Two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different. One person can look at one thing and see two totally different things. We’re talking the NRA convention and the works of M. C. Esher [not shown]. Of the two, the NRA convention is the more germane. Which why the TTAG team attended the Nashville get-together of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. We saw proud manufacturers and peaceful gun owners celebrating their gun rights. Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center probably didn’t attend the Convention. But that didn’t stop him from portraying NRAAM as a gathering of unregulated death merchants and their willing enablers. Check out his email blast below. Here’s hoping Josh’s vision becomes less Hieronymus Bosch and more Jean-Honoré Fragonard. If you know what I mean . . .
The NRA’s Big Weekend
Dear VPC Supporter,
The NRA was in Nashville last weekend for its annual meeting, where one of the main orders of business was to help the organization’s top corporate donors sell more guns. The NRA website called it a “weekend of fellowship and fun.” Here’s the kind of “fun” they’re talking about . . .
The annual meeting is home to the nation’s largest public gun show of new weaponry, featuring assault rifles with high-capacity ammunition magazines–military-bred weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time available. One exhibitor hit a new low in “rebranding” double-speak, calling its AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle a “Defensive Sporting Rifle.”
At the same time, the NRA leadership was busy reinforcing its opposition to any and all proposed federal regulations to prevent gun violence and save lives.
But there’s one inconvenient and striking fact that didn’t come up during the weekend celebration. In Tennessee, where the annual meeting took place, the number of gun deaths now exceeds the number of deaths from motor vehicles. In fact, a new VPC report found that gun deaths now outpace motor vehicle deaths in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
Motor vehicle deaths are on a long-term decline nationwide, and there’s a simple reason for that. Decades of public-health based injury prevention strategies have helped make our vehicles and highways safer. Just a few examples include air bags, seat belts, and a crackdown on driving under the influence of alcohol.
For guns, it’s a very different story. Guns are the only consumer products the federal government does not regulate for health and safety. And the NRA lobbyists who gathered in Nashville last weekend are determined to keep it that way.
More than 90 percent of American households have a car while fewer than a third have a gun. Americans’ exposure to motor vehicles vastly outweighs their exposure to firearms.
Yet nationwide, there were 33,636 gun deaths and 35,612 motor vehicle deaths in 2013 (the most recent year for which comprehensive state-level data is available). That’s unacceptable. And that’s why we need new laws and regulations to reduce the toll of gun violence and protect public safety.
Read our report on gun deaths and motor vehicle deaths, and learn the facts about gun violence in America. And please join us to call on our leaders to regulate firearms for health and safety just like all other consumer products.