The NRA, National Rifle Association, is a multi-million dollar 501 C-4 corporation that does a very good job of muddying up public discourse on gun control. The organization has become the key player in conversations about gun control. Their continued place at the political table will make sure that little if any policy changes regarding gun control will be coming henceforth from Washington to prevent occurrences such as the recent tragedies in Connecticut, Colorado, Arizona and Portland.
Understanding that the organization has become a mouthpiece for the gun industry may come as a shock to the average person on the street, who still envisions the bulk of the NRA’s support coming from individual thirty-five dollar memberships. The truth is that the gun industry sits prominently on the NRA’s governing board and their associated corporations pump millions into the nonprofit coffers. It is in the best interest of all gun manufacturers that laws remain vague, unenforced and relatively unchanged; not surprisingly the status quo is good for business.
In allowing the NRA to set the parameters of the public discussion and to promote the idea that guns don’t kill people, people deranged and mentally ill do, we forgo any serious discussion of what to do about the killings that happen everyday in an America fully armed and dangerous. The logic that the only safe place in America is behind a person with a gun is more threatening thinking than anyone should be entertaining. To be cosidering putting guns into our schools, in the hands of janitors or anyone else for that matter who can pass a two day gun course and a background check is ridiculous. First we place armed guns in schools, then in supermarkets, churches, sports arenas and finally funeral homes and in the end we’re still not any safer.
Washington meanwhile looks for quick fixes; i.e. banning assault rifles! If we banned every assault rifle, every magazine that holds twenty or more bullets, and made every person who wanted such to undergo an FBI background check we would still not stem the tide of gun violence in this country; at least to the point that it would make a statistical difference in who dies by a gun. The fact is that most people who kill with a gun use it on someone they know and the vast majority of gun violence is done with a handgun and they are not even on the radar of any of the talks going on in Washington today. Nor is the fact that a gun lobby supportng the NRA wants to make sure handguns stay out of the gun control conversation.
In America when it comes to issues we have trouble dealing with we collectively are a lot like the patient who has a toothache and whom once they find their way into the dentist office and discover the ache has subsided, decide that the problem can be dealt with another day and leave. No mass killings today, so let’s talk about that problem later! The tooth will hurt again and someone else is going to die and when it does we have no one to blame but ourselves.
No matter how you look at it, gun violence is a daily part of life here in America. Everyday children, adults, innocents and perpetrators alike are killed with guns. The paper before me details how two fourteen-year-old boys shot and killed a woman over a cigarette! Doing so less than twenty feet from my doctor’s office last month. Chances are a newspaper sitting before you tells a similar story of a killing that is not that far from a place you are familiar with and have felt safe being at!
Bottom line, as long as those we elect to Washington continue to focus their initiatives on issues set forth by the NRA, ignoring the real problems of mental health and hand gun violence in America, there will be no decrease in the number of tragedies we face, only an increase in them. Spinning our wheels going nowhere on this issue is a fatal mistake we all pay for.