Saturday, March 24, 2018

An Open Letter from an NRA Member to those Marching Today and their Supporters

Dear March For Our Lives participants and supporters:

We have a common goal. We want to see an end to gun violence just as much, if not more, than our detractors. I firmly believe that every time a firearm is used for evil, it is an affront not only to civilized society but also to the rights and freedoms we have in this country. We want it to stop, too. We do not want to see one more drop of innocent blood spilled. Every time one of these horrible tragedies occurs, we hug our own children a little tighter and long for a day when we, and of course you, can not only feel safe but actually BE safe.

With that in mind, I ask you to consider a few things.

First, we stand ready, capable, and equipped to protect you. There are hundreds of thousands of us out there who would gladly stand between you and those who would do you harm, risking our lives to save yours. We are parents, teachers, first responders, engineers, etc. While being willing to take a bullet on your behalf is a noble sentiment, we feel our efforts to protect you would be far more effective if it was the criminals who were taking the bullets, and that is the beginning of our ire over these things.

Yes, we stand ready, willing, and equipped to protect you. But, by law, we are not able to do so. You see, federal law prohibits us from being where we would need to be while we're equipped to protect you. Think for a moment about that. The reason you don't see stories in the news of people like me stopping these school massacres is that, by and large, we aren't allowed to.

Think about that for a while as you wave your "NRA blood on your hands" signs today.  The fact is that the NRA has done more than anyone else to actually try to halt gun violence in this country, and we desperately want to do more.

You can argue that our ideas may not work. The fact is, though, that gun control hasn't worked - in fact, it has arguably made things worse.  We did not see school shootings with nearly the frequency and high body counts that we see recently until the "gun free schools" act was passed in 1994. Once people like me were no longer allowed to have their self-defense tools in schools, the killers knew they wouldn't face resistance. The fact is, gun control has made you sitting ducks, and our ideas have largely been dismissed.

Now, there are some places, some schools, where teachers and staff are allowed to carry their guns. Two things should be considered in those cases. First, you may not have known that those places exist - why?  Because the dire predictions of what would happen there have not come to pass, and so it is not news that fits the agenda. Second, consider that you have not heard of mass shootings at those places since those policies went into effect.

Third, consider what did actually happen recently in one such place. An armed school resource officer was able to stop a school shooting in Maryland, and the only person who died was the perpetrator. What stopped him?  Did Maryland's strict gun laws stop him?  Did their ban on weapons like the AR-15 stop him? Did their waiting periods and age restrictions and countless other restrictions stop him?  No. An armed and NRA-trained person with his own gun stopped him.

Further, consider why we always hear calls for MORE gun control after a school shooting. I suggest it's not because it works, but it's because gun control itself is the agenda. It's not about saving your lives, it's about keeping people like me from being able to do so in the future. It's about stripping you of your freedoms now so that you won't be able to resist while this country moves closer and closer to fascism.

Think about which side actually has more of an interest in ending gun violence. I suggest that it's not the side who's political agenda gains more strength and traction for every one of you who dies in this manner. I submit to you that the gun control crowd - at least those at the "top" - don't actually want to stop these things from happening. Why would they?  The more of you die in mass shootings, the more their political agenda benefits. Think about that for a while.

Conversely, people like me who support the right to keep and bear arms most definitely have a strong interest in stopping gun violence, and for much the same reason. We grow weary of being blamed for things we haven't done - for things we abhor and would never consider doing. We grow weary of being blamed for things we could and would prevent if we were only allowed to do so.

Now, I do want to acknowledge that there are many March supporters who are on board purely out of concern for their kids' safety, and I do not want to vilify you. What I do want to do, though, is educate you about what will actually make your kids safer and what won't. What I want you to ask yourself is, "who is volunteering to actually stand in harm's way to protect your kids effectively? What is preventing them from doing so?"

Instead of vilifying the NRA and the second amendment, you should be demanding that your parents and teachers' right to protect you be restored.  Instead of demanding that your own freedoms be taken away, you should be demanding that your rights to protect yourselves and your own children be sacrosanct.

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