Let me preface this article on mass shootings and the NRA by stating that I am a gun owner. I currently own a .243 Savage bolt action hunting rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun, and a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson M&P Shield handgun. Since I was a young child, I have used firearms and know more about them than many NRA gun fanatics or lobbyists.
America has a long history with guns. We took this land away from Native Americans with guns, we wrested our independence from the British with guns (along with a lot of help from the French), we preserved the Union with guns, and we defeated the Third Reich with guns.
Private gun ownership in the United States was once primarily about hunting. Until a couple of decades ago, the NRA would promote marksmanship, firearm safety, and self-defense. The NRA once lobbied for background checks, before adopting their current stance against nearly all regulations.
The NRA doesn’t represent responsible gun ownership and recreational shooters these days. Instead, it represents the gun lobby and a minority of fanatics who believe that background checks or limiting access to military-grade weapons is the next step to gun confiscation by a totalitarian dictatorship.
There are plenty of liberals like myself who own guns. There are also many conservatives and independents who own guns and support sensible regulations. A majority of Americans support stricter gun laws, but we have been opposed by the NRA and their legion of fanatics which includes many members of the GOP. Make no mistake about it, they are contributing to the problem we have with mass shootings.
Even when the shooters are Muslims who have been radicalized, the very people the conservative media likes to concentrate on, the GOP blocks legislation which would prevent gun sales to individuals who are on the terrorism watch list. The gun lobby claims that reasonable gun laws would make it harder for honest people to defend themselves, but if you’re a person with a clean criminal history, purchasing a weapon at your local sporting goods store or through a private sale at an FFL dealer and undergoing a background check is not difficult at all.
I’m not even against private citizens owning assault rifles like AR-15s, so long as they undergo a firearms safety course like you have to do in many states to get a hunting license, in addition to a background check. We don’t let untrained and unlicensed people get behind the wheel of a vehicle, so why does it make any sense for a novice or a potential terrorist to be able to purchase weapons that can easily kill or wound dozens of people like we saw in San Bernardino this week?
More guns will not end our nation’s problems with gun violence. You do not stop floods with more water, just as you do not fight cancer with more cancer. This is a systemic issue which is being exacerbated by the Republican party and the NRA’s relentless quest to sell more firearms to the American public – our safety be damned.
Featured image via Gun Control. Now. on Facebook.
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