of police, and fire, and school teachers’ unions to remove their money from the marketing end of mass killing. A campaign that would redefine gun violence as a public-health crisis, as David Satcher tried to do years ago, and to redefine it on the balance sheet, where that would really count. This could be the start of holding the people who really make the money accountable for how they make it. You could close the NRA tomorrow, and they’d be another lobbying arm started up by armaments money within the hour. You could shoot Wayne LaPierre to the moon, and they’d be 100 other lobbyists lining up to take his place. Both LaPierre and the NRA serve not their members, but weapons manufacturers. (That’s why all those polls about “rank and file” NRA members who support, say, background checks, are worthless. At its top, the organization no more answers to them than it does to the Brady Campaign.) The paranoia stoked by NRA fundraising — which, alas, seems to have worked its dark magic on Adam Lanza’s mother — is not directed merely against sensible gun legislation. It’s to sell more guns to the people who marinate themselves in that paranoia, so the people who make the guns can make even more money. That’s the place you want to paint the bullseye.
This is America, after all: the place where everyone wants to make a buck… and then go out and shoot one.