Time For A Moderate Alternative To The NRA – Via TIME

The crazy thing about gun politics in this country is that the National Rifle Association is more or less the moderate wing of the gun lobby. Other groups bill themselves as “no compromise” alternatives to the NRA.  That has to change.  In a new TIME column that is not school focused (although has a tangential education hook at the end) I look at what a genuinely pro-sportsmen but pro-gun safety organization might look like and why one is needed:

 I used to live in the country and go to a gun club for the skeet and trap shooting. I went there on Sundays because that was the only day the club was open to non-members. Like many shooting clubs, this one would only grant membership if I also joined the National Rifle Association. That wasn’t going to happen. While I like some of the NRA’s youth gun-safety programs, I cannot support its policy aims….

…Unfortunately, this constituency has no organization speaking to and for them. That’s why if philanthropists and influential leaders really want to do something about gun safety, they should launch an advocacy group for sportsmen that will provide a legitimate alternative to today’s gun lobby. The solution to our gun problem is not to try to fight through the same old politics — rather, it’s to change the political landscape.

10 Replies to “Time For A Moderate Alternative To The NRA – Via TIME”

  1. Mr. Rotherman,

    Your post regarding alternatives to the NRA, misses the point entirely. The second amendment has, listen closely please, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to do with hunting, hunting rights, or numbers of hunters who join the NRA or do not. The positions of the NRA iin the past have largely revolved around the second amendment and all Americans rights to keep and bear arms, period, hunters or not, NRA member or not. Yes, the NRA supports hunters too, but the main focus is clearly support and education regarding the second amendment.

    I have only one simple question for you to answer. If the recent school shooter had instead put a container of gasoline in the car with a bag of fertilizer, drove the car into the building at a classroom at 60 mph exploding the care on impact (since he intended to kill himself) likely wiping out half the school, would we be suggesting that cars are weapons we need to restrict? We all know the answer is no.

    If his mother were still alive, the single biggest question getting asked, would likely be, “Why, did you not lock up these weapons (gun safe) knowing your son was becoming increasingly violent?” Mental health of the shooter is clearly the major contributing issue here, as he could have done as much damage using many methods available to someone whom was likely criminally insane. It has already been reported he broke at least 40 gun laws, why he would obey one more on so called assualt weapons leaves me with a clear picture that some folks just want to do something that feels good, but likely will not be effective.

    Let me be loud and clear on this issue for you. Everyone, including NRA members mourn for the loss to these families and for these children and their teachers and staff. These situations cry out for a thorough, thoughtful, evaluation of the facts, and circumstances to determine what will work to reduce or eliminate the possibility of recurrance of a shooting. What none of us needs is a knee jerk, feel good reaction leading to some legislation that makes us all feel safe, only to be undone by another event like this in a short time.

  2. It’s really important to highlight just how much of the NRA funding now comes from gun manufacturers and sellers. They are essentially a trade association in many respects.

  3. Terry-
    I will not address your comments regarding the NRA, because, quite frankly I do not know enough about them. I will, however, address your question/analogy.

    If this incident had involved a car bomb, I highly doubt that there would be any discussion about banning cars. However, we have always considered cars to be dangerous, and require mandatory instruction, testing, registration, and insurance. We also mandate speed limits, and restrict the type of motor vehicles that can be operated. We don’t allow people that have medical conditions that could make operation of a motor vehicle dangerous to the public (seizures, vision impairment, etc.) obtain a license and drive a car. We have special testing for different types of vehicles (tractor trailers, school buses, etc). In other words, we highly regulate the use of motor vehicles.

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about guns. Most people are not interested in banning all guns. I have no interest in hunting, and now that I have children would never bring any type of firearm into my house. However, I understand that many people feel differently than I do, and enjoy hunting and feel comfortable having firearms in their homes. I have no desire to deny them their ability to do either.

    However, I do believe that sensible gun control policies are necessary, and could potentially avert tragedies such as what we just witnessed.

    Will gun control measures prevent all future massacres- of course not- but the failure to meet that goal should not be a reason to not take action.

  4. Adam,

    As I read your thoughtful statement, and your accurate (in my opinion) assessment that gun control measures won’t prevent all events like Sandy Hook. In fact, there is NO unbiased empirical evidence gun control would prevent any events like Sandy Hook. (look at the massive school shootings that occured in England and Europe where they have exceptionally high levels of gun control and still had these horrific events occur.) Those events lead one to think we really have much more serious societal issues regarding mental health than we care to admit.

    We know criminals pay little attention to laws, on guns or otherwise. They will find whatever weapons are available. Beyond that, your auto analogy would make sense, were it NOT for the second amendment. Cars are not enumerated in the consitution, hence high levels of government control are utilized legally, and we can and do take those privilidges away routinely. Given the number of alcohol related traffic deaths a year in the US, it would make more sense (from a strickly life saving point of view) to take on driving under the influence, than more gun control. Taking someone’s consitutional right away is, and should be, much more difficult, and done on a case by case basis, not en masse via legislation. Excepting of course, if the constitution is legally amended. There are thousands, yes literally thousands of gun control laws on the books, including reportedly an “assualt weapons” ban in Connecticut. As I stated earlier, reportedly at least 40 laws broken by the shooter at Sandy Hook.

    Lastly, I don’t know anyone, and I have hunted for 40 plus years, who does not realize guns are dangerous and require respect. Indeed, the NRA has in fact, been at the forefront of trying to get anyone who has a firearm of any type, to get training, and they offer it at very little if any cost. However, even that training, governmentally mandated or not, would not have prevented Sandy Hook. The simple fact, the shooters mother did not lock up her guns, (or if she did he knew how to get to them) defies common sense. Simple trigger locks would have likely prevented this event, and those are mandated with sales today. The last time I checked, they only cost about $10. She just did not use them. That is not a failure due to poor training, and no training would have made up for her lack of common sense. Too me, it still comes down to someone criminal, and likely criminally insane, bent on doing harm by whatever means he could. Society needs to not take the quick feel good fix, and instead address our issues especially as they relate to mental health, instead of passing a knee jerk reaction law, that won’t stop anyone insane or any criminal from committing his crime.

  5. The 2 most recent comments by the NRA “put people with guns, guards or NRA trained people” in every school AND that the are evil nut cases out there that need to be locked up in a mental institution are examples of true ignorance and extremism. If the NRA had come out and said ” we need to train our principles, teachers and other school employees on how to be defensive until first responders arrive, by training in Mace or Tasers then I would have considered them moderate. If they said “We need to provide much better mental health care for mothers and parents line Nancy Lanza so that we can identify and manage high risk patients” then I would have thought that the NRA was moderate. we REALLY do need a more moderate organization protecting our 2nd amendgment rights.

  6. The 2nd amendment guarantees the right to bear arms.

    It is does not confer the right to the weapon of your choice.

    We bow down to the altar of man killing weapons.

    We then beat down teachers.

    In California, the new talk is that the NCLBwaiver was turned down because of the lack of hard, practical, transparent, published, accountability for teachers. The reference in the report is not cited. Would someone please provide the reference in the ED denial of the waiver.

    The education reformation process is a RELIGIOUS phenomenon. Our reformers have found what they claim to be poor performance. In our Calvinist culture failure is moral evil. Therefore, those who fail are evil. Thus, teachers are evil.

    Thus the need for public pillory.

    I would like to suggest a similar set of transparent metrics for our reformers. Attached to every comment they make I would like to see a credit score, a summary of all outstanding debts, particularly student loan debt, and an arrest record.

    Frankly, I would like to know the moral and contractual failings of those who wish to reform others. We live in a society where we rush to REFORM OTHERS.

    It is an interesting phenomenon that historically has never worked out well for those reformed and for society.

    Our education reformation is now a religious pogrom directed against a select and readily identifiable group of people. In the middle ages these heretics were identified, bankrupted, publicly humiliated and in some cases burned at the stake.

    Same thing today. To our edu-reformers, please defend your moral superiority to not only teachers, but the rest of us.

  7. According to the education reformation:

    If a teacher does not teach a child, then it is failure.

    According to the public:

    If a teacher fails a child, then it is a moral evil.

    According to the gun toting NRA

    If it is a moral evil, then there is biblical justification to defend one’s self and society.

    If one is to defend themselves, then they must use an assault weapon.

    Here is the confluence of bad ideas promulgated by shortsighted, ambitious people.

  8. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/12/look-all-these-guns-people-got-christmas/60306/

    I bought myself an IWC watch for Xmas.

    Look at what some people bought for themselves.
    Then read their justifications.

    Quod erat demonstrandum

    Some ideas:
    1. The ownership and reckless use of those weapons pushes up the liability portion of home owner’s insurance for those who do NOT own them.

    2. Should these assault weapon owners get their OWN INSURANCE POOL. That would be the free market solution.

    3. Perhaps we could improve security of these weapons by not restricting ownership but requiring government storage of all assault weapons.

  9. Bill … As of this morning ED has not posted its letter denying California’s request for a waiver.

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