In defense of the NRA


John Vassiliou, Staff Writer

With the tragedy that happened recently in Florida, people are looking for someone to blame, from the shooter himself, to law enforcement, federal agencies, and private gun owners. There is no debate that emotions are running high on both sides of the discussion.

The organization that has received the biggest blunt of this debate is the National Rifle Association (NRA). They have been called everything from child murderers to a terrorist organization. And I’ve seen people just nod their heads and agree to this on national television simply to continue to promote their agenda.

So let’s discuss the NRA for a minute.

The NRA is nothing more than another special interest group, that means that they lobby the government to do what they want it to do: create more lax gun laws that don’t infringe on people’s rights. That is why they back politicians who are already pro-gun, they don’t use some sort of evil voodoo to bribe an honest politician into becoming a monster who doesn’t care about dead kids. No politician who thought one way about guns shifted his vote because of the NRA. And yet there are still millions of Americans who believe that the NRA is some sort of maniacal organization channeling blood money.

The NRA boasts a membership rate of over 5 million, and there has never been a single recorded incident of any member committing or assisting in a mass shooting. Keep in mind these are 5 million law abiding U.S. citizens who have a certain set of beliefs, and think that the NRA is the best way to get their point of view, presented to the rest of the country.

Now I’m not here to defend the NRA’s positions on legislation, though personally I think they have a point on a good number of issues, I’m merely pointing out that just because they don’t agree with more gun control, they don’t automatically become monsters. Here is a good example.

A national gun registry sounds like a good idea right? The police know who owns what guns and can act when they need to to stop certain people from having them. This sounds good in theory, and is championed as a common sense no-brainer. But in practice, things get dicy. The NRA argues that a national gun registry is expensive, ineffective, and infringes on people’s rights, and this is because they believe that the threat of government tyranny is always prevalent and that keeping the government in check from infringing on their rights requires the ability to defend against it if it begins to overreach.

Though some people may argue that NRA members are paranoid lunatics for believing this, their concerns are not ill-founded. In Canada for example, a gun registry was implemented, but it almost immediately began to fail. The system was ineffective, expensive, and didn’t even successfully do what it was supposed to, as criminals didn’t register their guns, and even a large number of law abiding citizens didn’t bother to go out of their way to register theirs with upwards of 25% opting to not register.

Compare this where in the U.S. 80% of gun crime is committed with illegally owned firearms. Trying the same thing in the United States, a country with significantly more weapons then Canada, would merely give off a more grand result of the one in Canada, which would be a massive waste of taxpayer revenue.

This leaves the door open for people to say that the NRA are indirectly responsible for these heinous actions for not supporting stricter gun laws. Here lies my point.

The NRA did not pick up their own weapons and gun down seventeen innocent students at a high school. The NRA did not fail at every level of the legal system to stop this person from having a firearm despite over 39 calls to his house by police. And the NRA didn’t wait outside the school, assuming a defensive position, while the shooter went in and took over a dozen innocent lives. Lest we forget, it was an NRA instructor named Stephen Williford who stopped a mass shooting in Sutherland Springs using his legally owned AR-15.

It’s easy to label people who you disagree with as morally inept and evil. This is something everyone, including myself, is guilty of. It’s in our nature to pick a side and stick to it no matter what the facts of the matter may be. We’re all flawed in that way, and the only way to fix it is to open up political disclosure about the issues and discuss them in a civilized manner. We can’t go out and label the other side as the bad guys, because at the end of the day, we all care about our country, it’s just a matter of how to care for it and make it better for us all.