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article imageGun control activists take battle right to the NRA's front door

By Can Tran     Dec 17, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Increased anger towards the silent NRA continues. Gun control activists took to the streets and demonstrated in front of the NRA office in Capitol Hill.

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As the National Rifle Association (NRA) continues to remain silent about what happened with Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, it continues getting pounded by political fire and public anger. With the growing news reports and news commentary directed at the NRA, one can say that the media is also playing a role in this salvo of attacks against the NRA. That's depending on where you stand in regards the gun-control debate. One can ask how will the NRA be able to recover from the anger? This is due to the circumstances of what happened at Sandy Hook with most of the casualties being children between the ages of 5 to 10.
MSNBC contributor Joe Scarborough on today's edition of “Morning Joe” gave his response to the Sandy Hook shooting. He talked about how people have become numb after past and recent mass shootings. He talked about his own children, especially his second son who is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Scarborough blamed popular culture, proliferation of combat weapons, and growing mental health problems. In those respects, Scarborough gave doubt that either the Hollywood lawyer or the gun lobbyist would be able to use the Bill of Rights as a weapon or a shield against the millions of angry parents.
Coming from Scarborough, this can be symbolic and a game changer against the NRA. This is due to the NRA's high approval of Scarborough when he was a member of the United States Congress. He said that the politicians in office must now defend the nation's children and not the “status quo.” In that sense, the status quo reference is probably directed toward the gun lobby. Also, though Scarborough didn't specifically talk about the wars being fought overseas such as the Middle East, he said that the government needs to stop trying to win endless wars taking place overseas while losing a domestic war.
Karen Finney, a former Democratic strategist and current MSNBC contributor, spoke with Martin Bashir. Finney went on the attack against the NRA for being quiet. She called out the NRA as being cowards.
It isn't the NRA that's being questioned. The 2nd Amendment, which is one of the original 10 of the US Bill of Rights, is on the stand in terms of interpretation. Jane Devin writes a post on the Huffington Post about her conflicted feelings about guns and gun control. She goes in-depth about what the 2nd Amendment is supposed to mean. She talks about the differences between the 2nd Amendment and the “NRA's version.”
In response to what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, gun control activists are calling upon Nashville Mayor Karl Dean to retract the city's invite to the NRA to hold its annual convention in 2015. In 2015, the NRA's annual convention is supposed to be held at the Music City Center. As an alternative to protesting, they plan to hurt the NRA financially.
Today, those that support gun control legislature decided to take the battle to the NRA's front yard. They marched upon and demonstrated in front of the organization's office in the Capitol Hill area of Washington DC. About 200 people, according to demonstration organizers, rallied for gun control in front of the office. Protesters chanted “Shame on the NRA!” In a Politico report, people held signs saying to shut down the NRA and so forth. However, one sign that may get a lot of attention was that saying “KILL THE 2ND AMENDMENT. NOT CHILDREN.
While nobody from the NRA came out to defend gun-rights, Larry Ward who works for Political Media stepped out to address the media. Political Media is a GOP-leaning advertisement firm. Ward spoke out in favor of gun rights. He explained that if one teacher or principal was armed, those children could have been saved. Also, Ward said that he wouldn't mind a teacher being armed with an assault rifle.
Also, the movement known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is starting to weigh-in and take action in regards to gun control legislation. The movement was born as a growing protest against Wall Street and big banks. They called themselves the “99%” of American income earners. While the movement had simmered down, members of OWS has launched an online fund called “Rolling Jubilee” where it buys up debt and forgives it.
An offshoot of the OWS is now going after the NRA. The group set up a Facebook page called “Occupy the NRA.” So far, it's gotten plenty of “likes.” Mark Provost, part of the New Hampshire's Occupy Movement, talked about New Hampshire's gun laws which allows gun owners to carry firearms in the open. One member brought a handgun to a meeting. It cast the Occupy Movement in a negative light.
Provost said that bringing a gun to such meetings defeats the whole purpose of peaceful movements. He said that guns have no place in that case. As a result, Provost is “anti-gun.” In this respect, members of the Occupy Movements are also mobilizing against the NRA and standing on the side of gun control.
Even the politicians that identify themselves as being pro-gun are talking about gun control legislation. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada talked about Congress examining the incident and finding preventative measures as part of the Sandy Hook healing process. Reid made it clear that even so, no one law can eradicate acts of evil. Reid was joined by other pro-gun Democrats in talking about gun legislation.
Pro-gun Democrats are talking about gun control. However, pro-gun Republicans still seem silent about addressing the issue. Should gun control be a debate topic for the 2014 elections, it could play a dynamic in the cycle. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who leans conservative, called upon his friends in the NRA to be part of the dialogue.
Democratic Representative Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also spoke on MSNBC with Martin Bashir. He called forth the necessity of gun safety laws. Grijalva talked about what happened back in Tucson, Arizona where former Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. While Giffords survived, a young child died.
However, gun-rights proponents are not remaining silent about it. One gun owner in Texas talked about how things could have changed if one faculty or administrative member had some defense training and was armed with a handgun. He's offering a 10% discount to local teachers to attend his concealed carry handgun classes.
Another gun owner disagreed with the notion of arming more people as being part of the answer. This owner said that he would turn away anybody planning to stock up in fear of new gun control legislation. He said that now is not the time to think about their guns. In short, he said for those people to think about those killed first before thinking about themselves.
A New York Times op-ed article, part of its “Room for Debate” section, talks about how the NRA is still one of the largest civil liberties groups in the world let alone in the United States. Even if there wasn't an NRA, another group would take its place as the article says. It points out that there are hundreds of millions of firearms in the United States.
Despite the NRA having a large member base, the National Journal reports that it might not be able to fight against the lobby of parents let alone angry & outraged parents. While the NRA is still powerful, it's wouldn't stand a chance of the parents banded together and took a stand in regards to guns and safety for their children.
An article on Slate gives the implication that the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby are quietly waiting at the moment only to spring back up for the gun control talks. If keeping to their word, even if Democrats introduce new gun control legislation, it's easier said than done.
In another “Room for Debate” article on the New York Times op-ed section, it talks about a divide within members of the NRA. This op-ed says that 3 out of every 4 members of the NRA believe in a system that all prospective gun buyers pass a criminal background check, gun show employee screenings, the mandate to report firearms being stolen, prohibiting the sales to people on a terrorist watch list, prohibiting the sales to those with violent misdemeanors, and so forth. While the members favor those types of actions, the leaders and lobbyists oppose those. In this respect, the NRA's divided on the issue to an extent.
Also, it points out how the members of the NRA find themselves as the unwilling, unwitting, and unfortunate sociopolitical punch bags of the Sandy Hook shooting. It's not just members of the NRA; but, it also extends to law-abiding gun owners and collectors who are getting dragged into this as well.
While there are petitions in circulation for the White House to address the gun control issue, there's also a petition in circulation calling upon the White House to stand by law-abiding gun owners. As the NRA remains silent, law-abiding gun owners are speaking out. They are showing that they are not like Adam Lanza who police officials have identified as the perpetrator of Sandy Hook.
An article on TIME says that gun control legislation will ultimately come down to compromise between those for stricter gun control, those that want laws remain the same, and for those that want looser gun laws. It points out where there's growing public opinion against the current gun laws, there's still plenty of support for guns in this country. The author of the article says that it would come down to a “grand compromise” for gun restrictions that seem reasonable and do not impose on the 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners. Also, the article says not to demonize guns nor the gun owners.
Currently, the NRA is going through an ordeal of being demonized by the general public outraged at what has happened. The article gives out possible keys to compromise while not hurting the law-abiding gun owners in the process.
Also, depending on what side of this debate spectrum you stand by, putting blame on the NRA is a convenient means to dance around a bigger issue. On MSNBC's “The Ed Show,” it has been said that there have been 181 major school shootings since the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.
More about NRA, National rifle association, Gun control, gun control debate, barack obama gun control
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