Why Americans are buying more guns

And why liberals need to stop calling people "gun nuts"

A clerk at Freddie Bear Sports store in Illinois, shows a customer an AK-47 style rifle on Dec. 17.
(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The president of the National Rifle Association says President Obama is to blame for the surge in weapons stockpiling after the recent spate of mass shootings. He's right. But that's only part of the story. The reason why Americans are afraid is because the NRA exists to make them afraid, as does (as I and many others have explained) the echochamber that the conservative activist media lives in.

It's not that the NRA is trying to push up gun sales, although their corporate members I'm sure are happy with that as an after effect. (These corporations give heavily to the NRA's "non-profit" advocacy arms.) It's that the organization requires a climate of fear to justify its existence. A climate of reasonableness or deference is not what our political culture incentivizes. Organizations that adhere to a principle, even if that principle is unyielding in the face of real-world events, are staples of a mature democracy.

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Marc Ambinder

Marc Ambinder is TheWeek.com's editor-at-large. He is the author, with D.B. Grady, of The Command and Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. Marc is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and GQ. Formerly, he served as White House correspondent for National Journal, chief political consultant for CBS News, and politics editor at The Atlantic. Marc is a 2001 graduate of Harvard. He is married to Michael Park, a corporate strategy consultant, and lives in Los Angeles.