Letter: NRA members need to stand up to the NRA

Editor of the Reformer:

The recent massacre at a church in Texas was the 307th mass shooting this year. The rank and file members of the NRA are our best (perhaps only) hope for stemming such horrors, which are so common that we have begun to accept them as a fact of life in America. It is obvious that our political "leaders" will do nothing because they are terrified of offending the NRA.

The president could not even express his condolences to the families of the latest victims in Texas, without mentioning that the slaughter was a mental health problem, not a gun problem. The Texas attorney general said it is "na ve" to support an assault weapons ban because only law abiding citizens would obey it while "bad guys" ignored it. Let's think about that for a moment. Drugs, like guns, are cheap, easily attainable, and lethal. But no one argues that we should get rid of laws against drug trafficking, or that it's na ve to ban heroine, for example, because bad guys always will find some to sell to customers. In fact, the president has promised tougher actions to combat the epidemic of drug addiction.

Similarly, everyone in America has the right to drive at age 16 or 17, and consume alcohol at age 21. On average, 28 people die every day in DUI accidents, but no one argues that it is na ve to have laws against drunk driving. No one believes that drug or DUI laws will totally prevent overdoses or car fatalities. We have those laws because we feel we are safer with them than without them. Why does the same logic not apply to common sense gun control regulations? There is a way to respect Second Amendment rights while making it more difficult for psychopaths to get their hands on assault weapons. However, we have no chance of enacting practical, common sense protections unless a multitude of NRA members demand it.

Until politicians and NRA leaders fear a backlash from this now silent majority, they will continue to be impediments to change. So, my plea to friends and neighbors who are NRA members is to please do something — refuse to pay your dues, cancel your membership, write a letter, better yet, elect new leaders. Join your non-NRA neighbors in demanding action. If we do nothing, there will be more tragedies like the recent horrors in Texas and Las Vegas. In the past, Vermont has had a great impact upon national affairs despite its modest size. We can do this again.

Bill Dunkel,

Windham, Nov. 13


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