The first bit of positive news is that David Keene, the President of the NRA, sounds much more rational than Wayne LaPierre. Why is that positive? Did you even know anyone else worked for the NRA besides Wayne LaPierre? But obviously he's too inflammatory, so they're going with the avuncular uncle who almost makes sense. And so David Keene is interviewed by NPR.
How rational, you may ask? He ended the interview with the seemingly rational observation that rifles ("long arms" as he prefers to call them) were only responsible for about 236 deaths in 2011, which really isn't enough to warrant any kind of new laws restricting sales of such weapons.
At which point it's worth noting that any consumer product which, when used as it should be, resulted in 200+ annual deaths, would be yanked off the market immediately. Well, unless it was an automobile, I guess. Then again, we could say the automobile is far more important to American society and commerce than "long arms," so I'm not sure the comparison would do much for Mr. Keene's argument.
But the really interesting point is that Mr. Keene is terrified of the "slippery slope" of gun registration which will lead to gun confiscation, donchaknow?
KEENE: A registry of people who own firearms - citizens who've broken no law, who are not prohibited from owning firearms - would be very dangerous because it can easily result in confiscation of those firearms. For example, both Sen. Feinstein of California, and Gov. Cuomo of New York, have suggested what they call a forced buyback. In other words, if they know that you have a gun - and this has happened in other countries - you can be required to turn it in and be sold, you know, for a hundred bucks or 50 bucks, back to the government.
Except, tacitly at least, Mr. Keene has no problem with concealed weapons users being both registered and licensed. Which bring us to Mr. James Yeager.
Mr. Yeager's claim to fame is announcing to the world that he would start killing people if President Obama issued any executive orders relative to guns in America. This apparently alarmed the state of Tennessee to the degree that they suspended his concealed handgun license. I don't know if the state of Tennessee licenses or even regulates firearms and tactical training, bu if they do, apparently Mr. Yeager's comments weren't outrageous enough to affect his ability to do business. Nor do they qualify as crazy enough to remove Mr. Yeager's guns from his possession. In fact, according to Mr. Keene, no amount of "crazy" or "mental illness" (let us carefully distinguish that they are not one in the same) is enough to take guns away from anyone in America.
KEENE: Well, the fact of the matter is that unless you're talking about the confiscation and elimination of firearms, none of these things are going to make much difference. They haven't made much of a difference elsewhere, and they aren't going to make much difference here. So when you combine the fact that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of people who are not breaking any laws to own and enjoy firearms in this country, for self-protection; to collect them; to use them in sport shooting, for hunting and the like; when you combine all those things, there is no effective reason for doing what these folks suggest.So there we are. We can only punish people who "misuse these inanimate objects." And we should keep guns out of the hands of "crazy people:"
We believe that the problem is not the firearm. It's not the AR-15. It's not the pistol. Or in the case of a killer with a knife, it's not the knife. It's the person wielding the firearm, or wielding the knife. And what you have to do is punish those who would misuse these inanimate objects.
And the real question, in our minds, is people who shouldn't have firearms - and this includes, frankly, virtually all of the people who've been involved in these mass shootings. Virtually all of them have displayed to others - who have either ignored the signs or just let it go - have shown signs of being potentially, dangerously, violently mentally ill. Those people shouldn't have any firearms.
But you can't take guns away from people once they have them, because that would violate the fundamental precept of the 2nd Amendment (no word on how we removed all automatic weapons from private hands after they were banned, but anyway.....). So once crazy people have guns (like the shooter in Newtown, who shot his mom and took her arsenal) , there's nothing we can do about it. We can suspend their concealed handgun license because, well, we can't let nutcases carry concealed weapons now, can we? I mean, that'd be....crazy.
But just being crazy isn't breaking any laws, because we can't have laws that declare people who become crazy have to give their guns up, because that's the slippery slope to tyranny, so, really, the only solution to this gun mess is more guns!
Which just so happens to benefit the arms manufacturers of America, who just so happen to be the biggest financial supporters of the NRA.