Gun Control And The N.R.A. Essay, Research Paper
Gun Control and the N.R.A.
The fire over the gun control debate in America is fueled by two sides, the National Rifle Association and their stand on the constitutional right to bear arms, and those fighting for gun control to end gun violence. The Second Amendment of the Constitution says, “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.” When our forefathers wrote this amendment, over two-hundred years ago, they were certainly insuring the right for the people of the newly formed states to form militias to protect themselves. However, it is questioned today wether it was conceived by our forefathers that one day your average citizen, criminal, or nutcase could go out and easily buy a gun of such firepower that they could wipe out an entire mass transit car full of passengers in a matter of seconds. Such travesties happen today, and unfortunately enough an average of fourteen children a day and 40,000 Americans a year are killed due to gun violence (Beard). The gunner’s argument to this is that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The answer to the problem of gun violence may or may not be in banning or regulation, but as long as there are any type of guns in America we should keep in mind the old saying that exists in our culture, “God created man and Col. Colt made us equal (Hammer).”
A real attempt at banning or strict regulation of assault and hand-guns could certainly reduce gun violence in our society. There are however some 70 million Americans that own more than 200 million rifles and hang-guns in a $20-billion-plus-a-year business, and this is something that seems unpatriotic and unconstitutional to the three and a half million member strong National Rifle Association, and this is where the politics gets involved (Encarta, Smolowe, and Gest). “The N.R.A. plays political games hard, inside and outside, but we are like a big family,” says the second vice president Neal Knox. “Woe be unto you if you say something bad about our mama. We circle the wagons (Smolowe).” Their pride and numbers is what makes them such a political force which goes along with what the N.R.A. president meant when she said, “We’re simply mainstream Americans. Flesh and blood folks from every walk of life. We work hard, we raise our families, obey the law, defend our rights, and we vote (Hammer)!”
The N.R.A. is not just a gun lobby on a mission to fight for the right to bear arms, but they are also are committed to gun safety as explained by president Marion Hammer.
When young children fell victim to accidents because guns weren’t stored properly, the anti-gunners wrung their hands and whined about banning guns in the home. Only the NRA rolled up its sleeves and developed the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program, a life-saving service that has reached over 7 ? million children. We’ve done more to keep children safe than all the government agencies put together, and all of the anti-gun organizations put together, and all the TV networks put together. We won the National Safety Council’s 1993 Outstanding Community Service Award for that program and the American Legion’s prestigious Nation Education Award for 1995. But you didn’t see any of that on NEWS AT 11 or in the headlines of the morning paper. (Hammer)
She explains one side of the N.R.A. that most people agree with whole heartedly, but then there is the very controversial militant and uncompromising side. One example would be the N.R.A. fund-raising letter that called federal officials “jackbooted government thugs”, which provoked George Bush to cancel his membership to the N.R.A. while in office (Smolowe). “George Bush has really opened my eyes,” says N.R.A. member Ray Guzman. “The N.R.A. is too much to the right (Smomlowe).” Another example is the N.R.A.’s backing of cop-killer bullets and their opposition to the marking of explosives so that terrorists can be tracked down through their own bombs. “The N.R.A. suffers a public backlash for its extremism” (Smomlowe), but the attraction of the more radical gun owner has N.R.A. members working harder towards the cause and digging deeper into their pockets.
There are now four major pieces of legislation currently surrounding the issue of gun control. One was the Brady Bill in 1993, which “may have been the greatest victory for gun control in American history (Lacayo).” It requires a five-day waiting period so that a background check can be run on a person planning to purchase a hand-gun, with the sole purpose of keeping these guns out of the hands of criminals. The N.R.A. opposes this law because they feel it takes away the rights of your average law-abiding citizen where as your average criminal can easilly buy a hand-gun right off the street.
The second piece of legislation is the assault-weapons ban in 1994 on several different models of automatic weapons. Gun control supporters consider these weapons useful for only criminals because their sole purpose is to kill heinously and serve no hunting or sporting purposes. There have been several attempts at repealing this ban, not only by the N.R.A., but also as campaign promises from Bob Dole.
The third is something called the Handgun Standard Act. This would all but eliminate the production and distribution of so-called “junk guns”. These are small, poorly made, and very inexpensive hand-guns that are very dangerous because of their lack of safety features. The hope is that a ban on “junk guns” would help bring an end to accidental shootings, especially those involving children. “Selling these junk guns is like placing time bombs in our communities and waiting for them to go off. Prohibiting their sale will make all of us safer.”, so says the president of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. (Beard)
The last and most recent attack at the N.R.A. deals with campaign finance reform. Reforms limiting how much money special interest groups, like the N.R.A., contribute to political campaigns would weaken the N.R.A. as a political force. The N.R.A. claims, “their First Amendment rights are being stomped on so as to infringe on their Second Amendment rights”. This issue seems to take center stage after one fundraising scandal appears right after another involving the presidential campaigns. (NRA-ILA Fax Alert)
If conclusion, if you look at gun control in Great Britain versus that of the United States you will find that we are very different. For instance, a ban on all hand-guns in the U.K. is expected to easily pass in the upcoming year. This has to do with the fact that only one out of every twenty homes in Britain have hand-guns, compared to one out of every two in the United States (Witkin). This cultural difference is why attempts at gun control in the United States is such a heated topic. Bans and background checks are considered attacks at our civil rights by some, and measures to save lives by others.