1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In defense of the NRA

On the op-ed pages of the Denver Post, the National Rifle Association has become the organization that seemingly everyone loves to hate. Never mind the fact that the NRA is the organization doing the most good in terms of firearms education, safety and training. Ask most any law enforcement officer and chances are that she was trained by an NRA-certified instructor.


Overlooked in all the NRA-bashing of late is the history of the organization (readily available on their website and from independent sources as well). Most folks don't know that the NRA has supported the regulation of machine guns, tighter restrictions on the importation of some arms and the “insta-check” system now used by federally licensed firearms dealers.

If the NRA seems intransigent concerning new gun laws it may simply be that they have reached the conclusion that (1) we have enough reasonable gun laws right now and (2) that the goal of those pushing for new laws is unilateral disarmament.

Mental defectives, drug addicts and felons are already prohibited from purchasing firearms. These prohibitions did not prevent either James “Bad Hair” Holmes or Adam Lanza from committing their atrocities, nor are new restrictions going to prevent murderous mayhem. We ought to be doing our utmost to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands, but our politicians seems bent on simply passing laws that give the appearance of doing something. As Governor Hickenlooper recently said, none of the measures take anyone's guns away. So, what's the point?

The point is to move slowly toward disarmament. Not for everyone, of course. Just we the people. Cops, soldiers and criminals will keep their guns (as two out of three should). One might say, “Well, that's OK because the police are there to protect me.” But that's inaccurate. The police are responsible for community safety in general, not your personal protection. Unless you are rich or important enough to rate a bodyguard, you are on your own.

The NRA sees what the gun prohibitionists themselves can't quite admit: they want all guns out of civilian hands. If you doubt this, pay attention to their reaction anytime some madman commits an atrocity: if he uses a military-style weapon, these need to be banned; if a high capacity magazine, these need tighter regulation.

Where does it stop with the anti-gunners? Supposing that every type of firearm except single shot .22 caliber rifles were banned, would it stop there? No, for all it would take is some future pyscho to commit a massacre with his .22 and we'd be hearing about the “22 loophole” or some such thing.

In fact, if one takes the mission statement of the Brady Center at face value, one would conclude that their goal is the disappearance of all firearms in the USA:

“We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.” No gun violence means no guns, period.

The Brady crew knows that gun violence is non-preventable to one degree or another (or they are completely delusional). Utopian fantasies to the contrary notwithstanding, gun violence will (as will other forms of violence) always be with us.

It sounds good, this freedom from gun violence, but the simple truth is that it cannot be delivered. What can be delivered is the unilateral disarmament of civilians. For the life of me I don't know how the ACLU ended up on the wrong side of this debate, so that leaves the NRA. Yes, the same NRA that is at times shrill and hyperbolic. Yet looking at the alternatives, the NRA seems most sane to me. That's why I re-joined the NRA: in a society swimming in guns, the unilateral disarmament of civilians is not only wrong, it's downright wicked.

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