The NRA Versus Gun Safety
Five years ago, Republican legislators were suddenly thrown into a panic to pass a new wave of gun laws across the country. The cause of all that panic was a truly horrific event.
Shortly before Christmas in Newtown, Conn., a troubled young man who never should have had a deadly weapon massacred 20 beautiful 6- and 7-year-old elementary school children along with six school staff members. That heart-breaking national tragedy had a powerful, emotional impact on most decent Americans—which, of course, was what Republicans and their campaign supporters at the National Rifle Association (NRA) were in such a panic about.
The NRA was terrified the massive slaughter of sweet, innocent children would put tremendous pressure on politicians to pass universal background checks to keep guns out of hands of dangerous people and possibly even ban civilian possession of military assault weapons designed solely to kill human beings in large numbers.
But not to worry. The NRA could still count on Republicans to fend off sensible gun regulations. In the year after Newtown, Republican legislators around the country obediently passed laws weakening gun regulations even further and repeatedly defeated universal background checks.
Wisconsin Republicans, under Gov. Scott Walker, had done their part for the NRA the year before Newtown to flood city streets with guns when it became one of the last states in the nation to allow citizens to secretly carry concealed deadly weapons. But if you think the NRA is done having Wisconsin Republicans perform stupid pet tricks, you’re wrong. The next absurd step the NRA wants legislators in Madison to take is incredibly dangerous for gun owners themselves as well as anyone within shooting range.
Get this. It’s to eliminate any screening, licensing or training at all for anyone carrying and using concealed weapons in Wisconsin. The 328,820 citizens known to be carrying weapons of mass destruction on Wisconsin streets would no longer need a permit or any training in how to use those deadly weapons to blow away anyone who frightens them.
How exactly does not knowing how to safely operate a deadly weapon benefit a gun owner or anyone unfortunate enough to be in his or her vicinity? It clearly doesn’t.
Deer hunters often boast about receiving 10 hours of gun safety education to receive a hunting license in Wisconsin. It’s long been recognized as a basic requirement for a responsible hunter. And deer hunting is a piece of cake compared to killing another person. The deer are never armed or even very scary.
There’s always been something highly suspicious about the strong objection by the NRA and other supporters of concealed carry toward properly training people how to safely use personal handguns. After all, people acquire those deadly weapons for the express purpose of protecting themselves and their families in times of extreme terror.
We should assume everyone in that situation is an amateur at shooting and killing other people. Anyone who’s shot so many other people it’s become old hat probably shouldn’t receive a permit. Oh, wait. The NRA wants to eliminate screening and permits.
Loading Which End of the Gun?
But if the idea is to protect yourself or your loved ones, wouldn’t it help to know which end of the gun the bullets come out of?
The biggest controversy former Republican Atty. Gen. J. B. Van Hollen stirred up in 2011 after his party passed concealed carry was when he tried to require four hours of training with an actual gun to receive a permit.
Republican legislators reviewing administrative rules immediately threw out that lengthy safety training as too onerous. The requirement was reduced to pretty much any training providing tips on gun safety whether it included actually handling a gun or not. Now Republican state Sen. David Craig of the Town (R-Vernon) and state Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) are pushing the NRA’s effort to end even that minimal training.
The NRA still boasts about training more than a million gun owners every year in gun safety. But today the concealed carry link on its website seems to be devoted primarily to hustling hefty insurance coverage in case you happen to murder someone you shouldn’t.
The truth is the NRA doesn’t really care about the safety of gun owners anymore. The organization appears to have become a front for gun manufacturers whose only concern is selling more guns. Gun manufacturers don’t really care whether the gun purchasers swelling their profits are homicidal, suicidal or crazier than an outhouse rat.
Once people have been scared into buying guns, let them figure out how to use the things without hurting themselves. The ridiculous fantasy people have of heroically saving the day by shooting all the bad guys isn’t going to happen anyway.
Guns have never improved anyone on either end of them and now even the NRA has given up on trying to protect gun owners from themselves.