Remember who it was that insisted that teflon-coated “cop killer” bullets-the ones that will sail right through body armor-should not be regulated?
Remember who it was that wanted high-powered weaponry to be as unregulated as a B-B gun? That worked out really well for Jarrod Loguhner in Arizona, by the way.
Remember who it was that said that everybody ought to be able to carry heat anywhere they go, even if it happens to be a place like a playground, or a bar?
And, last but not least, remember who thought the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law-the one that lets you fire away if you FEEL like you MIGHT be threatened-was a swell idea?
Sure you do. You know who. It’s the NRA, the group that has kept Americans from having a sane discussion on weaponry and firepower for the last 50 years. The NRA that enabled somebody like George Zimmerman to blow a kid with a can of tea and a bag of skittles to smithereens. The NRA that pushed such loose gun laws in Arizona that a guy with known mental issues was able to get himself the firepower necessary to blow away a sitting Federal Judge.
It is a certainty that many more Americans (and for that matter, Mexicans) have been snuffed due to the offices of the NRA than ever died because of anything that a terrorist ever dreamed up, in either country. It is way past time that we recognize the NRA to be the terrorist organization that it surely is, and act accordingly.
In 2004, the National Rifle Association honored Republican Florida state legislator Dennis Baxley with a plum endorsement: its Defender of Freedom award.
The following year, Baxley, a state representative, worked closely with the NRA to push through Florida’s unprecedented “stand your ground” law, which allows citizens to use deadly force if they “reasonably believe” their safety is threatened in public settings.
People no longer would be restrained by a “duty to retreat” from a threat while out in public, and they’d be free from prosecution or civil liability if they acted in self-defense.
Florida’s law is now under a cloud as a result of the controversial February shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla. The 28-year-old shooter, George Zimmerman, who was licensed to carry a gun, said he acted in self-defense after a confrontation with Martin, and some legal experts say Florida’s law could protect Zimmerman, who hasn’t been charged. Baxley, whose state party has benefited from large NRA donations, contends that his law shouldn’t shield Zimmerman at all, because he pursued Martin.
The NRA has been quiet on the matter since the shooting as the nation takes stock — in light of the Martin case and similar examples — of whether “stand your ground” laws are more dangerous than useful to public safety. The gun-rights organization didn’t respond to requests for comment. But its silence contrasts with its history of activism on stand-your-ground legislation. Since the Florida measure passed, the NRA has flexed its considerable muscle and played a crucial role in the passage of more than 20 similar laws nationwide.
The Florida law is rooted in the centuries-old English common-law concept known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which holds that the right of self-defense is accepted in one’s home. But the Florida law and others like it expand that established right to venues beyond a home.
Since Florida adopted its law, the NRA has aggressively pursued stand-your-ground laws elsewhere as part of a broader agenda to increase gun-carrying rights it believes that citizens are rightly due under the Second Amendment.
To gain attention and clout at the state level, the NRA gives money and offers endorsements to legislators from both parties. The NRA and the NRA Political Victory Fund, its political action committee, have donated about $2.6 million to state political campaigns, committees and individual politicians since 2003, according to records compiled by the nonprofit National Institute on Money in State Politics.
And ambitious politicians take note that the NRA is heavily invested and involved in congressional races.
Following the Florida victory, the “Stand Your Ground” movement accelerated. In July 2006, the NRA posted celebratory news on its website, noting that legislators in eight more states — Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and South Dakota — already had followed Florida’s lead.
“This train keeps a rollin’ — Castle Doctrine Sweeps America,” the NRA’s 2006 message said. The campaign, the group said, “is turning focus from criminals’ rights to those of the law-abiding who are forced to protect themselves.”
Since then, a host of other states have passed various laws expanding the Castle Doctrine. Among them: Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and West Virginia.
To spread the word, the NRA said in an Aug. 12, 2005, website posting, it approached the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafts legislation for like-minded state lawmakers. The council adopted model stand-your-ground legislative language in 2005 after Florida’s top NRA representative made a presentation.
Along the way, key lawmakers benefited from NRA support. In Indiana, for instance, GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, who took office in 2005, received $12,400 in NRA donations from 2004 to 2008. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue got $7,500 from the group from 2004 to 2006. Mark Shurtleff, Utah’s attorney general, received $22,500 from 2004 to 2008.
The NRA and ALEC, working to get you blown to bits. What a surprise this is.
That’s sarcasm, of course. It seems that the NRA and the Koch brothers both have a serious thirst for innocent blood. I don’t profess to know exactly why-I just know that these are sick individuals, and sick organizations, and they infect us like some kind of drug-resistant bacteria. There may be nothing as important to us as it is to start discussing what these people have done, and what they are still doing.
Lives depend on it. A lot of lives.