Ok, I'll admit it. I was a card-carrying NRA member as a teenager. We lived in a rural area where gun racks on pick-up trucks were commonplace. The guys who I did farmwork with were into hunting. Me? I loved to line up tin cans on a log and blast them with my .22 rifle. It didn't take much to make me happy.
Fast forward a few decades and the National Rifle Association of my youth has transformed into a front for major gun manufacturers. As the gun debate gains momentum, Tim Dickinson writes in the February 14th issue of Rolling Stone that today's NRA is more about aligning with the $11.7 billion gun industry - especially those pushing military-grade weapons - than representing those who "keep and bear arms."
Read the article. . .
The NRA vs. America • By Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone
Eleven days after the massacre, Wayne LaPierre – a lifelong political operative who had steadied the National Rifle Association through many crises – stood before an American flag and soberly addressed the nation about firearms and student safety: "We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period," LaPierre said, carving out a "rare exception" for professional law enforcement. LaPierre even proposed making the mere mention of the word "guns" in schools a crime: "Such behavior in our schools should be prosecuted just as certainly as such behavior in our airports is prosecuted," LaPierre said.
This speech wasn't delivered in an alternate universe. The date was May 1st, 1999, at the NRA's national convention in Denver. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold's rampage at Columbine High School in nearby Littleton, Colorado, had just killed 13 students and teachers, shocking the conscience of the nation.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project
Felicia Gustin has been with War Times since the beginning. She currently works at SpeakOut, a national organization working primarily with colleges, universities, and high schools and dedicated to the advancement of education, racial and social justice, leadership development and activism. She is a long-time activist in international solidarity, peace, racial justice and labor movements. She was a journalist for 10 years in Cuba and is currently working on several projects - an historical memoir and a poetry collection, among others.
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