Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The NRA Needs a Makeover

When I was a kid my friends and I all had guns.  Shotguns and rifles mostly, but one guy had a pistol, too.  A couple even reloaded their ammunition.  We went hunting, went to the shooting range and went out to the country to shoot.  Thinking back on it, I remember that nobody ever told us about gun rights, but we were repeatedly told about gun responsibilities.

Skip forward to today, where the #NRA is the default mouthpiece for all things related to guns.  The thing is, the NRA doesn't focus on responsibilities.  Instead, it has a laser focus on rights.  Simply put, the NRA has become the standard bearer for the expansion of access to guns at all costs.  But in the wake of yet another mass shooting those costs have become too great.  It's time for the NRA to change from the single-minded pursuit of expanding gun rights to espousing gun responsibilities.

Gun ownership should be a privilege, not an entitlement.  Instead of simply being a tool to boost sales for the gun industry, the NRA needs to become a gateway to responsible gun ownership.  They need to advocate training, not just in how to use a firearm, but in how to store it safely while it's not being used.  They also need to confront the reality that not everyone who wants a gun should get one.  In other words, they need to stand for the responsibilities of gun ownership, not just the rights of gun owners and gun dealers.

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