February 26, 2018
In the past two weeks, the nationwide debate pertinent to gun safety has intensified with the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. On February 14, 2018 (Valentine’s Day), 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fired at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 and injuring several others. The shooter’s motives are still unknown.
After listening to mass shooting victims and their families from Parkland, Florida; Newtown, Connecticut; and Columbine, Colorado; United States President Donald Trump suggested that assault rifles should be kept out of the hands of anyone under the age of 21. Speaking to the group, he stated, “There’s nothing more important than protecting our children.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA), however, has stood its ground and has spent the last few days defending the right to bear arms including for those under the age of 21. NRA president Wayne LaPierre, spokesperson Dana Loesch, and others are currently on a “damage control” tour, trying to convince Americans that guns are not an issue. This is as ridiculous as granting guns to the blind, which is a thing in Iowa and other states!
According to LaPierre, socialism is to blame for gun control, using “socialism” as a boogie man to appeal to conservatives. Speaking to a crowd at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, LaPierre seized the opportunity to defend the right to bear arms. “If they seize power…our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever…the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” said LaPierre. His sentiments mimic Trump’s words when the president previously suggested arming teachers at schools as a solution to increase school safety.
Using bullying tactics, the NRA is defending itself at all costs without reflecting on the harm firearms are inflicting. On February 18, actress and activist Alyssa Milano shared a copy of a NRA letter via her Twitter account. The letter was originally sent to Tim Burns, a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge. In it, the NRA wrote: “If you choose not to return a position letter, you may be assigned a “?” rating, which can be interpreted by our membership as indifference, if not outright hostility, toward Second Amendment-related issues.”
The NRA’s defense of firearms appears to blind them from the dangers of firearms and members are unable to have a civilized discussion on the importance of gun control.
NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch sat down with George Stephanopoulos for an interview on ABCs’ “This Week” on Sunday. Speaking with Stephanopoulos, Loesch stated: “That firearm did not walk itself into the school. An individual who was allowed to go unchecked by the Broward County Sheriff's Office allowed that firearm to go in the school. This is not the fault, nor are 5 million innocent law-abiding Americans culpable for this.” As noted by the ignorance in her comments, Loesch and her NRA comrades refuse to embrace reason, and instead, vehemently argue that in moments of mass shootings, it is always the shooter’s fault, and not the firearm’s, and that no one else should be blamed, including the firearm’s vendor. One must question the logic of the government. According to legislation, people under the age of 21 have not the proper judgment, hence they cannot purchase liquor, yet a 16-year-old can purchase a firearm.
The NRA’s Lucrative Deal
The NRA spent more than $31 million on the 2016 presidential election: $11,438,118 in support of Republican candidate Donald Trump and another $19,756,346 to oppose Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Politicians from the Republican Party appear to be the elected officials who benefit most from contributions from the NRA.
• John McCain (R, AZ) – $7.74 million
• Richard Burr (R, NC) – $6.99 million
• Roy Blunt (R, MO) – $4.55 million
• Thom Tillis (R, NC) – $4.42 million
• Cory Gardner (R, CO) – $3.88 million
• French Hill (R, AR) – $1.09 million
• Ken Buck (R, CO) – $800,544
• David Young (R, IA) – $707,662
• Mike Simpson, (R, ID) – $385,731
• Greg Gianforte (R, MT) – $344,630
After pressure from constituents in Florida, Republican Senator Marco Rubio now claims to support raising the age limit to make a rifle purchase and will consider ban on large-capacity magazines, noting “I absolutely believe that in this country, if you are 18 years of age you should not be able to buy a rifle. I will support a law that takes that right away.”
Fellow Republicans should take a page out of Rubio’s book!