NRA on Gun Problem: More Guns

By Jeffrey Page

He spoke 2,100 words and took no questions as he educated the nation about how best to prevent gun violence in the schools. Arm the schools, said Wayne LaPierre with a straight face. He is the chief spokesman of the National Rifle Association

And to prove the NRA’s deep and abiding concern about mass shootings, LaPierre informed a news conference that the organization remained silent in the wake of the Newtown Massacre out of respect to the parents but now was forced – forced! – to weigh in. Why? Mostly because of “all the noise and anger” being directed at the NRA itself in the days after the murders of 26 children and staff at the Sandy Hook School.

LaPierre wants a cop in every school. And if there aren’t enough police, he said, there are “millions” of retired police, “security professionals,” firefighters and others ready to take protective action. I get nervous when an expert tries to prove his point by citing nothing more specific than “millions.”

But back to the NRA’s proposal to turn our schools into armories. LaPierre wants changes, and he wants those changes right now, which sounds like a courageous, square-chin position until you consider some facts. LaPierre chose not to deal with the facts.

There are 132,270 public and private elementary and secondary school buildings from one coast to the other, according to the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, based in Washington. In those buildings on a typical school day are 55 million students, plus 4.7 million teachers and other staff. LaPierre may want action right now, but he made no reference to how he would proceed to fill those schools and protect those kids and teachers.

Here are some points I would ask LaPierre to consider:

–Let’s end NRA grandstanding and get down to protecting children from armed angry lunatics. Specifically let’s take automatic weapons off the civilian market. The NRA should stop its Second Amendment handwringing and concede once and for all that the nation’s founders had no concept of automatic weapons, assault rifles and large-capacity magazines when they came up with the oddly worded right-to-bear-arms business in the Bill of Rights.

–In his news conference LaPierre never discussed how easy automatic weapons and large magazines make the work of mass killers. No loading one round at a time, just shove the magazine in and you’re set for action. As a result, LaPierre never acknowledged one of the findings in an informative story in Mother Jones Magazine on the history of gun violence in America over the last three decades. Mother Jones documented 62 mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and 2012. In those sprees, gunmen proved assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns to be the weapon of choice for mass killings: 103 people were shot to death by men with assault rifles and semi-automatics, while 39 died at the hands of killers with slower loading revolvers and shotguns.

–Let’s finally get real and acknowledge that the only use for automatics and assault weapons is to kill people.

–We need to make it much more difficult to get guns. In those 62 incidents, 49 of the murder weapons had been obtained legally by the killers. Only 12 were illegally obtained.

LaPierre ignored all that during his news conference and called for the nice-and-easy (read: simplistic) way to deal with gun violence in the schools. That is, to increase the number of guns in the schools so that the cop on duty can fight back when a killer shows up at the front door. LaPierre didn’t touch the question of a group of killers confronting the one cop on duty.

Nor did LaPierre address the fact that innocent people have been killed in places other than schools. A man walked into a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, Calif., in 1984 and shot 22 people to death and wounded 19 others. Should we station cops next to the griddles in the 12,000 McDonald’s restaurants? What about Burger King?

There are about 7,000 movie houses in the United States including the one in Aurora, Col. where 12 people were killed and 58 injured last summer. Armed police at the popcorn machine won’t help if a killer starts his work in the men’s room.

We need to have a serious discussion about revising the Second Amendment to limit the availability of weaponry by placing automatics and assault weapons where they belong: In the hands of the military and the police.


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One Response to “NRA on Gun Problem: More Guns”

  1. Randy Hurst Says:

    You said it! I am with you.

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