Occasionally, I’ll witness something like the opportunity the National Rifle Association had last week and see them squander it. When that happens, I like to imagine what they could have done differently. Below is the speech I feel the National Rifle Association should have given.
– Jack Cameron
Like the rest of America, we were shocked and saddened by the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. Out of respect for the friends and families of the victims we have remained silent until now. As with any loss, there is a search for someone or something to blame. We want to know how to make sure this never happens again.
The truth, unpleasant as it may be, is that we can’t stop this from happening again. Madmen will get their hands on dangerous weapons and kill innocent people again. This is true regardless of what new laws or restrictions we put on the books. Tragedies like Newtown will happen again.
However, this does not mean that we should not respond. The National Rifle Association was once the symbol for responsible gun ownership in America. We sponsored clubs in high school. We helped write responsible gun laws. What we have become is little more than the gun version of the Big Tobacco lobby.
While the ease with which the average American can get a gun cannot be fully blamed for any event of gun violence, neither can it be entirely excluded as part of the cause. The safety and respect that citizens once had for deadly weapons has evaporated. It would be easy to blame this on a ‘culture of violence’, but this misses the point. We cannot change the culture. We can change how we respond to it.
We were once the voice of reason when it came to gun control and we can be so again. Every gun owner should be required to go through an NRA sponsored gun safety course. Every weapon should be registered and that registration should be renewed every year. These changes do not infringe on a citizen’s right to bear arms and will foster more responsibility when it comes to gun ownership.
Many of our members have years of experience with guns and likely feel they have no need for a ‘gun safety course’. We ask that they participate in the course and help share their knowledge with those with less experience.
As we all know, there will always be those in society who do not obey the laws and do not abide by regulations. Many of these people arm themselves with weapons obtained illegally. We ask that authorities in this country crack down on all use of weapons by those they are not registered to. We ask that the weapons used in crimes be destroyed or returned to their rightful owners.
Lastly, we ask for a law requiring that all guns when not in use be locked and that owners be held responsible for the use of unlocked guns.
Yes, gun ownership is a fundamental right of every law abiding American and with that right comes the responsibility of gun ownership. We want to help with that responsibility. We also want to hear from our members and our critics. We want to know your ideas and how you feel we can help improve as an organization for responsible gun ownership.
We cannot stop madmen from doing horrible things. This is a sad truth, but responsible gun owners can do something about making America a safer and better nation. We hope you’ll join with the National Rifle Association in making that happen.