In a new ad released by the NRA, an announcer poses the question, “Are the President’s kids more important than yours?”
To which most people will reply, “No, of course not.”
The ad goes on to ask, “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”
By “armed guards” I’m assuming the ad is referring to the Secret Service protection offered to the President’s kids because, they’re the President’s kids, and it’s the law. Though others have pointed out that the President’s kids attend a private school with security guards. The school, however, has gone on record saying those guards do not carry guns.
Many schools, however, do have armed guards. They’re called school resource officers and campus police. They were present in Columbine in 1999 and at Virginia Tech in 2007.
We also have armed guards, known as police officers, protecting our neighborhoods every day, yet they cannot prevent the 30,000 plus gun deaths that occur, on average, every year in communities across the country.
On Wednesday the President issued 23 Executive Orders that, among other things, called for incentives for schools to hire additional resource officers, which means the NRA’s ad wasn’t just tasteless, it was false.
The NRA will tell you that we need more armed individuals, not less, to keep us safe when the cops are “minutes away.” Except we have more guns than any nation in the world, and a much higher proportion of gun violence than other comparably wealthy and peaceful countries. The argument that more guns equal safer communities just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Nor does the argument that President Obama or Joe Biden or Gabrielle Giffords or Michael Bloomberg or (insert the name of anyone talking about gun safety) are trying to take away our guns.
Strengthening enforcement of existing gun laws, making gun trafficking a felony, keeping guns out of the hands of those deemed psychologically unstable, and requiring background checks for all gun purchases is not a radical idea. It does not take away anyone’s guns. It does not impede the Second Amendment.
The same can be said for the proposals the President would like Congress to consider such as getting rid of armor-piercing bullets, also known as “cop killer bullets” because that’s what they were designed to accomplish. Or his proposal to end the ban on gun violence research so we can understand why we top other nations in this category. Or to ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits. Or give law enforcement additional tools to help prevent gun crimes. Nothing radical here, yet I’ve already heard people claim the President is “shredding the Constitution.”
I can understand, even though I disagree, with those who are opposed to limits on ammunition magazines and bans on military style assault rifles. But when Charles Heller, co-founder of Arizona Citizens Defense League justifies complete opposition to the President by saying, “The idea of the Second Amendment was so we could shoot the cops and the soldiers … who are trying to overthrow the U.S. Constitution,” I become very, very worried.
Who makes the determination that our President or our police officers are no longer obeying the Constitution? Do these individuals think it’s okay to open fire on elected officials and peace officers because they disagree with the laws they are passing or enforcing?
Considering the extremist language we’ve heard from those on the right, individuals who speak of a foreign-born Muslim President who isn’t legally fit to serve, I am especially concerned about what they will do with their “God-given right” should they completely crack and decide to take action against those they believe are “shredding the Constitution.”
The fact is, the NRA and the Arizona Citizens Defense League have taken on radical stances and knowingly espoused myths that have spurred fear and angst. That fear does not allow us to have a serious conversation about gun safety but rather continue with the status quo and this country’s alarmingly high rates of gun violence.