Surprise! The NRA concedes nothing


Earlier in the week, we saw this release from the NRA:

National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters—and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown. Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting. The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again. The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21.

… which kind of made it sound like the gun lobby, sensing a change in mood in the country, even among some traditional allies, was willing to concede something, give some ground, agree to something it would never have agreed to before. I mean, that’s what “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions” sounds like to most people.

Fat chance.

Here’s what they came up with today:

WASHINGTON—The nation’s most powerful gun-rights lobby called Friday for armed security guards in schools, saying that children had been left vulnerable in their classrooms.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said that “the monsters and the predators of the world” have exploited the fact that schools are gun-free zones. Other important institutions—from banks to airports to sports stadiums—are protected with armed security, he said, but this country has left students defenseless.

So basically, their response to the nation’s concern over all those guns out there is… more guns. That, and gun-lover buzz phrases: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” It would never occur to the NRA that maybe, just maybe, an even better solution would be to keep the bad guy from getting a gun to begin with. There’s a whole lot less crossfire that way, for one thing.

Mind you, I’m not entirely against the idea of armed officers in schools. Mainly because, as I’ve said before, I think the likelihood of gun control measures that would really, truly keep guns out of the hands of bad guys is next to nil. It’s an economic problem. There are just too many guns out there chasing too many tragedies. Think chaos theory gone mad.

But I also think that’s not going to happen. For every extreme gun nut out there — the kind who sits up late oiling and stroking his weapons and whispering pet names to them, and thinks government exists to threaten his “freedoms” — there’s a corresponding gunophobe who goes weak in the knees at the very sight of anything that looks like a firearm, who gets chills down the spine at the idea of being within range of one, even in the hands of cops. And a lot of those folks in the latter groups have little kids in school, and would have an absolute stroke at the idea of any sort of firearms in the vicinity of their children. (And this week, it’s a little hard to argue with their emotional response.)

Beyond that, though, my real objection is this: The NRA’s utter unwillingness to say, “Here’s something we’re willing to give up.” This was a moment for doing that. Something, anything, however marginal or minimal in impact, that said “fewer guns” rather than “more guns.”

But the folks at the gun lobby seem to be genetically incapable of that. Or something.

16 thoughts on “Surprise! The NRA concedes nothing

  1. Norm Ivey

    All of the schools in Richland 2 already have an armed deputy at least part time. Middle schools and high schools have them full time.

    After the shootings in Newtown, our faculty met to discuss areas that needed to be addressed to secure our school. Our principal told of an article he had read that described the convergence of school and prison design. Armed guards is one more step on that convergence.

    SC representative Lowe (R-Florence) has proposed allowing teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, janitors–everyone, basically–to carry concealed weapons on campus. The last thing we need in the schools is more weapons. I doubt that it would take long before we hear of a school shooting committed by a student with a teacher’s weapon, or worse, committed by a teacher.

  2. JoanneH

    Call me a cynic at anyone armed at a school, not because I don’t think they would be ineffective, but who knows where they’d be? Semi-automatic weapons can do a massive amount of killing in a short period of time, and there would have to be an officer waiting for the gunman as he (or she, to be fair) entered. Crystal ball anyone?

    I feel about guns in school, no matter who has them, as I do about guns in a home: they need to be locked up, which defeats the purpose in the view of many.

    Could it be the problem has many sides to it?

    I blame video games, movies, and TV somewhat, but the companies only put out what the public demands.

    I blame proliferation of guns in the nation, but they are available because many demand them to be (something about an amendment…).

    I blame lack of mental health care, but the public in general doesn’t see the need for a large amount in a state budget to be provided for the treatment necessary.

    Huh. Seems the common denominator is… the public in general. Yes, cynical, I know, but I think there is truth in that the fault lies in all of “us” to a certain extent. And every group is hoping the other will take the blame.

    As to the shooter, I imagine if the teachers in that school system who knew him told the truth we’d hear there were a lot of red flags before he got to 10th grade, more than likely.

    We all know the troubled kids at my school; we know the ones to leave alone when we’re on duty or in class. We know if a student has a BIP (behavior intervention plan) there will be no punishment if the behavior is a part of the disability. Punch a teacher in the face? “He was acting out; send him home for a day.”
    Cuss a teacher out? “Speak with him about the behavior and let him sit in the principal’s office to cool off.”

    And, yes, bring a cache of knives to school? “It’s OK. He didn’t mean it.”–This last one actually happened 5 years ago. The next year? The student murdered another student off-campus. Thank God he was off campus. We used to pray some of these students would be arrested off campus after school or on the weekend so that the documents couldn’t protect them.

    We all have to respect the student’s disability and privacy…. See? There’s “we” again.

    [steps off soapbox]

  3. Mark Stewart

    Listening to the NRA dig its own hole this morning, I thought of the parallels between forced tithing to the Anglican or Puritan church (depending upon one’s location) in the 18th century. Everyone paid propertytaxes to support the church and its priests, no matter one’s faith. Somehow this idea that we all must pay for the misuse and mishandling of firearms – like police in every school across the nation – is a bit like support of a state church. If people want to own guns, they should shoulder the true cost.

    It really is more like auto or property insurance the more I think about it. It makes sense to levy a use tax on weapons to cover their true cost to society.

    In the 18th century,the wide dispersal of flintlock firearms was a net societal benefit. No one would argue the validity of that today; we all know guns cost far more to society than they offer in benefits. It is true that with 200+ million guns out there we will never put the genie back in the bottle. But we can require the insurance/tax that will encourage people to begin to make rational decisions about gun ownership and gun safety.

    I am not talking about a revenue creating tax, but only an economic structure to incentivize certain behavior and recoup existing expenditures tied specifically to the existance of guns – and more specifically certain types of guns.

    Pay to play; isn’t that the “conservative” mantra? Do it the same way the state funds Parks and the DNR and insurers look at risk factors. We have to start recognizing the true costs, just as we do with our cars and homes and lifestyle choices.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    That’s an interesting train of thought, Mark, but linking this “economic structure” to the taxes to support the church hands gun rights advocates a rather devastating rejoinder:

    Just as we have the First Amendment to prevent the latter, we have the second to bar the former. They would argue that such fees place an undue burden on gun owners and therefore “infringe” upon that constitutional right.

  5. Mark Stewart

    And I would argue that gun owners are the equivalent of the 18th century Anglican church forcing everyone to pay for the societal costs that arise from the gun owners to keep their own box costs down. I don’t reject anyone’s right to bear arms. I reject the idea that everyone must subsidize the bad behavior of some gun owners.

    There is absolutly a way to encourage the removal of firearms from the market – and our nation’s closets – without prohibiting gun ownership by responsible people in responsuble ways. And, yes, people will always kill people with guys. We can, however, reduce this toll.

    What I heard from the NRA today was simply that only more guns will cure our ills. That is patently false; this hasn’t been the NRA of our childhood for twenty plus years. This is a lobbying front of the gun manufacturers. Nothing more. This has nothing to do with hunting, marksmanship, or the transfer of knowledge and insight from one generation to another. This is the front of an industry that thrives on paranoia. The NRA is not a guardian; it is a peddler of death.

  6. tavis micklash

    I think there is still a good chance that some sort of law is going to get passed.

    Its easy to tell you what is NOT going to happen. They are not going to concede any ban your run of the mill home defense weapon. The left can push for an Australia style complete 180 all they want. Its just not going to happen.

    They also aren’t going to give in to an assault weapon ban.

    Here is what you MAY see.

    More comprehensive background checks. The gun show loophole allowing private sales to be exempt from background checks may be closed.

    Limitations of magazine sizes also has a chance of happening. The 100 plus drum feeders may be a thing of the past. The number I’ve seen bandied about is over 10.

    I support both these regulations as they are reasonable and will not impact target shooters, sportsman and home defense.

    If an assault weapon ban was to pass it would be gutted with exceptions to the point of uselessness. If you limit the clip size that solves most the problem anyways.

  7. tavis micklash

    “Listening to the NRA dig its own hole this morning,”

    The NRA is not operating from a position of strength at the moment. The longer this lingers the harder it will be to pass.

    Better to seize the advantage now than allow them to get off the mat.

    The goal shouldn’t be to mock or “defeat” the NRA anyways. They serve a valuable purpose as advocates of gun safety and protecting the rights of hunters that just want to go out with their kids like they did with their dads.

  8. Ralph Hightower

    Perhaps the next idea that the NRA proposes is to surround the schools with concertina wire, similar to that which surrounds prisons.

    Lining the schools with barbed wire will prevent less than savory people from doing mayhem. However, doing so will wreck havoc on neighborhood traffic where the schools are located. Traffic would be worse than that at Malfunction Junction.

  9. Herb

    I’m one of those that get the chills, not because I necessarily don’t abhor firearms; I have just watched reports of far too much carnage in the last 15 years. These children, as I’ve commented before, are not somebody’s else’s children and grandchildren–in a way they belong to us all–and the loss is all of ours. I don’t know what’s going to be done about it–probably nothing, which makes me really frustrated.

    I do really wish I could move back to Germany and get out of this culture. It’s happened there, too (in imitation of the US, I suppose), but far less frequently. Or maybe I just wish myself back in general to the Germany of the 70s and 80s, with no TV advertising, limited consumer debt, and far more contentment–and superb health care.

    Our children are not safe in the womb, nor outside of it, it seems.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    The police shot bystanders and not the perp at the Empire State Building shooting.

    Actually, proper security can stop a bad guy with a gun far more efficiently than a good guy with a gun

  11. Karen McLeod

    How many guns do we need? Fort Hood shoulda had enough. Columbine had an armed guard. We get the mental health care that we pay for. So far we aren’t paying any money for it. So children pay with their lives. To pay money we need to (gasp!) raise taxes. I suspect that if we armed teachers (per NRA suggestion) the killer would simply aim for the teacher(s) first. In addition, I suspect that many of those who have the love and temperment to teach, especially on the early elementary level, would either not shoot at all, delay shooting until it was too late, or be shaking so much that they’d be more likely to hit someone other than the killer.

  12. Kathryn Fenner

    Herb, they had a shooting in Germany. There are actually no more shooting events than before. We just hear about them.

    You cannot be 100% safe anywhere.

  13. Mark Stewart


    That was the old NRA of fathers and sons. The Norman Rockwell version. This is the lobby for death merchants.

    Turn schools into prisons? Turn life into a pre-apocolyptic combat zone? Those losers are the Vandal horde. Nothing more.

  14. tavis micklash

    “That was the old NRA of fathers and sons. The Norman Rockwell version. This is the lobby for death merchants. ”

    I think there is a substantial portion of the NRA that is willing to compromise. Everyone in the NRA doesn’t own an AK-47.

    There is a considerable amount that have been trained to fear the progressives. They are afraid that if they give on assault rifles it will start the slippery slope. For example on Mother Jones right now there are 3 anti gun articles highlighted. On MSNBC they were calling for everyone to surrender their guns the Saturday after.

    Everyone of these extreme left viewpoints drives conservatives that would be willing to compromise back to their trenches. While they may give somewhat they aren’t going to give up everything.

    For example Joe Scarborough who had an A rating with the NRA is pushing some kind of gun legislation.

  15. tavis micklash

    The other political reality is that house republicans are far more concerned with a primary challenge than general election. Right now the NRA may be behind the eight ball but the momentum is already turning.

    No sense angering the juggernaut that is the NRA and get ousted by a far right wing challenger in 2 more years.

    Right or wrong that is the political reality of the Republican party.

    Its easy for a blogger like me with absolutely nothing to lose to take an unpopular viewpoint. Its quite another for politicians to do so in SC.

    Here is a nugget. Bloomberg has a group called the Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Though Bloomberg is VERY anti gun the Federal Legislation its backing is not. Mainly pushes for gun background checks.

    No 10+ magazine or Assualt Rifle bans.

    3 SC mayors have joined. Riley out of Charleston, McElveen out of Sumter and the Mayor of Timmonsville.

    No mayor that has any aspirations past their current position is touching it. I can’t even get Mayor Benjamin to comment on it. Can’t blame him. In the south that’s political suicide.

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