By Wayne LaPierre
NRA Executive Vice President
In the midst of demands for gun bans after the live-broadcast murders of a young Virginia television reporter and her cameraman by a deranged, fired coworker, a good friend of mine asked the most fundamental question: “Wayne, what’s this got to do with us?” When you think about it, as a peaceable, law-abiding gun owner, it is a profound question that applies to many media-intensified tragedies, as well as to the spike in criminal violence in many cities. What has this got to do with us? The answer to that question is emphatic . . .
“Not a single thing!”
As NRA members, we are 5 million Americans among the over 100 million citizens who own firearms. We are not criminals. Our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness and our exercise of the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with crime. Yet the gun-banners often seem to equate our pursuit and the armed protection of our homes, families and communities with the actions of violent criminals.
Many gun owners have come to believe that so-called “gun control” is nothing more than an attempt to make the innocent pay the price for the guilty.
Almost immediately after the Aug. 26, 2015, televised murders, President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley were trumpeting demands for more gun control—specifically “universal” background checks. Even though the murderer had no previous criminal or mental health record and, therefore, had already cleared the background check.
In addition to being seen in a live on-the-scene broadcast, the killer made a video of his crime and posted it on Facebook. He sent a manifesto to ABC News saying, as an African-American, he was trying to start a “race war.”
This was a monster in waiting until that fateful morning. No background check system can measure evil intent, so he passed a legally mandated background check when purchasing a firearm from a Virginia dealer.
Nonetheless, making any transfer of any firearm between law-abiding citizens subject to a background check was the demand of media and gun-ban politicians. Proponents of such measures prove seemingly unable to differentiate between good and evil. They apparently cannot face the fact that there are bad people in this world.
You cannot “prevent” evil. You can’t keep anything “out of the wrong hands” any more than you can keep evil thoughts out of anyone’s mind.
But once again, in the wake of tragedy, you and I were called to blame. For the criminal acts of sociopaths, we are supposed to accept “responsibility.”
“Responsibility.” That word has crept into the gun-ban lexicon to join the focus-group-tested, feel-good terms like “common sense” and “reasonable.” When the gun-ban crowd and their media enablers use that word, it doesn’t mean what it means to most of us now. When criminals commit violence, they are responsible individually under the law. Right? Not in the gun-ban playbook.
When gun-banners, like billionaire Michael Bloomberg, use the word, they are talking about collective “responsibility”—blame and guilt for all who peaceably exercise freedom, but apparently none for individual criminals for their acts of violence.
Look at the Sarah Garrecht Gassen article that the Arizona Daily Star published a day after the live-TV murders:
Gassen described law-abiding men and women who fight to preserve American liberty as “people who ardently believe that having the ability to kill humans quickly and efficiently is their God-given right. The orthodoxy goes beyond merely supporting the Second Amendment.”
She asks, “What responsibility do we share for accepting gun deaths as inevitable?”
Responsibility? We? In her world, anyone who owns a firearm should share the guilt. We share nothing in common with violent criminals. Maybe this woman wants to wallow in shared guilt. But don’t lay it on us!
Blaming us and the rights of law-abiding Americans is going mainstream. This is the new gun-ban meme.
The New York Times, in a piece headlined “Killings of Journalists Bring Gun Violence to Dark New Level,” says, “It is an increasingly horrific fact of life and death in the United States that easily available guns offer troubled Americans the power to act out their grievances in public. … ”
“Many politicians will focus on the gunman’s troubled personality and try to cast this shooting as a summons for better mental health care, certainly not gun control.”
“Yet that ignores a grim reality: the estimated 300 million guns in America owned by a third of the population, far more per capita than any other modern nation. Guns are ubiquitous and easy to acquire, as statehouse politicians … genuflect to the gun lobby to weaken, not tighten, gun safety.”
So there you have it, one-third of the U.S. population, vastly good people who enjoy the exercise of liberty guaranteed by a God-given constitutional right should be responsible for one “troubled personality.”
Collective responsibility. Collective guilt. Collective blame. Collective loss of freedom. That is where this Newspeak is headed.
In all of this, there is one thing that NRA members and law-abiding gun owners must proudly take responsibility for—the preservation of the rights that secure our liberty. And to do that, we must once again organize and inform others of the danger to our freedom and way of life. It is not too early to be building the power at the ballot box for November 2016—to hold and build the Second Amendment majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and to elect a president who will repair the damage to our free nation.