The Norman Transcript

Columns

April 19, 2014

NRA members need to step up

(Continued)

NORMAN —

But it wasn’t the common sense messaging that took the lead following the introduction of Everytown for Gun Safety. No, it was Bloomberg.

The Washington Times didn’t waste an opportunity to twit the great potentate on his pompous gates-of-heaven-quote. It’s editorial was headlined “Sainthood for gun-grabbing ex-Mayor Bloomberg.” The piece painted Bloomberg as a money-wasting loser, making great sport of the pro-gun-control candidates he has backed who have lost elections.

In truth, NRA-bankrolled candidates have also seen their share of defeat in recent elections. But that’s the sort of fact-check that both sides conveniently leave out. It’s in the middle ground where reason lies, where the really effective mobilizing needs to occur.

Want to move gun control efforts in this country? Energize the former or current NRA members who believe the organization no longer represents their interests.

They’re out there. The hunters and marksmen and concealed-carry license holders who readily acknowledge that violent crime is down and that there is little use for a hunter to have a military-grade weapon. Peruse hunter listservs and listen to people talk about fearing the hyped-up shooters who carry magazines to track small game like quail. Listen to families who have lost members to suicides — deaths that could have been prevented had a gun been locked away from a depressed person.

Vilifying the NRA can actually be counterproductive. It merely puffs up the organization’s most alarmist elements. What really needs to happen is a change of thinking within the NRA membership: a rising up from within the ranks of the calm and reasonable gun owners. The stage is wide open for an effective spokesperson. Maybe a celebrity with a passion for hunting and a deep conviction that stopping many of the 31,000 American deaths to gunfire each year is not only doable, it’s an obligation.

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