The NRA's power is a myth, as is written in the linked article above. To quote the article above, " The more complex answer is that the NRA and many of its members have bamboozled an entire generation of legislators into believing that support for any restriction on the availability of firearms is a third-rail issue: Touch it and your re-election possibilities are history. But, acceptance of this political “wisdom” shows a serious lack of responsible leadership and a distressing disregard of public safety." This is so incredibly true. Inquiring minds need to know from their elected leaders why they have allowed this to happen. They also need to ask them some simple questions.
- Why are there so many shootings every day in America (more than any civilized country not at war)?
- Why do the gun rights activists push back so hard at me and other gun control activists when we ask that question?
- And why, oh why, do we have to endure mass shootings by mentally ill people like Jared Loughner ( Tucson shooting) and Seung Hui- Cho ( Virginia Tech shooting). Is it because we are too afraid of the NRA to actually do something legal to stop them?
- Why are there so many accidental discharges of guns? It matters that there are because the gun rights activists have tried to assure us and our leaders that nothing bad will happen if they only are allowed to have their guns wherever they want to carry them. And don't make any laws telling them to safely store their guns. That is intrusion into the their personal lives. If a loaded gun is found in a home or a car by a child who shoots someone or even him/herself, well, that is the price to pay, I guess. Or more likely the answer is that responsible people don't leave their locked guns around. Until they do, of course and something awful happens.
- Why are many of the trafficked illegal guns stolen? What are we doing about this? Does the ATF have enough funding and personnel to enforce the laws already on the books for gun dealers? (" ATF reports that over a quarter of its criminal gun trafficking investigations involve stolen guns."and " In 2007, after inspecting just 9.3% of federal firearms licensees nationwide, ATF reported that more than 30,000 guns in the dealers' inventories had been lost or stolen. ") Do home owners report their guns lost or stolen so that law enforcement can trace crime guns and solve crimes?
- I get asked this a lot: "What's your point in posting articles about permit holders and/or accidental gun discharges?" I assume this to mean that since they often result in no one being injured or killed, I shouldn't bother illuminating the incidents. Take this one in my home town. After this Duluth Police Officer accidentally discharged his gun, here is what he had to say: " “I have always had respect for firearms, but that level of respect, and my humility, have increased as a result of this event,’’ the officer wrote in his report." Respect for the power of guns to injure and kill should be the operative word for all. Even those who are trained to operate guns and use them as a profession can't always control what happens.
- Why are we not doing everything we can to stop terrorists from getting guns? This time, even the NRA was opposed to an amendment by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, to make it harder for obtaining and investigating firearms records. The amendment to the Patriot Act failed by a large margin and likely only because even the NRA didn't think it was a good idea to let their supporters vote for terrorists arming themselves. But where are we now that the Patriot act has passed without this amendment? Does anyone think the NRA will back New Jersey Senator Lautenberg's bill to close the gap in our gun laws that allows terrorists on the no fly list to buy guns?
- Why are we not doing everything we can to stop felons, domestic abusers, drug abusers, and adjudicated mentally ill people from getting guns? The Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 is sitting in Congress waiting for enough co-sponsors to get a hearing. Is there any doubt that the chorus of voices against this sensible bill will sing loudly and in harmony, especially in the 2012 election year? Is there any doubt that the NRA will conduct their choir of voices to intimidate candidates into thinking they shouldn't support this bill without incurring the wrath of the gun rights choir? There are many more questions that need to be asked and I will keep asking them. And shame on our leaders and us, as citizens, for letting the NRA sing off key when there should be harmony and common sense.