Sunday, April 12, 2009

NRA Has a Crazy Problem

The first time I handled a gun was in college.  I had this roommate who was the exact opposite of me.  For example, he was a hunter and a gun enthusiast and I am not.  One weekend, he took me to his home in Indianapolis and showed me his family gun collection.  It was impressive.  Rifles and hand guns of all sizes.  He taught me how to properly handle them and safely shoot them.  After my lesson, we went skeet shooting.  Those of you that are familiar, a 12 gauge has quite a kick and I had a sore shoulder for a couple of days after.  I lived with this guy for two years and in that time he taught me a new respect for guns and gun owners.  He was a responsible gun owner and more than happy to show me that guns could be useful tools when handled properly. 

I have been thinking about him a lot lately.  I’ve been wondering how he feels about all the recent shootings.  In the last week, Jiverly Wong killed 13 in Binghamton, New York before killing himself.  Richard Poplowski killed three cops in Pittsburgh.  In both instances, the shooters were unstable.  Wong, as the story goes, didn’t like the fact that he lost his job and that people made fun of his poor English.  The Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said “From the people close to him…this action he took was not a surprise to them.”  Poplawski, who had a history of posting on white supremacist sites, was afraid that “they” were going to take his guns away.  I think about my friend because these people are giving guys like my buddy, responsible gun owners, a bad name.

I decided to check the NRA website because surely they have some information on gun safety and responsible ownership on their homepage.  I found an article titled “Preserve Vets’ Rights”:

Ronald Reagan said, "Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don't have that problem."
I believe that's true of all our men and women in the armed forces. Their service in the cause of freedom makes a difference at home and abroad. And they deserve the full measure of the freedoms they served to protect, including the Second Amendment.
But for many veterans, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is being stripped away by government bureaucrats. The Department of Veterans Affairs is arbitrarily denying Second Amendment rights to veterans who've appointed a fiduciary representative -because they're deemed "mentally defective."
To be clear, no court has declared these veterans mentally incompetent. They've simply designated a family member or other representative to handle their fiduciary matters. Which is resulting in them being found mentally unfit to possess firearms.
That's wrong and ought to be illegal.

I’m sorry, but if you can’t handle your own affairs, then you should not be allowed to own a gun. 

Disclosure, I believe in the Constitution and the Second Amendment.  A democratically elected congress allowed the assault weapons ban to expire and a constitutionally appointed Supreme Court ruled that gun ownership is an individual right.  That’s how democracy works and I do not have a problem with that.  I do have a problem with innocent people getting shot at and I don’t think I’m alone. 

With regards to the NRA, their site says “While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world.”   However, when I go to their welcome page, I see the article above arguing for gun rights for vets who can’t handle their own affairs.  Yes, they’re vets and they served their country bravely, but if they can’t balance their checkbook, why should they own a gun?

The NRA has a PR problem.  Their core ideals of responsible gun ownership are being ruined by crazies who believe that shooting up innocent people is the solution to their problems.  I’m not arguing for gun control here.  I’m arguing for education, just as it is mentioned on their own “About Us” page.  Yes, they have a section on “Education & Training.”  That said, I had an easier time finding press releases. 

Instead of sending out mailers telling lies about the President’s gun control policies, maybe the NRA should spend some money telling people what it means to be a gun owner in this country.  Tell everybody that they’re blessed to live in a country that allows them to freely own a gun, but with that ownership comes responsibility.  Tell everybody that gun owners are not all crazy, but regular folks who have a number of reasons to own a gun.  Show people that the NRA cares, like my buddy in college cares.

If they don’t, and people keep getting shot, then gun laws will change because, like I said, people don’t like being shot at. 

1 comment:

  1. Your post here is very well thought out. Excellent points. Thanks.