This is not a critique of gun owners. I know a great many people who own firearms. Without exception, they know their weapons and how to care for and use them, and are quite serious about safety.
Nor is this a statement about gun control, nor a discussion about the limits of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. I have previously written at length about both. You can read three previous posts about guns here, here and here.
This post is strictly about the National Rifle Association (NRA), its methods and indefensible positions on matters of public policy.
Here are some of the association’s most venal policy initiatives:
1. In 1994, the NRA opposed legislation to outlaw teflon-coated bullets, called “cop-killers,” because they are specifically designed to penetrate the body armor commonly worn by police.
2. Starting in about 2007, the NRA wrote and pushed for the adoption of legislation in several states that forced the owners of businesses and land to allow their employees and others to carry firearms onto their private property, even if they expressly denied their permission to do so.
3. In 2010, the NRA supported allowing people on the federal government’s terrorist watch list to buy firearms and asserted that preventing them from doing so would infringe on their 2nd Amendment rights.
4. In 2010, and over the strong objections of the nation’s law enforcement community, the NRA introduced federal legislation (through one of their more dependable toads, Rep. Todd Tihart of Kansas) that severely restricted the information the public was allowed to see about the sources of firearms (i.e., the identities of specific dealers) used in crimes.
5. The NRA has consistently opposed requiring background checks on the sale of every firearm in the US, using the back-door mechanism of so-called “private” gun sales (e.g., at gun shows).
6. The recent position of the NRA’s executive director, expressed mere days after another mass murder of innocents, namely putting armed guards in every American public school, is atrocious for its stupidity and cluelessness as well as its venality.
It’s completely clear that the NRA acts as the political agent of death merchants (i.e., arms manufacturers), not to secure and protect the rights of individual gun owners. How my smart, responsible, gun-owning friends can continue to support with their dues the NRA’s filthy work in consistent opposition to public safety is beyond me.