To the Editor:
Many years ago, an extended family member was killed in the course of a hotel robbery while she was on vacation in Florida. So, I am in the universe of people who want to see fewer guns available for criminals to access. Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association (a.k.a. NRA) doesn’t agree.
That’s why I want to applaud my congressman, Don Beyer, for introducing the ATF Enforcement Act. As Rep. Beyer notes, this bill is aimed at eliminating the barriers put up by the same NRA advocates who claim no new laws are needed because all that need be done is to fully enforce the ones already on the books.
Of course, it won't be put on the floor for a vote, let alone pass, but it's a great way to change the conversation and put the NRA on the defensive.
At a minimum, calling the NRA's bluff may get them to change their hypocritical talking points and admit they don't want the laws enforced or government to do anything to attempt to reduce gun deaths in our nation.
As we all know, the NRA is a tool of the gun manufacturers who use it to inflame the public into buying more and more guns. Gun manufacturers care about three types of buyers most.
One group is law-abiding citizens who love guns and buy lots of them for hunting, target shooting, collections or safe fun. Another group buys one or more guns for what they perceive is a necessary tool to protect themselves and/or their families from harm. The NRA has spent much effort to expand this market by encouraging fear. Finally, there are the criminals who buy lots of guns so they can be sold on the black market to other criminals.
Unfortunately, with so many guns in the country, it's inevitable that non-criminals will end up killing themselves or others due to the fact that guns make killing so easy and human beings are emotional, often unwise in how they secure them and/or subject to stress or greater mental impairment.
One would think that in order to keep the sale of guns flowing efficiently, the industry would want to take actions to reduce or prevent these types of deaths.
Yet, these are the deaths that promote the sale of guns to those who live in fear and have been convinced that buying a gun themselves is a better solution than reducing the easy availability of guns to the broader public.
As well, the industry has a stake in seeing that its black market to criminals not be diminished, which is why this bill won't pass.
Fortunately, the American people are beginning to see through this gun industry scheme that makes them small fortunes at the expense of our lives, well-being and feeling of safety in our society. Eventually, as we have done with cigarettes and as we are doing more and more with alcohol combining with cars and trucks, we will act. Tragically, it will likely take many more otherwise avoidable murders, accidents (one child a week, experts say) and suicides before we reach that point.
Paul A. Friedman