In the wake of the Newtown tragic slaughter of first graders and their teachers, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, responded that what America needs is more armed citizens. This really should surprise no one. The NRA, over the past two decades has become the $32 billion dollar gun industry’s Madison Avenue. In the last election cycle, according to Open Secrets, the NRA spent about $20 million on political outside spending and contributions, much funded by the gun industry. Over the years, the NRA sponsored legislation permitting the “gun show loophole” and supported ending the ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. The NRA lobbied Congress to cut funding to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and sponsored legislation to restrict its investigations of gun shops and even prohibit its sharing of information with other law enforcement agencies, famously calling it’s agents “Jack booted thugs.”
Now some 40 percent of gun sales in the U.S. are conducted without a background check, including sales of military style weapons and large capacity magazines like those used at Columbine, Aurora and Newtown. Rather than ban weapons that have no legitimate civilian use and closing the loophole that allows the arming of criminals, terrorists and mentally ill individuals with such weapons, Mr. LaPierre and his NRA suggests that the proper response is to add more guns to the equation.
The gun industry’s marketing strategy should be a case study in every business school. Fund the NRA who funnels millions of dollars to elected officials who vote for NRA-sponsored legislation which allows the arming of criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill. When those armed “bad guys” begin slaughtering our children, convince the rest of Americans that they need to arm themselves as protection against the very threat that the NRA created. Yes, the blood of our children is not just on the hands of the NRA but is pooling in the board rooms of the gun industry. Shame on them and shame on us if we continue to buy their ploys.
Jerry A. Belair
22 Kelly Street