Letter: End the tyranny of the NRA
March 6, 2018
End the tyranny of the NRA
A student's sign at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rally said "Vote NRA Out of Congress." These teenagers are astutely correct that the NRA controls our lawmakers. We are a representative democracy but the majority of state/federal legislators disproportionately serve the NRA (whose membership is less than 2 percent of our population) over the demands and welfare of the majority of citizens.
The NRA began in 1871 as an organization to teach marksmanship and firearms safety. In 1977 the extreme gun-rights faction took over the organization with the new mission of stopping all gun laws and regulations. Wayne LaPierre is the 40-year leader and voice of this mission. He targets the fringe element –militias, survivalists, paranoid weapons stockpilers and anti-government conspirators – with outrageous alarmist messages to sell more guns and generate more anti-gun-control fanatics. The NRA also unscrupulously intimidates lawmakers, businesses and gun manufacturers and dealers. You tow the NRA line or lose your job or business.
The NRA's formidable lobbying machine defeated attempts to register and license guns after President Kennedy's assassination; gutted the 1968 Gun Control Act; pushed through the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act that created the gun show/internet no background check loophole; defeated efforts after 9/11 to prevent individuals on terrorist-watch-lists from legally buying weapons; prevents the government from collecting and analyzing crucial information about guns and gun violence; weakened the enforcement authority of the ATF with underfunding, under-manning and the Tiahrt amendment; pushed through the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which shields gun makers, dealers, distributors and importers from civil lawsuits from criminal use of their products; and defeated the renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. So, I blame LaPierre/NRA for U.S. gun violence.
Definitive interpretations of the Constitution are the domain of the U.S. Supreme Court, not the NRA. Justice Scalia (extreme conservative) wrote in the 2008 majority court decision in the second amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller that "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited." Also the courts have routinely explained "that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."…. "Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt…on laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."
End the tyranny of the NRA. Vote out lawmakers who kowtow to it.
Melinda McWilliams, Fraser