Buzz and I have come to the conclusion that the reason Executive Vice President of the NRA Wayne La Pierre is so opposed to background checks is that he'd never pass the mental health aspect of the check. He did support background checks in 1999, but that was during has sane years. Today, he is just plain nuts.
Since I'm not much of a hunter, sportsman, or gun enthusiast, and my idea of self defense falls into the Monty Python's Holy Grail retreat, "run away!" I had to consult Buzz on this one. Buzz is a lifetime NRA member and quite the small game hunter. Like Mitt Romney, he hunts varmints. He has quite the collection of stuffed squirrels, racoons, rabbits, and prairie dogs adorning his living room walls.
Newtown should have changed everything
After the tragic deaths of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, public outrage seemed to finally be on the side of gun control. Three areas seemed ripe for reform: background checks for all gun sales (criminal record and mental health,) limits on magazine clips (probably 10 or so per clip,) and a renewal of the expired assault weapons ban.
The mental illness poster child Wayne La Pierre is opposed to all of these. They all infringe on the outrageous profits of gun manufacturers which La Pierre is trying to protect..... Oh sorry, I meant they infringe on the precious Second Amendment right to bear arms which La Pierre is trying to protect.
For the sake of argument, let's assume that the US Supremes were right when they decided in a 5 to 4 vote that the Second Amendment includes an individual right to bear arms (despite the clear meaning of the clause protects a state "militia's" right to bear arms.) With this said, no right is absolute. If it were, we wouldn't have libel and slander laws or laws preventing speech which calls for imminent violence or the violent overthrow of the United States government. (Remember, the First Amendment says, in part, "Congress shall make no law" prohibiting freedom of speech.)
La Pierre's argument that the reasonable laws being proposed are an infringement on Second Amendment rights are the stuff that should cause all reasonable gun owners to take pause and question La Pierre's sanity.
The public wants new gun laws
94 percent of Americans polled by CNN in January favor background checks, including over 70 percent of NRA members. 61 percent favor bans on semi-automatic weapons, yet La Pierre says "nyet."
President Barack Obama continues to press for background checks, magazine limits, and an assault weapons' ban, but it is highly unlikely that the magazine limits or assault weapons ban will pass through Congress. Background checks do have a chance.
La Pierre's opposition to background checks is pure bullshit. If the NRA supports the rights of law abiding citizens to own guns, how does a background check get in the way. No one in their right mind wants violent criminals to possess a firearm of any kind. The same goes with those who are mentally ill. People like the Colorado theater killer, the Gabby Giffords gunman, and the Newtown shooter should never have been within a mile of a loaded weapon.
With regards to the magazine limits, Buzz and I were listening to satellite radio today, and they read a message from a 57 year old lifelong hunter. In Newtown, the killer shot about 150 rounds in about 6 minutes, this 57 year old avid hunter said, "I haven't shot 150 rounds in my lifetime." Sorta brings home the point on magazine limits. For what lawful purpose would anyone need a 30 round magazine. Heck, when I went through basic training, my M-16 had only a twenty round clip, and our job was to actually kill people in battle.
The final piece is the assault weapons ban. We had an assault weapons' ban in the US for about ten years. Originally passed in the mid 1990s by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the ban was allowed to lapse under the Republican Congress and President George W. Bush in 2004. (Yes, Bush's screw ups weren't only the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, unnecessary tax cuts for the rich, running the economy into a ditch....)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn't even include the assault weapons' ban in his gun control bill, for fear that it could kill the background checks. He did say it could be offered as an amendment to the bill. Really? Apparently too many Senators have been hanging out with La Pierre.
Time to wake up Congress
It's time to wake up. Congress needs to know that a good majority of the American people want new gun laws.
Republicans have been arguing against the new laws, in part, because they say we should enforce the laws already on the books. Buzz and I agree, but there's no reason why we can't do both --- pass new laws and enforce the ones already out there.
As for Wayne La Pierre, let's get him a mental health exam.
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