“Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to ‘promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,’ according to a magazine editorial written by Church.”
This is the first paragraph for the National Rifle Association’s About Us section of their website. According to the historical paragraph, the NRA was formed to increase the marksmanship of troops after the Civil War. I’m going to go ahead and assume that at the time of inception, the founders of the NRA hoped that if gun-shooting culture would increase among the common man, the marksmanship of troops would naturally become better. And I don’t think that they interpreted the Second Amendment like this.
Every time there is a mass shooting, we as a nation question and linger on what should be done about our gun control policies. Since Columbine in 1999, there has not been any substantive change. Automatic weapons are still taking lives of the innocent. The NRA would have us believe that the innocent perished because they did not have guns themselves for protection. When someone tried to use a shoe-bomb on an airplane, every single subsequent traveler is required to remove their shoes when going through security checkpoints. The same thing is at risk here: the safety of the innocent.
The problem is self-defense. It has been and it always will be. The “right to bear arms” language of the Second Amendment has a defensive tone, not as offensive one. Before 9/11, the phrase “pre-emptive self-defense” was solemnly used. Now, you can find it spread throughout the justifications to perform drone attacks, embark on a search for weapons of mass destruction, use the PATRIOT Act to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence, and keep thousands of troops in the Middle East. Regarding nuclear arms, there is tremendous proliferation. The nations who have them are constantly and consistently telling nations who do not that they cannot acquire them.
The question that we should have asked ourselves long ago: How long are we going to allow self-defense to be ignorantly proactive when it comes to owning automatic/high-powered firearms? The type of firearm used to indiscriminately and violently take the lives of the 27 people, mainly children, in Newtown was never designed for protection. It was designed to end as many lives as quickly as possible, not defend against anything but a wave of zombies (which don’t exist). We keep hearing that people need guns “for protection” but protection seems awfully inclined to become aggression these days.
If we desire true change to our gun control policies, the real issue of self-defense needs to be addressed. A line needs to be drawn with the kinds of firearms that any person can get hold of with a permit. Automatic weapons should not even be on the table. If they weren’t, perhaps a few of these “mass shootings” could have been less devastating. If James Holmes and Adam Lanza did not possess high-powered weapons, perhaps the death tolls of 12 and 27 could have been lower. A simple starting point for Congress to do is to ban any type of permit allowing automatic/high-powered firearms to fall into the arms of civilians. These weapons were designed for our troops in war, not civilian vs. civilian “protection.” Unless you are a soldier and have a need to kill as many enemies as possible in quick succession, you do not have a need to possess this type of firearm. Enough is enough with all of these mass shootings. The mental health of the perpetrator is irrelevant if he/she cannot get access to legally obtained firearms. Plain and simple.
Pre-emptive self-defense is risky business. Just consider this situation: We are enemies, I have a gun holstered on my waist, and you see it as I walk by. This makes you nervous and you are probably thinking that you need a gun to feel less nervous about the gun on my waist. But wouldn’t me not having a gun at all make the entire situation less strenuous and easily avoidable?