The NRA’s True Colors
In an opinion column in Tucson, Arizona’s Arizona Daily Star on Sunday, President Obama called for a dialog among all stakeholders in the debate over access to firearms. After describing the carnage firearms cause in America every day, in addition to the massacre in Tucson, he asked if the parties could at least talk about keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and children.
While his column was upbeat, it was also realistic:
I know some aren’t interested in participating. Some will say that anything short of the most sweeping anti-gun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby. Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody’s guns. And such hyperbole will become the fodder for overheated fundraising letters.
While the anti-firearm camp has agreed to meet with the President to explore ways to limit the carnage, the National Rifle Association, predictably, refused. Wayne LaPierre, the longtime chief executive of the National Rifle Association reportedly said:
Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?
Is WC the only one who is tired of the NRA’s knee-jerk reactions for even the simplest discussion?
America works — well, America used to work — precisely because people with strongly opposing views were willing to sit down and try to reach a compromise. Our government cannot work if parties to differing sides of an issue aren’t willing to talk, aren’t willing to seek a middle ground. The answer to LaPierre’s question is, “Because that’s how government has to work, if it is to work.”
In 2009, the last year for which WC can find data, there were at least 9,146 homicides caused by firearms (Florida hadn’t submitted data and Illinois’ data were incomplete). That’s 25 firearm homicides a day, over one an hour. Could that be another reason to sit down and talk, Mr. LaPierre?
As we debate this issue, Gabby Giffords struggles to regain her ability to walk, speak and live independently. Could that be another reason to sit down and talk, Mr. LaPierre?
Be an American, Mr. LaPierre. Meet with the President.