What’s not to like about dissolving the NRA?” is a question which nobody asked. But that doesn’t stop one from trying to answer it.
First, some background:
Pistol? My Daddy had two of them so far as I know. One he kept hidden behind the pencil drawer of the desk in our filling station. (I found it snooping around during one of my interminable shifts of manning our small business. Bad Daddy!—I coulda killed myself playing with that thing; it looked like my Roy Rogers revolver from childhood!) Many years later the other one he kept in the book area of his bed when he was widowed. (Mother would never have allowed him to do that. Bad Daddy. My younger brother absconded with it one day—“He’s gonna kill himself with that damn thing! Bad Daddy.)
As a child I had a Red Ryder BB Gun! No bird was safe. (Turned out, neither was my little brother. Sorry about that. Bad big brother!) A couple years later and said brother one-upped me with a 4.10 shotgun. (I kept a cautious distance.)
All the above to establish that guns, per se, are not my enemy. Per se. And therein lies the rub (per se). Guns are sometimes not my friend. On occasion, some of my fellow Americans have used “guns” in a terrifying way: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Parkland. Not to mention the 44 -minute granddaddy 1997 firefight in North Hollywood between two bank robbers and the LAPD in which some 2000 rounds were fired. The perps in that robbery carried Norinco Type 56 S-1s (an AK-47 variant), a Bushmaster XM-15 Dissipator with 75-100. round drum magazine, and a Heckler & Koch HK91 rifle, all of which had been illegally modified to enable fully-automatic fire, as well as a Beretta 92FS pistol. The police had 9mm pistols or .38 Special revolvers; some patrol cars had a 12-gauge shotgun. (Some officers also appropriated AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles from a nearby firearms dealer.)
Whew! That’s a long way from my Daddy’s two pistols to use in case of danger to his business or his home (Good Daddy!) That’s also a way to get into the subject of controlling the proliferation of arms in the U.S., which leads us to today’s topic: the “dissolution” of the NRA.
To look at the web page of the NRA, you’d think, “What’s not to like?” It was founded in 1871 by two Union officers who were not at all happy with the marksmanship of their troops during and after the War of the Rebellion.
For many years the NRA was concerned primarily with marksmanship, and establishing rifle ranges. In 1903 it began to sponsor sport shooting and rifle clubs in schools. In 1934 it began to inform members and the public about legislative topics. It wasn’t until 1975 that the NRA became a bane as well as a boon to gun proliferation with the establishment of its Institute of Legislative Action. A Google of “gun laws blocked by NRA” reveals “About 2,040,00 results (0.49 seconds).” That’s a lot of saying “NO” to efforts to bring some sanity to our love affair with things that go “boom.” That success, though, has been costly.
The NRA has become a tad too big for its britches. The 5 or so million members can be noisy and showy—Heston with his “cold dead hands.” And they have successfully stymied sensible legislation (who needs an armory like that of Bert and Heather Gummer in Tremors?). But each of those successes has brought more attention to the NRA, attention the leaders could have well done without.
Not going into the legal and PR woes of Wayne LaPierre and his cohort in Fairfax, others have done that work for us. Those woes cannot be ignored, but the good the NRA has done over the years also cannot be ignored.
If we’re going to have more firearms than people in the U.S., then we damn well better have them educated about the dangers associated with too casual an attitude towards the weapons and trained in the proper, safest use of them.
So, what’s not to like about dissolving the NRA? It turns out, more than I expected.
We probably do not want to dissolve the NRA. We most likely would settle for the exit of current NRA leadership and oversight of its political activities. OK, that last bit’s probably not Constitutional, but you know what I mean.
My Daddy could’ve used someone telling him how to best use those guns of his. (Better Daddy.)
- NRA: Shutterstock