When I was a kid, my father sent me down to the local creek to shoot rats. Big Norway rats. I used a BB gun or a single shot .22 loaded with CB shorts. When I was 14, I was on staff at a Boy Scout camp in Wisconsin. I got on the school bus for the ride up north with my knapsack and my Stevens Model 416 .22 caliber bolt action rifle. Plus two boxes of ammunition. Art T. brought pistols to camp since he was on a pistol team back home. Since we arrived on Sunday, we put our guns under our bunks and on Monday checked them in to the rifle range for the duration of the summer. No one ever thought of doing something violent or hurtful to another person. Many of the boys were junior members of the NRA. I was for a couple years. But never since.
I believe that folks who want guns for hunting, target shooting or protection should have them. But I am not a fan of semi-automatic weapons, bump stocks, massive clips or military-style weapons. They are not necessary. Nor are they contemplated by the Second Amendment. The NRA is no more. It is not the National Rifle Association. It is now the National Assault Rifle Association. Maybe the National Bump Stock Association. The current NRA seems to care little about the gun violence that suffocates our nation. Instead, they preach the same sermon that most weapons should be legal. With little limitation. Easy on the background checks. As we all know, some NRA members crave automatic weapons. And bazookas. And RPG’s. “Pry my cold dead fingers. . . . .”
But one should at least understand the NRA’s position since there are those on the other side who believe that by confiscating all weapons, violence will come to an end. And then there are some who proclaim that even those who are mentally ill and prone to violence cannot be forced to take meds or have institutional treatment unless the individual agrees. That’s just ducky. Toxic agendas. Toxic results.
With such extreme positions – competing for legitimacy – it is tough to find common ground. And common sense. We need to do something. But sanity and compromise seem to have gone out the window.