Hey, NRA: Objects in your rearview mirror are closer than you think.
Outside of war zones, the United States is the most dangerous place on the planet for gun violence. Photographs of dead children will eventually prove too much. Even NRA-beholden pols will line up to pass strong gun control bills.
Like most Wyomingites, I don’t think confiscation is the correct path. However, the National Rifle Association will, one day soon, wish they had agreed to less onerous gun safety laws when they had the chance. Even those who blasphemously believe their “right” to bear arms is “God given” will find that god has abandoned them.
Until now, no one was coming after your guns. That didn’t stop the NRA and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Republican Party, from saying so. They’ve warned you someone wants to take your guns when that wasn’t true. Some bought it, as hundreds of people died from gun violence. Will there never be a reckoning? Do you think the American people will allow this to continue into eternity?
The truth is no one wanted to take any of your guns until now. Now, a back-bench Democratic Party presidential candidate openly warns, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15 and your AK-47. Get it? Hell yes.” Beto O’Rourke is not out in left field on this. A recent NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll shows Americans evenly divided on his proposal.
Actually, it’s a mandatory buy-out, not confiscation and 45% back the idea, including 55% of female voters. The day may be upon us when politicians find more support delivering gun-law-reform messages than the old “they’re coming to take your guns” tripe.
Gun owners have no one to blame but the NRA. At every step, they block rational gun safety laws, insisting that people who are seriously mentally ill, convicted of domestic violence or on the terrorist “no-fly” list be allowed to buy guns.
They carry weapons on the campus of the University of Wyoming in violation of the school’s rational rules, enacted because of legitimate safety concerns. Their badge of honor is “open carry,” flaunting AR-15’s and other weapons, regardless of how frightened those around them are in an environment where telling a “good guy” from a “bad guy” is challenging.
They force their schemes to arm school teachers on nervous students and parents as an alternative to rational gun safety measures. They make political threats against politicians who give any sign of supporting measures that have the backing of huge majorities of voters.
The director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion says it well, “You’d be hard pressed to find something where the gap between public opinion and legislative action is wider.” His polling data show how huge that gap is, and, as he says, “the congressional crowd is very much out of step with where public opinion is on this.”
According to the Pew Research Center, the share of Americans saying gun laws should be stricter increased from 52% in 2017 to 60% this year. What’s more, there are several proposals on which Republicans and Democrats agree. Around nine in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns.
And large majorities of both Democrats (93%) and Republicans (82%) favor background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows, 72% of women want assault weapons banned, as do 57% of all voters. More than 60% favor red-flag laws, and 57% want gun owners to be licensed.
In 2008, activist Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in District of Columbia v. Heller that while the Second Amendment protects guns in “common usage” from bans, it does not protect “dangerous and unusual weapons.” Nor does it inoculate guns from other rational regulation.
The dam is leaking. The NRA has only so many fingers to stop the leaks. The time is coming, and soon, when they will rue the day they uncompromisingly created barriers to anything and everything supported by large majorities of voters.
Rodger McDaniel lives in Laramie and is the pastor at Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.