Money and politics knocked NRA off course from rational regulations

Posted 29 May 2022 at 8:12 am


The NRA, the old NRA, was a national club for hunters, marksmen and various stripes of gun enthusiasts. There were some problems with home-made zip guns and the like but no mass killings. That NRA was supported by dues and subscriptions to its informative magazine.

The old NRA, for example, supported a ban on the sales of assault weapons. It discussed red flag laws although it was sure to be sure they were not knee jerk. It discussed fingerprint activated trigger locks.

It was skeptical of a national data base but that was before SCOTUS made clear gun ownership was a constitutional right (subject to rational regulation) that could not be simply taken away.

But big money got into the club and politicians’ bank accounts from the gun industry – including  in 2016 a Russian gun club whose members owned no guns (go figure) – which changed the NRA to a massive arm of the gun industry.

Excuses for all gun problems except blaming the exponential increases in gun sales which the US has experienced over the past 25 years were advanced for the equally exponential increase in gun deaths.

Taking money and politics out of the equation is where we start but these newer excuses have been repeated so often that fringe advocates (about 10 to 15%) have come to believe them.   For example they think  “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”,  “the best way to protect yourself from a gun is to have a gun”, “gun violence is a solely a mental health issue, not a gun issue” and so on … It’s folklore now.

It’s as silly as people forgetting the 9th Amendment provides all our rights are not written down in the Constitution; they are out there undefined for Courts to consider. But baseless beliefs are hard to dispel with fanatics. They will take longer.

We have to face it. There are a minority of gun owners who have flipped out over the issue.  We will have to face down their scorn and ignorance if we are going to stop mass murder.

Factually the number of guns and gun violence is NOT a chicken and egg problem!  We know, for example,  that “hardening” schools does not work. (Texas, inter alia,  made huge, fruitless, investments pursuing this myth.)

The fact is the old zip gun crew can now buy guns far better and more lethal than the police have. They can buy armor as good or better than we provide our soldiers. That just happened in Uvalde, Texas – a state in which this 18-year-old shooter, who can not legally drink, had a modified AR-15 and body armor.

The truth is fewer gun “sales” because of simple measures to keep them in responsible enthusiasts hands does work. Populous counties with similar social problems as ours have school kill rates in single digits this year. The US just hit 288. Numbers don’t lie.

There are a mix of easy matters we need address at the national level to ensure a fair balance between safety and gun rights. We have to act nationally to be sure individual states can not continue to be bought off and help crooks etc. if they cross state lines to safe havens.

We need to ignore the crazy fringe and their insults and nonsense. It’s stand up to them or continue to fear or our kids’ lives. Living in fear at school is no way to grow up.

As an example of red flag laws: we know to a certainty that men who impede a woman’s breathing (choke them) will, 75 percent of the time, eventually escalate to killing someone.  Should any state give them a gun? The FBI say white supremacists are our greatest domestic danger. Of course those involved in child abuse/neglect and being on the no-fly list should be included.

Should we feel sorry for  miscreants like this if they can not get a license? No, of course not.

This uniquely American problem – mass shootings – will not be  solved overnight. We are at point that taking on the now corrupt NRA and captive politicians will not stop the mindless whining by the minority not savvy enough to study and understand the numbers and real issues. Periodic reregistration will be part of the mix.

But we have to start somewhere and it’s with money and politicians. They need to be voted out no matter the party. Let politicians try to get re-elected by fringe elements only. The leaders are not loyal to the members anyway so why vote blindly for them because of a party label or they come across well. Look at what they do and where their money comes from.

Until we do all this children’s lives are just a cost of getting elected. Until then – we can remove special legal protection for gun manufacturers protecting them from responsibility for treating deaths as a cost of doing business – mass shootings will continue. They need to pay if they refuse to put fingerprint trigger locks on their guns or specifically advertise guns and violence to teen-agers. (The recent Connecticut suit shook that information loose).

Kids’ lives are a single issue that crosses party lines. Children can not be brought back to life when each cheap excuse for doing nothing fail. The evidence for reasonable ways to bring these sales numbers down in line with the rest of the world is there. The evidence to drastically lower deaths from mass shooting is there. We just have to vote for what is proven.

Conrad Cropsey