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NRA: The Job Creators

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In this time of high unemployment, the National Rifle Association has stepped up to do what other groups haven't. They have offered a plan to create jobs. Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president for the NRA put forth the idea of a "National School Shield Emergency Response Program" as their solution to prevent future occurrences of mass killings like the one in Connecticut.

The NRA leadership promised a meaningful response to those shootings and they delivered, however the "meaningful" part was only meaningful to them: the creation of more jobs that require guns, the sale of more guns for those jobs and supervision of such a program by the NRA.

LaPierre demonstrated a rare desire to work with the government:

I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school -- and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.

That spirit of cooperation quickly evaporated according to the New York Times:

Leaders of the National Rifle Association said Sunday that they would fight any new gun restrictions introduced in Congress, and they made clear that they were not interested in working with President Obama to help develop a broad response to the Connecticut school massacre.

The NRA has appointed former U.S. Congressman, lobbyist and Homeland Security appointee from Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, to head up this program. He explained how the program would work: "... this will be a program that doesn't depend on massive funding from local authorities or the federal government. Instead, it'll make use of local volunteers serving in their own communities."

A group of armed locals patrolling the playground creates a school experience resembling a prison experience. The NRA organizing groups of armed locals around the country becomes much like the militia they claim our founding fathers intended us to be protected by, except they are protecting us from us, not a foreign army.

"Guns don't kill people, people do." Actually, bullets tearing apart the body kill people. Not coincidentally, bullets are fired from guns. Although you could probably beat someone to death with an unloaded assault weapon, mass killings would be a lot more difficult. Maybe bullets should be regulated, like prescription medicine or any controlled substance which is considered dangerous.

"The government will confiscate our guns," is another cry often heard. Like "death panels" and other catchy but untrue claims of government intrusions on our lives, it has never been proposed and would be impossible to impose.

There must be NRA members, responsible sportsmen and hunters, who would support the safe use of firearms, which would require training and reasonable regulations. This should not be positioned as a liberal or conservative issue; the victims of these crimes were from all political persuasions. It's a human rights issue.

Many politicians publicly condemn the shooting of innocent people, as if anyone supports it, but do nothing to change policy about it. They took similar stands when they condemned the shootings of 59 people in a Aurora Colorado movie theater where 12 were killed, the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others in Arizona where 6 died, at the McDonald's in California where 21 people were killed, Columbine; the list goes on, so does the lack of legislation.

The tragic shootings in Connecticut were a wakeup call for many -- to wake up and buy more guns -- in record numbers. As if stockpiling food for a coming storm, gun buyers stocked up on firearms, especially semi-automatic weapons, fearing a scarcity or, even worse, background checks and regulations.

The Newtown Connecticut murders awoke the slumbering beast of the gun control debate in the United States; it awakens after every mass shooting and then goes back to sleep until the next massacre of innocent people.

To claim that someone who opens fire on a crowd and kills several people is mentally unstable is an obvious truth. Sane people don't do that. The mental instability argument is used to deflect attention from the real issue of how easy it is to obtain assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Other countries have violent, disturbed people too, but the United States ranks first in gun ownership and in murders with firearms in the world. It is harder to get a driver's license or open a checking account than to buy a gun.

Having a gun registered, like a car, so the owner can be found in the event of an offence or theft doesn't seem unreasonable either. However, if you use a car as a lethal weapon, like in the case of drunk driving, your right to operate it can be revoked. MADD, "Mothers Against Drunk Driving" confronted the alcohol and automobile lobbies and prevailed due to huge public support. Growing public support for some form of gun regulation is something that concerns the NRA. The amplified tragedy of 20 children being shot multiple times with an assault rifle seems to finally be tilting the argument toward a need for some sort of regulation. People who are united may reveal that one of the strongest lobbies in the country can't continue to ignore the call for regulation.

"If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and the security that is only available with a properly trained -- armed -- good guy." -- Wayne Lapierre

The argument is: If guns are outlawed, only the "bad guys" would have the guns. None of us want bad guys to get guns, but clearly they do. It doesn't seem unreasonable to have a waiting period, a background check and registration required for all gun sales, in stores, shows and among individuals. A transfer of ownership is required when a car or house is sold; the same should be required of guns. If someone needs a gun right now, that's a pretty strong indication that something bad is going to happen.

Opponents of gun control argue that there would be less crime if more people were armed. Because Virginia Tech's gun-free "safe zone" policy ensured that none of the other students or faculty would be armed, no one was able to stop the shooter. Arizona's gun laws are among the most permissive in the country, yet no armed civilian stopped Jared Lee Loughner. In the fantasy world of "more people should have guns" advocates, Connecticut killer Adam Lanza would have been stopped if the teachers had been armed. None of the mass killings were ended by armed civilians. It was either the police or the shooter ended the spree by shooting himself.

The corollary to "only the bad guys would have guns" is if more" good guys" had guns the bad guys would be more reluctant to use them, in fear of being shot by a good guy. The logical conclusion is, if we all had guns we'd all be safer.

We have the NRA leadership to thank for being job creators, not only for offering their proposal but for all the gun manufacturers and sellers, grief counselors, undertakers and cemeteries that will benefit from their program.