The NRA Is Not The Problem


What happened in NewTown Connecticut was horrible beyond words, almost unimaginable but speaks more to our culture and country, than to gun ownership.  What if the murderer had killed those innocent children by setting off homemade bombs, or setting the school on fire, would that have made it better because at least they weren’t killed by guns?  While the press likes to demonize the NRA, there are many lawyers, doctors, business owners and investment bankers, who are members and live right here in New York City.  There’s a shooting range in Midtown Manhattan and educated, wealthy individuals utilize the club during lunch, at night or on weekends.  Most NRA members are law-abiding, Americans who simply want to protect their rights to gun ownership as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Those most opposed to gun ownership are not familiar with firearms and have probably never fired a pistol or rifle, or seen one up close.  The fact is, the majority of NRA members are not opposed to some controls.  Republican pollster Frank Lutz took a poll of NRA members and found that 80% are in favor of requiring criminal background checks for gun owners and 79% favor criminal background checks for gun shop employees.  Second, 71% of NRA members believe that anyone on a terrorist watch list should be prohibited from obtaining a firearm.  Third, 74% of NRA members believe that those seeking to obtain concealed carry permits, should be required to  complete a safety training course.  NRA members are not looking to protect the crazy behavior of a few deranged, unbalanced individuals.  The NRA leadership and membership are not unreasonable individuals, but there’s the very real fear of the slippery slope.  It’s the reason most members don’t want to give even a single inch.  Once assault weapons are banned, the logic is, hunting rifles will be banned.  Then we move on to any weapon that can fire more than six shots.  So only revolvers will be permitted.  People against firearms are not interested in compromise.  Fear of the unknown and pure ignorance guides their logic.  Despite what Mayor Mike Bloomberg says, no legislation is going to prevent a tragedy like that which occurred in Newtown Connecticut.  Does anyone remember the name, Anders Behring Breivik?  He’s the white supremacist who murdered ninety-two people last year in Norway despite very strict gun control laws.  Almost no individuals own firearms.  Even the police, who went to the camp, were outgunned when they confronted Breivik, which is why he was able to murder as many people as he did, mostly  teenagers.  It’s astounding that he was taken alive after killing 92 innocents.  The concept of gun control is understood, and requires further dialogue, but there is only one way to stop these mass murders; get to the root of why these people want to hurt and kill other people. Preventing these crimes is the only answer.  While it’s wonderful and liberal to feel sorry for those with mental illnesses, I would prefer those people were forced to get help, or locked away.    Let me reiterate; in a free society, we will never be able to prevent a sick, crazy individual from killing innocent people, any more than the government has been able to eliminate drugs during the so-called “war on drugs”.  So the approach needs to be twofold; sensible gun laws and mental health availability.  One last and extremely important point must be made.  While we speak about gun violence as if these occurrences are happening daily, the fact remains, there have only been a handful of crazies out of a country of more than 300 million.  But each instance is so tragic, so horrendous, it seems like the entire country is out of control.  It’s not.  Most Americans are kind, charitable and decent.  Just look at the outpouring of love and support for Newtown, Connecticut during its time of crisis.  Let’s never forget that.  Let’s never forget that a handful of individuals must never be permitted to define who we are as Americans.

4 thoughts on “The NRA Is Not The Problem

    • Michael, let me first say that your comments were well written, cogent and very convincing. Thank you for the feedback. My issue is not so much in protecting the reputation of the NRA as it is to aim the argument where it belongs, at the mentally ill, distrurbed murderers who, if intent on killing will find a way. As an honorary Canadian, (I’ve been in every provence and I’m in Toronto twice a month), I also know that guns, including rifles, are easy to obtain, even for an American in the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba. And yet there aer not as many murders per population as in the US. Is that due to universal healtcare? I agree with you that in most instances the slippery slope argument is juvenile and illogical but it has validity in this case. Responsible gun owners are no more a threat than any other citizen. We simply want to guarantee a right afforded us in the US Constitution. I for one am tired of the lack of acceptance of responsibility, i.e. guns kill people, but guns don’t pull the trigger, people do. People are the problem, not the weapon of choice. We need to get the people off the streets more than the weapons. You mentioned 9-11 but if you remember, the first attempt at taking down the buildings occured in 1993 when terrorists detonated a van full of dynamite in the parking lot under the buildings. When that didn’t work, eight years later terrorists flew planes in to buildings. Those intent on killing will find a way. We can’t ban knives and crowbars and hockey sticks. The root cause of the problem, people, is what needs to be addressed.

      • I think the culture also needs to be addressed and part of the sickness of the culture are extreme NRA types, survivalists and others whose paranoid vision of America and its future is so bleak cynical and out of the mainstream. Also a culture where guns are so pervasive. As a small child visiting Washington state my sentinel memory of what was different from Canada was there were literally guns everywhere we went, which happened to be major shopping centers, I had never seen such a thing, At that time I could literally hold ammunition in my hand at the age of 6.
        I work in mental health and I can assure you there is no way we lock or forcibly treat all the people that are quite harmless but nevertheless harbor the kind of thoughts that would label them as dangerous. Their thoughts are not the danger; it is the access to things to implement these thoughts that is the difference. Most severely mentally ill lack the financial resources to purchase or are together enough to pass some basic testing prior to attaining guns. They are though usually savvy enough to take advantage of an arsenal another family member keeps in the home.
        I believe in most states people can only buy dynamite by meeting numerous conditions and being under the eyes of the Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms. Other known means of causing mass destruction whether it be guns or something else should be under similar control. Do you want people to buy dynamite as easily as they can buy guns in many states?
        Finally, Rudy Guiliani. Even though Neil Cavuto tried his best to hush him, on the day of this horrendous tragedy said “All things must be on the table”. Americans cannot solve this if they come to the table with preset conditions whether it be more gun control or making other changes. Americans have inspired the world many times by leading the world to a better place in terms of freedom and rights. How about the right of kindergarten kids to pursue happiness?

  1. The slipperry slope excuse is juvenile and illogical. There is no proof that taking a reasonable action will lead to taking increasingly more unreasonable action. This is simply not the case and has not been the case in other countries.The idea that the killer could have used bomb or set fire overlooks the obvious fact; he did not choose that means and guns have been the preferred choice over and over. Perhaps it is the perverse thrill of “doing it the old fashioned way” that spurs them on. In any case we take action on what has happened, continues to happen and looks like it could happen, simply in the same manner that happened after 911. There are a number of ways the terrorist could have done what they did. In some cases rules were changed because of what they might have done. But the focus in the end was on making hard to do “what they did do”. Whether the NRA deserves the reputation it has is really irrelevant to the discussion unless your greatest concern is the slaughter of innocent people makes the NRA look bad. 20% of the gunowners own 80% of the hardware; that is alarming. We don’t need a small number of fanatics determining what is reasonable. For the record I am a Canadian so yes I am sticking my nose where it probably does not belong. However I don’t think the average American should be tarred with the same feather the NRA has given America. When it comes senseless murder and mayhem, it is not a time to strive to be Number One. It is time to learn from the rest of the world and not be slavishly controlled by illogical PR candy.

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