Oh, the good old days. Leave it to Beaver, the Andy Griffith Show, and a National Rifle Association that told people to be careful with guns and favored laws that kept dangerous people from buying guns.
We came across this advertisement, from a 1954 NRA publication, on Ebay. But seeing how representative it is of sweeping historic change, maybe it ought to be in the Smithsonian. Because when this advertisement was designed, the NRA actually thought:
- It was a good thing to be opposed to violent overthrow of the government of the United States, and
- Anyone who had been convicted of a violent crime should lose their ability to buy a gun.
Here's the text of the "Pledge" that would-be NRA members were asked to take:
"I certify that I am a citizen of the United States; that I am not a member of any organization which has as any part of its program the attempt to overthrow the government of the United States by force or violence; that I have never been convicted of a crime of violence and that if admitted to membership I will fulfill the obligations of good sportsmanship and good citizenship."
Now, the organization's leaders fight against limiting the access to firearms of people on the government's terror watch list, and oppose eliminating the loopholes that allow convicted felons from buying guns. And NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre argues that "the people have the right, must have the right, to take whatever measures necessary, including force, to abolish oppressive government."
On our side, we're for making it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons. We believe that suspected terrorists and convicted felons shouldn't be able to purchase firearms.
It seems to me the members of the NRA would be well served by looking at this ad and seeing how far things have gotten off track. Watch that muzzle, boys. And be sure of your target.