When the latest mass shooting took place in Oregon (one of the 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook tragedy), it became clear who the most dangerous domestic terrorist is in America.
And I don’t say that lightly.
Over the last 20 years or so, the NRA has made sure that America has become Weaponized America.
In fact, there are now enough guns in circulation to arm every resident of our country.
Which should prove the truth of the NRA claim: More guns make us safer.
Yet we have more gun-related deaths than any other country in the Western World.
And the catalyst for that? The NRA.
Whether it’s the street shootings in Chicago that are reported with a depressing regularity or the horrors of mass murders we are now becoming accustomed to, the NRA has been in the forefront of ensuring that those crimes happen.
Now, that doesn’t include the membership, ironically. In a Pew Poll last year of NRA members, 74 percent favored expanded background checks. A recent New York Times article notes that 87 percent of gun owners polled “supported criminal background or ‘Brady checks’ for all gun purchases.”
But the terrorist national organization doesn’t see it that way. So it fights any kind of gun restriction. In that same article, readers learn that the NRA successfully fought to defeat a Senate bill that would’ve done what the overwhelming majority of its members support.
No, the leadership of the NRA clearly traffics in terrorism.
They terrorize American gun owners with ridiculous claims that any gun legislation is an attempt to “take away your guns.” And it works, as we know, because every time a horror like Oregon happens, gun sales go up, in part because the NRA’s reflexive response is to warn gun owners of an impending gun confiscation by the government. Which, of course, never happens.
So the terrorists succeed in two ways: They inspire Americans to fear our government, and they increase arms sales.
Which means more money for the NRA. Why? Because, as Bloomberg News reported, arms manufacturers represent 75 percent of the NRA’s corporate sponsors.
And the NRA terrorizes politicians. Vote for any kind of gun control legislation, and you can be certain the NRA will attack you, even donating thousands to run someone against you. So for many legislators, any kind of gun control legislation is dead on arrival.
In fact, politicians are so frightened that they don’t even want to know about guns and crime. The NRA scared them off.
In 1996, the NRA was able to bully Congress into defunding research into gun registration and crime. And in 2015, six days after the Charleston church shooting, the House “blocked an amendment that would’ve funded gun violence government research in the next fiscal year,” according to Politifact.
So no restrictions, no bans on weapons or ammunition, even banning research on gun violence research.
And the result? The terror we see every day in our country.
The National Rifle Association has ensured that getting a gun, a powerful gun at that, and the most dangerous bullets, is easy.
The national organization has ensured that mass murders, along with the everyday voluminous murders that happen in our cities, continue.
The NRA has made certain that the insane and the cold-blooded can find their weapon of choice to terrorize the innocent.
Shame on them. Shame on the politicians who cower to them. And shame on us for letting those domestic terrorists have power over us.
• Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.