What the NRA needed to say

Eric Garland Uncategorized 20 Comments

a02-hunting-debate-19-cci-4_3_r560I am dismayed but not surprised to see that Wayne LaPierre’s speech in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy was utterly recalcitrant and useless. It was a statement that could have been made at any time in the past thirty years – things are violent, more guns will help you shoot bad guys, blame pop culture.

I am disappointed, but not in the way you think. We really need the NRA, the standard bearer for gun owners whether we like it or not, to make some kind of coherent statement right now. The last thing America needs is another institution that is hopelessly cut off from reality, utterly unwilling to join society in its very reasonable examination of gun policy in the wake of a horrific event.

This is all the we really needed LaPierre to say:

“Sandy Hook was a national tragedy that shocked us all. We must take steps to insure that something of this sort never happens again.

As you know, the National Rifle Association is in principle against repression of our Second Amendment rights. You can see from coast to coast communities where high rates of gun ownership coincide with low rates of crime – Vermont, Maine and Wyoming being a few notable examples.

Still, something must be done. And while we do not believe that gun control is useful or legal, the NRA would like to be at the forefront of a national education program on safe firearms use in America. We want to lead the nation in helping Americans store guns safely, use guns responsibly, and keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals. This way, we can maintain our constitutional rights and deal effectively with the recent epidemic of violence that should be curtailed at any price.

Now, I look forward to your questions.” 

Jesus, that would have been fantastic. He wouldn’t even have to make a single concession around gun control, but would demonstrate a sense of the responsibility that law-abiding gun owners must take in order to reduce the violence perpetrated with America’s private arsenal. And then other parties could push this way or that – but there would be a dialogue. And again- the NRA wouldn’t even have to talk about gun control.

But no. Instead, we get a rant about everything except guns – victimization, red herrings, and an insane idea about arming every school in America.

We do not need a one party system, nor a single set of acceptable ideas. But we cannot function when a tragedy involving guns is met by such an irrational howl that we have nothing left to do but walk on and think of how we can protect innocent Americans – with or without gun owners.