Tag Archives: NRA

Guns make us bite our tongue

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — A long time passed from when the Texas Legislature voted to allow open carry of firearms before I saw someone actually packing a pistol on his hip.

My wife and I were returning to Fairview today after spending some time in our RV in Amarillo when we walked into one of our favorite eating places in Wichita Falls. We wanted to grab a quick bite before heading on down the highway toward home.

A couple was disciplining a youngster a few tables away. The gentleman was particularly loud in seeking to get the boy to settle down. He has one of those annoying voices that we would have heard even if the eatery was packed wall to wall with customers.

I mentioned the grating sound of the guy’s voice to my wife, who then informed me, “Yes, and he’s carrying a gun, too.”

I shot a glance over my shoulder at the guy. Sure enough, there it was. In plain sight. Some kind of high-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Then it occurred to me: Just as concealed carry laws have made motor vehicle drivers a bit more circumspect with other drivers who cut them off in traffic — at least that’s my view — open carry laws damn sure would prevent someone from speaking out against someone who, um, is bellowing to a youngster.

I didn’t think of saying anything to this guy. But what if someone else on the other side of the table heard him and decided to confront him over the tone of voice he was using to calm the little boy down?

Having seen the firearm on this guy’s hip, I know I’d never say a word to the guy.

As for whether my wife and I will frequent this eating establishment in the future, that’s another matter altogether. I prefer to enjoy a meal in an establishment where guns are prohibited.

Please, let’s not arm teachers

We’re heading into another “national conversation” about how to make our schools safer, about how to protect our children from gunmen who open fire in public school classrooms.

Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, Texas, has become the latest — and certainly not the last — flashpoint in that discussion.

Ten people are dead and 10 more are injured. A student has been taken into custody and has been charged with capital murder. He faces the death penalty if he’s convicted.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, vowed to make our “schools safer.” Yes, Mr. President, we’re all for it.

Does that include arming teachers? For the umpteenth time, this blogger wants to say not just “no,” but “hell no!”

I am at a loss as to what the solution is. I remain convinced that there can be a legislative remedy found that keeps faith with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I am not smart enough to concoct a solution from this keyboard.

However, I merely want to implore the president and other public officials to steer far, far away from a discussion about putting guns in teachers’ hands.

The National Rifle Association keeps harping on the notion that “the only way to protect us from bad guys with guns is to put guns in the hands of good guys.”

So, that’s the answer? The way to end gun violence is to put more guns out there? Such nonsense makes me want to scream.

I do not want to hear that. Instead, I want to hear some possible solutions that place reasonable — and constitutional — restrictions on individuals capable of doing harm to the rest of us.

Oklahoma governor going out with ‘a bang’ … so to speak

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is a lame duck chief exec who appears to have discovered the joy of not having to face special interest groups as she tries to get re-elected.

Gov. Fallin, a Republican, vetoed a bill that came to her desk that would have allowed Oklahomans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, meaning they needed no training of any sort to pack heat amongst the rest of us.

Good … for … her!

The only stipulation in the bill she vetoed that was worth a damn was that the heat packers couldn’t have been convicted felons.

To no one’s surprise, the National Rifle Association is mad as hell at Fallin, who is term-limited from seeking another term as governor. The NRA pledges to help elect the next governor who, the organization hopes, will allow this ridiculous piece of legislation to become law.

But do you know who’s happy about it, aside from rank-and-file citizens who opposed this monstrosity? Law enforcement officers! The cops didn’t want Fallin to sign the bill. State and local police associations urged Fallin to keep her signature off the legislation. She listened to them.

Their fears were well-founded. They just believe that concealed carry opportunities must come with some reasonable restrictions. Passing a rudimentary test after taking a basic course on firearms safety hardly constitutes a ham-fisted limitation on the rights of folks to “keep and bear arms.”

And to think the Legislature wanted to remove event that rule. Good grief.

Again … you go, Gov. Fallin!

Irony abounds in this NRA selection

Ohhh, the irony of it all.

Oliver North is set to become the next president of the National Rifle Association, the nation’s premier gun-rights advocacy group.

He’s a former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who got caught up in a scandal that rocked the nation three decades ago.

The irony? Oh, it’s just that it involved sale of illegal weapons to our enemies in Iran, not to mention dealing with rebel fighters in Nicaragua.

North was accused of shading the truth and waffling on his explanation of what he was doing and for what purpose he was doing it.

It’s perfect, yes? He gets now to run the NRA, an organization with its share of critics who contend that the organization isn’t always truthful about its claims that more guns in the hands of more people create a safer society.

Sheesh!

Maybe it’s just plain karma that puts Oliver North in charge of the NRA. As Mother Jones notes: The Iran-Contra scandal was a dark episode, in which the US government hooked up with shady arms dealers and a variety of sleazy crooks and con men around the globe, including drug-runners. At a time when Nancy Reagan was promoting her “just say no” campaign, the secret operators of her husband’s administration were saying yes to a host of shady miscreants. And North was among those making common cause with criminals.

The NRA brand needs a lot of help in many political circles throughout the United States. Naming a fellow such as Oliver North as its next president doesn’t do a thing to improve the NRA’s image.

That’s just my view. I am quite certain others of a different political ilk believe quite differently.

2nd Amendment ‘under siege’? Oh, no it isn’t

Donald J. “Demagogue in Chief” Trump managed once again to inflame his political base with an assertion that he then contradicted in the very same sentence.

“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president,” he said this week at the National Rifle Association annual conference in Dallas.

His speech was typically Trumpian in its lack of focus, its meandering course and the politically tinged remarks.

He went off on the economy, the “fake news” allegedly ignoring the good job growth and dwindling unemployment, the Robert Mueller probe into the “Russia thing.”

He did devote a bit of his rambling soliloquy to gun issues, which is why he was in Dallas in the first place. He said the NRA’s foes have laid siege to the Second Amendment, then said it wouldn’t happen as long as he is president.

Which is it, sir? Is it under siege or not?

The truth is this: There is no “siege” being waged against the Second Amendment. Sure, there are some Americans who want it repealed or significantly modified. Many other Americans, though, want to legislate remedies to the spasm of gun violence in this country without destroying the Second Amendment.

Poll after poll indicate that Americans favor some additional controls on gun purchases. Those polls do not suggest Americans want to limit “law-abiding” citizens’ constitutional rights to “keep and bear arms.”

Yet the president keeps yapping about some phony “siege” he says is being waged against the Second Amendment. That, I submit, is the rhetoric of a demagogue.

Perhaps it was just as well that Donald Trump devoted so little of his podium time in Dallas to gun issues, as it only would have exposed further the president’s stunning ability to speak out of both sides of his pie hole.

How do more guns make us safer?

I have been thinking for the past few days about my friend Martin, a journalist in Germany. He’s a family man with three young children.

Martin and I have had some stimulating talks over the years about U.S. politics and government. He knows this country far better than I know his native Germany.

I mention Martin today as the National Rifle Association is having its annual meeting in Dallas, which when you think about it is the perfect venue for the NRA, given that most Texans are flat-out, all-in supportive of the NRA’s political agenda.

Martin cannot grasp the notion that the NRA keeps pitching, which is — essentially — that more guns make us safer. He and I have talked about the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment. I have sought to explain the difficulty in amending an amendment in this country.

Germany has much stricter rules on gun ownership than we do. Martin buys into the German government’s view that the best way to prevent gun violence is to take guns away. It’s a simple proposition, as he sees it … although do not refer to my friend as “simplistic.” He is serious, intelligent and well-educated, as is his wife.

Although my friend and I disagree on the value on the Second Amendment to our national fabric — he thinks we ought to repeal it, while I do not — I do support his notion that more guns do not make us safer. More guns only exacerbate the crisis that has produced this plague of gun violence.

Accordingly, I continue to believe — the NRA’s view on the subject notwithstanding — that we can find a way to legislate tougher controls on gun purchases without emasculating the Second Amendment’s guarantee that the right to “keep and bear shall not be infringed.”

As for the NRA meeting in Dallas, I am quite certain that Donald J. Trump — who’s going to speak at the event — will warn the gun enthusiasts that if Democrats take control of Congress this year, “they’re going to take your guns away.”

Earth to The Donald: Democrats have controlled Congress and the presidency before. The guns haven’t gone anywhere.

Motor City Madman pops off yet again

So help me, sweet Mother of God in Heaven, I don’t know why I’m concerned about the blatherings of a washed-up guitarist.

I am, but only for a brief moment.

Ted “Motor City Madman” Nugent went on a radio talk show to blast the daylights out of many of the high school students who have been speaking out against gun violence in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., massacre of 17 students and staff members.

They “have no soul,” said The Nuge. He called them “mushy-brained.”

Oh, please.

The U.S. Constitution grants Nugent the right to spew his garbage. It also grants the students the right to speak their minds, too. By my way of thinking, the students are sounding much more intelligent and reasoned than Nugent, an avid outdoorsman and gun-rights-ownership advocate.

He also is prone to making his point in highly offensive manners, such as the time he called President Obama a “sub-human mongrel.”

I did offer a tweet that said Nugent should “just shut the f*** up.” Actually, upon reflection, I think he should keep yapping, yammering and yowling his point of view. It’s better to have the fruitcakes visible and audible so we know where to find them.

Take guns first, due process later? Sure thing, Mr. POTUS

Donald J. Trump is hardly a champion of civil liberties.

Due process? Who needs it? Why, he is ready to “take guns first” and worry later about “due process.”

The president’s latest popping off occurred today in a meeting at the White House with Democratic and Republican senators. The issue dealt with guns, naturally.

Trump’s statements today continues to add confusion to this debate in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre that killed 17 students and staff members.

He has endorsed the notion of raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase firearms; the president wants to arm teachers, giving them firepower to take out shooters when violence erupts; now is wants to grab guns first and worry later about “due process.”

Well, we know what the president thinks of “due process.” He has griped about a White House staff secretary being forced out of office over allegations of spousal abuse, that he was denied “due process.” Oh, but then he egged on rally crowds during the 2016 campaign to “lock her up” when they started chanting about allegations involving Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Due process? Anyone?

There’s a glimmer of good news, though. The National Rifle Association is likely to get angry over the president’s latest rhetorical riff.

I am unwilling to wager, however, whether the president will — pardon the pun — stick to his guns when the NRA starts putting on the pressure.

NRA produces a new bogeywoman

Dana Loesch has emerged, apparently, as the newest attack beast for the National Rifle Association.

That title used to belong to Wayne LaPierre. Now it’s Loesch, who this week told the Conservative Political Action Conference that “the legacy media loves mass shootings.”

I don’t know what “legacy media” means, but to suggest that the media love these events is to, well, go way beyond the pale of decency.

Loesch got into an on-air snit with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who challenged Loesch’s comment.

See the exchange here.

Loesch, the NRA spokeswoman, sought in the moment to walk back much of what she said. She said she didn’t mean to suggest the media actually “love” seeing people slaughtered as they were at Parkland, Fla., where a gunman slaughtered 17 high school students and staff members.

She sought to suggest that “crying white mothers” drive up ratings, meaning that the media love covering that angle to these tragic events.

I don’t buy Loesch’s attempt at equivocation. To put the words “love” and “mass shooting” in the same sentence sends a clear message, no matter what she intended to convey.

The debate that has ensued across the nation in the wake of this latest school massacre needs some semblance of civility, even though that kind of discussion quite often is difficult to find when the topic centers on guns, the Second Amendment — and the National Rifle Association.

Fewer guns make us safer, not more of them

I keep circling back to this point about allowing teachers to pack heat in the classroom: What if, in the case of a shooter opening fire, the teacher misses and hits another student with a stray bullet?

I heard a teacher today talk about that possibility. He packs a pistol in his boot and said he would shoot someone who entered his classroom “without hesitation.”

Then he said his worst fear is missing the shooter. “What if I hit a student?” he asked. Yes, what if?

Then he sought to justify it by suggesting it’s better for one student to die than many others, prompting my wife to say, “Sure thing, then tell that to the parents of the student.”

The Parkland, Fla., slaughter of 17 people has opened wide the national discussion about gun violence. I’m glad about that. It has produced some interesting proposals by the president of the United States, who is suggesting a law creating a 21-year-old minimum age for the purchase of a firearm. Donald Trump also has spoken favorably about arming teachers, saying that if the Parkland shooter had encountered a teacher with a gun, he wouldn’t have been stopped.

I cannot buy the notion that putting more guns into schools makes them a safer place. National Rifle Association boss Wayne LaPierre said arming teachers would “harden” schools as a target. I don’t buy that, either.

My biggest fear is what happens if a teacher doesn’t hit a shooter with a kill shot, or at least a round that disables him to where he can no longer fire a weapon? Does an enraged gunman keep shooting?

We won’t solve this matter on this blog. It’s just that the notion of arming teachers just doesn’t feel like a sensible solution to curbing the hideous recurrence of gun violence in our schools.

This is not a hallmark of a civilized society and it damn sure is no way to “make America great … again.”