“The first thing to remember about gun violence is that it is A BUSINESS.” ~ Harvey Wasserman, social justice activist
Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was trained to shoot in a school marksmanship program funded with a 2016 $10,000 donation by the NRA. According to a ThinkProgress article by Judd Legum, in 2015 the NRA Foundation gave $2.2 million in similar grants promoting gun usage to school children around the country, including elementary and middle schools.
Every time there is a mass shooting, the NRA profits as membership goes up and as gun addicts buy more semi-automatics and guns they fear may be banned, thereby bolstering gun industry profits. Killing children is profitable to the weapons industry.
Killing wildlife profits both the weapons industry and state departments of natural resources. Gun and ammunition taxes are collected federally and dispersed to state resources agencies on the basis of how many hunting licenses are sold. That money is then cycled back to recruitment and training of more hunters and trappers to destroy more wildlife and bolster the military-industrial complex with military recruits. They all work together.
Senate Bill S.1613 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) presented as “Pittman-Robertson Modernization,” prioritizes significant funding to recruitment and training of more hunters: “Amounts apportioned to the states from any taxes on pistols, revolvers, bows, and arrows may be used for hunter recruitment and recreational shooter recruitment.”
State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, has the same NRA agenda: promoting killing of our wildlife to children of any age. It is all about indoctrinating children from cradle to grave for “shooting sports” and protecting the NRA, the Second Amendment (as interpreted by the NRA) and teaching young activists to support gun “rights.”
Innocent wildlife, children, and society pay the price.
Harvey Wasserman, on OpEdNews.com, wrote “It’s Time to Deal with Trumputin’s Second Amendment Idiocy.” He explained:
“Here’s what the Second Amendment actually says: ‘A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’”
Wasserman continues: “No other of the first Ten Amendments has an explanatory introduction. The right to keep and bear arms is assumed as a basic right, but ONLY in light of service to the security of a free state, and under the auspices of a well-regulated militia.
“In other words: NOBODY HAS A LEGAL RIGHT TO OWN A GUN IN THIS COUNTRY UNLESS THEY CAN SHOW THAT THEIR OWNERSHIP OF SUCH A WEAPON SERVES THE SECURITY OF OUR FREE STATE, and SUCH OWNERSHIP MUST BE INTEGRATED INTO A WELL-REGULATED OFFICIAL ORGANIZATION.”
The corruption runs deep in the pockets of legislators, especially Republicans. Key among them is Paul Ryan, who received $346,497 from gun rights groups.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reports that the second-highest ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Ronald Turk, collaborated with an NRA lobbyist calling for weaker gun laws and reduced ATF oversight of gun dealers to promote guns everywhere, with complicity of the Trump administration.
According to the NRATV Hunting website: “The NRA Hunting initiative is designed to defend hunting and confront the vile animal rights movement head-on.” NRATV’s “Under Wild Skies,” picturing an endangered large bull elephant, hosts six seasons of 67 episodes which “for two decades … has showcased the finest big-game hunting in the world from Alaska to Zimbabwe.” The president of Safari Club International, a worldwide trophy hunting organization, was just nominated to run for the board of the NRA.
Sixty percent of large mammals are threatened with extinction right now, with little pushback to save them. Carnivores are demonized and massively killed as trash or trophy.
There are various solutions to gun violence that work. One is the model set by Australians after the mass shooting of 35 people in 1996. Within months, rapid-fire long guns (semi-automatics) were banned and a year later a mandatory buy-back of those guns, at market prices, was enforced. In 2003 a handgun buyback was introduced. There have been no mass shootings (defined as five or more at one time) in Australia since those laws were enacted with support by all major parties. The results were surprising. According to The Guardian, “Mass shootings have not only stopped, but there has also been an accelerating reduction in rates of firearm-related homicide and suicides, a landmark study has found.”
The study’s author, professor Simon Chapman, commented, “The U.S. is a good example of where evidence is going to take longer to prevail over fear and ideology.”
Another Madravenspeak column has more on the Second Amendment.
Wasserman writes: “The Second Amendment is now being deliberately misinterpreted by a predatory industry, a corrupt corporate elite, and an uncaring, would-be dictator. They are protecting the bottom line of a for-profit industry with not a shred of conscience or concern for the security of a free state or the law.”
Find seven actions you can take to prevent gun violence at Everytown for Gun Safety.
Call your legislators (use your zip code): (202) 225-2131, to support a ban on semi-automatics and bump stocks, support background checks, and for legislators to stop taking money from the NRA.
This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on February 25, 2018.