NRA: You Are Dead Wrong And We Need To Call You On It
The National Rifle Association is an incredibly powerful entity whose current purpose (I thought) was to bring those of us who enjoyed hunting together in a group to support hunting rights and encourage safety. A secondary thought (again, for me) was to have a means to protect my right to even have a gun, be it shotgun, rifle or handgun whose purpose was hunting, plinking or home protection. Over the years I have watched as the secondary purpose overwhelmed the primary and seemingly has become the sole thrust of the agency. In other words, it appears that the NRA exists solely to protect those who desire to have a gun: any gun, any style, any purpose.
In that, I must respectfully disagree.
Along the way it has become a behemoth in the political arena and is to the Republican Party what the minorities and depressed in society are to the Democratic Party: their bread and butter. It is my belief that the NRA has, in attempting to protect our rights, forgotten their common sense regarding who and what should be protected.
An article in Bloomberg states the following:
"The NRA is one of the biggest spenders in elections, ranking 9th among all outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2016, the NRA’s political arms spent $54.4 million influencing elections, Federal Election Commission records show, including $19.8 million attacking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and $11.4 million promoting Trump. The NRA also spent $500,000 or more on 7 Senate races, including in battleground states Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin."
Fifty four million dollars spent on elections, influencing who we vote for. Is it just me or do you think that they've "gotten above their raisin'" just a bit? I agree with protecting our gun rights but this? It's a bit too much.
- NRA's Dana Loesch: 'Many in legacy media love mass shootings'
The National Rifle Association's national spokeswoman argued Thursday that "many in legacy media love mass shootings" during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
If you do not know me from reading my articles here on Hubpages over the past six years, I am a white, nearing sixty year old married man; father and husband to a family. I am a person who has some college; who has had a job outside the home since age eleven. I have been an outdoorsman for the vast majority of my life, fishing from age eight and going with my father on hunting trips before I was old enough to carry a gun. I received my first BB gun at age ten. My first firearm was a Remington bolt action .22 rifle, a birthday present for my thirteenth birthday. My second was a Remington 30.06 pump action rifle for my sixteenth birthday. Over the years I have hunted using both rifles and archery equipment. I have used shotguns for bird hunting; black powder muzzle loaders for deer; and taken game with all. I have owned guns for personal protection and am considering getting a handgun for home protection (the state of the country being what it is). I have no issue with guns per se: they have their place in a responsible society. My issue comes with what the NRA is staking its future on today. They believe any gun should be owned by any person period. They may say they believe mentally ill people should not have access, and in that I believe them. However, they will say that the family of such a person should have access to said firearms; it will be that family's duty to keep their mentally ill family member away from the firearms. And that is a slippery slope, my friend.
For it is there that my issue begins. Case in point is the family who took the shooter in the recent school shooting in Florida. They took this person in after a personal tragedy in his life took away his mother. This person allegedly has had a long list of issues, has multiple times been reported to the authorities both local and federal. Along the way it appears that he has literally stated he wanted to become a school shooter yet nothing was done. He purchased multiple weapons and built an arsenal. He brought along his personal arsenal. The family he was staying with took his arsenal and locked it away in a gun safe; they thought they had the situation well in hand. But such was not the case as the shooter somehow had a key to the safe.
So the question is: how safe is safe? How far must a person go to verify firearm is not going to fall into the wrong hands?
- Tipster’s Warning to F.B.I. on Florida Shooting Suspect: ‘I Know He’s Going to Explode’
A woman close to Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the massacre, called the F.B.I. suggesting he might be “getting into a school and just shooting the place up.” Others had the same concern.
And so we come to the thrust of my article, my bedrock issue. Not all guns are meant for We The People. The AR-15 and that style of firearm was not meant to be sold as it is. Not every Tom, Dick or Harry should be able to walk into a store and walk out with one of these assault weapons. There should be some sort of standard whereby a person must complete a course, have a mental examination and/or meet a minimum requirement (including age) before they could purchase such a weapon. These are weapons designed to kill people, pure and simple. They are used for other purposes such as hunting and sport shooting but their design was based upon the military's M-16 automatic carbine, and that was intended to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible. And that style of firearm does not have a place in the general population pure and simple.
There was a time where states had a limit to the number of cartridges a rifle magazine could hold. In my state for deer hunting it was five (5); no longer. As a matter of fact, in researching this article I found that very few states even limit this number at all. The original intent was to limit the number of bullets that would be "thrown" at game and unintentionally at other hunters. I have been shot over on more than one occasion while hunting and it is not pleasant. I recall the first time I saw a "hunter" entering the woods where I was hunting carrying an assault rifle. I saw him walking in, checking a banana clip filled with fifteen cartridges or so before slapping it in place.I asked him what he was doing, to which he replied "I'm gonna throw some lead at them deer!". I immediately turned and made my way out of the woods. I had no desire to be any where near this person; he had no business with such a gun "hunting". This is the type of person who will kill someone and not realize what he is even doing.
Watch and listen: are these the type of people who should have assault weapons?
I am a staunch supporter of hunting. I know that we must curtail the population of some animals in order to live alongside of them. If not limited they will overrun the carrying capacity of their areas and spill over into other, less accepted areas such as the yards and gardens of suburbia. They can and will out-breed the land's carrying capacity and become sick, even die from starvation and illness. This we cannot humanely allow, so we hunt. But to hunt responsibly we should be dedicated to taking game in as humane a method as possible. One shot, one kill. Not one shot, damn I missed so let's shoot at the running deer again, and again, and again, and again, again, again, again etc. and never knowing where all those bullets went. Responsible. This should be the target for every hunter out there. We should not be shooting at something just on a whim, a guess, a hope. We should not enter into the woods knowing if we miss the first time we still have fourteen other shots to kill whatever we are hunting in the time it takes you to pull a trigger. So to that end, in my opinion assault rifles should not be utilized for hunting. Find a good bolt action rifle and become a better shot.
So, what uses do assault rifles have? In the everyday world not much, I'm afraid. Oh you can go out and blast through fifteen or twenty in as many seconds and get a not so cheap thrill. They can be used in paramilitary style shooting matches, and in the hands of an expert they can be quite accurate. But they definitely should not be in the hands of everyday people who have no real use for them. They should not be available to purchase by an eighteen year old mentally unstable person. And they should not be able to be adapted into a fully automatic assault rifle by a simple conversion kit that is legally obtained.
To the NRA: You Are Wrong! I feel you have traveled too far down the path of defending guns, all guns regardless of their design and are now finding yourself increasingly painted into a corner with that defense. To change now would be a loss of face and that you cannot have. Your pride, your unwillingness to compromise on this matter will end up losing you the very constituency you claim to represent: loyal and responsible gun owners. When we have a choice to either stand with a group who absolutely refuses to acknowledge an assault weapon such as an AR-15, a Bushmaster or any other rifle such as these has no place in society at large or to stand with the victims of yet another senseless and completely preventable crime you lost me. You would rather force teachers to arm themselves than to remove the primary issue to the problem. I am not saying eliminate them completely, rather I am saying we must make a change to the current policy of making them available to any who want them.
Are you a member of the NRA?
And I am seeing that I am not alone in this belief. Today I saw that some major companies are cutting ties with the NRA due to their continued belief in everyone owning a firearm. Companies like Best Western and Wyndam hotels; a pair of car rental companies in Hertz and Enterprise; Chubb insurance, which ironically insures people through their Carry Guard insurance for someone who shoots someone and claims self defense; and the First National Bank of Omaha which is ending its long time Visa card associated with the NRA.
"John Feinblatt, Everytown’s president, said: “For years, the NRA has pushed to allow guns for anyone, anywhere, anytime – no questions asked. With Carry Guard, the NRA has figured out how to profit from gun owners who are concerned about being accused of murder. Carry Guard is a danger to the American public, pure and simple.”. "
I read this after I started writing this article. They say the same thing I said earlier: anyone, anywhere, anytime. The NRA may deny this but as they say, the proof's in the pudding. The longer they refuse to sit down and have a serious talk about how to end these murders the more I question their reasons. Is it greed? Pride? Sheer stubbornness? Teenage kids are not adults, it is time both the NRA and the Government realized this. Stop selling guns to kids, stop allowing kids to enter the Armed Forces and stop teaching them how to kill. I realize there are those who at the tender age of eighteen are more mature than others but tell me how it makes sense to allow them to purchase guns and nicotine while encouraging them to "protect" our country yet deny them to buy alcohol? If you are not mature enough to get drunk how are you mature enough to smoke cigarettes and shoot our enemies?
Will these school shootings and the NRA's stance on assault weapons discourage you from remaining a member of the NRA?
Off topic? Perhaps a bit but to me it is all tied together. Kids do not see the world the way older people do, pure and simple. Someone breaks up with them, or bullies them, or crushes their dream and they will go to a dark place. In today's rapidly and increasingly less social world (we may be more social world-wise even as we are far less social personally and one-on-one wise) as well as far more violent (see: video games) a young person may not see others as actual people or have any empathy for them. If they do not see them as real people then they are below them and mean little to nothing to them and this makes them easier to shoot. They will not be able to make informed decisions thus they will make poor ones. And if they are suffering from a mental disease, diagnosed or not, they will be even less likely to make the right choice in a bad situation.
Which of the following would you be in favor of?
There are those who will quibble over the actual number of school shootings each year. Some will inflate them, using shootings which occur after school is over, or in the neighborhood, or if a bullet from an unrelated crime strikes a school or child. Others will downplay the numbers in order to minimize the dramatic influence of the media. I ask you this: does it matter how many? If there is only one shooting in a school is that enough. or is it one too many? If one child dies in a school environment by an outside entity entering and shooting, is that enough or one too many? Isn't one death too many, warranting a change in our laws? Politicians, whether you are Republican or Democrat, you are honor bound to do your utmost to keep our children safe by whatever reasonable means available. If it means we have to funnel funds away from one of your pet projects and into a fund for deeper background checks, so be it. If we have to deny ourselves the immediate gratification of spur of the moment gun purchases, so be it. If we have to take a course in assault weapons and pass it, so be it. If we have to pass a psychological examination, so be it. And if we have to think of others before ourselves, well isn't that the way it should be?
There are those who say we should arm teachers. Not a fan of that idea. I have worked for the public school system in various locations; I have had veterans work for me and while I am comfortable with some of them being armed others who worked for the school district I most assuredly would not be. To say nothing of having the bravery required to A) make a determination in a life and death situation then B) rush in to harm's way and C) take the action required. In the recent Florida school shooting a former deputy sheriff was the school resource officer; was on campus, was outside of the school for FOUR MINUTES while children were being slaughtered inside... and failed to do anything. This person was trained, was an officer for thirty years and he could not take the action required; what makes you think a college educated person with no training would be able to pull the trigger? No, a better solution would be to vet and hire veterans who have been properly trained as resource officers and place them in schools in prominent locations where they can see what is going on at any moment. There can be someone else who deals with the rowdy students most resource officers have to deal with while leaving the better qualified person to deal with the very real threats which exist when the outside world intrudes. I would be much more comfortable with this solution.
So, what are your thoughts? Should we go on, arguing over the Second Amendment and taking it literally as it was written when the most dangerous weapon available to the world at large was a flintlock rifle, a weapon that that could take a full minute to reload and was accurate all the way out to fifty yards? Or should we, as our Government has done before, reinterpret the words to find the current true meaning. This document was meant to be a living, breathing document, not be static and hidebound. As the times change, so should the interpretation. John Q. Public can "keep and bear arms" to hunt responsibly or to protect their family and self, but not to cause harm or attack the defenseless. Not every person is meant to own and/or use a weapon such as this. Why should the NRA and the Republican Party continue to ignore the cry of the dead and the wailing of their families in order to defend the "rights" of those who have no business having those rights?
The time has come: NRA you are dead wrong and I call B___S___ on your stance. From this point forward, every single shooting in a school is on your heads, the blood of innocents on your hands, and the cries of those left behind should haunt you to your grave and beyond.