The National Rifle Association (NRA) is no longer the hunting club its founders created in 1871. Once dedicated to supporting hunting, marksmanship and responsible gun use, today’s NRA pursues a radical agenda that puts public safety at risk, according to a report released yesterday by Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown is an organization recently formed by the merging of Governors Against Illegal Guns and Moms demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
In its first hundred years, the NRA supported common sense gun legislation, including the National Firearms act of 1934, which required registration of certain firearms and regulated the transport of these weapons across state lines. NRA member Ronal Reagan supported laws requiring a waiting period and background checks for gun purchases. According to the Everytown report, the NRA leadership changed in 1977 and with the change came a change in the Association’s focus from hunting to fighting gun regulations.
The report lists numerous actions the NRA has taken that Everytown believes compromises public safety. In 1986, the NRA successfully lobbied for a softening of federal laws passed following the assignation of President Kennedy that banned convicted felons from owning firearms. Proposed legislation that would allow the FBI to halt the sale of weapons to those on the Terrorist Watch list has been opposed by the NRA.
Working on the state level, the NRA has supported legislation that allows citizens to carry weapons inside bars and other establishments that sell alcohol. The results of this are several incidents of barroom fights turned fatal. At least 13 state legislatures either have passed or are considering NRA-backed legislation that would bar doctors from discussing gun safety issues with their patients. NRA leadership also opposes requirements that gun manufacturers use gun-tracing technologies, which would help law enforcement connect shell casings found at a crime scene to a particular weapon.
The NRA is holding its annual convention at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis this weekend, and Moms Demand Action is setting up nearby at the Indiana War Memorial Plaza. Moms Demand Action member Lucia McBath, in an interview last night on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” says the group’s goal in Indianapolis is to get the NRA leadership to stop their campaign of disinformation about gun violence. McBath’s 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot dead in November 2012 at a Jacksonville, Fla. gas station. The shooter, Michael Dunn, was upset that Jordan and his friends were playing loud music.
“The Last Word” host Ari Melber asked McBath how Moms could counter NRA’s claims that they are acting to protect Second Amendment rights. McBath responded, “It’s never been about taking away the Second Amendment rights of individuals in this country, it’s never been that, but what we have to do is make sure that we combine with those Second Amendment rights, you know, common sense gun safety laws. There is an accountability and a responsibility for that as well.”