Full Frontal host Samantha Bee had a dream: to buy the costume for the NRA's gun safety mascot, Eddie Eagle.
But it turns out the NRA has all sorts of restrictions on getting the outfit. The group requires an 18-page application. There are rules around what you can do in the costume — for example, no driving or drinking. There's even a national registry that tracks Eddie Eagle costumes around the country. At one point, Bee started a fake gun safety training group — and was told only law enforcement can buy the costume.
"It turned out the organization that makes it easier to get a gun than Sudafed makes it nearly impossible to acquire their giant dancing eagle," Bee said.
Meanwhile, Bee could easily buy an arsenal of guns. As she's shown desperately trying to get the Eddie Eagle costume around the country, Bee and her staff manage to purchase a lot of guns — often without a background check at all.
The point: While the NRA values making its costume extremely difficult to obtain, the organization — by lobbying for laxer gun laws — seems okay with letting people get a gun without much, if any, of a hassle.
The skit really isn't a stretch. While other countries require licenses, training, or at least background checks for private gun ownership, the US doesn't fully require any of these at a federal level. Even background checks are easy to avoid — by, for example, going through a gun show or internet listing to find a private seller who doesn't have to run a check at all.
Some states have stricter laws. But it's so easy to buy a gun in several states that a would-be buyer can simply cross a border to load up on firearms, as Bee did. As the New York Times explained, this is so common that the gun shipment route from the South, where guns are easy to get, to New Jersey and New York, where guns are more restricted, is known as the Iron Pipeline. Other places around the US with stricter gun laws, such as Illinois, California, and Washington, DC, also have their laws undermined by people's ability to simply cross the border and buy a gun at a lax state like Indiana or Virginia.
As a result, it's way easier to buy an arsenal of guns in the US than it is to become Eddie Eagle.