So now, a week after the NRA decided it would be better not to speak to anyone out of a reasoned fear of any comments eliciting an outpouring of righteous indignation by millions of Americans, up pipes their “executive vice-president” Wayne LaPierre with the NRA’s post-Newtown talking points. The remarks made by Mr. LaPierre are everything you thought they would be and less.
The NRA was faced with the unenviable task of both doubling down on completely-divorced-from-reality gun ideology and trying to look like it cares about kids getting gunned down (which is, of course, the logical consequence of the NRA’s completely-divorced-from-reality gun ideology).
The best effort of the NRA “brains trust” was to make the suggestion that there should be armed guards at schools. If that’s the best they can do, I think the NRA is running on empty.
This suggestion is not smart politics for the NRA. It’s a great idea, mind you. Still, this is a great idea which underscores just how tenuously connected to gun ideology great ideas typically are. Of course – we need more people who have some kind of official capacity related to their gun use being the ones with guns. I would _much_ rather have a security guard responsible for security than any Bubba who drinks NRA Kool-Aid. If a security guard does a lousy job protecting children, you can fire that guard and hire a new one. A security company that has a consistent record of misjudging who should and shouldn’t be packing heat can also lose contracts as school boards shop around for a good security company. Bubba, on the other hand, has a gun whether you think that’s a good idea or not. If that’s the choice, NRA, I’m with you – more security guards, less Bubba.
But, of course, the NRA wants Bubbas to keep their guns too – this sensible suggestion is only made to throw you off course, because the NRA has no intention of deserting their principal guns-and-guts, anti-gummint militia clientele. I suspect, in other words, that the NRA isn’t really offering this as a contribution to the “national conversation” Americans are now supposedly having on gun control. The suggestion seems to be made specifically to make it seems like guns can be controlled – if not by the government, then by “armed security”. That’s a sign of weakness on the NRA’s part. In order to get you off their case, they’re now making moderate pro-gun control arguments…just to throw you off the scent, sure…but that’s what they’re doing.
Armed security can be regulated by the government, and it can also be conditioned in helpful ways by the private market. Individual gun nuts, not so much. The suggestion is sensible, but it took this amount of heat to make an NRA spokesperson talk this way, like society’s interests play at all in the matter of who gets to use guns and how.
We shouldn’t miss the opportunity provided here. The NRA’s statement shows they are losing the debate – next step, ceding ground to sensible gun regulation…