Please Cancel My NRA Membership (Guest columnist on Oregonlive.com)
Please cancel my NRA membership, effective immediately.
I love shooting. To land your shots in the target, getting as many as possible within tight groups so close to each other, is without a doubt fun. There is something Zen about shooting too, with the contrast of the quiet before each shot, controlling your breath and slowly squeezing the trigger without tension or flinching at each recoil. Quiet. Noise. Quiet. Noise. Quiet.
Firearm safety, both handling and storage, has always been very important to me. I learned much of this from NRA-certified instructors: the firearm is always loaded until verified empty, the firearm is always pointed in a safe direction, finger remains off trigger until ready to shoot, and always know your target and what is behind it. Always without exception. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre once called the NRA the American Red Cross of firearm safety, and I believed this for a long time: if more firearm owners were like us, then there would be fewer problems with firearms in the United States.
But something changed over the years, and with every issue of my NRA membership magazine American Rifleman and every visit to your Web page, I read less and less about firearm safety. Over and over again I read about our Second Amendment rights and the benefits of firearm ownership. But the real issues of our responsibilities and yes, the risks of firearms, faded to near invisibility.
Nowhere do I see this more than in the monthly "Armed Citizen" feature, with clippings after clippings from multiple news sources about everyday Americans defending themselves and their families with firearms. Home invasion stopped. Concealed handgun drawn and crime interrupted. Guns are good, or in your own words, more guns equal less crime.
The gun safety program aimed at kids is good. However, it puts all the responsibility on the children. That is just not a good program to try to aid gun safety if adults don't get a strong message too.