The need for most Americans to own a firearm passed around a century ago. However in 2007 we Americans are all still held hostage to the rabid whims of the National Rifle Association.
Sandy Froman, pistol-packing president of the NRA, smiles at me from above my desk every day this month. She's the April pin-up for my Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute "Great American Conservative Women" 2007 calendar. Besides seeing this as a public-relations nightmare, I wonder how she feels knowing that her organization is directly responsible for this country's insanely lax gun laws which have led to the senseless misery of thousands.
Listen, I respect hunters. Bow hunters, especially, but hunters in general spend hours out in nature and have the courage to actually kill what they eat. I can also understand the allure of firing a weapon. I've played paintball a few times and loved it. And I once sprayed an Uzi at a gun range in Vegas and it was a blast.
Handguns, however, are so easy to conceal and as almost extensions of our index fingers they allow the owner to almost magically point and zap away the problem immediately at hand. It is their very ease and efficiency that makes them such a danger to every single person within their radius -- including their owner.
We have needed sane gun laws for decades. Each of us is less safe because of the NRA and if the rest of us and our leaders don't stand up to them now we never will. The NRA leadership are a lunatic fringe that even their (overwhelmingly Republican-voting) membership have little in common with. They are like the Bushies who overran the Republican party and turned it into a base of operations for extreme-right-wing nutjobs.
Pin-up woman Froman, I'd like to tell you about my own personal history with a handgun. It is actually one that I never laid eyes on. When I was sixteen my mother didn't tell anyone that she had bought one, then one night drove off and parked in Yale's Payne Whitney gym parking lot. The police cleaned the blood out of our Audi and delivered it back to us a week or so later. When the police returned the gun to my father he immediately went back to the gun store where my mom had bought it, handed the manager back the gun and told him that his wife had used it to shoot herself in the heart.