If I decide to purchase an armload of handguns tomorrow, I can. If I decide to purchase an arsenal of AK-47’s, I can do that, too. But there’s a big difference between those two purchases, and the difference isn’t just firepower. The first sale is reported to law enforcement, while the second one is not.
For years, Congress and the President have been pressured to apply the same reporting standards for handguns to semi-automatic rifles. And much to the chagrin of the NRA, the government is about to do just that.
This week the Department of Justice handed down a mandate requiring gun dealers to report multiple purchases of semi-automatic rifles to law enforcement. The new requirement is similar to handgun reporting rules but is restricted to the four border states, which include Arizona, and covers purchases made within a five-day period.
The National Rifle Association, in typical fashion, is threatening to sue the government over this new reporting requirement. They claim the DOJ doesn’t have the authority to issue this rule and tout it as part of an anti-Second Amendment agenda.
The old ‘anti-Second Amendment argument’ seems to be the standard line of the NRA. Is there any gun regulation or gun safety proposal that isn’t an attack on the Second Amendment?
The new reporting requirement is just that… a reporting requirement. In other words, it isn’t a restrictive gun law or a restriction of any kind. No one is being told they cannot buy dozens of AK-47’s at their local gun store because the 50% off sale is just too great to pass up. No one is being restricted from doing anything.
But what about all those ordinary law-abiding citizens who now have their names on file as owners of multiple semi-automatics? Won’t the government try to stop them? Won’t this make buying hunting rifles more difficult?
Well, that’s what the NRA would have you believe, but like most government conspiracy theories, that is nothing more than an attempt to incite fear.
The good news is that law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about. The bad news is that the straw buyers able to pass background checks and legally buy dozens of semi-automatics that in turn are sold to the cartels will now have to worry about law enforcement catching on to them.
And why do we care about the drug cartels and their stash of weapons? Because the majority of the guns used by Mexican cartels are smuggled across the border from America, and it’s helped fuel the explosion of violence that’s lead to the murders of nearly 40,000 Mexican citizens in the past five years. That’s 40,000 people, including innocent bystanders such as women and kids and those battling the cartels such as police officers and government officials.
And that violence is taking place close to home. The border city of Juarez, Mexico is now considered the most dangerous city in the world. The world. This is a city just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, not in a far off place like Afganastan or Iraq.
The new reporting requirement gives the ATF the ability to track real-time sales of the most commonly used weapons in the drug cartel war. How this can be bad for law-abiding citizens is beyond me.
The NRA has lost its relevance as a defender of Second Amendment rights. It doesn’t defend the Second Amendment, it bastardizes it. It sees any attempt at regulation as bad, even when those regulations protect public safety and save lives.
The famous line, ‘guns don’t kill people; people kill people,’ can be used interchangeably with a number of things, including cars. It’s true, cars don’t kill people, but people driving cars can kill people. That’s why we regulate the ability to drive and require safety standards on our vehicles.
We know it’s illegal for someone to drive drunk. We wouldn’t want an impaired driver behind the wheel of a car. Compare this to the rationale of why we shouldn’t allow someone mentally unstable to buy a gun. Both may be against the law, but only one of those laws is backed up by a means to enforce it.
Police officers are allowed to stop someone on suspicion of driving impaired. But the NRA has worked tirelessly to prevent background checks at gun shows that prohibit crazy people from buying a weapon. That idea is somehow considered too restrictive and too anti-Second Amendment.
When we receive a license to drive a vehicle, we must first pass a driver’s test. But the NRA sees safety courses for those carrying concealed weapons as yet another affront to the Second Amendment. Again, safety courses are not intended to prohibit the right to bear arms but rather to ensure the safety of the individual and the public.
Please, could somebody tell me why safety shouldn’t be an important factor when regulating firearms? State senator Lori Klein demonstrated why ordinary, law-abiding citizens with experience handling weapons still need basic safety lessons when she pointed a loaded gun at a reporter while demonstrating its laser sites. The uproar over her lack of basic gun safety knowledge resulted in a typical response from Klein, that this was an attempt to “advance an anti-Second Amendment agenda.”
So, in other words, someone who is pro-gun safety must also be anti-Second Amendment? Right, I completely understand that logic.
The NRA likes to say they fully support law enforcement and wish to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally insane, but their actions prove the opposite is true. They actively lobby against background checks and in the past few years, worked to restore gun rights to those with a history of mental illness.
The NRA has had several occasions in which they could change their stance from that of radical special interest group beholden to gun manufacturers and gun dealers to that of a logical defender of constitutional rights for gun owners. But they refuse. They position themselves as defending the hunters and gun collectors of America, but in reality, they spend more time defending the very individuals who threaten the safety of ordinary, law-abiding citizens.
The question is, why? Why make it more difficult for law enforcement to track illegal guns? Why make it easier for the mentally unstable to carry a weapon? Why paint basic safety courses and registration requirements as restrictive and an affront to a constitutional right? Why take on the attitude that anyone, including gun owners like myself, who disagrees with anything the NRA says must be anti-Second Amendment?
Why, indeed. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the NRA’s positions, and I hope more Americans start to question them as well. They are the most powerful lobbyist group in this country, and they are putting your safety and my safety at risk because of their radical stance on guns. It’s time more Americans stood up to the NRA and refused to be labeled as “anti-Second Amendment” simply because they also possess common sense.