Sunday, February 25, 2018

Why I joined the NRA, and why you should too

Attacks finally drove me, and many others, to join the NRA
The gun debate has once again heated up in America in the aftermath of the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting.

As usual, a major target for the anti-gun crowd has been the National Rifle Association (NRA), who those liberals see as being at the vanguard of gun rights in the United States.

The fact remains that the killer in Florida was, once again, not an NRA member. In fact, none of the school shooters who have reigned terror down on American children over the last couple decades have belonged to the NRA.

What the NRA does, what makes it the major liberal target, is resolutely fight for 2nd Amendment gun rights with few restrictions.

The NRA was chartered in New York state back in 1871 to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis", and even more specifically to improve marksmanship within the United States military. The organization really came to prominence in 1873 after its members won a marksmanship contest with the best riflemen of Europe.

Over the ensuing decades, the NRA spread to many other states and continued to expand in influence. The NRA gained further prestige when Civil War heroes Ulysses S. Grant and Philip Sheridan, the former also a United States President, served as the organization's eighth and ninth presidents.

In 1907, the NRA moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C. in order to improve its opportunities to advocate on behalf of gun owners. Those headquarters relocated to the current home of Fairfax, Virginia in 1998. In addition to its administrative offices, the Fairfax NRA headquarters is also home to the National Firearms Museum.

The museum is home to some 2,500 guns covering seven centuries of firearms history and development. Included are weapons which belonged to such historic figures as Napoleon Bonaparte, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, Annie Oakley, and 'Buffalo Bill' Cody.

A total of nine U.S. Presidents have been NRA members: the previously mentioned Kennedy, Reagan, and Roosevelt, as well as William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, and current President Donald Trump.

From 1998-2003, famed American actor Charlton Heston served as president of the NRA. At the organization's 2000 convention, Heston picked up a replica of a flintlock long rifle and stated:
"So, as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: 'From my cold, dead hands!'"

Heston repeated the phrase at the end of each NRA convention over which he presided. When he announced his retirement in 2003, he concluded by repeating "From my cold, dead hands."
The NRA sponsors programs on firearms safety, including hunting safety. It trains firearms instructors and issues credentials for same. It hosts and sponsors a number of shooting competitions. The organization publishes at least a half-dozen regular periodicals as well.

Their own "brief history" of the organization at the official NRA website reveals both the size of its membership and its primary modern activities:
"While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly five million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs."
I first fired a gun as a small boy of about 10-11 years old when my father gave my younger brother and I a brief lesson in the woods of the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. Dad was a Philadelphia Police supervisor at the time, and showed us how to safely use his service revolver.

I never fired a real gun again until I followed in Dad's footsteps, joining the Philadelphia Police Department in 1990. My brother had done the same the previous year.

I purchased my first private firearm a couple of years later, a small five-shot Smith & Wesson air weight revolver that I still own today.

Over the years, I considered joining the NRA, but it was never enough of a priority that I actually took the time or effort to follow through. That finally changed due to the events of this past week.

I finally logged on and joined the NRA, which you can do at that just passed link, due to principle. Seeing the organization and its spokespersons come under a ferocious attack by political liberals was the last straw.

In the most public attack, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch appeared at a "town hall" sponsored by liberal cable news outlet CNN in the aftermath of the Florida murders. 

Madeline Osburn for The Federalist reported that as Loesch and her security detail walked toward the stage, audience members shouted at her phrases like, “murderer,” “child killer,” and “burn her." For the record, Loesch has never killed anyone.

Per Matt Vespa with Townhall, in a subsequent interview Loesch stated that she and the organization were accused "of being child murders for supporting Second Amendment rights."

In recent days, a number of companies withdrew support or cut relationships with the NRA in various ways. For instance, car rental companies Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz each eliminated discounts for NRA members.

Meanwhile, as I pointed out earlier, the killer in Florida was not an NRA member. But these American businesses withdrew their discounts and other support due simply to pressure from liberal organizations and individuals. 

The effect of the moves was to hurt individual NRA members more than the actual organization. Again, those individual NRA members had nothing to do with Parkland or any other school shooting.

The 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution was part of the original 'Bill of Rights', the first ten "amendments" or updates, changes, and additions to the original Constitution.

Passed by the U.S. Congress on September 25, 1789, that 2nd Amendment reads as follows: 
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Nelson Lund and Adam Winkler at the Constitution Center website explain that "the Amendment was easily accepted because of widespread agreement that the federal government should not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms, any more than it should have the power to abridge the freedom of speech or prohibit the free exercise of religion." 

In my own first response to the Parkland shooting, published one week ago today, I called on Americans who care about any particular facet of the gun debate to engage in what I believe to be necessary conversation.
"We need to talk. We must be able to find a way to make the Parkland's, the Columbine's, and the Sandy Hook's more difficult, and even more rare than they are already. About that, there should be no debate.  Let's talk. Not shout one another down. Let's open our ears, minds, and hearts. Let's not be afraid to start the conversation. As with most things, we may not end up with everything we want. But together for once, let's come up with some answers."
However, talking is not enough. We also must be willing to back up our beliefs and a verbal or written intellectual expression with action. That was why I chose to finally join the NRA this week.

Wayne LaPierre has been the NRA's executive vice-president and chief executive officer since 1991. In his speech at CPAC 2018 this past week, LaPierre labeled the attacks on his organization correctly when he called them political attacks.
"They hate the NRA. They hate the 2nd Amendment. They hate individual freedom. In the rush of calls for more government, they've also revealed their true selves. The elites don't care - not one wit - about the American school system and school children. If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. For them, it's not a safety issue, it's a political issue. They care more about control, and more of it. Their goal is to eliminate the 2nd Amendment and our firearms freedoms, so they can eradicate all individual freedoms."

"...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Our Founding Fathers had it right, as they usually did. Healthy, responsible Americans need to be allowed to own firearms, whether for hunting, or personal protection, or to one day defend their communities, should that become necessary.

David French at the National Review wrote a piece on why it's "Not cowardly to be conservative on gun rights" in the aftermath of Parkland. In his piece, French made the following statement regarding the usual liberal progressive attacks:
"Angry voices take an extraordinarily complex social, cultural, and political phenomenon, boil it down to preferred progressive policy provisions, and then declare everyone who opposes their ideas a craven weakling in thrall to the NRA."
The NRA not only fights on behalf of that 2nd Amendment Right, but also supports training and safety. It is a wholly responsible organization made up of strong, principled, Constitution-loving and respecting American citizens.

I would urge all American gun owners and those who otherwise support the 2nd Amendment and overall American freedom to follow my lead. Join the National Rifle Association today.

No comments: