If I were to tell you that I’m shocked about Wayne LaPierre’s speech on Sandy Hook, I would be lying. The first time I became familiar with his enlightened position on guns was last year when I read an article in the New York Times entitled, N.R.A. Declines To Meet With Obama On Gun Policy. After the Tucson shooting where 6 people were killed and 13 were wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the Justice Department started a series of meetings with different groups representing gun-control and pro-gun advocates:
The effort follows Mr. Obama’s call, in a column on Sunday in a Tucson newspaper, to put aside “stale policy debates” and begin “a new discussion” on ways to better enforce and strengthen existing laws to keep mentally unstable, violent and criminal people from getting guns.
But the National Rifle Association, for decades the most formidable force against proposals to limit gun sales or ownership, is refusing to join the discussion.[N.Y. Times]
Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A.’s chief executive had this to say about the meetings:
“Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?”
So, I was sure that LaPierre’s speech following Sandy Hook would be confirmation of the NRA’s long-standing credo that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” In what seems to be an evolution of that very stupid thought, LaPierre now declares that good guys with guns must kill bad guys with guns. Therefore, his solution for protecting schools is to have an armed guard present, even though two good guys with guns could not stop the Columbine High School massacre where 15 people were killed and 23 were wounded, in 1999.
Then we have David Keene, the N.R.A. president who doesn’t want us to overreact about Sandy Hook. No, instead:
“He promised that the NRA, which boasts more than 4 million members, will spare no effort to defeat President Obama’s push to reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban—which was enacted under President Clinton in 1994 but allowed to expire 10 years later—or, for that matter, any attempt to legislate tightened background checks for gun-show shoppers or a ban on high-capacity magazines of the sort that Adam Lanza reportedly used at Sandy Hook” [The Daily Beast]
I am appalled by the statements of these two N.R.A. leaders. It’s true that I don’t like guns. If it were up to me I would ban all of them except hunting rifles, and then I would institute laws that would ensure that only hunters would have them. But, I can understand that others do like them and that many of those who do are “good guys.” However, I don’t understand why the N.R.A leadership refuses to support a ban on guns that shoot 30 bullets in 10 seconds or 100 rounds without reloading, for example. I don’t understand why any civilians would have a need for these types of guns.
But what I find even more difficult to understand is how Keene and LaPierre can remain so untouched by the deaths at Sandy Hook. Besides the six adults that died defending them, twenty children, none older than 7, were killed. All were shot multiple times, some up to 11 times. Their photos and short bios have haunted our nation in the past week. How can Wayne LaPierre and David Keene be against a ban on guns like the one that Adam Lanza used when even gun owners (who are not in the N.R.A.) are for a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines? Where is their empathy, their humanity, their common sense? Nowhere.
It seems that this massacre has made Keene keener about fighting sensible gun control laws. As for LaPierre, he has the perfect name for a man who has a heart of stone.