I know that you are likely a proud member of the NRA. If so, know that you are in the minority of American gun owners, by a factor of more than ten. Think about that for a second. Three to four million NRA members, 50 to 80 million non NRA gun owners like me.
Prior to the ‘80’s the NRA was as fine an organization to belong to as any. I would have belonged to them at that time as well if I hadn’t been otherwise involved.
I hear what you are saying about gun rights, that many of you believe that as law-abiding citizens you have the right to own any type of gun. That’s a common thought, among Libertarians especially, who do not believe that the government has any place restricting anything. A noble thought maybe, but not at all practical in the real world of people living in communities. Without traffic lights… (who is the government to tell me I have to stop? I know when to stop!), speed limits (I know how to drive, and 90 mph seems fine to me!) and money (the government can’t tell me what currency to use! I like wampum!) … no one would be able to get to work in the mornings.
While I do think that there are weapons that need regulating (anthrax, say, and tanks, RPG’s, and weapons that make a battalion out of an individual) the main thing I want to say is that no one is coming for our hunting/skeet rifles or for our pistols for home defense. That is the great lie of the NRA, perpetrated for business and political reasons, not for the 2nd Amendment or Freedom or Liberty or truthiness.
Well, maybe truthiness. (Truthiness is a quality characterizing a “truth” that a person claims to know intuitively “from the gut” or because it “feels right” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. (Wikipedia, via Colbert).
I hear what you say about ‘some liberal loon’ who decided to call semiautomatics “Assault weapons”, unnecessarily scaring the public, but that came not from the left. It came from the gun industry itself (I’ve seen the magazine cover from decades ago). It doesn’t help the case any at all that the general public sees what guns the SWAT teams carry, and the SEAL teams, and the Ranger teams, and the Marines. That’s where the definition comes from; not from gun haters, but from real gun users. Arguing otherwise makes us look like we’re hiding something.
I hear what you say about freedom, but as a gun owner, I simply do not believe that everyday people need, or should be able to buy, military type weapons like a Bushmaster. Same with a RPG or Stinger missile that any of us could use to take down a jet plane, any plane full of innocent people on their way to work, or Disney, or Vegas. The NRA disagrees, telling us that Democrats want our deer rifles and are just starting out with the heavy ordnance to create precedents. That’s insulting.
I see nothing in the Biden recommendations that says the government is taking our guns away. I see universal background checks, closing the NRA gun show loophole (and it’s there… why? To push unrestricted sales to felons and the mentally ill who can’t pass the existing background checks?) I see limiting high-capacity magazines on the list, limiting an individuals people-hunting firepower. Correct me if I’m wrong, but magazine sizes for hunting dove and ducks and pheasant have been restricted for years, to like 3 in a magazine plus one in the chamber, right? My Daddy taught me that when I was 8 or so. Did the NRA scream about those restrictions? Or rather, did they help to write them and educate everybody about their purpose and importance? (for my non-gun owning friends, see, they were a good Org back in the day!) And I’ve heard more than one gun owner say that if you need 10 shots in a deer stand it’s time to go home and take up reality TV. So why the outcry against restricting 30 round magazines that kill 30 people at a clip? Especially in light of 20 first graders getting riddled with high-caliber bullets in a matter of seconds.
There’s nothing in the recommendations that I’ve seen to address the guns that are already owned. Everything is designed to address future purchase and acquisition. If a previously purchased restricted gun is used in a crime… there’s already enough law covering using weapons in a crime. Thanks to the President (and shame on Congress) for resorting to Executive Orders to get law enforcement on board with enforcing the laws we have. I’m not cranking on law enforcement here; the NRA, through Congress, has effectively blocked enforcement of many of the existing laws. Not to mention refusing to allow an ATF director to take charge.
No one is asking us to turn in anything. I wouldn’t if they did, and I’m not a criminal or a militia-man. I’m a progressive.
I see that they wisely left off a national registry of owners. I don’t support that one either. It does nothing to prevent, and those who do the mass kill thing don’t walk away needing to be found later. Besides, most Americans don’t like the thought of being on a government list, guns or not.
Most importantly, the conservative Roberts Supreme Court agrees that there is no Constitutional issue with regulating guns, even while affirming our ability to own handguns. The last big case, Heller vs DC, threw out a handgun restriction law. Justice Scalia (can’t get more conservative than this guy) wrote the majority decision. He said:
“Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
The NRA wants us to believe that the 2nd Amendment means free for all, when the second word is “well-regulated”. The Supreme Court knows the law; the NRA knows sales and marketing and fear mongering. And manipulation.
Back to the 20 first graders, this isn’t the government doing a ‘dog and pony show’, blowing up a tragedy in order to get at our .22’s. What we’re seeing is a public backlash against the lies that have been carrying the day.
Over 70% of Americans in one poll say that assault rifles (they know what they really are, despite the NRA rewriting the ‘legal’ definition to only include guns with two or more military type accessories, like bayonets or flash suppressors) have no place in civil, as opposed to military, society. Same with 30 round clips. People know what right is, and what isn’t. The NRA apparently does not care.
Another poll said that over 60% of gun owners (I’m one) are in favor of background checks for every purchase. The NRA is not, and incredibly has fought them at every turn; but against the backlash and falling support in the polls have said that they are studying it in a ‘general’ way. They prefer that we identify the mentally ill (put them on a list), and stop with the video games and John Wayne movies. But even with an identification of mental illness, being able to walk into a gun show and walk out that morning as the 43rd best armed force in the world at 19 years of age does little to solve anything. That’s not freedom. That’s anarchy. The NRA is for it. We should not be.
I did think it was brilliant of them to include their video game partners in the ‘problem list’. Sales for those games have skyrocketed as well. (I play Gears of War and Left for Dead II… both have great weapons to ‘use’, and the “enemy” is either a zombie or a bug, so ‘killing’ them is psychically easier than killing real “people” in a game. Yes, I’m a gun owner that is uneasy about graphically killing people, even in a game. So what?)
That’s the one thing that the NRA does really well (besides lying, like in that video about Australia’s gun amnesty program); they generate sales for the industry. Before December I saw Bushmasters for $459, and shelves were full of ammunition. I haven’t seen but one Bushmaster available since, and it was $1700. There’s no 9mm ammo (or .45, or .40 cals) to be found anywhere around here. Who wouldn’t love a marketing force like that pushing their product!
I’m not trying to change your mind about guns or gun ownership or hunting or skeet, believe me, I’m with you on those. Just want to rest your fears maybe (I know that they are real to you, thanks to years of NRA false propaganda), about a tyrannical government coming to take our hunting and sporting guns.
It’s not happening.
The Supreme Court said it can’t happen. (I’ll take what they say about the Constitution any day over an industry shill with an agenda like the NRA ).
And I, and a lot of other American progressives would help fight it if it did.
Meanwhile, some common sense is sorely needed if we’re going to prevent more mass killings of innocents by the angry and confused, who find it exceptionally easy to be better armed than the local cops, whether stationed in schools or not. We can debate what caused the anger, or the source of the confusion, but no one can deny that it is the fact that they can be easily armed for war that causes the real and enduring damage.
The NRA could take the lead on this, ensuring that our hunting and sporting pastimes are honored and protected along with our school children and cinema patrons. Instead, they take the crazy path of denial, making all of us look like neanderthals in order to keep profits up for the Freedom Group. They choose to fan the fires of insurrection, threatening government jack-booted thugs and cold dead fingers. They spread outright lies, lying to us as well, in order to protect, not us and our pastime, but the manufacturers and their own political non-gun related agenda.
They are not my friend. They’re not yours either, unless your last name is Bushmaster, Mossberg, Remington, Smith or Wesson.
It’s no wonder the NRA blocked the background checks; they themselves fail the mental health part.