In response to my piece Rebuttals To Gun Lovers In Denial (in which I pointed out that we can have reasonable restrictions on the Second Amendment, just as we do the First Amendment), Steve Blomberg commented:
Excellent points. As it relates to “reasonable restrictions” on Freedom of Speech the basis for the restrictions is largely one of public safety. PUBLIC SAFETY! That’s right, PUBLIC SAFETY! That is why the most used example is yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater. You do not want to cause a stampede where people get trampled. However, the NRA will tell America that the sounds of dozens of bullets being fired in under a minute causing children to run out of a school while being shot in the back is not the same because somehow the Right to Bear Arms is more important than the 1st Amendment. The kids [on CNN Wednesday] night were articulate, well mannered, and resolute. That is why I am getting off my lazy ass on March 24 heading to the Mall and supporting these fabulous advocates of change.
Steve is right about the NRA’s message. It recognized decades ago that the best way to sell more guns is to create more fear. So, it is fighting back with the same old lie that efforts to end gun violence are really an attempt at repealing the Second Amendment and taking their guns away. It’s the identical claim the NRA makes about any politician who won’t bow down to the almighty gun lobby.
Don’t forget that this is a group that doesn’t actually support the rights of gun owners. If it did, it would listen to its own membership, 72% of whom support universal background checks for every gun purchase. But it doesn’t, because the NRA’s only reason for existence is as the lobbying arm of gun manufacturers, who don’t want any of their products made illegal because it would hurt their bottom line, regardless of how many human lives are lost.
The circles in the Venn diagram of gun owners and people with a conscience overlap more than the NRA is willing to admit. Unfortunately, its members haven’t yet stood up against Wayne LaPierre and other leadership to demand it support common-sense gun reform by withdrawing their memberships or refusing to renew until it does.
Fortunately, the number of companies that have recently cut ties with the NRA (canceling affiliate relationships and discounts for members) continues to grow. Corporate America played a big role in the marriage equality movement, granting benefits to gay employees and their loved ones long before the courts did. They may prove to be a needle-mover in this debate, as well.
While the NRA claims not to be worried about anything, the vitriol of its attacks on the survivor/activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school and others suggests it is little bit more afraid now than it was after previous such incidents. Not so incidentally, Emma Gonzalez, one of the MSD survivor/activists, has seen the number of people following her on Twitter increase to over 800,000 people, including me. That’s in just ten days, and it’s more than the NRA has (467,000) — and more than NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch (768,000)!!!
One last thought for today. Both of my parents were educators. They would never have carried a firearm into a school (or anywhere else). Unless you’re just trying to sell more guns, arming teachers is a monstrously wrong-headed idea. If there’s enough money lying around, give them instead the kind of weapons they need in the classroom — more books, desks, computers, tissues, erasers, pencils, glue sticks, maps, construction paper, art supplies, white boards, and dry-erase markers — so they don’t have to pay for them out of their own pockets!