NRA (No Rational Argument)
When the NRA said it was going to break its silence after the Sandy Hook school massacre with some meaningful proposals to reduce gun violence I thought to myself, “Oh brother, this is going to be good.”
When the NRA finally did speak out, they didn't disappoint. More guns are what's needed according to the NRA's president, Wayne LaPierre. An armed police officer (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) at each and every school in America.
Oh, and a national database of all the people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. (Just what the country needs, another list on which the government can subjectively label its citizens -- how could that possibly be abused?)
This line of reasoning has more holes in it than a donut factory.
Really? What could go wrong with that policy? Think Kent State and the lesser known Orangeburg in South Carolina.
Armed guards will not stop a shooting. Columbine had an armed police officer on duty when the massacre took place there. Virginia Tech had armed officers that could not stop a mass shooting. Fort Hood, where almost everybody had a gun (it being a military base and all) did not stop a mass shooting.
By the way, no armed citizen has ever stopped a gun massacre either.
Think even more of a police state than we have now. Every school and university in America has metal detectors and body searches like our airports. Do we need homeland security (a dubious title if there ever was one) at malls and grocery stores too? Does it strike anyone else as odd that the more the NRA ensures their interpretation of the second amendment rights of people to carry absolutely any and all of the weapons they want the more the rest of us are plunged into a police state that would be the envy of Stalin?
I've read that the estimate to put this “gun in every school” policy into place would cost in excess of $60 billion. Where is that money supposed to come from?
We as a nation are not able to adequately fund public education with the current economic and tax structure. In New York state, at least school taxes are already out of control. (I'll bet not even this could get the Republicans to tax the 1 percent like they tax the rest of us.)
Here's my plan for paying for this self-serving public policy proposal: Raise the requisite funds by taxing gun sales, gun licensing, gun safety programs and ammunition. If it has anything to do with a gun, tax it. I'll bet LaPierre and the NRA would back off of this idea so fast we wouldn't know whether to squat or wind our watches.
I love the argument that we don't regulate knives or baseball bats and they can be used to kill people. (“We aren't disarming kitchens,” one dear friend who is a gun enthusiast told me.) The next time some hunter trots out this line tell him (or her) to go out hunting with just a knife or baseball bat. Just to show them how open-minded you are, tell him (or her) to take both.
One interpretation of the Second Amendment I've heard is that it allows citizens to arm themselves against a hostile government. Considering that our constitution is in shambles with nary a shot fired by the US government, this seems to be the most spurious argument of all by gun owners. That and as citizens we are “outgunned” when it comes to the government. The only way to change things is by nonviolent action -- because we as citizens don't own tanks or missile launchers. Maybe if the NRA were as concerned with preserving our other civil rights as they are with the Second Amendment, these people would not feel like they have to purchase guns to protect themselves from the government in the first place.
Just to set the record straight, I am not in favor of the government gathering each and every gun in the land and taking them away from the citizens. I have family members and friends that hunt and enjoy target practice. I get that. Outlawing semi-automatic or automatic weapons will not change people's abilities to engage in these sports. Folks who enjoy these sports can still participate in them, just not with a weapon that will kill 50 people in 30 seconds or less.
We need to ban semi-automatic and automatic weapons. We need gun control laws that are not gutted and rendered edentulous by the NRA before they reach the house floor for a vote, let alone get passed.
There are just over four million NRA members, most of whom are reasonable, responsible people. There are even millions more of the rest of us who are also reasonable, responsible people who are not looking to take every gun away from every citizen (the myth that the NRA exploits to cloud the issue) but just want some sanity brought into the ownership of weapons.
Given that 15 out of the last 25 mass shootings worldwide have occurred in the US, and more than one million people have be slaughtered by gun violence since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and as sure as I sit here and type these words there will be another mass shooting in the US -- all of us are at risk. We are long overdue for some sanity, some rational intervention.
Two rational (and simple) approaches are (1) a renewed federal ban on the sale of semi-automatic and automatic assault weapons (hand held killing machines that serve no other purpose) that is in fact a forever ban – not one that expires at some arbitrary point in time and; (2) a law requiring all gun purchasers to undergo an instant background check each and every time they purchase a gun. The technology for this exists and is readily available. This would almost eliminate the high number of sales by unlicensed dealers at the over 5,000 gun shows held annually in this country.
There are in fact no rational arguments to the contrary.