Another Mass Shooting in the USA
Last week, 17 students and teachers were killed in Parkland, Florida by a mass shooter wielding an AR-15 and along with so many others, I am angry and I grieve.
The thought of any child staring down the barrel of an assault rifle was, at one time, inconceivable. Not any more. Children participate regularly in 'Active Shooter' drills at school, part of a necessary safety plan and my heart breaks for them and their parents.
We live in a country where the 2nd Amendment in our US Constitution reads: " 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."
I sincerely doubt that banning all the guns in this country is the answer. We really do have a shitload of them. Personally, the gun owners that I know are responsible and safety-conscious people who enjoy target-practice and hunting. But do we really need weapons of war?
The way I see it, is that a powerful and wealthy organization that once was devoted to marksmanship, safety, craftsmanship and education of firearms - The NRA - is our problem, as a nation.
The NRA is 'in bed' with gun manufacturers.
According to Business Insider, The NRA "made 20.9 million from selling advertising to industry companies marketing products in its many publications in 2010, according to the IRS Form 990. Crimson Trace (which makes laser sights) donates 10% of each sale to The NRA. Taurus buys NRA memberships for anyone who buys one of their guns. Rugar (Sturm Rugar) gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA's revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business."
Our US Elected officials are 'in bed' with The NRA.
When The NRA donates over $11 million to elect Trump (and $20 million to defeat his opponent), when US Senators and Congressmen receive up to $7 million from The NRA per candidate, I'm thinking it would be a safe bet to say that any gun legislation designed to change our current gun laws will not be enacted. Common-sense gun laws that would prevent someone from purchasing a firearm if they have a history of mental illness or domestic violence. Gun laws that would make "bump-stocks" illegal - thereby turning semi automatic assault weapons into fully automatic.
In 2013, after twenty 1st graders and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, legislation was proposed to ban assault weapons. Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (AWB 2013). It was defeated by the Senate 40-60.
Think about it... the young man who brutally killed 17 in Florida last week would not have been able to purchase his very own AR-15 if AWB 2013 had passed. He was 14 years old in 2013. In Florida, the minimum age to purchase a gun is 16.
So,what can we do?
The politician who accepts "blood money" from The NRA is a problem. Being 'owned' by The NRA makes them complicit. Clearly a conflict of interest.
I am a new American Citizen (2/2015) and although this may sound naive to many of you, the only way I see out of this dilemma is by encouraging one another to look closely at your chosen candidates. Specifically...who contributes to their campaigns? If they take cash from the NRA...they will not support common-sense gun laws. That is all.
This November, Governor Greg Abbott (Rated A+ by the NRA) and Senator Ted Cruz (rated AQ and has received $36,000 from The NRA) of my State of Texas are just two recipients of NRA funds that are up for re-election during the midterms in November.
As Maya Angelou once said, "When you know better - you do better". They know better and so do we.
How The NRA rates elected officials...
A+: A legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.
A: Solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.
AQ: A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate's responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.
B: A generally pro-gun candidate. However, a "B" candidate may have opposed some pro-gun reform or supported some restrictive legislation in the past.
D: An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation and opposes pro-gun reforms. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted on to vote wrong on key issues.