With the recent blocking of gun reform legislation in the US Senate, the debate brings tempers to a boil on both sides of the aisle and shows once again just how strong the NRA stranglehold is on the American political system. Apparently it’s ‘political suicide’ to go against the NRA in certain states and yet I keep coming around the the same old question:
If the NRA has approximately 4.5 million card carrying members. That’s 4.5 million out of some 311 million Americans – 90% of whom allegedly support compulsory background checks and restrictions on semi-automatic weapons or some form of tighter gun regulation of some description… So why doesn’t a huge chunk of that 90% just go and join the damn NRA and take it over from within?
Yes. Join them. If say 20+ million Americans, with slightly less ‘out of my cold dead hands’ views towards gun ownership, went ahead and joined the NRA – at a measly $35 per annum – they could take over the place in about three years by voting in a preferred board of directors and totally change the dialogue and the NRA’s organisational agenda. They’d out number the monster raving looney right element by as much as five to one… So why don’t they do it? Why try and fight against the NRA when you could just join it, and bring the common sense and moderation that 90% of Americans supposedly want?
You see, according to the all knowing Wikipedia, the NRA is governed by a seventy-six member board of directors. There are seventy-five elected Directors that each serve a three year term – this means that overwhelmingly stacking the membership deck could result in a commonsense gun legislation friendly, seventy-five member board.
These seventy-six directors then choose the President, one or more Vice Presidents, and the Executive Vice President (who is the leading spokesperson for the NRA), along with a Secretary, and Treasurer from among the elected Directors – any and/or all of these directors could be pro-gun but also moderate pro-reform and pro-legislation… and even (gasp! god help us), Democrats! if more regular Joes decided to join the NRA. So why fight ’em?
In the meantime all we see over there is lots of money being thrown around, lots of misinformation about President Obama’s agenda, lots of ranting about loss of civil liberties and 2nd Amendment rights, lots of politicians being threatened or bought off and lots and lots of mass shootings, gun related homicides, gun related suicides and accidental gun deaths.
Australia went through the painful gun buy back thing and as much as we bitch about the various weapons licensing boards and authorities who do the background checks and execute the legislation that we have to abide by – it’s not what they’re doing that gives us the shits… it’s the lack of speed with which they do it! There is a big lesson for the US to learn from Australia as far as gun control is concerned and it really is something that should be taken seriously… not just turned into fodder for comedians.
Update: I just found this article which discusses the backlash in the polls that Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire is experiencing since NOT backing the gun reform bill. Senator Ayotte has seen her approval ratings drop by 15% to 44% since voting against the bill aimed at reducing gun violence making it really obvious that her constituents are seriously displeased at her bowing to pressure from the NRA and other gun lobbyists. Maybe there’s some hope at the end of tunnel? Maybe they don’t have to join the NRA en masse after all? Maybe Americans just need to become less apathetic about their political processes and actually turn up and you know… vote the ‘cold dead handers’ out of office!