As a law-abiding citizen and a responsible gun owner, I have found the National Rifle Association (NRA) to be in conflict with my own views.
So much so that many years ago I refused to renew my membership with them. And good thing too because their "waiting out of respect" press conference today was not only a joke but disingenuous. In short, the NRA is dead wrong!
Look, don't think for a moment I don't believe in my Constitutional Right to own a gun or protect myself or family. However the national conversation caused by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School demands that all citizens find a way to agree on certain hot button issues surrounding that right. And the way I see it - it is about time people agree that Assault Weapons have no place in the hands of a private citizen.
Look, I understand the gun collectors point of view about the AR-15 being the epitome of a fine weapon for its ease of use, the fact it is lightweight and has a wide array of accessories and is an exceptional collectors item. But the bottom line is that this is still a lethal killing machine and is best suited for members of the military and/or police para-military units.
Yet, the NRA refuses to engage that topic and instead shifted their conversation to burdening every single school in the nation with armed guards? Seems to me that that solution is damn near logistically impossible even if teachers and staff were to agree on locking-up a cache of weapons as a means of first response.
Although I suppose the fees the NRA and its affiliates could rake in to certify all those people working in schools would be great for their financial bottom line, I still seriously doubt that in the event of another Sandy Hook tragedy that even a trained educator staff would be mentally up to the task given the stresses associated with such an act.
Armed volunteers, meanwhile, might be doable in many communities but not everywhere. Besides the last thing children need is seeing what would amount to a wall of armed guards surrounding their playgrounds and wondering when and if to duck when bullets start flying in every direction.
So the way I see it, all the NRA basically said today was that they are still unwilling to engage the subject of reasonable gun laws. As usual.
They would rather place the blame elsewhere and while I agree that popular graphic video games like Call of Duty have gone "way, way over the top" and that Hollywood and the television media are equally responsible and culpable for glorifying violence and the degradation of society norms - they certainly are not entirely to blame either.
Society in general has degraded. Parents, it seems, take little or no responsibility. Even worse is when they enable their spoiled darling children such as the parents of one of my own sons' friends who see absolutely no problem in letting their kid go to midnight game releases on a school night for the latest copy of Call of Duty and then let him play it all night when he gets back - and are you read for this - they then call him in sick to school the next morning.
Adding to that irresponsibility is when you see the kid's Facebook Page and he is praising the graphics and realism of the new game while and one of the parents comments "glad you like it - you really deserved it." Talk about fu&$ed up! Then, of course, there are the parents who pay absolutely no attention to their children because its either too hard, they are too overwhelmed or are just basically just consumed with their own "me-me" lives.
And then we wonder why there are so many kids who are either on anti-psychotic drugs and eventually go postal or show a general lack of responsibility or respect towards society?
However, getting back to the subject of reasonable gun laws: I see no problem with fair and reasonable laws governing our right to bear arms; i.e. submitting to mandated background checks prior to the purchase of a firearm, the elimination of straw sales and/or taking assault weapons and high capacity clips out of the mainstream.
It just makes perfect sense to me.
Besides, I feel relatively secure that our right to bear arms won't be severely diminished since the US Supreme Court has already upheld that right. Quite frankly as it stands now I don't feel as if I am being encumbered or burdened in any way by the tougher than most set of rules that I am already following here in Illinois. The way I see it what I am asked to do legally in Illinois right now are more than fair and allow me to be responsible.
However, I also believe in what Charlton Heston once said - "from my cold dead hands." And should there be any overt or over the top attempts by the State of Illinois or Federal Government to take away my constitutional rights, then that is something that I simply would tolerate or accept. And neither should anyone else if they are so inclined about protecting their constitutional rights.
There are just too many bad people out there who don't give a damn about any sort of laws or gun restrictions. And we already know that no matter what the law says they will always have access to firearms and aren't afraid to use them. As such law-abiding citizens deserve to have a level playing field because bad people should have to think twice about whether or not the person they are about to maim or rob is protecting themselves or not.
But at the same token I fully understand why some people would want absolutely nothing to do with a firearm in their house. And I am very mindful and respectful of their views. But please don't be anything but the same when it comes to my views either. Like I said, I already follow every law and requirement demanded of me by authorities.
However, if you really want something to think about - everyone in Illinois should be concerned how the Illinois State Police issues Firearm Owners Identification Cards (FOID). They are forced to rubber-stamp applications because they are severely undermanned and have been underfunded by a corrupt and thieving State Legislature for decades. Simply put they cannot do their jobs properly and that leads to people who shouldn't be getting FOID's getting the first essential vehicle required to legally purchase a gun or ammunition.
And something else to think about is that one of the questions asked on the FOID Application is if the person has had any history of mental illness. Naturally this is done on an honor system and as such I am sure that many who have had issues won't disclose that fact despite the perjury warning at the bottom of the form. So unless the State Police have an up to date database to cross-reference against we have another problem.
Yes there are medical privacy laws involved here and we must be mindful of that but even medical professionals are required by law to report any threats to society despite their reluctance to do so and/or their Hippocratic oaths. People who have a history of mental illness simply should not qualify for a FOID let alone purchase and/or possess a firearm because they not only do they pose a substantial threat to society but to themselves as well.
So there is a lot to think about here and the time has come to engage the issues in a sensible and rational way. And even though I anticipate a backlash of nasty comments from either side of this debate - I felt it necessary to speak my mind on why I think the NRA was dead wrong today.
And while the world is in desperate need of guardian angels I don't believe that that should include innocent children.
This madness has to stop!
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