Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The NRA and Gun Owner versus the Brady Campaign and Gun Opponents: Who Serves America Better?

Which group has contributed more to America and our way of life? Who has contributed more to our overall well-being? Is it the National Rifle Association and the gun owners throughout America or the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and those who believe that gun ownership is dangerous for Americans?

The National Rifle Association

The National Rifle Association was formed in 1871 by two Union officers who were astounded at the poor marksmanship demonstrated by the Union troops. Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate were granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17th, 1871 and General Ambrose Burnside, former Governor of Rhode Island became the first president of the NRA. They obtained funding help from New York, and bought the Creed Farm on Long Island. The new firing range was named Creedmoor. It was not long before opposition began to form and in 1892 the range was moved from Creedmoor to Sea Girt, New Jersey. In 1903 the NRA Secretary, Albert S. Jones urged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies and began promoting shooting sports for youths, inspiring a new generation of Americans who would be able to defend our nation in the event of war. Repeated attacks on our Second Amendment rights led the NRA to form the Legislative Affairs Division in 1934. The NRA did not lobby directly at this time; rather it mailed out legislative facts and analyses to members so they could take action on their own. Its main mission remained training of citizens in marksmanship and gun safety.

Serving America During Wartime

During World War Two, the NRA allowed the government to use its ranges and developed training materials in the use and care of firearms for the military. NRA members were encouraged to volunteer as plant and home guard members. The Association also developed training materials for industrial security and even reloaded ammunition for those guarding war plants. Internationally, the NRA recognized the desperate circumstances Britain had put itself in by effectively disarming itself through well intentioned but poorly considered gun laws enacted between WWI and WWII. The NRA collected and sent to Britain more than 7,000 firearms for their defense against potential invasion by Germany [in spite of this unprecedented generosity of a civilian group to a foreign nation, Britain remained such a staunch opponent of private gun ownership that instead of expressing their appreciation to the NRA members and returning those firearms, they were unceremoniously dumped into the ocean at wars end]. Currently members of the NRA are providing supplemental weapons training to our troops in preparation for their deployment in Iraq.

Serving America During Peacetime

Through the years, the NRA has provided firearms training to tens of thousands of policemen throughout America. The NRA estimates that there are more than 10,000 NRA certified police and security instructors in America today. Hundreds of thousands of police, sheriffs, state troopers, federal marshals, FBI, Treasury Agents, and various security agents owe their proficiency at arms either directly or indirectly to the efforts of the NRA. There are over 50,000 Certified Instructors in the civilian population and according to the NRA these instructors train over 750,000 private gun owners each year. They are provided training in how to use and maintain rifles, shotguns, and pistols as well as providing concealed carry training in those states which offer licensing. Instruction in personal defense and competitions shooting are offered. They also provide safety instruction to hunters of all ages. One of the most successful programs has been the �Eddie Eagle� program which educates children from pre-kindergarten to the sixth grade in how to behave when they come upon a firearm in an unsupervised situation. They are taught quite simply �STOP. DON�T TOUCH. LEAVE THE AREA. TELL AN ADULT. So far more than 18,000,000 children have been given this training. The sad thing is that far more children could have received this training had not the hate mongers in the anti-gun organizations lied about the intentions of the NRA.

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

The Brady Campaign began life as the National Council to Control Handguns, established in 1974 by Dr. Mark Borinsky, �a victim of gun violence.� The Next year, following the murder of his son, DuPont executive Nelson "Pete" Shields takes a leave of absence from his job to work for NCCH and in 1978 became the organizations chairman. In 1980 NCCH was renamed HCI, Handgun Control, Inc. In 1983, The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV), an educational outreach organization dedicated to reducing gun violence, is founded as a sister organization to HCI. In 1985, four years after her husband Jim Brady, Ronald Reagan�s press secretary, was wounded in the assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. Sarah Brady joined the anti-gun movement and in 1989 became the chair Handgun Control, Inc. Later in 1991 she also became chair of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence. On June 14th, 2001 HCI was renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the CPHV was renamed Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, both in honor of Jim and Sarah�s commitment to make America safer from gun violence.

Legislative Achievements of the Brady Campaign

With the high profile Sarah Brady at the head of their campaign, between 1985 and 1991 the HCI/CPHV had a number of legislative successes. They successfully lobbied Congress to ban Teflon coated armor-piercing, "cop-killer" bullets that can puncture bullet-proof vests worn by police officers and in Maryland they were able to pass a ban on the sale of so-called Saturday Night Specials. Problem is, there were no �cop-killer� bullets. The Teflon coating is common to most ammunition, because it causes less wear on the barrel, reduces ricochets from hard surfaces, and reduces air contamination from lead particles being shed from bullets in flight. As to �Saturday Night Special,� there has never been any evidence that these inexpensive guns are in anyway more dangerous to the user, or that they are used any more frequently in committing a crime than any other firearm. The two organizations managed to get Congress to pass a bill to ban handguns that cannot be detected by airport x-ray machines ("plastic" handguns). The only problem with these laws is that they were so-called feel good laws, which protected no one. There have never been any �plastic� handguns. The guns which so terrified the CPHV and HCI (the Glock) are now the most commonly used firearms by police in the nation. The Glock was never �plastic� and was never �undetectable� by airport x-ray machines, being 80% metal as they are. The Glock was the victim, as are so many weapon systems, of hyperventilating by these Left-wing organizations. The same, identical Glock, unchanged in any way, is still being marketed in the United States, and is one of the most popular firearms sold because of their inherent safety and reliability.

Much More Ado About Nothing

After a schoolyard massacre in Stockton, California passes the first assault weapons ban in the nation, the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapon Act. This act would later lead to the Violent Crime and Control Act of 1994, which includes the first-ever federal Assault Weapons Ban, banning the future manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons. By admission of the authors of the bill, the criteria used in deciding whether or not a gun was included on the list were cosmetic. If a gun �looked� dangerous or bad, it was included on the list. Again, as is typical of Left-wing legislation, superficialities were the deciding factors. No effort was made to determine the functionality of firearms, so you could and did have cases in which one of two identically functioning guns which had different stocks or features would be on the ban and the other would be perfectly acceptable. In 1993, Virginia passed legislation limiting purchases of guns to "one per person per month," in response to claims by the anti-gun lobby that Virginia is a source state of crime guns trafficked up and down the East Coast. In spite of passing of this law, gun violence on the East Coast has shown no sign of lessening.

One of the few constructive and successful laws to come out of the Brady Campaign, is the instant background check. The Brady Bill, which requires a five-day waiting period and background checks on handgun purchases, was signed into law after a seven-year battle, and went into effect in the 32 states which had no background check system. The Brady Bill was sunsetted and while it was in effect, a system for instant background checks was set in place. As the Brady five-day law came to an end, the instant check system was implemented. In some states, there is now no waiting period. In most cases, this kind of success is absent. Most legislation lobbied for by the Anti-gun movement turns out to be ineffectual, superficial, and counter productive. A lot of the efforts of the Brady Campaign revolve around what sounds good rather than what is true. Much of the data supplied by the Brady campaign is apocryphal, assumed to be true with no supporting data, or just plane false presented as true using twisted data. Programs like Michael Moore�s Bowling for Columbine present a distorted view of gun owners, firearms manufacturers, and American culture. The anti-gun faction continue to mis-portray the NRA and its members as dangerous, supporting weapons systems which are dangerous for police and attempting to corrupt children through its Eddie Eagle Program. The truth is that the Eddie Eagle Program expresses no opinion as to whether guns are good or bad or whether gun ownership is good or bad. In contrast the anti-gun lobby continually represents guns as more dangerous to owners than the criminals they are meant to deter. Their STAR program does place the Campaigns own opinions on gun ownership in all of its literature. No attempt at objectivism is made.

The Results of the Comparison

The NRA continues to represent a positive influence in our society. It seeks to inform rather than sway. Allegations by the Brady Campaign that the NRA promotes weapon systems dangerous to police and other government enforcement agencies don�t match the evidence. It is ludicrous to make such assertions, when so much of the NRA�s efforts are directed at supporting our law enforcement officers, providing them with training and information to assist them in the execution of their duties. The NRA projects a positive image of the gun owner, and documents its claims with news reports from the very media sources which attempt to undermine the organization. Like most Liberal organizations, the Brady Campaign presents a negative image of gun owners and of guns in general. They appear to be more concerned with the safety of the criminal than they are the victim and are pre-occupied by their fear and hatred for firearms. Virtually all of their claims are base on assumptions which are not supported by facts. They have contributed little to protect the public let alone the Law enforcement agencies and their personnel. They have done nothing to support our troops in combat situations, or our police in their day to day duties. By vilifying firearms rather than perpetrators, they undermine our efforts to combat criminals. They distort or misconstrue the meaning of the Second Amendment to support their belief in the complete disarmament of American citizens. They embrace the kind of restrictive gun ownership laws which can be found in Great Britain. There is an utter failure to address the glaring problems in their argument in favor of gun control, such as why the Swiss, who have the most liberal gun laws in Europe, including the possession by every able bodied citizen of a fully automatic �assault weapon,� has the lowest crime rate in Europe, and Britain which has the most restrictive laws, while having a low death rate, has one of the highest violent crime rates in the world.

Ultimately, the comparison is ludicrous. The NRA has, since its inception, �moved mountains� in supporting American troops, in supporting our policemen, and in promoting and defending the freedoms of the American citizen. The anti-gun movement has sought to undermine one of our most basic freedoms and rights, the right to defend oneself, and has sought to impair, by indirect means, the ability of our nation to defend itself. The Brady campaign by vilifying millions of law abiding gun owners, by releasing propaganda based on faulty research, and by attempting to restrict access by law abiding citizens to firearms has lent its name to efforts to destroy or at least weaken our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is organizations like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that represent the real threat to Americans and their freedom.


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