A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.2nd amendment to the u.s. constitution
My country seems to be slightly obsessed with an individual’s ability to own guns. We point to our right to be safe in our homes, etc. when questioned about our love affair with weapons. We spend very little time trying to understand the why behind the things that lead to our insecurity. Well, let me take a step back. I think we understand the why. We simply have chosen to spend very little time trying to address and fix the why because that requires a little more time and energy than we are willing to spend. So, we find ourselves in a constant state of reacting to situations. Our love affair with guns is another example of our reactionary society. Or, at least those are my thoughts.
Between April 18 and April 19, 2020, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, after an argument with his girlfriend, went on a murderous rampage in Canada, killing 22 people and injuring three before he was apprehended and killed by law enforcement. On May 1, 2020, less than two weeks later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took swift action and enacted regulations that banned the use, sale, and import of more than 1,500 models of firearms and their components. In his remarks, Prime Minister Trudeau said, “Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers.”
As mass shootings become more commonplace in our country, our government will not come together to enact laws that would protect us as we carry on with our day-to-day affairs. As parents, many of us now worry about our children’s safety in the one place that many of us took for granted as a safe space, school.
Whenever we start having these discussions about gun control, there is one organization that consistently comes up, the National Rifle Association (NRA). Boasting 5 million members, the NRA wields a lot of power over many of our lawmakers. They have mastered the art of keeping our government gridlocked and keeping Americans believing that the only true answer to our safety is to make sure our home is well stocked with our own carefully selected collection of firearms. The power that this organization possesses should not be ignored, whether you agree with them or not. So, I decided to delve a little deeper and read a little more than the cursory statements we see flying around the internet about this most organized organization. Here are a few things I learned:
- The NRA was founded in 1871.
- Until the late ’60s, early ’70s, the NRA actually worked with the government to limit the traffic in guns
- While the NRA boasts 5 million members, less than half of their war chest comes from membership. So, where does the money to support the NRA come from?
- The gun industry and large corporations, which provide the group with grants, donations, and sometimes even a percentage of their firearm sales.
- Why is the gun industry so deeply invested in the NRA? Money, of course.
- According to OpenSecrets.org,
- the NRA spent $3,220,000 million in 2019 on lobbying politicians. Total NRA expenditures reportedly hit $419 million in 2016.
- Wayne LaPierre is the head of the NRA and has an estimated net worth of $10million thanks to his leadership within the NRA. Why in the world would he ever support the idea of gun control? That would interfere with the wealth that he has amassed as the leader of the NRA.
- While the NRA does not look to its membership to keep their war chest filled, it does heavily rely on its members to reinforce the goal of keeping the guns flowing. Its members appear to be loyal and active voters who keep a close eye on the politicians in their communities.
With the solid structure of the NRA in place, I wonder, will we ever see a day where the money is flowing so freely to combat socioeconomic issues that are the root of the problem, or does that mindset go against the fabric of our society?
Stay tuned…There are some gun control advocacy groups that are worth taking a look at as well!
P.S. My posts are intended to encourage meaningful and necessary dialogue. While I am strongly in support of gun control, I welcome the opinions and positions of those that are opposed.