Saturday, March 16, 2013

Go for the gun


     The policy of the National Rifle Association to oppose all gun legislation, even legislation that seems to just be common sense, such as a restriction on the number of bullets a clip can hold, baffles some people and makes the NRA appear unreasonably recalcitrant.

    I am not an NRA member or a big gun enthusiast, though I do own a single shot 20 gauge shot gun and an antique, pump action .22 rifle, neither of which I have shot in years.

I think the key to understanding the NRA’s policy is found in the ancient fable of the camel’s nose under the tent. Google it and you will find several versions of the story. It is one I often read to my son when he was a little boy.

    It seems Abdul was crossing the dessert, had pitched his tent and was settled in for the night, Abdul in his tent and the camel outside.

    Soon he heard the camel complain of the chilly night wind and ask if he couldn’t just stick his nose in the tent. Permission was granted, and soon the camel complained that the wind was blowing sand in his eyes and couldn’t he just stick his whole head in the tent.

    By the time the night had passed, the whole camel was in the tent and Abdul was outside shivering in the chilly wind.

    The NRA is afraid the antigun lobby has an agenda that will lead to outlawing private gun ownership, and the way they intend to get there is incrementally, one small piece of legislation at a time, just as the camel got into the tent.

    The truth of this was born out in a recent piece of antigun legislation introduce in the current session of the Washington State legislature. A part of the legislation would allow law enforcement officers to come into every house once a year without a warrant to ensure that all guns were properly secured.

    When this came to light, the three legislators who had introduced the bill claimed they had no idea that that element was there. It appears their claim was probably true. Apparently, many bills are written by lobbyists and think tanks and sent to legislators as boiler plate bills which they in turn submit because they favor the subject of the bill. That doesn’t mean they have read the details.

    This bill was written by an antigun lobby and they, like the camel, were asking for more than just putting a head into the tent. By including the part about law enforcement entering a private residence annually without a warrant, they revealed more of their ultimate intentions than they should have this early in the game. Since this is boilerplate material going to politicians across the nation, it could be coming to your state legislature too.

    The NRA is justified in their policy to oppose any gun legislation, especially since there is no evidence that any antigun legislation has ever had any real effect in reducing gun violence. Such legislation simply allows politicians to appear like they are doing something and makes some of their constituents feel good because “something” is being done. And it allows the antigun crowd to incrementally move toward their ultimate goal of outlawing private ownership of guns.


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