(Above: Camping trip, Mauston, WI, October 2011. Dad and Uncle Fran Ircink, back row. Brother Jas & I, front row)
I don't hunt with guns. Always a bow. But I know plenty of gun hunters and gun owners so I've always handled NRA discussions with kit gloves. I support guns and gun owners' rights. And if I had a gun and an intruder broke into my home, I would support my right to blow said intruder's head off. Or at the very least, a bodkin point in the person's skull. That all being said, the shootings in Aurora, CO last week have once again brought up the discussion of the NRA, gun ownership (specifically automatic assault weapons) and how another crazed, gun-totting whack job slipped through the mental health cracks - and left me contemplating my NRA stance.
One of the things I always tell advocates who are in favor of reining in the NRA's stronghold on gun ownership and lobbying, including a ban on assault weaponry (and this is my theory alone and can be challenged by any gun owner if they should choose), is that the NRA realizes people don't need an assault weapon to shoot an animal. I don't think by law you can shoot a deer with an AK-47. But you know how environmentalists tout, "if we don't start cleaning up the planet now, in 50, 150, 300 years this will happen or that will happen".
I believe the NRA feels the same way about assault weapons. You take that right of ownership away today and, over time, gun owners' rights will be whittled down to nothing. As I said, that's my theory - I could be wrong.
Gun advocates quote the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution - "the right to bear and keep arms" - as their main legal stance regarding gun and assault weapon ownership, among other weapons. I get that. But the amendment was written in 1791, a much different United States as compared to today, Actor Jason Alexander had a nice Tweet (no - a TwitLonger) about this very topic. Read it.
Our Founding Fathers could not have possibly imagined the advances we would make as a nation over the next 221 years; thus, no sliding scale law that changes as the times change.
So to the NRA, I say, give up the assault weapons. You've got hundreds of other guns and rifles at your disposal. It's not giving in - it's a compromise. Hey, at the very least, give it one year. If the government can't determine that a ban on assault weapons has effected a measurable change, change the law back. I will always support you but this way, you can get the Left off your back and still keep most of your guns. Maybe the Left will compromise on an issue it holds dear to its heart.