National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre held a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting. The nation's largest gun-rights lobby called for armed police officers to be posted in every school.
IMPORTANT JOB: I believe that the NRA is an important organization and I am a member. The organization balances out the eternal feud between those who would take away all weapons and those that will fight to keep them. The NRA is protecting the Second Amendment that specifically states that we have the right to possess and carry firearms. The anti-gun folks would like to ban certain types of guns and say you don't need these types of guns to hunt, but the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It states "a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to possess a firearm, unconnected to actual service in a militia. So I say thank you, NRA.
Jerry Van Boxtel,
GUN CONTROL: The fear-mongering leaders of the NRA are undoubtedly financially motivated. Follow the money - it always works. There is a correlation between access to guns and their use. Harvard Injury Control Research Center study notes that, "States in the highest quartile for gun ownership had homicide rates 114 percent higher than states in the lowest quartile of gun ownership. ... Non-gun-related homicide rates were not significantly associated with rates of firearm ownership." Humans, being what we are, will use whatever tool comes to hand for inflicting violence, and guns are much more effective at killing than clubs or knives. Reasonable gun control makes sense regardless of whether those controls would have prevented the most recent tragedy. The notion that any of us needs a gun for self-defense is grossly overstated. We are much more likely to be harmed in an automobile than by an aggressor wielding a gun.
ACTIVE GROUP: Founded in 1871, the goal of the NRA is to educate and train people in the safe use of firearms. Because members tend to pay attention, write to legislators and vote, they have political clout. For that they are now vilified for the insanity in Colorado and Connecticut, yet no mention is made about how many lives have been saved by their firearm safety instruction for children. In it, children are taught that if they see a gun and are unsupervised, they are to stop, don't touch, leave the area and tell an adult. I believe the NRA bears no responsibility for the atrocities committed. I have not heard if any of the murderers were NRA members. Perhaps most people do not consider that important, but if the NRA is held responsible, there should be a connection shown. As far as I know, there has been no connection established.
NO COMPROMISE: We have a group of politicians who can't be trusted with doing the right thing and captains of industry who see only a bottom line. Back in the liberal 1960s , a few misguided souls decided that committing the mentally ill to institutions was wrong. They offered no alternatives other than turning them out on the street. Movie makers and video game manufacturers put out more and more violent movies and games then hide behind the First Amendment. The NRA is like so many other groups with dues-paying members. They represent their group with great fervor and will not compromise on any issue involving guns. How do you justify private ownership of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines by the Second Amendment ? I don't know. On the other hand, who would you trust?
NOT ABOUT GUNS: I must admit, though I wasn't sure why, but the acronym did illicit negative feelings. It all came back to me while watching a docudrama on the Green River killings. My ire was raised as file footage showed directors from the National Rope Association staunchly defending their products and refusing culpability, even though an estimated 70 women perished at the hands of a mass murderer, who used their products exclusively. Despite political correctness and national polls, I struggle with blaming guns for all the recent deaths, as bullets seem to do the majority of the damage. Do I dare dream of a day when all sharp objects, ligatures and projectiles are banned? In looking for a positive from this, my inward self-examination did make me realize why professional basketball causes me unexplained nausea, as, you guessed it, it shares the same acronym as the National Bullet Association.