Will White House and Congress Stand up to NRA And Merchants of Death?

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

This week, Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) proposed a new gun legislation bill in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newton, Connecticut which took the lives of 27 people including 20 children by gunman Adam Lanza.

But with the NRA’s strong lobbying position in Washington, will we really see meaningful legislation enacted to impede the easy availability of guns—which would interfere with big business gun sales?

“The NRA’s absolutist position on gun issues is an impediment to the safety and security of the public," Rep. Moran said. "This legislation is designed to highlight that schism, offering popular proposals even NRA members support to prevent more gun-related tragedies."

Congressman Moran's legislation is centered on a July poll survey of NRA members and other gun owners about different gun-reform propositions. The poll conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz found that:

• 74 percent of NRA members support criminal background checks on all potential gun buyers — as opposed to current law, which requires background checks only on those who buy from licensed gun dealers;

• 79 percent of NRA members back requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees;

• 71 percent of NRA members would bar those on the FBI's terrorist watch-list from buying and owning guns;

• 64 percent of NRA members support requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms.

The Virginia congressman’s gun-control bill would incorporate all those findings and would include tougher standards for gun owners who wish to obtain things like concealed carry gun permits. Rep. Moran’s proposal comes on the heels of last Friday’s bizarre response, from the NRA, to the nation’s second deadliest school shooting.

Friday, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre held a press conference where he said the tragedy in Newton was the handiwork of one deranged individual and argued that the NRA should in no way be held responsible for the massacre. He angered many by stating more guns are the answer to disasters like Newton; not less. Ironically, Mr. LaPierre blamed the White House, Hollywood and media for the glorification of violence and for fostering hostility to guns. “Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America's gun owners that you're willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life to shield the children in her care?” Mr. LaPierre asked. The NRA CEO also said “throughout it all, too many in our national media" and "their corporate owners" and "their stockholders" act "as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators. Rather than face their own moral failings.”


The hypocritical hubris of this man is truly stunning. Now, one can make a case that media are far too often “silent enablers” of violence, especially, when they fail to hold politicians accountable for their participation in exporting wanton violence to foreign countries—and those rogue elements in domestic law enforcement who, because of prejudice, execute innocent people of color.

Still, how can Mr. LaPierre have the gumption to call the media “silent enablers” while his organization is busy enabling gun manufacturers to put as many of these instruments of mayhem and murder into the hands of killers here in America—and abroad?

During his speech, Mr. LaPierre said “If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible.” This man is truly a charlatan. Does he really think we’re too stupid to know his whole presentation was solely aimed at protecting the profits of gun manufacturers? How can he point the finger at anyone about the glorification of violence, when the people he represents gain by the glorification of violence? What about the “moral failings” of those who put profits before people?

Every year, in America, over 30,000 people die from guns. However, it seems clear politicians are, largely, unwilling to act because gun sales are big business and politicians never want to offend big business. It’s now estimated that gun manufactures make around $3.5 billion in domestic gun sales annually—this figure should not be conflated with the $66.3 billion in weaponry that was sold overseas last year.

Congress helps to finance these merchant agents of death when they stuff budget appropriations with billions to finance unnecessary foreign wars and conflicts.

The awful truth is that tragedies like those at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech and Columbine are all nothing more that “collateral damage” to those who become wealthy selling weapons. Big business in America often hurts the many—just to enrich the few. Does anyone really thing these people don’t know that their guns will get into the hands of people like Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza?

Mr. LaPierre and his NRA buddies now pretend they care about 20 dead children in Connecticut. But do they care about the deaths of these innocent
ones more than they do about their profit margins? Let’s remember these devices of death, which are mass produced by those the NRA represents, are involved in the daily killing of other equally innocent children all over the world.

What Mr. LaPierre and the NRA are hoping to do is survive the tide of anger that arose after this mass slaughter. Unfortunately, their calculations may be right; because, it seems some people are already beginning to forget what happened two weeks ago.

Besides Congressman Moran, California Senator Dianne Feinstein is trying to pass a revised version of the Brady Bill legislation that she and New York Senator Chuck Schumer passed in the early 1990’s. But given the fact the NRA is the most influential lobby on Capitol Hill what’s the chance we will get meaningful gun legislation passed?

Will these legislations attack loopholes that were allowed to bolster gun sales? And won’t “conservative” wing-nuts use this as an opportunity to cry conspiracy about Capitol Hill’s supposed plan to weaken the Second Amendment? Shouldn’t we also challenge those who hunt animals and display the heads of these creatures on walls like sports trophies?

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary killings many have expressed a mixture of emotions ranging between sadness and anger. The killing of innocent children should provoke such a response. However, why aren’t Americans equally enraged by all the children worldwide who are killed every single day—many by American weapons?

In the end, if Americans are serious about stopping incidents like the Sand Hook Elementary massacre, the larger question of America’s dangerous glorification of violence must be addressed. And that also means the White House’s and Washington’s propensity for using violence on the world stage must be reexamined for the negatively bloody repercussions it causes at home and abroad.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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