The Gun Lobby Asks You to Please Lay Off the Mass Killings While It's Trying to Influence Legislation
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"The NRA is asking gunmen to refrain from mass shootings while key gun bills are before legislators," says a newscaster in a recent editorial cartoon.
Say that! On a month that began with the Alabama, Illinois church and Germany shootings and ended with the Oakland police killings -- a Miami mass killing, a Turlock, CA church shooting and the Mexico shootings not even making the public radar -- lawmakers are not thinking of gun owners as an oppressed minority.
In fact when police are killed with assault weapons it takes the wind out of the gun lobby's Good-Guys-Need-To-Be-Armed-Against-Bad-Guys argument, not to mention its AK-47s-Should-Be-Street-Legal-Because-We-Need-To Defend-Ourselves-and-Our-Families argument and its Enforce-Existing-Laws (Loopholes Though They Might Have) argument.
But even before the March Alabama, Illinois, Miami, Oakland and Turlock shootings Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president was on the defensive at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. in February.
Mad at the Obama administration, the press, the United Nations and a complacent public, LaPierre couldn't decide whether Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was friend or foe -- first quoting her to prove President Obama is a gun grabber, then showing clips in which she was the gun grabber recommending trigger locks and licenses.
Ordaining that Mexico needs more guns not less and that lawmakers shouldn't legislate "on the fresh graves of tragedy," you'd never know the NRA realized its wet dream last year when the Supreme Court affirmed the Second Amendment in District of Columbia vs. Heller.
Of course, for years the NRA's Just Folks position against effete elites has conflicted with its actual deep pocketed influence peddling with political campaigns and causes and turned off followers.
For years its hunter/rancher and rural constituents have recoiled at its paranoid secessionist/military weapon wing, which drives so much NRA policy. In fact Alabama's Michael McLendon -- who killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins and the wife and toddler daughter of a sheriff's deputy in March -- and Terry Sedlacek -- who shot and killed a pastor through the Bible he held at an Illinois church service -- were poster boys for the right to own an arsenal.
What is changing is that gun lobby laws that used to be slam dunks -- right to carry a concealed weapon in churches, on campuses and in state parks -- are no longer sailing through legislatures. Nor is the D.C. Voting Rights Act that would legalize assault weapons, eliminate the city's firearms registration system and ban all future gun restrictions airborne.
What is also different is newspapers like the Memphis Commercial Appeal are publishing searchable bases of state permit holders so people can see if their daycare worker or dentist is armed.
And even though concealed carry permits are "Good Guy Cards" that tell law enforcement they'll have no trouble with you, says Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Bryan Hendricks and even though the worst thing that can happen to you in life is that people find out you or your house is unarmed, the NRA is, well, scared.
Someone may break into your home and not hurt you or your family -- that's why you're armed after all -- but steal your firearms! In fact you better get more weapons to defend your weapons.
Even while the Arkansas state legislature is considering a bill to block similar release of permit holder public records, the Commercial Appeal found 70 of 154 permit holders it checked had criminal records including Bernard Avery -- arrested 25 times with a murder charge dismissed on mental competency -- and Reginald Miller -- a felon with 11 arrests. Oops.