NRA Props Up Violent Crimes Like a Holster Supports a Gun
By Peter S. Kahrmann
When it comes to promoting a safe society, the horrifying
display of gun violence at the Aurora movie theater in Colorado once again
underscores the accuracy of the phrase actions speak louder than
words. Given that, it seems clear to me that the National Rifle
Association is a leading supporter of violent crime.
This must change.
Journalist Bill Moyers was right when he said the NRA is
the killer instincts best friend and, I would add, a great supporter of
The facts establish beyond a reasonable doubt that lax gun
laws directly contribute to the massive amount of criminal killing and
disabling in my country. The NRA instinct to oppose anything that would do so
much as slow down peoples ability to buy firearms of any kind no matter
their background has proved to be a recipe for death, and I firmly believe the
NRA knows this and doesnt care.
The NRAs mantra that responsible gun-control
measures will only take guns away from good and decent law-abiding citizens
falls on its face when confronted with, well, reality. Lets remember that
it was the lack of responsible gun-control measures that made it easy for
alleged Colorado shooter James Holmes to buy an assault weapon, shotgun,
handgun and 6,000 rounds of ammunition legally.
Another NRA mantra, that criminals will always get guns if
they want them, is more of a reason, not less of one, to develop more effective
and responsible gun-control measures.
It is the very lack of responsible gun-control measures
that makes it easy for criminals to get guns. The NRA knows this, likes this
and perpetuates this. The people of this country would be well advised to call
out the NRA over its oft-stated claim that it supports the enforcement of
current guncontrol laws and the goal of keeping guns out of the hands of
criminals for what it really is: utterly delusional or an outright lie. I
believe its the latter.
Our elected officials should call them out too, but that
would require courage and a willingness to risk ones job to do so. Why
would they want to risk their jobs? So what if, as the Childrens Defense
Fund reports, more than one million people have been killed with guns in the
United States since 1968, the year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy
were assassinated? So what if 40 percent of gun purchases happen in secondary
markets (gun shows) where there are no background checks?
Can any of us imagine living in a country that requires a
license as proof that you know how to drive but doesnt require one
or insurance -- if you buy a used car from a private individual or secondhand
The NRA opposition to any responsible gun-control measure
including safety checks to make sure guns are well manufactured!
reveals a support for death and injury by gun, whether intentional or by
The NRA doesnt care, and some of our elected
officials dont care, while others dont care enough.
They dont care enough that 39 percent of TBIs
(traumatic brain injuries), like mine -- meaning brain injuries caused by
external force -- are caused by guns. Nor do they seem to care that the Harvard
Injury Control Research Center reports that guns in the home result in higher
rates of homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings.
The NRA has a well-documented history of opposing bans on
armor- piercing (cop-killing) bullets.
Just as scary, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
recently reported that Florida attorney general and NRA darling Pamela Jo Bondi
filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th
Circuit, seeking reversal of the June 29, 2012, ruling by U.S. District Judge
Marcia G. Cooke permanently blocking Governor (Rick) Scotts doctor gag
rule that restricted doctors from informing patients about the proven risks of
guns in the home.
Why would anyone want to stop doctors from simply talking
to patients about the proven risks of having guns in the home? Can you imagine
being a pediatrician and being told you are not allowed to mention to parents
the importance of gun safety?
Talking to families about gun safety does not infringe on
anyones Second Amendment rights. And let me just say this: If the
founding fathers were to come back to life and tell us that the Second
Amendment meant that anyone and everyone can get any kind of firearm they want
whenever they want, then we might want to revise or get rid of the Second
I dont for a second think thats what the
founding fathers would say. I think the NRA chants the Second Amendment mantra
simply to cover its primary purpose, which is to make as much money from
promoting the sale of firearms as it possibly can, death and carnage be damned.
I believe too that the NRA knows its fanatical opposition
to responsible gun control and gun safety fuels violent crime, which in turn
fuels the NRAs fear-based sales pitch: Youd better buy a gun to
The NRA is only part of this countrys truly sick
relationship with and understanding of guns. One of the most disturbing things
I heard in the wake of the brutal shootings in Colorado was a young man saying
it was a good thing Holmes could get guns and ammunition legally because it
saved lives. This persons troubling and bizarre reasoning? Had Holmes not
been able to buy an assault weapon, shotgun, handgun and 6,000 rounds of
ammunition, he would have blown up the theater and killed even more people
This is only one of the sickening and deeply disturbing
things Ive heard from some of those who call themselves gun advocates.
Others said that if theatergoers had concealed weapons, they could have shot
back. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell right-sized this craziness
beautifully: We would have had, in the dark, a shoot-out battle. Do you
know how many (more) innocent people would have gotten killed by the other
After the Colorado incident, NBC television news anchor
Brian Williams asked Mitt Romney, As a practical matter, do you have a
problem with being able to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition off the
Romneys answer was spineless: Well, I don`t
know that I`m going to be able to find a way to prevent people who want to
provide harm from being able to purchase things that could carry out that
harm. So, what are you saying, Mitt? Why bother trying?
Republican strategist Rick Tyler, who opposes gun control,
said Holmes was clearly deranged, which is what, Rick, an argument
against gun control given he bought his arsenal legally?
What the hell is wrong with us?
Part of the answer lies in our addiction to violence.
Its an addiction that finds much of its fuel in the terribly misguided
and inaccurate belief (promoted by media, movies, television, some politicians
and, yes, religious leaders and, the NRA) that your ability to inflict violence
is a true and accurate measure of your strength as an individual.
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. I know
Nelson Mandela or, for that matter, Jesus, as being weak.
Gun carnage will not stop until the people en masse and
our elected officials stand up to the NRA and put the safety of the people --
our children! -- first.
In short, safety before financial profit.
Peter Kahrmann is an advocate for people with
disabilities. He resides in Massachusetts.