Brief thoughts on Frontline’s report ‘Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA’

NRA Exec. V.P. Wayne LaPierre. (Photo: FRONTLINE)

NRA Exec. V.P. Wayne LaPierre. (Photo: FRONTLINE)

FRONTLINE released a report called “Gunned Down: The power of the NRA” last night. After viewing it, I wouldn’t say that it’s an outright hit piece but there’s no doubt that it is critical of the nation’s gun lobby while also being sympathetic to the gun-control cause.

I suppose that’s what one can expect from PBS. As I was watching it, I wrote down five brief observations. Here they are:

1. Man, I miss Charlton Heston and his “stentorian” voice.

2. Wayne LaPierre is a badass lobbyist, even more skillful, intelligent, and cunning than I had previously thought.

3. The NRA defeated Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election and it still feels as sweet today as it did back then.

4. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” True then, true now. Though, I prefer to say the “optimal way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

5. I’m proud to be an NRA member.

In addition to the main piece, FRONTLINE did a online Q&A with filmmaker Michael Kirk. Below are the videos:

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Dan January 13, 2015, 2:00 am

    The best argument for the need to carry for self defense was exhibited by the graphic murder of the French police officer who was unarmed and trying to run away from the Kouachi brothers. His reward for serving his country was a bullet to the head without the ability to protect himself. That is the direction this country is heading if we don’t stand up for our right to carry a weapon for self defense. If we want the right to national CCW carry, we must try to elect a pro gun president in 2016. Keep that in mind when you vote.

  • EBert January 12, 2015, 4:16 pm

    You are going to “moderate” my comment? What does that imply?

  • EBert January 12, 2015, 4:09 pm

    This commentary by Michael Kirk of Frontline represents either inadequate research or faulty analysis, referring to the 1960’s as the “moment” when the NRA started fighting against gun control. A decade of modern history is hardly a “moment.” Truly, reorientation of the NRA toward resisting the Constitutional-contravention of ‘gun control’ began in the 1960’s; however, the “moment” (which Mr Kirk missed, or dodged) occurred at an NRA Annual Membership meeting in Cincinnati a decade later. The membership unseated the CEO at that time (a retired military flag-rank officer) and replaced him with a ‘fire brand’, shaven-head, sawed-off pug of a militant named Carter, who changed the game of the NRA…as was intended by those attending and proxied members.

  • craigm January 12, 2015, 4:07 pm

    I am a life member and life shooter. I didn’t see this particular program yet, but from other Frontline productions I have seen they are not liberal, they have been pretty objective. I also engage in two other activities that have similar organizations that, among other things, represent their members rights and access to their activities; the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) and the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). It is interesting to compare their approaches to their particular memberships and the way they handle the task of preserving their rights:

    There is very little education done on the part of the NRA. Of course, they sell bibles to choir members, but they do little to persuade non-believers. I have personally “converted” a dozen anti-gun individuals to CCW types just by taking them shooting. Everyone is curious about guns. Every movie is full of people doing stupid things with them too. Every convert of mine was impressed with the safety procedures and challenge of marksmanship. This doesn’t happen if you sit at home and refer to a group of them a “target rich environment’.

    The NRA is also needlessly vitriolic. Like it or not, anti-gun believers are American citizens, not communists or socialists, and are entitled to their opinions. Name calling is never productive, in fact it always makes the caller the fool in the eyes of the educated. There has been a sea change in American public opinion since 9/11, let us take this opportunity to help our countryman defend themselves and their neighbors.

    I also see empire building going on on the part of the executive staff. They are constantly hounding me for money, even when I’ve asked them not to in the interests of the organization. Every mailing piece costs us $2.00 times over 3 million members (my estimates), and to what end? I think all rank and file members would be surprised by the executive payroll numbers.

    Lastly, criticism is everyone’s friend. If Frontline, or anyone else, says something bad about you, pay attention. No one or thing is perfect, and pointing out shortcomings can be the greatest of service.

    • Ernie January 12, 2015, 5:27 pm

      Nicely said Craig. It was nice to read a comment that wasn’t so far to the right that I actually read it all the way through. The same Constitution that gives us the right to keep and bear, (which by the way was man, not God given), also provides them with the freedom of speech. I also would like to see a little less junk from the NRA in the mail, I too am a life member but fail to see the need for a new card every year.

      My only question is how many of these folks jumping up and down about liberals are AARP members? Hmmmm, talk about liberal. If you are truly conservative look at AMAC.

  • Robert Cockerham January 12, 2015, 2:46 pm

    I added a comment on the PBS site about the Frontline program. It lasted about 15 minutes before they erased it. I was surprised as it read “Total propaganda. Dr. Goebbels would be proud.” Both statements are true so it must be deleted.

  • troop emonds January 12, 2015, 1:21 pm

    Why no mention of the Obama intent to have common sense measures to prevent mentally ill people from getting the ability to by guns. The one complaint that most all close associates had to say about mentally ill people who were obviously dangerous is that no one did anything or said anything. It really was a health care and privacy issue all along and the President and his gang of ignorant people tried to make all good citizens pay a steep price in rights, that would have done nothing against nut cases getting guns.

    You also have to come up with mandatory 60 year sentences for illegal gun runners and marketers to criminals. Also, a 60 year sentence for anyone using a gun in a crime. Crazy people with lust for mass shootings must be put in solitary confinement for ever if they don’t have the common decency to off themselves after they do what they do.

    With the Mumbai and Paris shooting rampages, and the Kenyan mall shooting that is ample proof that America was right to go the route of concealed carry laws. Now they need to make them Universal. Minutemen among us always ready to return fire from terrorists seems more like a better idea all the time. I’ve had a concealed carry permit for a decade, but never go out and about armed. These Jihadi folks give good reason to keep the NRA around for our own survival.

    • Larry January 12, 2015, 1:28 pm

      Arm up, my friend! The gun is no good sitting in a drawer or gun safe at home.

  • Larry January 12, 2015, 1:17 pm

    Does anyone really expect PBS to be anything but anti-gun? There are no bigger leftists in the world than those associated with PBS. They fired Juan Williams, one of the pure classic libs of our time because he wasn’t toeing the leftist line good enough to suit them.

  • Robie Houser January 12, 2015, 10:46 am

    Has anyone ever seen a positive story about gun owners on PBS? Let us now call our reps and demand the defunding of PBS and do as Mr. Trapp and send your PBS fundraising donations to the NRA. Great idea!
    During the PBS program I must have missed anyone expressing anger at the actual killers who are either dead, trying to plead insanity or on an Army base practicing religious rights at taxpayer expense.
    PBS omitted the knife slashing attack which occurred on April 09, 2014 at Murrysville, PA on the campus of Franklin Regional High School in which 22 students where wounded by a student knife slasher. I assume that PBS is only angry at guns and should you choose a knife then all is well with PBS.

  • 2ndprotectsall January 12, 2015, 8:57 am

    PBS needs to be de-funded ASAP and allowed to sink or swim on it’s own.

    • Russ January 12, 2015, 11:23 am

      Our tax dollars going to government run British television is nothing less than a crime of theft.
      PBS = Propaganda Broadcast System

  • ROBERT TRAPP January 12, 2015, 8:36 am


    • Russ January 12, 2015, 11:19 am

      Way to go Robert!
      A big thanks, to guys like you.

  • Andy January 12, 2015, 8:16 am

    The Frontline piece is exactly what I would expect from PBS. They produce very slick professional pieces and present a very leftist socialist viewpoint in a manner which seems reasonable. This piece subtly vilifies gun owners, supporters of the 2nd amendment, the NRA and not so subtly, the GOA. This is only possible though if you buy into their premise which is stated several times during the show that the United States is a Democracy. WAKE UP AMERICA! Study the Constitution, study history…….not what they teach in the schools…….the real history. The United States is a Constitutional Republic. In our system you are supposed to be guaranteed certain rights which neither the government or anyone else has any right to take or diminish. A Democracy, as described by Benjamin Franklin, is two wolves and a sheep deciding what is for dinner. If they (the establishment) can get us to accept that our form of government is a “Democracy” the we must accept that WHATEVER the majority wants is correct and legal. The powers that be want you to believe that it is a Democracy. It’s the only way they can justify stripping you of your rights. The Founding Fathers specifically rejected Democracy as a form of government. If they can take or infringe your rights guaranteed under the 2nd amendment then none of your rights are safe. The pledge of allegiance has fallen out of favor in many schools……..could it be because it mentions “the Republic for which it stands”?
    If you take this to heart I would like to recommend that all who wish to gain a better understanding of the Constitution look up the Constitution classes on YouTube by Michael Badnarik.
    In Liberty! A Patriot

  • Ralph Clatterbuck January 12, 2015, 8:11 am

    Let me ask Mr. Kirk a question. If the NRA did not become a political arm of the gun lobby, would Americans be allowed to own any firearms? I sincerely doubt it. We would be in a very similar situation like Great Britain and Australia passing “knee jerk” legislation banning firearms.

  • Ram6 January 12, 2015, 7:48 am

    One more: “Gun Free Zone=Target Rich Environment”

  • alex gregis January 12, 2015, 7:12 am

    old mike kirk said in the question part about when the nra got political about gun control,he said it was in the sixties,he’s right because that when the government really started going after people’s gun rights,he makes it sound like a crime to fight for your rights,what an asshole!!!

  • Robert Harris January 12, 2015, 6:56 am

    It is important to remember (and somewhat embarrassing) that the NRA’s current leadership denied interview for the film. Thank god Larry Pratt of the GOA was willing to come out, or it would have been a ‘hit piece’ completely run by the anti-gun lobby. Otherwise I felt very similar feelings about the program. I think that frontline was trying to make a fair argument, but the lack of NRA input did allow the anti’s argument to tip the scale, which could have been easily avoided.

  • Early Ray January 12, 2015, 5:25 am

    I watched the Frontline anti-gun propaganda last night. It reminded me to renew my NRA membership which I had let expire about 6 months ago. The anti-gun liberals are NRA’s greatest fund raisers. Keep up the good work.

    • Henry Hodges January 12, 2015, 10:56 am

      Don’t just renew . Make a lifetime comittment. I joined a long time ago You can make monthly payments like I did . I’m sure they they still make this offer.

      • Michelle Frank January 12, 2015, 12:38 pm

        Henry, when it came time to renew, I specifically asked if I could make monthly payments in order to become a life member. I was told “no.” Then the NRA called me to give me a “deal” on the lifetime membership. I asked again if I could pay monthly. Again they said “no.” I support the NRA but honestly, they could save a ton of money by not sending out so much “stuff” in the mail that I don’t need. If I’ve paid up my dues for five years, why keep sending me reminders to pay dues? Surely they have a way to track these things. Why keep calling me to pay my dues when I’ve done so? I give a certain amount to ILA too. If I donate once, please don’t keep sending me junk mail (which costs money in printing and mailing) if I’ve already donated. I also give to the NRA Foundation to support youth shooting activities. I just can’t give anymore than I’ve given in terms of time, money and effort. Don’t keep beating me up.

        • Dave January 12, 2015, 1:10 pm

          That’s one of the very reasons I’ve quit the NRA in the past. That and their magazines, which I barely read. I don’t mind supporting them, but the crap-load of snail-mail they send is ridiculous. Now that they have caved in and allowed electronic mailing of their magazine, I don’t feel so bad about it and I have since then renewed. But really…. They should save all that $$ wasted in snail-mail and put it to better use.

  • John Franco January 12, 2015, 4:35 am

    Wow, can this guy be more OBVIOUS with his tranquil and subtle attack on the NRA? As a member of the NRA I am proud of how dedicated this organization is in the fight to protect our 2nd Amendment Rights. The NRA in partnership with the FireArms Manufacturers were absolutely awesome in their grassroots efforts to communicate the shady dealings of Harry Reid and Obama in their efforts to infringe on our God given rights. Its because of all that hardwork we were able to put a stop to the socialist efforts of Bloomberg and Diane Feinstein when they were at their worst. When I saw just how bad these politicians could be I knew it was time to join and it is a decision I will never regret, I am a lifetime member of the NRA and damn proud of it!

    • Henry Hodges January 12, 2015, 10:52 am

      I am also a “lifetime” member and proud of it . A lot of these people should have been voted out of office a long time ago But oh no the nay sayers they are what they want to govern us all . I say this is a bunch of B S. they don’t like our country let them leave I will donate some to their fair on a ship or Plane don’t matter to me.

    • Al Schmidt January 12, 2015, 11:46 pm

      I am a NRA Life Member + & NRA does a pretty good job but, they are not as hard nosed to restore the complete 2nd Amendment as some other gun groups are. GOA, (Gin Owners of America) is more to restore the complete 2nd Amendment. I live in NV but there is a gun organization in CA called CalGuns that is constantly in court with CA trying to get gun rights back for Californians. There is no reason that law abiding citizens should not be allowed to own any weapon in the world! That is the true meaning of the 2nd Amendment. If it weren’t for private ownership of the most powerful weapons of the time, we would not have won the Revolution. Not all so called Republicans are pro gun & not all Democrats are anti-gun. The Republicans have a majority in both Houses & if we put pressure on them & on Democrats that want to be re-elected, we should be able to repeal all gun laws & over-ride a veto by our Muslim Pres. We need to get the Federal Congress to restore all gun rights and to make it illegal for States to impose gun laws. I also mean Constitutional Carry. Yes, I have a CCW & have to spend money to go through a worthless class, (by many instructors that are init for the money). No at Front Sight in NV, you have to take a 4 day self defense hand gun course & then on the 5th day you get the rest of the training to get a CCW. Now, if you feel that we need a CCW instead of Constitutional Carry, then make proper training, mandatory. We need to bring mandatory gun classes into all schools! When I went to school, we always had guns & nobody got killed! We were also taught the 10 Commandments. This Country was basically founded on the Christian Religion. We have let our God given rights taken away from us a little at a time. We as gun owners have always given in and learned to live with it. We were fools! Look what is happening! CA confiscates guns if a member of a household sees a shrink just one time. It makes no difference if that person doesn’t have access to the guns. But CA allows boys into girls restrooms! Writing comments here does not change anything, we all need to bombard our elected officials with email, FAXs, phone calls & even snail mail. Don’t for get to go to there local offices & tell them what we want. Let them know, if we don’t get what we want, we will vote for a 3rd party and that will definitely put them out of office. Time to get balls gun owners! Don’t give that shit that you don’t know how to write a proper letter. Most of you have more education than I do. The letters I get back from Congressmen, leave a lot to be desired as far a grammar goes, (not to mention spelling). Just write what you think, yes, go back and read it because you will find that you typed is instead of it or his instead of has – you get the point. I am I live in Pahrump, NV. I will do my best to answer any emails sent to me & will work with anyone I can to promote the 2nd Amendment & all of the Constitution, (even if there are parts I do not like) I swore an oath to that in 1964 & live by it!

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