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NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre (courtesy nydailynews,com)

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.

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  1. Too damn right.

    The thought experiment I do with these proposals is “what would have changed?” If there had been UBCs in place, the killer would still have gotten his gun and the reporter and cameraman still die. Same with waiting periods. Same with mag capacity restrictions. Even total elimination of guns from reality only reduces the chances, because the guy caught them completely by surprise and could easily have stabbed them to death instead of shooting them.

    The fact is, if someone is obsessively planning your assassination, and you’re completely unaware and unprepared for the possibility, you are at a high risk of being killed.

    • The liberal “thought process” goes like this: “Because a man I never met in a place I’ll never go did something I’d never do they feel entitles to harrass and torment ME.”

      NRA Life

    • i’ve said basically the same thing to people.

      if some person loses it and decides they want to kill someone, and that someone is you, you’re probably dead.

      people aren’t safe because of police or laws ….we are safe because the majority of people out there don’t want to harm anyone else.

      • “people aren’t safe because of police or laws ….we are safe because the majority of people out there don’t want to harm anyone else.”

        That is the single most accurate statement about what keeps us safe that I have ever heard. Congratulations. You win the Internet today!

    • The thought experiment I do with these proposals is “what would have changed?” Always a great question to ask yourself (and others, when you have the chance). Gun-control proposals will fail this simple practical test 99.9% of the time.

      A couple more questions I always ask myself in cases like this:

      Who will this new law/rule/restriction affect the most?

      This is a corollary of “what would have changed?” If the primary effect is to collectively restrict a mass of people who *didn’t* perpetrate the outrage du jour, or to put a cumbersome or unenforceable law on the books, it’s probably a bad idea.

      If my worst enemy were in charge of administering this new law (or social system, or whatever), would it still be a good idea?

      Progressives consistently fail this test. (Conservatives and libertarians do sometimes, too.) It’s easy to rally behind new rules and radical changes when your friends are proposing them, ostensibly for your benefit — to restrict those other people (you know, the bad-and-wrong ones). But remember, we have democratic elections; what happens if the next one doesn’t go your way and those bad-and-wrong people are suddenly in a position to use your rules for their benefit? And what happens if your government is so weak that it can’t restrain aggressive sociopaths or enforce its own laws?

  2. I liked what he said, but there is such a thing as collective responsibility and guilt. Two examples – Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Those two societies embraced evil, wouldn’t shake off evil and did not collectively do anything to stop evil and as societies, had to pay the price in WW2.

    • Still no. Each individual is still responsible for what they did or did not do.

      The Allies fought WWII to protect themselves. Afterwards, those responsible for the atrocities were tried and if found guilty, punished. Anything else gets into exactly the kind of thinking the Axis powers espoused.

    • Sirry Craig, you can’t indict people for the actions of their government. History is full of examples, past and present, where governments actions are directed by a small group of people, and not the public at large. In fact, this is the normal, there aren’t too many exceptions.

      • Keep in mind Hitler was elected to office by the German people. He didn’t magically take over.

        Also those who were guilty of crimes but were useful to the Allies like Col. Ishii and Werner von Braun didn’t go to trial.

        I’m not advocating that Germany or Japan as a civilization be punished, but people get the government they choose. The Germans chose Hitler and as a society did not buck the trend. Same with the Japanese.

    • “After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”
      –William S. Burroughs

      • Burroughs isn’t exactly a paragon of firearms responsibility. He shot his wife in the face trying to shoot an apple off of her head while intoxicated. So even though what he says is 100% correct, maybe he shouldn’t be set up as an example by us.

        • While I wouldn’t say Burroughs should be held as a paragon of firearm safety (and he punished himself quite thoroughly for having killed Joan), he did understand quite well and write often about the varieties, elements, methods, and dangers of mass political/governmental control.

  3. “Collectivism” is the vehicle being used to destroy individuals and individual freedom. In dividuals have no rights in a collectivist paradigm.

  4. The great preponderance of all murders in the US are committed by liberals/progressives and related to them welfare recipients. Clearly, the liberals have a collective responsibility for the murder of children and need to be punished. Deporting them would be a good start.

  5. “One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms.”
    –Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (1811-1845)

  6. There was a time that I wasn’t a single issue voter, a time that I weighed pros and cons of various issues, a time when I tried to thread the impossible needle of lesser evils. Then I realized that the 2nd Amendment is the singular issue when considering any and all candidates. It is a litmus test for evil, because no matter what heinous legislative of executive effrontery to our liberty happens, it can all be resisted, if not rectified, alone by the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It is the first and the last issue, and every candidate elected to any office should be publicly confronted and held to account for their position on it.

    • 2A is indeed a litmus test for a politician. The degree by which he or she is willing to compromise on it is very indicative of the amount of statist tendencies they have. You’ll never find a politician who supports confiscation while at the same time being against the EPA, for example.

      That being said, I feel that in this election I’m going to have to be a single-issue voter. The way I see it, I can lose ground on other issues, and gain that back easier, as long as I’m not fighting back against further infringements on the Second Amendment. The healthcare crisis and less taxation are important to me, sure, but I’ll put those issues aside in 2016 if I have to.

      • “The way I see it, I can lose ground on other issues, and gain that back easier, as long as I’m not fighting back against further infringements on the Second Amendment.”

        Considering the current statist, collectivist political momentum of urbanized America driven by the Democrat party and aided by all their sympathetic partners, particularly big media, that is a profound statement of the importance of not giving any ground on gun rights to those who would actively or willingly infringe 2A protections.

        Should “to keep and bear arms” come to be an empty, repressed promise with no practical substance it appears there would be no recovery short of civil war. How likely will that be in this day and age?

        I’m not a single issue voter, and never have been – *unless the threshold issue of gun rights is not met by the person or initiative on the ballot*. Here in California, oh how some politicians take great strides to avoid talking about their position on gun rights, or just regress to bland uncommitted platitudes. They all support the Second Amendment – because there are a LOT of gun owners in the electorate of this state. Even the flaming anti-gunner politicians seeking total citizen disarmament ‘support’ 2A. Then most work against it, or go along to get along.

        When there is no clear 2A rights supportive candidate on the ballot to choose as has often been the case particularly on local elections, I’ll choose Yosemite Sam. The name fits neatly on the write in line.

        Voting for any politician or any proposal that does not project support of Second Amendment protections is a step back.

        Not one step back.

  7. Just remember until Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion he could a gun and get a CHL in a shall issue state undet today”s requiements because he didn’t have a felony conviction or other disqualifying judgement so he could pass Bloomberg”s UBC. Heck, Capone wasn”t even a violent felon only a businessman who didn’t pay his taxes.

  8. Well said. He should write more and speak less. A lot less. Or find another mouthpiece. His speeches and videos make my eyes glaze over. AND I AGREE WITH HIM. Imagine the effect he has on someone who’s neutral or dismissive.

  9. Sic ’em Wayne! If only he was this eloquent in public…Yeah collective guilt is BS. Are large black deranged homosexuals targeted over the live TV shooting? NO? I see…

  10. The concept of “collective guilt” is a chief propaganda tool for Marxist/Socialist/Fascist Tyrants who want to destroy any sense of individual freedom and responsibility so as to control the majority of People more efficiently. If you accept this wrong-minded concept, you become a “useful idiot” to those who plan to become the Ruling Class and deny you any chance to fulfill your potential as an individual. That opportunity to fulfill yourself is at the core of being a free Human Being. There is no such thing as “collective guilt”, there is only individual guilt (responsibility) for one’s individual actions and choices. Any belief to the contrary is anathema to those who truly want to live as free Individuals.
    Of course, no one who lives in a Society of individuals can ever be 100% free because to live with others requires submission to rules and situations necessary to establishing and maintaining a functional Community.
    What made the United States of America the greatest Nation the World has ever seen was exactly that we sought to create the best blend of Individual Freedom and Community possible and succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination of what could be achieved. There were missteps and egregious errors along the way, but we adapted and corrected as we went along and the success was overwhelming overall.
    Now. we are ruled and plagued by generations who have bought the Marxist/Socialist/Fascist lie that we should all feel guilty and ashamed of the mistakes our ancestors made in creating the greatest Nation in the world and give it up because of that guilt. To that I say, “Go f**k yourselves!” If you don’t like America and if you won’t help those of us who see reality clearly go forward to ever greater success, go jump off a tall building or get the Hell out because we don’t need you hanging as a Millstone around our necks.
    We can make the reality of equality, liberty and justice under the law for ALL available for every person who wants to be here to contribute and participate in this greatest experiment in Human Freedom. Our American Way is and will be an evolutionary process from the day the ink started drying on the our Constitution. It can always get better, but only if we, The People, keep the goal in front of us and never give-up working to make it better and better/ To do this we must hold tight to the principle and ideals it was founded upon.
    This is why we POTG defend our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear Arms so fiercely and intractably. It is also why 100 million of us live peaceably among our fellow Americans every damned day and harm no one, threaten no one, even save some lives and endure un-Constitutional Laws we profoundly object to. We understand that America is an ever evolving process and the work will never really be done.

  11. When are the anti’s going to accept responsibility for helping to create an environment conducive to these horrendous acts? After all, they have spent decades demonizing guns and gun owners through social pressures and legal acts that have done nothing but tip the balance of power in favor of the criminal/criminally insane.

    • And then there are the liberals who never want to blame or punish those actually responsible. They shift the blame to guns, poverty, poor upbringing, bad neighborhoods and so on. So the criminals get off with light sentences or one more chance while the politicians rave on about more (ineffective) gun laws. Seems a lot like smoke and mirrors. Trying to deflect attention away from their Socialist failures and place the blame on us.

  12. Hey Robert, solid piece, a bit of advice from my couch though, in the first paragraph, when your friend asks “What it has to do with us,” you need to emphasize “what does this have to do with us being guilty somehow,” I think, just to improve it from a technical journalistic kind of way, it lacks a little, because we understand the context of the conversation from the title, but u need to tie it into the first paragraph as well. Assume your reader has the lowest, reasonable common denominator of intelligence, like me for instance, I read it and went, “It has everything to do with ‘us’ we want to protect ourselves” and do what you can to keep the flow without being oberly repetitive. Because by the time I read the first paragraph, the title was gone from my mind, I had to get up to do something, and so when I continued to read, I stumbled a bit. It’s a very minor criticism, and its a bit ironic I’m having a hard time communicating what I mean, and im sure this reply is full of fo paws, but hey im not looking to get pubkished, but its something they might teach in a journalism or English class, something I picked up in college or high school probably. Sry if I sound condescending, I don’t mean it that way, I just liked the piece and thought a little tweak might elevate it, or your future articles a little.

    • I was just going to let it be but….someone advising how to write should pay more attention to what they read. Who do you think wrote that piece?

      • Whoops, my bad Robert, when I look up at the address bar, it says Robert Farago, like most of the other articles, I thought that meant he was the author. I’m on a cheap Motorola, and everytime I type or scroll through the articles, I get lag and bounce around the page alot. As long as all I do is read its manageable, but as soon as I start to type I get big time technical difficulties. Anyway, still a solid piece with a good point to it, one of the best points I’ve hear come out of the NRA, but that all the more reason to consider my advice. Wayne LA Pierre has probably had his words taken out of context as much as anybody in history, so the better his writing, the less chance his words can be twisted and taken outta context. For instance, some anit-gunner could easily take that first paragraph out of context and say the president of the NRA thinks tragedy X has nothing to do with the NRA members and spin it from their, that kind of thing is harder to do if he takes my advice to heart. Again I’m not a teacher,.big have taken my share of college level journalism and English classes, on a decent machine and with some time I can turn out a solid article, that’s not what I’m doing here obviously. I have mixed feelings about the NRA, but I do like this piece, its too bad Wayne’s writing skills are just a little lacking. I realize it’s not his job to be an author first, but it wouldn’t take much to up his game if he writes pieces like this on a regular basis. Again, not trying to be condescending, just lookin out.

  13. Statements such as this aren’t very compelling, IMO.

    Simple stats (with sources, which I can’t easily link from my iPad) work better.

    Stats such as:
    – lawful CCW holders are 1/7th as likely to commit a violent felony.
    – Most mass shootings occur in gun free zone
    – Most mass shootings have been perpetetrated by people with severe mental or emotional issues, “grievance collectors”, yet no legislation is proposed to deal with this.
    – Brazil has stricter gun control than America, yet much higher homicide and “gun violence”.
    – Jamaica has much stricter gun control than America, yet much higher homicide and “gun violence”

    It would also be useful to get stats on how many NRA members commit violent felonies compared to non-NRA members.
    – Baltimore already has steict gun control, but their murder rate is about 9 times the US national average.

  14. “As NRA members, we are 5 million Americans among the over 100 million citizens who own firearms.”

    Still can’t get over that. 95% of the gun owners in America have refused to join the NRA. That seems insane. No wonder the antis feel attacking the NRA is a viable tactic and that the NRA is perhaps vulnerable, if 95% of gun owners won’t even join it.

    Can you imagine how “bulletproof” gun rights would be in the USA if even 1/3 of the gun owners supported the NRA?

    People like to tout the NRA’s membership as if it’s a big number. It’s paltry, compared to other organizations. The AARP has 37,000,000 members — that’s 7x as big as the NRA. Why? There are about as many senior citizens as there are gun owners in the country, yet the AARP signs up members at 7x as effective a rate as the NRA does.

    Many people stigmatize the Mormons as a “fringe cult”… there are more Mormons in the USA than there are NRA members.

    Considering how constant the assault is on firearms freedom, you’d think that the most-effective lobbying group in the country would be getting more support from the constituency it represents. The idea that only 5% of us are actually even bothering to fill out membership papers is rather alarming.

    You’ll never secure firearms freedom through the laws; laws are subject to change the next time the legislature meets. You’ll never secure firearms freedom through the courts; courts change their minds on 5/4 votes all the time. The only way to secure firearms freedom is through strength of culture. If the NRA had 50 million members, do you think firearms freedoms would be more secure? I sure do. If the NRA had 50 million members, do you think the CSGV would be taken seriously in trying to label it a ‘domestic terrorist organization’? I sure don’t.

    Heck, Taurus even gives away a free NRA membership with every pistol bought. Yet, so far, only 5% of gun owners even join. It’s kind of embarrassing, isn’t it?

    I think the NRA should work on identifying why people don’t join, and overcome those obstacles. An NRA with 37,000,000 members would make firearms freedoms as untouchable as the AARP’s 37,000,000 members makes Social Security and Medicare untouchable.

  15. How about a little collective responsibility for the news media? They are the ones who glorify the nutcase killers, putting their names and pictures and manifestos on the news, day after day, encouraging future nutcase losers to go for their “fame”. Why don’t we call for “reasonable restrictions on the media”? Oh, yeah, that’s right – their First Amendment rights are not subject to any restrictions, because the Founders certainly intended to include all of the modern electronic gizmos – TV, radio, the internet, cell [hones, Facebook, etc.- in the “freedom of the press/speech” mentioned in the First Amendment. Somehow, these brilliant scientific thinkers couldn’t have foreseen semi-automatic firearms, so it’s OK to restrict our Second Amendment rights.

    It is to puke.


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