NRA members smarter than newspaper writers

By Jim Irvine

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.'s latest op-ed piece deals with guns and has been reprinted in many papers, including the Columbus Dispatch under the heading, "Members of the NRA wiser than leaders."

It is another version of old argument that gun owners want reasonable restrictions on guns to protect our society from criminals killing people, but the evil NRA empire does not care about police or death rates and simply imposes its will on law-makers who would instantly be thrown from office if they ever cross the NRA in the slightest regard. It is pure hogwash, but if your only education comes from "news" papers than it will all sound familiar to you.

The story starts:

The National Rifle Association wields power that would make an Afghan warlord jealous. Many legislators fear that casting a vote for even a smidgen of restraint on weapons sale could be politically lethal.

But imagine if NRA members were more reasonable than the group's leaders and supporters in Congress in understanding the urgency of keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

NRA leaders, meet your members.

The most notable piece of "pro-gun legislation" in the past year was national reciprocity for concealed carry licenses. It stipulated that states that issue licenses to carry concealed weapons had to honor other states licenses, just as they do with driver's licenses. While the vote was 58-39 for the amendment, it failed to get the 60 votes needed overcome a Democratic filibuster. Bottom line, the NRA (and future crime victims) lost.

While there is a truckload of legislation that needs to be passed (or repealed) on a Federal level, the NRA has not made great strides there in recent years. Clearly they do not "wield enough power." Shame on gun owners who do not belong to the NRA or other groups fighting for the rights they enjoy. I look forward to the day when the NRA does wield the power they are accused of having today.

In Ohio, we can look at our concealed carry legislation to see how compromising the NRA has been. They agreed to (and endorsed) requiring fingerprints, fees, and background checks to obtain a license to carry a concealed gun. (i.e. "the right to bear arms.") They agreed to creating "victim zones" or locations where a concealed carry license is not valid including restaurants with a liquor license, establishments that sell alcohol on Sunday, places of worship, all government owned buildings including bathrooms and parking garages. It was not legal to drop your child off for school or turn around in the parking lot of a school; even if school was not in session. The list of compromises goes on and on. The bill was so bad that three pro-gun legislators voted against concealed carry because it contained so many stupid provisions! "Uncompromising," they say?

It should also be noted that it took decades longer for Ohio to pass concealed carry than most of the country mostly because of Governors Voinovich and Taft, both of whom were endorsed by the NRA. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Thankfully the NRA has been back in Ohio helping us rid our law of these foolish provisions that were heralded as "reasonable" by the people trying to stop concealed carry from passing. If legislators listened to the NRA instead of ignorant news paper reporters, we would have a law that did a lot better job helping crime victims defeat their attackers.

The fact is that many gun owners do not belong to the NRA because they believe the NRA makes too many compromises. The national group Gun Owners of America is a real “no-compromise” group. We can debate if a compromise is good or bad, but anyone arguing that the NRA will not compromise is either woefully uneducated, or they are lying to you.

For the record, I personally feel the NRA made a good deal in agreeing to the stupid restrictions. It allowed us to prove the anti-gunners wrong, and subsequent bills have seen increasing numbers of legislators voting for them. Not because of the NRA's "wields some supernatural power," but because most people are not going to let themselves be duped over and over again by the same baseless lies.

From the story:

"I support the NRA," Luntz insists. What he doesn't go for is the "slippery-slope argument" that casts any new gun law as the first step toward confiscation. "When the choice is between national security and terrorism vs. no limits on owning guns," Luntz says, "I'm on the side of national security and fighting terrorism."

When was the last time "no limits on owning guns" was a choice gun owners had? We have over 20,000 gun laws on the books today! What do they have to do with "national security and terrorism?" That answer may surprise you. As the NRA T-shirt explains, "The Second Amendment. America's original homeland security." As a pilot whose co-workers died on a plane that slammed into the world trade center, "fighting terrorism" is personal to me. That is a major reason why I'm opposed to more restrictions on the right to bear arms. But that thought is beyond the comprehension of most in the media "elite."

They claim that of NRA members surveyed, 78 percent backed "requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen." Among gun owners not in the NRA, the numbers were even higher.” Yea, explain to them that crime victims returning home from a two week vacation could be jailed for failing to report the firearms stolen from their home a week before they were aware they were robbed. Now let's see those survey results. You won't, because that is not the point of the story.

And what would a "The NRA is evil" rant be without reference to the Tiahrt amendment. "...the rules prevent law- enforcement officials from having full access to gun-trace data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive..." But they don't. Law enforcement fully supports the Tiahrt amendment, because it works and is a critical safeguard. The media proves their own claim is false every time they report where crime guns were originally purchased.

The reason some people hate the Tiahrt amendment has nothing to do with crime. It prevents the media and Mayor Bloomburg from getting lists of gun owners to sue personally. If a criminal steals your gun, the anti-gun people want to make you liable for all the damage the criminal causes. In their mind, it is the law abiding victim to blame for the actions of criminals. Now that is some twisted thinking.

Buckeye Firearms Association and the NRA do a great job educating people about the facts. Someday Mr. Dionne might realize that his readers are more "reasonable" (and better educated) than his narrow-minded friends.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

Additional Information:
Letter to the Washington Post editor from Lawrence G. Keane of
The National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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