The 2013 NRA Convention and Gun Control

The National Rifle Association’s annual convention started today and its president-elect, James Porter, told members they are fighting a “culture war” that stretches beyond gun rights. Approximately 70,000 NRA members are expected to flock to Houston to attend the three-day “Stand and Fight”-themed convention, which includes a gun trade show, strategy meetings, and a political rally.

Porter told those in attendance to the opening session, “(You) here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors.” The NRA is enjoying a huge victory over President Barack Obama on gun control, defeating a U.S. Senate vote on a major gun control bill introduced after December’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

The tragic shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school have been a lightning rod for gun control activists. These are the people speaking about “sensible” limitations to gun ownership, and who then produce and support legislation that is anything but. The new sweeping “reforms” passed in New York state recently come to mind. If you doubt the idealogy and intent behind those passing such laws, just take a look at the 15 measures that New York State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin said were taken out of the law last minute to ensure its passage.

Those rallying in Houston this weekend know something that gun control advocates don’t think they know: that this “culture war” is indeed a war. Those championing gun control aren’t really much interested in just passing a few minor refinements to the laws related to the Second Amendment. The end game is and always has been to abolish second amendment rights. Americans by the millions have been and continue to be willing to stand up and refuse these attempts on the right to bear arms.

You might be interested in a recent article by Daniel Greenfield for Frontpage Mag. He explains where a disproportionate number of gun deaths and incidents of gun violence occur: in major cities perpetrated by criminal gang members against other criminal gang members.

Greenfield breaks down the murder numbers in 12 major urban areas, arriving at the astounding observation that these dozen places “account for nearly 3,200 dead and nearly a quarter of all murders in the United States.” He concludes that approximately 75% of murder victims in these cities had criminal records and as many as 80% of the homicides were gang related.

Any reasonable person, when attempting to fairly frame this debate on gun control, will separate what is going on in most of America (on a county-by-county survey) with what criminal gangs are doing. Local snapshots of this country largely reveal peace, prosperity, and responsible interaction among the diverse populations. No region is without its problems and with most people I agree that we are less respectful and less civil to one another than we were 50 years ago.

But the idea that we have to restrict gun ownership and limit second amendment rights to fix the horror and the tragedy in our inner cities is sort of like saying we can change the violent history of a pit bull by dressing him up in nice clothes. Such focus is entirely on the wrong thing. Likewise, when we propose that restricting every citizen’s right to bear arms will somehow “fix” the criminal mind and intent of those whose work is illicit and whose method is murder, (I’m speaking of gang members), we are just toying with this problem instead of seriously searching for a solution.

If you want to know how Americans truly feel about this issue, just look at what they are currently doing.

US citizens are buying up guns and ammunition at record paces. According to FBI statistics, last year was a record-setting year for gun sales in the US. There were more than 19 million background checks conducted in 2012, and that trend has continued right into 2013. The FBI says that the number of background checks is the nation’s best indicator of actual guns purchased.

With 19 million guns purchased in 2012 we might ask who is doing the buying. Criminals? No. They can’t legally do so. People like you and I are purchasing guns for the simple reason we feel a growing threat to our way of life and our own safety and security.

Will we see a sudden increase in the ratio of gun violence because of these gun purchases? No, we will not. And that reveals something important and true to this debate on gun control.

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