No Mass Shooter Has Been Known to be a Member of the NRA

Any time a senseless and tragic shooting happens, the media are quick to blame the NRA. “The NRA has blood on its hands” is a favorite claim of those who oppose the possession of any type of firearm they believe isn’t designed for “hunting” or “self-defense.” It’s like they accuse the NRA of personally handing every mentally-deranged lunatic a Mini Gun saying, “have at it,” when in all actuality, it’s the NRA—and other pro-Second Amendment organizations—that are doing more to prevent guns getting into the hands of prohibited people than any gun control group is doing.

screen capture of a Tweet from the NRA
The NRA has always made safety a priority.

No matter how hard anti-gun politicians, celebrities, media and other organizations try to convince the public otherwise, the NRA is not a terrorist organization that fights to keep guns in the hands of criminals. In fact, the NRA currently and historically always has been an acute advocate of firearm safety and storage. Regardless, these groups will continue to perpetuate myths and lies.

On Saturday, May 26, 2018, Noblesville, Indiana Mayor John Ditslear showed up to the grand opening of Hoosier Armory gun store not to cut ribbons, shop or offer congratulations, but to ask the shop’s owners to take down the NRA tent set up outside. Mayor Ditslear proceeded to tell Hoosier Armory they were “hurting” their city. When speaking to FOX 59 news, the Mayor expressed his dislike of the NRA, “I’m not accusing them of pulling the trigger, but in some cases, I think there is blood on their hands. Because they have fought against gun safety for so many years.”

Cartoon image of a monster eating a baby with the words, "Gun Owners Eat Babies and That's a Fact."
Anti-gun groups, politicians and individuals demonize the NRA.

Feelings were very raw—the day before Hoosier Armory’s opening, a student at Noblesville West Middle School opened fire on his classmates, wounding his teacher and one other student. Like the Mayor, protestors outside the new gun store said they weren’t there to protest the store, just the NRA. Rich Ripple, Hoosier Armory managing partner says, “We see the NRA villainized for school shootings when they offer more ideas to prevent them than our politicians ever do.”

The National Rifle Association, representing millions of law-abiding and responsible gun owners, campaigns for the government to enforce the laws already on the books and invests millions of dollars into teaching the safe and responsible use of firearms. Since the founding of the NRA, it has worked alongside lawmakers and law enforcement to help prevent firearms getting into the wrong hands.

The NRA was founded in 1871 by an ex-newspaper reporter and two Civil War veterans to help improve the marksmanship of Northerners. The group was granted a charter and received $25,000 from New York state for the purchase of its first gun range. In the 1920s and especially in the 1930s, at the height of Prohibition, the NRA fully supported more restrictive gun laws. In fact, it helped President Roosevelt draft the Gun Control Act of 1938, which established a federal license requirement on manufacturers, importers, and retailers of firearms, as well as making it illegal to transfer a firearm to a “prohibited person.” Though the NRA’s primary platform has switched focus since then, the NRA has always emphasized the importance of the safe handling and storage of firearms.

There are no federal laws that regulate gun storage; however, 27 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring gun owners to prevent access to firearms from children. Fourteen states have negligent gun storage laws. Violators may be charged with a felony if they fail. In October 2005, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed requiring manufacturers of firearms and dealers to include a safety device when transferring a firearm to a buyer. The NRA has not fought any of these laws in court. In 2016, in the book The NRA Step-by-Step Guide to Gun Safety, Rick Sapp wrote, “Gun security should be a primary issue for all owners…Keeping firearms away from unauthorized users is essential to everyone’s security agenda.”

Because the right to defend ourselves is an inalienable right supported by the Second Amendment, the NRA does oppose any federal law mandating how people store their firearms in their homes. John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D., and John Whitley in their study, “Safe Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime,” found that gun storage laws make it harder for people to be able to defend themselves.

NRA image of an American flag on a chalkboard and the words, "Gun Control No"
NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre said, “And, for God’s sake, put every prohibited person into the system.”

In 2012, the NRA formed National School Shield, a program dedicated to improving the safety of our nation’s schools. They offer grants and training to increase the security of schools by providing training for staff, metal detectors, cameras, fencing and much more. Even though the Secure Firearms Act of 2013 did not go further than a subcommittee, the NRA fully supported it. This law would have amended “the Internal Revenue Code to allow individual taxpayers a deduction, up to $1,200 in any taxable year, for the cost of secure gun storage or safety devices for the securing of firearms.” James Baker, the NRA’s director of its Institute for Legislative Action Federal Affair Division, said, “The NRA is the national leader in teaching firearms safety, and we support the Secure Firearms Act of 2013 which encourages the safe storage of firearms in the home.” Further, the NRA’s accident prevention program for children, Eddie Eagle, has taught 25 million children about what to do if they encounter a gun. With thousands of certified instructors and classes given all over the country, the NRA trains over one million adults a year on how to shoot and handle a gun safely.

The Blame Game

After former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida killing 14 people and injuring an additional 17, people rushed to blame the NRA. Though Cruz purchased his rifle legally, Florida had plenty of opportunities to add his name to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System—the system conceived by the NRA that stops guns getting into the wrong hands. Why aren’t the gun grabbers looking to their state officials for answers? It makes more common sense to question those who have the power to enforce the law rather than place blame on the organization offering solutions. Speaking at CPAC in February 2018, the NRA’s Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre said, “And, for God’s sake, put every prohibited person into the system. That’s what common-sense gun laws look like.” So, it’s unclear how those who say that they “just want common sense gun laws” could deduct the shooting— or any shooting for that matter—is the fault of the NRA. The NRA didn’t pull the trigger. The NRA has never pulled the trigger.

NRA's Eddie Eagle logo
The NRA’s Eddie Eagle child safety program has taught 25 million children what to do if they encounter a firearm.

The NRA isn’t a perfect organization and not all gun owners align or agree with them. But what the NRA doesn’t do is pay to put guns in the hands of prohibited people (felons, drug addicts, domestic abusers and the mentally ill.) Pro-shooting sports and pro-Second Amendment organizations work hard to preserve our rights to own guns. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which doesn’t get nearly the same amount of media attention as the NRA, has several active safety programs and campaigns—Operation Secure Store, Project Safe Child, FixNICS, and has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

You might not be a member of the NRA or support it, but that shouldn’t be because you believe the lies the media tell you. What the NRA is doing is more than any of the anti-gun organizations are. Banning bump stocks, “assault rifles” and “high-capacity” magazines won’t do anything to stop a criminal’s intent on doing harm. The NRA and other pro-Second Amendment organizations are the ones actually working towards finding realistic solutions in preventing mass shootings.

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