When I was 10, my grandfather left me in alone in a blind in the deep woods of eastern Alabama with a rifle, a bottle of water and instructions to shoot any deer or turkey foolish enough to cross my path. (None did so, though my live-acting scenes from "Star Wars" probably scared them off).
When I turned 21, I went to the courthouse in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, paid $10, and a week later received by mail a permit to carry a concealed weapon. By that point, I owned several firearms, including a .40 caliber handgun that I bought a gun shop, after the mandatory background check. I live in New York City now, but when I go back to visit I often pick up a shotgun and shoot skeet with family.
Nothing currently under discussion as part of gun control talks would have infringed on my right to do any of the above. Hunting, buying guns for personal protection and most kinds of sports shooting would continue unabated. And yet, the NRA, the nation's most powerful gun lobby, is arguing that gun control measures currently under consideration by the White House, such as increased background checks, represent an "attack" on the Second Amendement.
In our story today, Peter Stone and I wrote about the close financial and personal ties between the gun industry and the NRA. In our story, we note that the NRA's hardline positions on gun control seem increasingly out of step with the views of average gun owners, including even its own members.
According to a 2012 poll conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 74 percent of NRA members support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, a position that the NRA has stridently opposed. "There's a big difference between the NRA's rank and file and the NRA's Washington lobbyists, who live and breathe for a different purpose," Mark Glaze, the executive director of the gun control group, said.
So I'm wondering, gun owners -- past and present -- what you think. Does the NRA represent your views on gun control?
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