When I was a boy, my father gave me a .22-caliber rifle. My father also insisted that I take a gun-safety class offered by the local chapter of the National Rifle Association. At that time it seemed like the NRA was a service-oriented organization of gun owners that advocated for gun safety. In fact, the NRA up until 1977 often supported gun-control legislation.
This is not the NRA of today. Somewhere along the way, the NRA had a power struggle between those with common sense and hardliners fearful of losing their sacred Second Amendment rights. Common sense lost.
I know there are many good people who belong to the NRA and believe in its original purposes of gun safety and marksmanship. However, the NRA itself has morphed into a monstrous political behemoth intent on protecting unlimited gun rights no matter how many of our children are senselessly slaughtered. The NRA leadership uses scaremonger rhetoric to manipulate and mobilize its base in a near frenzied denial of common sense.
The truth is that the majority of voters have no interest in taking away guns from responsible gun owners. However, statistics from a new Politico.com poll show that two out of three Americans support tighter gun legislation.
With common sense, it’s pretty simple to understand and support:
• No assault rifles or weapons of war.
• Background checks to prevent unstable individuals from buying guns.
• No gun show sales without law enforcement background checks.
• No sales to minors.
• A waiting period after purchasing.
Until we can have a common-sense conversation about guns in our country, the terrible American ritual of killing our best and brightest in mass shootings will continue.
Corvallis (Feb. 28)