What if we lived in a world where the NRA really wanted the government to seriously consider tougher gun laws? What if the NRA really desired further and wider discussion on the issue of gun rights? What if the NRA was using the controversy surrounding the Second Amendment as a smoke screen to sell more guns? My guess is that we are already living in that world, and as Warren Zevon sang, “The shit has hit the fan.”
Each time the government begins to talk about guns, and each time a democrat runs for president or occupies the White House, gun sales sky rocket. My suspicion is that gun owners are serious about this discussion and afraid that their guns will be taken away, that it will get harder to purchase guns and ammunition. But the NRA honchos, as well as those who own gun stores and run and organize gun shows, know that tough talk about gun control is really spectacular for business. It’s no wonder that the NRA are nearly foaming at the mouth each time gun control comes up: they know that gun sales are about to rise. Quite simply, I believe that the NRA is interested in protecting the Second Amendment only insofar as it is good for gun and ammunition sales.
I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the rhetoric coming from NRA and gun rights enthusiasts over the last few weeks, and nearly all of them seem to be on the very edge of insanity. Let’s put guns in schools? Seriously? They have taken the Sandy Hook tragedy and made it about gun rights, thus totally dismissing the fact that twenty children were murdered. Take Alex Jones for example. His performance on Piers Morgan (a man I really dislike, by the way) is exactly why I believe that the NRA is a fundamentalist movement filled with madmen. I would go so far as to say that the NRA poses a threat to national security greater than any Islamic terrorist organization out there. Alex Jones is an example of how a little education can be a dangerous thing. The man is passionate; at least that is what he wants us to believe. He does make films and hosts a radio show, and, well, as the saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity. But Mr. Jones has to know that he came off as a madman on the Piers Morgan show. Perhaps I am giving him more credit than he deserves, but nevertheless, I believe that most of his performance was just that: a performance intended to boost him image.
The real patriots (if I may use so distasteful and bankrupt a word) are not those who are rabid members of the NRA, but the quiet hunters and gamesmen who go about their days loving the thrill of the hunt and feeling a part of nature and refuse to align themselves so vehemently to a cause. Teddy Roosevelt was one such advocate, but I suspect that people like Alex Jones and Wayne LaPierre have other motives in mind rather than protecting the Second Amendment. With over 4 million members, the NRA is a powerful lobbying force, which is why I think of them as a threat to national security. They have the lawyers and the money to make legislators listen. This is not to say that all members of the NRA are irrational and a little bit insane; I have many friends who are strong supporters of the NRA and they are perfectly reasonable people. But the problem is that ideology has taken over for common sense. What the NRA supports is an ideology where guns are easier to get, and the belief that the bigger (or perhaps more accurately, quicker) the gun, the safer you are. I do not subscribe to the point of view that more guns will mean less crime as so prominently stated on the NRA website. I think we have overwhelming evidence to the contrary. But take another, closer look at the NRA: as long as the NRA supports the right to bear arms, it will quietly celebrate the tough talk coming out of Washington all the while hoping we believe the opposite.