By: Jim Porter
What AL.com writer John Archibald is really saying in his December 4 column, “To hell with the NRA; this country has to talk about guns,” is to hell with the Constitution, to hell with democracy.
The National Rifle Association is the nation’s oldest civil right organization whose strength lies in the grassroots support of our 5 million dues-paying members and tens-of-millions more who want their Second Amendment rights protected.
The National Rifle Association is not to blame for the San Bernardino terrorist attack, or any other act of violence and neither are our Second Amendment freedoms. The American people understand that an act of evil unfolded in California. They know the government isn’t protecting them. That is why Americans now, as much as ever, want to ensure they can exercise their Second Amendment freedoms to protect themselves and their families.
Mr. Archibald would have you believe that violent crimes and murder are on the rise in this country. The nation’s murder rate has been cut by more than half since 1991. In 2013, it fell to perhaps an all-time low, as Americans’ firearm acquisitions soared. On December 3, the Washington Post reported that gun crime has been on the decline for nearly 20 years, except for high-profile shootings in gun-free zones. According to the Post, shootings in gun-free zones are the ones that are increasing.
Mr. Archibald made the uninformed claim that the “NRA [is] firing money into politics like a Gatling gun.” He claims that over the past 17 years the NRA has spent more than $38.5 million in federal campaigns. What he isn’t telling you is that according to the New York Post, gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, has spent $72 million in just the last 4 years alone to push his gun control agenda. The NRA’s true strength lies in our grassroots support. Our members and supporters are savvy, engaged, and most importantly, they vote for elected officials who will protect their Second Amendment freedoms.
Mr. Archibald makes the wildly inaccurate claim the “NRA [wants to] make sure as many guns as possible are bought and sold and left lying around.” He clearly hasn’t heard about the NRA’s nearly 100,000 firearms instructors who since 1982 have trained more than 16 million people in firearms safety and marksmanship. No organization in the world does more to promote gun safety, education, and training than the NRA.
In a rare moment of truth, Mr. Archibald admits he doesn’t have the answers and doesn’t know how to solve the problems. The State of California thought they had all the answers. Turns out, they didn’t, either. California has already adopted President Obama’s gun control wish list: “universal” background checks, registration, waiting periods, gun bans, magazine bans and an expansion of prohibited gun categories. But those laws did nothing to prevent this horrific crime from taking place. Nothing. In fact, California’s gun laws are so restrictive, fewer than two people out of a thousand even have a license to carry.
When we find ourselves under attack, no one is there to protect us. That responsibility is ours and ours alone. The American people — including law-abiding gun owners — are scared these days. As a nation, we sit helpless and watch as innocent and defenseless people are slaughtered.
The NRA will continue to stand and fight for law-abiding gun owners who are both disgusted and heartbroken by these heinous acts — whether committed by madmen, gang members or terrorists. The NRA will not accept the blame for the acts of murderers. We will not apologize for fighting for our right to defend ourselves against them.
Jim Porter is a former NRA president and current board member, He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.