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Month of Gun Violence Sets Gun Lobby Agenda Back

Month of Gun Violence Sets US Gun Lobby Agenda Back


by Martha Rosenberg,
Chicago


Click to enlarge

"The NRA is asking gunmen to refrain from mass shootings while key gun bills are before legislators," says a newscaster in a recent editorial cartoon.

Say that! On a month that began with the Alabama, Illinois church and Germany shootings and ended with the Oakland police killings--a Miami mass killing, a Turlock, CA church shooting and the Mexico shootings not even making the public radar's--law makers are not thinking of gun owners as an oppressed minority.

In fact when police are killed with assault weapons it takes the wind out of the gun lobby's Good-Guys-Need-To-Be-Armed-Against-Bad-Guys argument not to mention its AK-47s-Should-Be-Street-Legal-Because-We-Need-To Defend-Ourselves-and-Our-Families argument and its Enforce-Existing-Laws (Loopholes Though They Might Have) argument.

But even before the March Alabama, Illinois, Miami, Oakland and Turlock shootings Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president was on the defensive at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. in February.

Mad at the Obama administration, the press, the United Nations and a complacent public, LaPierre couldn't decide whether Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was friend or foe--first quoting her to prove President Obama is a gun grabber, then showing clips in which she was the gun grabber recommending trigger locks and licenses.

Ordaining that Mexico needs more guns not less and that law makers shouldn't legislate "on the fresh graves of tragedy," you'd never know the NRA realized its wet dream last year when the Supreme Court affirmed the Second Amendment in District of Columbia vs. Heller.

Of course, for years the NRA's Just Folks position against effete elites has conflicted with its actual deep pocketed influence peddling with political campaigns and causes and turned off followers.

For years its hunter/rancher and rural constituents have recoiled at its paranoid secessionist/military weapon wing which drives so much NRA policy. In fact Alabama's Michael McLendon--who killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins and the wife and toddler daughter of a sheriff's deputy in March--and Terry Sedlacek--who shot and killed a pastor through the Bible he held at an Illinois church service--were poster boys for the right to own an arsenal.

What is changing is that gun lobby laws that used to be slam dunks--right to carry a concealed weapon in churches, on campuses and in state parks--are no longer sailing through legislatures. Nor is the D.C. Voting Rights Act that would legalize assault weapons, eliminate the city's firearms registration system and ban all future gun restrictions airborne.

What is also different is newspapers like the Memphis Commercial Appeal are publishing searchable bases of state permit holders http://www.commercialappeal.com/data/gunpermits/ so people can see if their daycare worker or dentist is armed.

And even though concealed carry permits are "Good Guy Cards" that tell law enforcement they'll have no trouble with you says Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Bryan Hendricks and even though the worst thing that can happen to you in life is that people find out you or your house is unarmed, the NRA is, well, scared.

Someone may break into your home and not hurt you or your family--that's why you're armed after all-- but steal your firearms! In fact you better get more weapons to defend your weapons.

Even while the Arkansas state legislature is considering a bill to block similar release of permit holder public records, the Commercial Appeal found 70 of 154 permit holders it checked had criminal records including Bernard Avery--arrested 25 times with a murder charge dismissed on mental competency--and Reginald Miller--a felon with 11 arrests. Oops.

Still, worse for the gun lobby than the PR problem of helping to arm felons through the lax gun laws it pushes, is the image of it being afraid of you and I.

Or as Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA executive director wrote to the Commercial Appeal "Your decision to publicize the personal information of Right-to-Carry permit holders in Tennessee is unjustifiable, disgraceful, and dangerous."

And worse than that is the image of the gun lobby asking the government to protect it from you and me. Whatever happened to the tough guys who don't need no %$#$% government interference?

And why are they so scared, anyway? Isn't that backwards? They're the ones carrying lethal weapons!

Why is it that people all across America get to work without the help of a gun--taking trains, working night shifts--but gun extremists are afraid to be in church, on college campuses and on state parks without being armed?

It makes you think of Larry Singleton who attacked and mutilated 15-year-old hitchhiker Mary Vincent near Sacramento in 1978 because he was "afraid of her."

*************

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoon who writes about public health.

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