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Friday
Feb012013

Nevermind what the NRA has to say about public safety or gun violence

Any sane person would have difficulty taking seriously what the National Rifle Association has to say about public safety and gun owner responsibility. Two months after the massacre of six school teachers and 20 children in Newtown, Conn., all the firearms trade group can offer are 'solutions' that ultimately fatten the bottom line for the companies they represent.

Consider the windfall of increased sales the industry enjoys each time one of our communities suffers yet another slaughter of innocent citizens. The spike in sales owes to the paranoia (no doubt flamed by right-wing talk radio) of ignorant people convinced that the government is just days away from outlawing guns.

Fat chance, as the NRA has bought off almost half the members of Congress. Also, its massive spending on issue ads and millions in independent expenditures for or against specific candidates, makes opposing the gun lobby a Sisyphean task. The scope and depth of NRA's influence over elections is unquestioned--a force that it wields in Congress in the name of 'individual freedom'. The freedom as an individual to avoid being shot, be damned.

The time is long past that we begin to acknowledge the vicious cycle of violence that benefits the NRA's business model. More guns in the hands of more people increases the frequency of bloodshed, whether or not the shooters possessed the firearms legally. A comparative look at gun fatalities between the U.S. and other industrialized nations, illustrates the peril of easy access to firearms.

It's a sweet spot the firearms industry occupies: given relaxed gun laws in a nation saturated with its product, such conditions improve the chances that someone mentally unfit (Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; Oakpark, Wisc.; Tucson, Ariz.; Virginia Tech) will get his hands on a rifle or pistol. A meaningful segment of the population already worked up by talk radio, will do the NRA's bidding and move gun manufactuers further into the black--after victims of firearms violence have hemorrhaged red.

Perhaps it will take additional Sandyhook massacres before national consensus begins to recognize a callous, blood-shedding industry in operation. How many more lives must be snatched before voters see blood money in the hands of candidates for public office taking campaign dollars from the NRA?

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