Letter: What’s Good for the Gun Industry

To the Editor:

“Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!” reads an ad in Junior Shooters, a gun industry-supported magazine. This was the weapon of choice for Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The firearms industry is intent on putting more guns in the hands of younger children and has paid for social research by nonprofit groups, according to The New York Times, to accomplish its goals.

One such group, the National Heritage Trust, reported, “The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms.”

For the past 17 years the National Rifle Association has successfully shut down government-sponsored research on gun violence, revealing a darker side of the group’s strategy: to stop studies that may caution parents about teaching young children how to shoot. Instead, parents are being urged to buy kids guns, especially military-style guns that they see in violent video games. It’s good for the gun industry.

The Centers for Disease Control has maintained that gun violence is a public health concern. The NRA, in contrast, considers gun violence a law enforcement and mental health problem. When the CDC in 1993 found that the presence of guns at home raised the risk of homicide and suicide, the NRA denounced the research as “political opinion masquerading as medical science.” How do we, the people, convince Congress and the president that the time has come for rational and measured gun control? We have the tools: petitions, letters to our elected officials, and appeals to responsible gun owners that they, too, need to speak up. Is there a target shooter or hunter who needs an AR-15 to practice their sport? Are there parents who need to protect their families with a military-style semi-automatic weapon?

We need to show the NRA and their lobbyists that they cannot dominate the national discussion. They cannot intimidate our elected officials with their “report cards.” And they cannot continue making record profits marketing weapons designed for war to our children.

Don McCabe