How the NRA Stole our Freedom

The National Rifle Association has made it its mission to allow firearms almost everywhere in this nation, regardless of the harm wrought on the people. The organisation claims to represent its four million dues paying members, but this is an illusion created by their leaders.

There are a few groups of people who benefit from the backing of the NRA. The first must be the gun industry, which benefits from the largesse of a cowed Congress, and the propaganda emanating from the NRA encouraging its members to purchase ever greater numbers of weapons.

In addition, the United States refuses to sign international treaties that would limit the trade in small armaments. As the world’s largest arms dealer, the United States has a vested interest in assuring that the armament trade continue unhindered. The NRA contends that any limitation on armaments world-wide would infringe on their rights to bear arms, and thus opposes any such treaty.

As a result, their members of Congress have thus far steadfastly refused to sign any agreement that would potentially limit small arms, even if language is inserted exempting the United States internally from the trade ban.

This greatly benefits the arms industry in this country, and especially the personal armament industry, which produces revolvers, automatics, assault weapons, and ammunition that produce enormous profits for the arms dealers. Smith & Wesson, Glock, BushMaster (who produces the weapon that wrought so much destruction at the Sandy Hook School) all stand to lose large sums of money if any treaty ban goes into effect.

Every year, tens of thousands of people around the world die in small conflicts fueled in no small part by the arms industry. When the Soviet Union was still in existence, they first produced the AK-47 as a weapon of liberation. The story that they told liberation groups around the globe was that this weapon would enable the people and allow them to rise up against dictators.

This they did, but as with any good Frankenstein movie, the monster turned out to be uncontrollable. They often took power, and ruled with an iron fist. Their weapon of oppression was the AK-47. It is light, powerful, reliable, requires little maintenance, and operates almost anywhere. Instead of a weapon of liberation, it has become the weapon of choice for dictators and autocrats everywhere.

The second group of people benefitting from the NRA’s implacable weapons stance is the conservative movement that dominates the mid west and the southern states. Few Republicans attain power without first paying obeisance to the NRA, along with Grover Norquist, who is on the board of the NRA. Any conservative that steps out of line with the NRA soon finds himself out of office. Conservatives in Congress gracelessly do the bidding of the gun lobby regardless of the consequences.

The Supreme Court too, swallows the propaganda produced by the NRA, to the extent that the Second Amendment has been so broadly interpreted as to make the Amendment nonsensical. A simple reading of the amendment clearly says nothing about allowing weapons of mass destruction in the hands of civilians, it says nothing about not controlling access to weapons of great destructive power. The Court has ruled over and over against sensible gun laws that forbid certain weapons from public ownership.

Another group that benefits disproportionately from negligent gun laws are hunters who can now decimate groups of animals with weapons that spew six rounds a minute. The carnage that this visits on our wildlife is staggering. Does any hunter truly need a weapon of such stupefying power, and call it sport? To me it seems most unsporting, but then hunting always did.

While there are other groups that benefit from negligent weapons legislation, one group that benefits tremendously are the criminals. Since guns can be sold on the open market without any oversight, criminals can buy weapons at gun shows without any background checks at all. Earlier this year, there was a furore about the failure of a program to monitor guns being sold to Mexican cartels. As a result, thousands of people have perished across the border in the continuing drug wars in Mexico.

The result of the NRA’s push for ever more relaxed laws, and for ever more weapons in the hands of untrained civilians, who have no business being in possession of these destructive weapons, is devastating. Most weapons, especially assault weapons are purchased by the people that are most likely to be violent in any society.

They tend to be young, white men, between the ages of 18 and 26. This group is most likely to  use a weapon to rob a store or another person, to take the life of another person, the group from whom the rest of society is supposed to be protected. They are also less likely to show mercy or remorse for their actions, and to be less aware of the consequences of their actions.

Some of these people, especially NRA members, claim that they are a bulwark against the excesses of government. Aside from the fact that this is a democracy, we solve problems not with guns, but through the ballot box, it is,or should be considered seditious to actively plan against your own government. We do not live in a tyranny, or dictatorship, or an autocratic state. We are supposed to be a peaceful society that resolves its differences by negotiation, not by force and violence.

What the NRA have done is to slowly but surely change that dynamic. Instead of relying on the government to resolve differences, the implication is that if you need protection, you have to provide it for yourself. That is where excessive individualism comes into it. The NRA have implanted this idea in people’s heads that they must be responsible for their own safety by buying weapons.

We should not have to take responsibility for our own safety. That is up to law enforcement. That is why we pay law enforcement, to protect us from criminals. I do not want to have to take that responsibility upon myself. We do not live in Somalia, Zimbabwe or Syria, we live in what is supposedly the most advanced democracy on earth.

If I own a handgun, lets say a 9mm para, which I did in fact own at one point, in my errant youth, it is no match for a 7.62mm rifle, with which I was trained in the defense force. That rifle in turn is no match for a semi automatic weapon that spews six rounds a second. It does not really matter what weapon I carry, there will always be something bigger, more powerful, that fires more rounds, or is more accurate.

I should not have to be part of an arms race in which there is always another form of weapon. Even if I am armed with the same weapon as my assailant, what if there are two assailants? What if I am in the shower, or making dinner, or playing cards with my family? Will I always have those weapons with me? The element of surprise is a powerful weapon, against which there are few defenses.

The result of this push to force people to own more weapons is that everyone must have a weapon to be on the same footing as everyone else. If you do not, you are at a disadvantage in society. If, like me, you refuse to own a weapon, you are essentially terrorized by those that have weapons. They do not have to use them, just the threat that they have weapons is enough.

This threat means that you cannot argue with anyone for fear that they are armed, especially with the increasing incidence of concealed carry permits. You don’t know if the guy that cuts you off in traffic, then threatens you with his vehicle is armed. You don’t know whether your neighbor has an assault weapon when you complain about his music being too loud.

I cannot walk through our national parks for fear that some hunter, or someone armed will fire on me by mistake and take my life. My life, and that of my family is worth more than the Second Amendment insanity.

In Florida and other Stand Your Ground states, you can be murdered legally if your opponent says that he felt threatened. People are increasingly getting away with killing others on the flimsiest of pretexts, even if their life was not in fact in jeopardy.

What this does is lead to a society in which people like me, who refuse to own arms must perforce live in fear of everyone. We must fear criminals that can get assault weapons, of the police who get the wrong address and burst into your home and shoot your pet dog in front of your six year old daughter. You must fear that if you anger your neighbor, they will pull a gun on you.

The gun lobby has created a culture of fear, a culture in which people will not speak out for fear of the consequences. This is where an open, free society dies, one in which free speech is sacrificed, along with our children on the altar of the Second Amendment Right to bear arms. This is what they must want, an anarchic society of fear in which governance fails and is replaced by men with guns.

It is not the government that I fear, it is the young men with, as one man in Indiana was found to have recently, 42 weapons in their possession. It is not the government that I fear, I fear that the country will become ungovernable, and eventually be ruled by bands of thugs with military assault weapons.

I have had enough of this madness. It is time that the Second Amendment is eviscerated and replaced by sensible gun laws that ban weapons for all but those that can prove a need.

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