I have said it before and I will keep saying it. I hate the NRA

The National Rifle Association’s propaganda about more Americans owning more guns will make us safer has not only proven wrong, it’s just plain evil (profoundly immoral), propaganda designed to increase the sale of guns in exchange for gun manufacturers to give kickbacks to the NRA.

This week we have witnessed two mass shootings, and thus far in less than a month into 2023 we have had 39 shootings involving at least four people.

The U.S. has the most liberal gun laws in the Western world and nearly 30 times the rate of gun violence and deaths than any of the others. Organizations such as Amnesty International now compare us to nations like El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, and Brazil instead of western Europe. Because of our gun violence, in 2022 Amnesty also issued a world-wide warning cautioning tourists about visiting the United States.

The truth about ourselves is that we have chosen guns over safety and as a result have become a nation whose violence is on par with third world countries. 

The NRA is right that people kill other people. It is absolutely wrong that more guns play no role in what people do. There are more guns in circulation than our entire population, yet we refuse to connect the dots between that fact and gun violence.

The NRA mantra that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun is pure gibberish. It contradicts commonsense. Who doesn’t know the more guns blazing in an violent situation puts even more people at risk? Kyle Rittenhouse was supposedly a “good guy” with a gun (actually a rifle) and killed two demonstrators and wounded another in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The NRA wants to turn the whole country into Kenosha. It’s insane. And just as an aside, this week Brandon Tsay stopped the 72 year old gunman in California from executing a second mass shooting at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio by wrestling the gun away from him with his bare hands. 

The problem is, we all want this violence to stop, but apparently not enough to take the steps that can do it. Those steps are actually not complicated, just hard. Consider the following. 

The first step is to stop arguing over the 2nd Amendment. It is irrelevant to stopping the violence. Courts will continue to argue about it, but as citizens we need to understand that violence in America is not a legal issue, it is a moral issue.

It doesn’t matter if we have the right to own guns and rifles. What does matter is stopping the epidemic of gun violence that is growing. The majority of Americans already support stricter gun laws because we believe that stopping gun violence is more important than gun ownership.

It’s the minority of politicians and a minority of voters who want no restrictions on gun ownership. It’s time to defeat them the old-fashioned way, by passing state and federal laws to that end. What is more, let’s dismiss as just plain silly the argument that we must own guns in case we have to fight for our freedom against our own government. 

Passing strict gun laws can’t be done, you say. I beg to differ. Need we be reminded that those of us who support a woman’s right to choose said the same thing about the anti-choice movement until they won. It took 50 years, but they won, something we never thought they could do.

Their strategy of persistent anti-choice legislation must become the method we in the anti-gun violence movement must use to achieve our goal. 

That means urging states with a legislative majority favoring stricter gun laws to enact even more laws that make it harder to own a gun. Eventually some of these laws will make their way to the Supreme Court. We will lose some of those cases, perhaps win others, but the point is the laws will be in place until struck down and will serve to keep the issue before the nation.

Anti-choice advocates chipped away at the right to choose little by little, often ulitmately losing the legal battle, but having won the political one, until they finally won by packing the Supreme Court with conservatives. That is what the anti-gun violence movement must do. It will take time, but it can be done, just as the anti-choice movement proved. 

We can also make the position of political and judicial candidates at every level on gun legislation a central election and confirmation issue. The will of the majority must defeat pro-gun politicians and deny confirmation of any judge or justice who believes the 2nd Amendment prevents sensible laws from being enacted. 

For too long we have let politicians, judges, and justices off the hook on this issue, as if 2nd Amendment rights are settled law. They are not, and it is time to make that view heard. 

That includes reminding the current Supreme Court justices that, contrary to what they may believe about themselves, we know they are not gods, only human beings subject to mistakes in judgment just like the rest of us.

We need to tell them the truth, that we know they are not telling us what the Constitution says, and especially what the founders intended. They are telling us what they think the Constitution says and what the founders intended. Just because they speak doesn’t make them right.

Let us never forget that in 857 seven of the nine Supreme Court justices ruled that Dred Scott, a black slave, could not sue for his freedom because, they said, black people were not American citizens according to Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution. That decision has been called the worst decision the Supreme Court has ever rendered, but hardly the only bad one in our history (I suggest the Dodd decision last June and the Citizens United decision in 2010 fit the category of “bad”).

It’s time we, the people, let the Supreme Court know we know the truth about them, that they are flawed human beings, especially since they themselves have abandoned stare decisis in favor of their own judgments over settled law (precedent).

Holding them accountable means passing legislation at the state and federal level that directly challenges court rulings. We can also insist that the Senate increase the number of justices on the court to bring balance. Nothing wrong with that. The number has been flexible since the founding of the nation. It still is.

The long and short of what I am proposing is that we desperately need to do whatever it takes to confront the gun violence crisis we facing as a country. Business as usual is failing us.

Gun violence is not about gun rights. It’s about our national character. We have the right to do whatever is necessary to become a more perfect union as our founders said was the goal. 

This crisis didn’t develop overnight, and it will not be solved quickly. But if we have learned anything from the anti-choice movement it is that unrelenting persistence does pay off.