After the murder of 20 first graders in the days before Christmas, the US gun lobby, the NRA, has called for more guns. Hours after its belligerent refusal to take responsibility for the six and seven-year-olds' deaths, fire fighters were shot and killed on Christmas Eve Day by another nut armed by guns-for-everyone lobbying. Merry Christmas from the NRA.
The NRA's post-Newtown sabre rattling is not the first time it has responded to massacres by reaffirming its More! Faster! Bigger! Stronger! Better! firearm extremism. During the spring of 2009 when 50 victims were shot in rapid succession - 14 in Binghamton, NY, eight at a Carthage, NC nursing home, six in Santa Clara, CA, five in Miami, 10 in Alabama (by a gun 'collector'), two policemen in Oakland, and five policeman in Pittsburgh (by a man armed with a semi-automatic AK-47-style rifle, a shotgun and three handguns - a .357 Magnum revolver, a .380-caliber handgun and a .45-caliber handgun, wearing a bulletproof vest) - the NRA said, lawmakers shouldn't legislate "on the fresh graves of tragedy." And they didn't!
Three years ago, like now, the NRA said we need more guns not less to protect ourselves against the bad guy criminals the gun lobby arms. How does it arm the bad guys? Through patty cake background checks that many, perhaps most mass shooters pass. Through obstructing background check laws governing private sales and gun shows which account for 40% of weapons sold. And through obstructing 'one firearm a month' sale limits which give green lights to straw buyers to arm the 'bad guys' and keep illegal guns on the street.
It is almost like the NRA is working for the bad guys! Who realizes the gun lobby has put 'Tiahrt restrictions' on the books that literally obstruct prosecution of criminals with illegal guns by restricting law enforcement officials from fully accessing and using Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) gun trace data, which can show where illegal guns come from, who buys them and how they get trafficked across state lines and into our communities.
The gun makers also seem to be working for the bad guys. Three years ago in Connecticut, where the first graders were killed this month, they defeated a "microstamping" bill that would require new markers on guns to facilitate tracking of illegal weapons. Gun makers routinely tell state officials if gun legislation is passed, they'll move their operations to another state, taking the jobs with them. Are they including the jobs they create in emergency rooms, operating rooms, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and morgues?
The NRA's lobbying also lets criminals carry concealed weapons. More than 1,400 probable felons in Florida were granted valid concealed weapon licenses reported the Sun-Sentinel a few years ago, including a man who shot his girlfriend in the head as she cooked breakfast, a pizza deliveryman wanted for fatally shooting a 15-year-old over a stolen order of chicken wings, and six registered sex offenders. Lest someone should go unarmed just because they are a violent criminal, the NRA also got a program passed to help people whose gun purchasing rights were revoked petition for them to be restored as part of a provision for states to share more illegal firearm information with the federal government. What?
Wild eyed and his voice croaking, NRA ceo Wayne LaPierre said at a press conference last week, "The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters - people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them." Was someone holding up a mirror?