By Sharon DelVento
The cynic in me fears that no one will be able to pry guns out of people’s hands until someone invents an even more efficient portable killing machine than the gun. But the optimist in me hopes that we will have the courage to tell the National Rifle Association to take a flying leap on a rolling doughnut.
The almost insane defensiveness that the NRA leadership has over the 2nd Amendment does not reflect a cerebral adoration of the Constitution. It is way too visceral for that. It borders on rabid. I believe it represents a love of money and power, and perhaps a genuine terror of people.
Desi Doyen on radio station KPFK (Los Angeles) explained how, at the 1977 annual convention of the NRA, political operatives associated with the Republican Party won control of the leadership and changed the bylaws and the focus of what had been, until that point, a 106-year-old sporting organization in favor of gun training and safety, and even reasonable gun-control laws. After 1977, it became a powerful political lobbying organization for the small-arms industry.
Gun owners are being used as tools for ends that have little to do with the joy of sportsmanship.
The NRA’s guilt-tripping and fear-mongering on Dec. 21 was most impressive, but even I could see it for what it was: the writhing throes of a panicked leviathan. Armed guards at all schools? Really? Shall we have them at movie theaters and churches, as well? As far as the suggestion of arming teachers, let’s just say, given how obnoxious some of my classmates could be when I was a kid, I would not have wanted any of my teachers armed.
The line, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is a great sound-byte, but the Minneapolis 4-year-old who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother (with the gun their dad had not locked up) probably would not have beaten him to death.
Rick Fromm, editor of the Decorah Public Opinion newspaper, is right. It’s time for action. But I’ll go further. It’s time for all hunters and gun owners to cancel their NRA membership and form a new organization: the National Sensible Riflemen’s Association. Time to enforce background checks, especially at gun shows. Time for a countrywide ban on assault weapons, and none of this “grandfathering” nonsense.
A Marine sergeant, in a December letter (Decorah paper), was also right: Weapons of war should not be in the hands of civilians. And I say that assault weapons should be turned in to the military or melted down to make pennies.
The NRA has had 36 years to run amok. It’s time to give the gun-control proponents equal time.
Sharon DelVento moved from Chicago to Decorah in 1995 and writes occasionally for the Decorah Public Opinion. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org