Letter: The NRA’s Real Agenda

To the Editor:

Thanks to the National Rifle Association for safeguarding our right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. What about the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing our right to equal protection under the law?

The NRA has lobbied effectively to kill laws designed to protect us and our children from gun violence. The NRA has ensured that “gun-friendly” legislators are serving in many states. The NRA fuels fear of government by promoting the sale of military-style assault weapons, the fastest growing sector in the gun industry. Owning an assault weapon is a passport for many young men who did not serve in the military, “but who feel a male compulsion to warriorhood,” according to firearms researcher Thomas Diaz.

The NRA has attempted to control the national conversation on gun safety by claiming that it is the mentally ill who need to be regulated. Psychiatrists and therapists agree that most mentally ill people are nonviolent and are more likely to be the victims, not perpetrators, of gun violence. “The frightening truth is that the vast majority of homicides are carried out by outwardly normal people in the grip of human aggression,” according to Richard Friedman, M.D. Thanks to NRA lobbyists these people have ready access to deadly weapons, and the gun show loophole remains an open sore.

Why does the NRA so aggressively defend the Second Amendment? To protect our rights?

Members of Congress and the president are not talking about abridging our rights. They’re talking about universal background checks, registration, limiting magazine capacity and storing weapons safely.

Vermont now has two bills, HR124 and HR243, in committee to address some of these issues. A flood of orchestrated messages has been sent to kill the bills.

The NRA’s aggressive campaign has less to do with protecting our rights than generating revenue to pay for its lobbying activities and executive salaries.

Sadly, since President Obama took office, four times as many guns have been purchased in America as babies have been born.

It’s time to speak to your local and national representatives and insist on common sense gun safety legislation for those who cannot defend themselves.

Don McCabe