Promoting the freedom to shoot each other

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” – 12-2012, NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre after Newtown massacre.


When you read this newspaper, it seems that there is always a shooting in Birmingham or nearby. Murders by guns per capita for Alabama are the second highest (22/100,000) in the USA … 10 times higher than Hawaii, a state with tough gun control. Alabama’s gun laws are also among the loosest in the nation.

Contrary to what Mr. LaPierre states, every “good guy” having a gun is not the solution, as Alabama illustrates. Why then isn’t the Alabama state legislature pushing for greater gun control? The NRA (and its lobbyist’s money) is the answer.

Way back when, the NRA was an OK organization teaching city folks (and kids like me) how to safely handle firearms. But that changed. The NRA is now an extremist group, opposed to any and all regulation of firearms and constantly preaching against the “gun grabbers.”

Wayne LaPierre all gunned up in front of the Alabama State CapitolAs a long-time gun owner, I’m aware of the NRA’s positions. In their own words, here’s how they mislead American gun owners:


Statement 1: “Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks.” (NRA statement after Las Vegas massacre)

Facts: Loose background checks and loopholes, such as the ridiculous gun show exception, permit madmen to easily obtain weapons. There were armed law enforcement officers on the scene in Las Vegas who could not prevent the murders.


Statement 2: The NRA Institute’s goal is “preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Facts: The Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment doesn’t mention individuals. Until a 5-4 case in 2008, the Supreme Court had interpreted it to mean state militias could have weapons. 


Statement 3: “Nobody knows if or when the fiscal collapse will come, but if the country is broke, there likely won’t be enough money to pay for police protection…We, the American people, clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster.” (Wayne Lapierre, 02-2013)

Facts: We are a Constitutional Republic governed by laws made by elected representatives. We have survived many financial collapses, Prohibition and a Civil War. There’s no reason to believe the NRA/survivalist narrative that our society and civilization are suddenly now on the verge of collapse.


Statement 4: “If so-called gun-free zones supposedly save lives, why doesn’t Obama simply declare Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to be one big, happy, gun-free zone?” (NRA CPAC 2015 speech)

Facts: We are not a Middle Eastern nation with a long history of extreme instability. Every other democracy in the world has greater gun control than in the USA. All have much lower per capita gun deaths.


Statement 5: “Their laws don’t stop the scourge of gang violence and drug crime that savages Baltimore, Chicago and every major American community.” (NRA at CPAC, 02-2018, after Parkland)

Facts: States with stronger guns laws have fewer gun deaths per capita than those with loose laws. The worst half dozen (AK, AL, MT, LA, MO, MS) all have very loose gun laws. The least deaths are found in states with tough gun control laws (HI, MA, NY, RI, CT, NJ).


Statement 6: “But what if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security?” (12-2012, Wayne LaPierre, CPAC)

Facts: Since this statement was made in 2012, we have numerous mass shootings where armed guards were present, and many people still died. The best known is Las Vegas where a single shooter with a military type weapon killed 58 and wounded 422 innocents.


Statement 7: We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work. (12-2012, Wayne LaPierre, CPAC)

Facts: Politicians stating that “you’re in our thoughts and prayers” has not stopped any mass shooting ever. Only legislation will help, as shown above (statements 4 and 5).


What can Alabama voters do? Vote against any state or federal politician who receives an endorsement or “A” rating from the NRA. We need change and that’s the only way to get it.


Image Credit: this is a composite image created for using a caricature of Wayne LaPierre created by DonkeyHotey (flickr/CC); the background photo of the Alabama State Capitol was taken by DXR (Wikipedia/CC).

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.