It has come to the point where we as a nation are almost completely desensitized to mass shootings. As it was said after the Sandy Hook massacre, if we were unwilling to do anything after a school full of elementary school children were gunned down, nothing else could make Americans change their minds about gun violence.
I’m a gun owner. I fully support the right of law-abiding citizens to own weapons to protect their homes, or hunt in the great outdoors. I currently own a .243 Savage rifle for popping coyotes over at my mom’s house, a 12 gauge shotgun for home defense and shooting clays, and a .40 S&W M&P Shield for target practice and concealed carry.
I’ve been using guns since I was a little kid growing up in rural Virginia. Yet, I’ve never in my adult life had any interest in joining the NRA, because it doesn’t represent me at all. As long as I can remember, the NRA has fought against any sort of reasonable gun regulations, and promoted fantasies designed to drive gun sales, not gun safety.
The overwhelming majority of NRA members that I have met are white conservatives who latch on to conspiracy stories about the government coming to take their guns, and dogwhistle racism that drives away responsible gun owners like myself.
Russian bot accounts also took to Twitter after the latest school shooting to back up the NRA, and the gun lobby.
None of this is anything I want to be a part of. If I had to make the choice between joining the NRA or giving up all of my weapons, my guns would be tossed overboard in 200 fathoms offshore in a heartbeat.
Neither Trump, nor the NRA have any interest in stopping school shootings. The funding for school violence prevention would be slashed in his budget proposal, while the Republican puppets offer nothing more than useless “thoughts and prayers.”
It is possible for law-abiding citizens to enjoy their 2nd Amendment rights, while keeping military-grade weapons out of the hands of psychopaths and violent criminals. Sadly, the NRA is more concerned about keeping gun lobby and Russian money flowing in, rather than protecting our rights, and our children’s lives.
In closing, here is an excerpt of an article from the Washington Post by Matt Valentine:
The NRA has fought efforts to regulate gun and ammunition manufacturing, or to grant any federal agency the authority to mandate a safety recall for firearms. In some instances, gunmakers have known for years about defects in their products that have caused injuries and death, but have delayed issuing a recall. Nearly every other industry in the United States is subject to regulatory oversight for product safety, and the firearm industry should be no different. But when legislators express support for emerging technology that could make guns safer, the NRA labels them “anti-gun.”
Another meaningful initiative that a membership organization for gun owners could pursue is suicide prevention. In 2014, I wrote about a small campaign organized by gun enthusiasts and suicide prevention experts in New Hampshire. Part of the idea was that gun owners should, as a matter of course, temporarily take firearms away from friends or relatives experiencing emotional distress (during a divorce or a job loss, for example). The idea is no more offensive than the notion of taking away a friend’s car keys when he’s had too much to drink. One has to wonder why the NRA, an organization that emphasizes safety, hasn’t embraced efforts like this one. The NRA has recently exhibited a little interest in suicide prevention, though it isn’t an issue they emphasize. When NRA spokespeople address suicide, it’s usually to dismiss the demonstrable fact that easy access to guns is a risk factor.
A third useful role for a socially responsible gun club could be to work with government to help keep guns out of the wrong hands. It might sound preposterous today to suggest that a firearms enthusiast group might support strict recordkeeping on gun sales or a waiting period for purchases, or might help the government write legislation to restrict civilian access to battlefield weapons. But it has happened before, in the 1920s and ’30s . The group was called the National Rifle Association. (Washington Post)