A benefit of the First Amendment is that when all people can freely express themselves, normal people are regularly reminded of how warped some can be in their thinking–particularly those who seem to derive perverse satisfaction from publicly displaying their hatred of the NRA.
For example, two days after the bombing at this year’s Boston Marathon, chronic NRA-basher Frank Smyth, in an article posted on MSNBC’s website, proclaimed that gunpowder had been used in the bombs, and on that basis concluded that the suspects were on the loose because the NRA had opposed requiring microscopic “identification taggants” in gunpowder in the 1990s.
On the same day, self-proclaimed “extreme left” socialist Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “Last Word” left-wing political commentary TV show, ranted, “The NRA’s efforts to guarantee that American mass murderers are the best-equipped mass murders in the world is not limited to murderers who use assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The NRA is also in the business of helping bombers get away with their crimes. Gunpowder could be traced by investigators to a buyer at the point of sale, if gunpowder contained a taggant, an element that would enable tracing of the purchase of gunpowder. But thanks to the National Rifle Association, identification taggants are required by law only in plastic explosives. The NRA has successfully blocked any requirement for such taggants in gunpowder.”
Several days later, the anti-gun Violence Policy Center threw together a press release and a several-page diatribe blaming the NRA in the same way. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) announced his new “Explosive Materials Background Check Act,” proposing to require a background check to purchase any amount of gunpowder. The bill would also direct the BATFE to study the tagging of gunpowder—though a National Academy of Sciences study recommended against adding either identification-type or detection-type taggants to black or smokeless powder, concluding that the measures would be expensive and would result in little benefit.
Given all of this, the anti-gunners could hardly have looked more foolish when Fox News reported that the explosive used in Boston was a blend of nitrate and percholate-based oxidizers common to fireworks, and ABC News reported that one of the suspects in the crime had bought a large quantity of fireworks in February. But of course, that is unlikely to slow them down in the least.