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Voices / Viewpoint

For the NRA, there’s no good time to talk about guns

If guns are harming us, we must ask some basic questions

Robert Fritz (robertfritz.com) works as an author, composer, filmmaker, and management consultant.

Newfane

Another massacre, another time to not talk about gun control. At least, that’s what the National Rifle Association and other gun lobbies always say. Why talk about gun control while it is on everyone’s mind and the direct consequences of having lax laws about guns are so obvious?

“Guns don’t kill people,” they tell us. “People kill people.” OK, then, let’s only let guns own guns and restrict people, who seem to be putting us in danger.

I’m not against all guns. Here in Vermont, we have a long and fine tradition of hunting. Our hunters, many of them neighbors and friends, are to be trusted. They know what they’re doing, and they respect nature and the right and safe way to use guns.

These guns are not weapons. No hunter takes an assault rifle into the woods to shoot down a herd of deer.

But now, as they say, is no time to talk about gun control. We should get used to it. It happens in other countries, we are told. It’s just the modern world. Bring your own gun next time you go to a concert or the movies.

Evidently, we should wait until we are numb to the pain of mass killings.

* * *

A society has a right to protect itself from harm. If guns are harming us, we need to ask some pretty basic questions: Why do people need high-power weapons? What will they do with them? How come it is so easy for a person with whatever types of problems he has to stockpile an arsenal?

Some people think they need these types of weapons to defend themselves against the government. They are simply delusional. They feed their minds on absurd conspiracy theories from strange websites that cater to their synthetic paranoia. These are not the people to have guns and not people to consider when thinking about the issues involved.

For me, and this is a very personal reaction I have, every time there is another shooting, I think of it as a victory for the NRA.

The organization spends millions to support politicians who oppose any form of gun control. It makes it hard for those who support sensible gun control to win elections by repeating the usual lie, “They want to take away your guns.”

I would like to take away the weapons of mass destruction from the marketplace. But not the types of guns hunters use. Not the type that may be legitimately used by those who do need special protection because of their professions or where they live.

In the NRA vision, a “bad man with a gun” will be defeated by “a good man with a gun.” Extend that thought. Then the world becomes the Wild West, everyone packing.

I am in favor of civilization. I am in favor of a more sophisticated society where communities of people can join together on behalf of building wonderful things. And I am in favor of freedom of the individual.

Hoarding an arsenal is not about freedom at all, any more than giving a 5-year-old a semi-automatic assault weapon is about teaching good manners.

So, NRA, when is the right time to talk about gun control?

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Originally published in The Commons issue #431 (Wednesday, October 25, 2017). This story appeared on page D1.

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