Sunday, February 21, 2010
Tomorrow, a new law on guns in national parks takes effect. Congress passed and President Obama signed a bill allowing people to carry loaded, concealed weapons in national parks for "self-defense."
What were they thinking?
This travesty represents a huge victory for the National Rifle Association. Since 1871, the NRA has been America’s oldest sportsman’s group. Four million members strong, the NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military, for which they cannot be faulted even by folks like me who fear guns and would never own one.
But when gun advocates portray themselves as victims of so-called “bigotry” by those who disagree with them, they are way off target. Some have likened their position to African-Americans in the Civil Rights movement, which carried to its logical extreme states that ones status as a gun advocate is an immutable characteristic like skin color and that gun usage is comparable to race or sexual orientation.
They must be high.
In their bizarre world view, anyone who fails to endorse the effects of their gun advocacy, such as forcing families to accept semi-automatic pistols or assault weapons in Yellowstone, is the same as those who infamously refused service to black students at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, in 1960.
It's appalling that the NRA has managed to convince a majority of legislators that allowing civilians to carry loaded, concealed weapons in national parks and wildlife preserves won't inevitably lead to more impulsive shooting of animals as well as "accidents" in which humans are maimed or killed. Their despicable argument that not allowing this constitutes bigotry is simply insane. People are born into a particular race, but none of them exits the birth canal toting a gun.
Guns are dangerous. They are tools designed to kill, and in this country they fulfill their function 30,000 times each year, while injuring another 80,000 people. I fail to understand how this is a civil rights issue, and no amount of NRA-speak will convince me that it is anything but a public safety issue.
Lest I be misunderstood, I do not hate people who own guns. But I do hate and deplore the fact that they will now be allowed to carry them into the last bastions of unspoiled land, our national parks, the very places most people go to enjoy the natural beauty of our country and escape the stresses of city life. While I believe that most gun owners are reasonably responsible, I worry about the few who are not, the dangerous, unstable ones who want to play GI Joe in the woods.
We really don't need to worry about foreign terrorists killing American citizens when we have people right here at home with a frontier mentality, and the weapons to act on it. Expect increasing shoot-outs among the laughing children, wildlife photographers and picnic frolickers as people who shouldn't have guns "defend" themselves against others who also should not. I find this vastly troubling, and you should, too.