NRA achieves its purpose by Marjorie Arons-Barron
The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.
The NRA’s Friday press conference revealed the powerful organization to be utterly tone deaf when it comes to how to reduce violence and protect children. Do we need any more evidence of that than NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s comment that “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”
The jaw-dropping performance won LaPierre headlines in the New York Post like “Gun Nut” and in the Daily News of “Craziest Man on Earth.” The NY Times editorial board spoke of his “mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant.” He didn’t soften his approach one iota on the Sunday morning news shows. Meet the Press’ David Gregory, for whom I usually have little use, did an outstanding job challenging LaPierre’s contradictions and obduracy, his unwillingness to consider changing even a single gun law.
Responding to the problem doesn’t require demonizing all gun owners. There are lots of mentally stable, law-abiding hunters, sportsmen and others with legitimate security needs. Wouldn’t it be nice if those owners were to join the call for practical gun safety measures?
One approach should focus on the gun show market, which doesn’t require background checks. Fully 40 percent of gun sales happen in that secondary market. And, according to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, some 74 percent of Americans polled, think you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun without such a check.
Effective background checks require adequate data bases. For example, it might not be enough to ban guns only to those who are adjudicated mentally ill. There are many other deranged individuals out there who have never been in the court system, or have been in court but, for a variety of reasons, were never formally adjudicated as mentally ill. How to gather the data without stigmatizing every person with mental illness will be a challenge.
LaPierre’s proposal for armed guards in every school should be discussed at the local level. But there was an armed guard at Columbine who exchanged fire with the shooters, and remember that result. Some districts may want armed security officers while others would oppose turning presumably safe havens into armed camps.
His assertions that we need to look at video games, movies and the national culture of violence merit calm and thoughtful consideration as part of a comprehensive response. But his paranoid delusions that those seeking any additional gun safety measures are an “anti-Second Amendment industry” would be laughable were the situation not so serious.
There are about 9000 gun murders a year in the United States, 561 children under age 12 over five years. There are some 39 gun murders a year in Great Britain. Adjusted for population differences, that would be the equivalent of 195 a year in the United States. Clearly, Houston, we have a problem.
But Wayne LaPierre has no problem. His job is not to represent the public or even all gun owners. His job is to serve gun manufacturers and related industries to help them sell more guns and ammunition and block any efforts that could dampen sales.
Last summer, whipped up by fears of Obama’s reelection, there was a boom in gun sales. Black Friday gun sales set an all-time record. And after Newtown, guns have been flying off the shelves across the country.
Congressional talk about reinstating a loophole-ridden assault weapons ban doesn’t address today’s reality and, even in its modest form, can’t be depended upon. Public support for improved gun safety is only up marginally given the horror of Newtown and, if the past is prologue, will probably diminish in coming months.
So Wayne LaPierre is clearly earning his keep, laughing all the way to the bank. While the media intone that he’s making his hideous public image worse, others love him and his message. The criticism doesn’t at all seem to bother him or those rushing to be his customers. Too bad for the rest of us who cling to the hope that this time things might be different.
I welcome your comments in the section below.
9 Responses to NRA achieves its purpose by Marjorie Arons-Barron
Sidwell Friends school attended by the Obama girls and other prominent daughters has no fewer than a dozen full-time heavily armed guards without ill effect upon the children in attendance. Take away the “national security” rebuttal about the placement of so darn many guards at Sidwell (most schools need only one full-time uniformed local policeman) and ask why those kids are any more deserving of security than the 20 who died in Newtown. The Obama girls don’t seem to be suffering from having a safe school. The NRA is buffoonish on most of its points, but should we let partisanship blind us from the basic necessity for armed guards just because LaPierre is the one pointing it out? Please, when it comes to Lanza, in his apocalypse bunker/basement playing combat video games with ready access to an actual arsenal, might LaPierre be onto something? So yeah, let’s have a cop at each and every school. And not like the one at Columbine, who came and went from the campus, but full-time all-day local police presence. At Columbine the deputy left the campus to fetch Subway lunch. He returned from lunch, exchanged fire with the gunmen who then ceased killing kids, and turned their guns on themselves. No amount of regulations changes that too many guns are already out there to think Columbine, Virginia Teach or Newtown aren’t happening again if we regulate guns. Unless there’s a mass seizure, which will never happen, these tragedies will happen again and we must not leave the children’s innocence unguarded with our own complicit naivete. Having police presence doesn’t mean jack-booted thugs are indoctrinating our kids. Jeez.
After we ban civilian ownership of military-style assault rifles and after we ban high capacity magazines and after we implement the kind of common sense measures to prevent mentally disturbed individuals from gaining possession of guns (i.e., the type of measures that have been continuously vetoed by the NRA and its political puppets) after we do all that, if we still have children being slaughtered in schools, the time might be appropriate to have a conversation about placing an armed guard in every school in America. Until then, most reasonable Americans find this “guns in school” rap to be sheer lunacy.
My only question is if we think David Gregory should be arrested for waving an illegal magazine in the NRA President’s face? Why can Mr Gregory violate the gun laws of DC with impunity?
I am for sensible measures, but I am for someone laying out the goals and the metrics for measuring achievement of those goals. Throwing ideas up on the wall to see what will stick, especially when it deals with an Amendment to the Constitution, without reviewing the benefits and consequences, seems careless.
You tell me that banning AR-15 like weapons will reduce homicides by 2,000 per year and homicides by firearms by 1,300 per year and I will say let us try it, with a sunset clause.
Regards — Cliff
Security Worked, These are the words of Congressman Barney Frank after the United States Capitol Shooting Incident of 1998. The doctor’s didn’t protect the public. The killer had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic six years before but was released after testing as being of no danger to himself or anyone else. Furthermore, it was not the uniformed arm guards that stopped the murderer, it was a plain closed officer assigned to the dignitary protection detail that wounded the murderer. After the murder walked around the metal detector just inside of the entrance of the building and shooting one guard in the head killing him instantly and wounding the other. He was stopped, by the Massachusetts resident who was assigned to executive protection group for congressman, as the murder entered the outer office of a group of offices. They shoot at each other. Although the officer died from his wounds, he wounded the murderer enough to stop the carnage any further. Congressman Barney Frank was correct, Security Worked.
At that time, why didn’t government officials throughout the country put in a plan to protect our children?
Those who toss out the 2nd Amendment as justification for civilian ownership of military weapons are intellectually lazy. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t allow that: it’s the Supreme Court’s interpretation of that amendment that allows it. Many of those most emphatic about the so-called Constitutional right to own firearms content just as emphatically that the Supreme Court was wrong in Roe v. Wade. Throughout its existence, the Supreme Court has made some horrible decisions (Dred Scott, Plessy v Ferguson, for example) that history proves were just flat out wrong. So the court is not infallible and its interpretation of the 2nd Amendment can change as the justices on the court change.
So getting beyond the weak Constitutional argument, we’re left with the question of what place should guns have in a civilized, democratic society? Whatever the answer to that question is, there’s no good reason for any civilian to own a military assault weapon. Personal whim or paranoid fantasy would seem to be the main motivators: hunting, target shooting and personal protection can all be accomplished with guns less capable of killing large amounts of people very quickly. Banning those guns is a good place to start.
OK, so lets skip the Second Amendment and go with MacDonald. Maybe after that ruling has a chance to become reality the homicide rate in Chicago will begin to fall. As this moves along, I hope one outcome will not be that a person defending her home and her children with a firearm will be at high risk of going to jail.
I do think that Article XVII of our own Constitution is a weaker reed for gun rights advocates. Maybe the General Court should shore than up as an assurance to gun rights advocates.&nbssp; Or is the plan to abolish the Second Amendment?
Regards — Cliff
Sorry about that. McDonald v Chicago.
Regards — Cliff
Cliff – Let’s just clear up one thing – Do you support a ban on civilian ownership of assault rifles such as the AR-15? It’s a simple question; it’s not a slippery slope; it doesn’t need a Constitutional analysis.
When I was a kid, we called these rapid-fire weapons machine guns, whether that meant the Thompson submachine gun carried by Sgt. Saunders on the TV show Combat! or the more compact burp gun of WWII vintage. These old-timers and the later M16s, AK-47s, and current assault rifles can all be lumped together as far as I’m concerned—military-style weapons. Civilians don’t need machine guns, even if the bullets are priced at a discouraging $100 for each round. Let’s start there, plus uniform registration and licensing rules for any gun.