As a gun owner, longtime hunter, and supporter of the Second Amendment, I feel it is time to ban the sale and ownership of assault-style rifles. However, it is too late to do so. Our society is riddled with military-style weapons, and stopping the flow now is too little, too late.
I’ve owned AR weapons in the past. Bought them on sale when a gun store was going out of business. Even then, it was a waste of money and I donated them to a museum, along with some other weapons that are more suited for military use.
When I served as chief of staff for a member of Congress in the 1980s, I knew and dealt with the lobbyists of the National Rifle Association. Over drinks at the Capitol Hill Club one night, NRA lobbyist Terri O’Grady told me that what she and others do were “a sham on Congress and America.”
“We serve the gun manufacturers, not the owners of firearms,” she said. “Our sole goal is to help them sell more firearms to more people and block any legislation that gets in the way of that goal.”
NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre padded his personal finances with NRA money, embezzling millions, yet remains on the job because the gun manufacturers feel he is “one of us.”
In other words, a crook. Over the weekend in Houston, at NRA’s annual meeting, the board re-elected LaPierre. As the New York Post reported: “Scandal-scarred Wayne LaPierre re-elected as NRA CEO.”
The National Rifle Association board reappointed Wayne LaPierre as executive vice president on Monday, turning back the latest leadership challenge amid corruption allegations and flat membership for the still-powerful gun lobby.
The board vote came as the NRA held its annual meeting in Houston, about 280 miles (450 km) east of the site of a mass shooting on Tuesday, when an 18-year-old armed with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.
New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA in 2020, saying the organization paid for family trips to the Bahamas, private jets, and expensive meals and clothes that contributed to a $64 million reduction in the NRA’s balance sheet in three years, turning a surplus into a deficit.
The organization claims LaPierre is “reimbursing” them for his lavish spending and embezzlement.
“The N.R.A. is now mainly a media company, promoting a lifestyle built around loving guns and hating anyone who might take them away, ” writes Mike Spies in the New Yorker.
Marc Owens, who served for ten years as the head of the Internal Revenue Service division that oversees tax-exempt enterprises, recently reviewed these records. “The litany of red flags is just extraordinary,” he said. “The materials reflect one of the broadest arrays of likely transgressions that I’ve ever seen. There is a tremendous range of what appears to be the misuse of assets for the benefit of certain vendors and people in control.” Owens added, “Those facts, if confirmed, could lead to the revocation of the N.R.A.’s tax-exempt status”—without which the organization could likely not survive.
But the NRA, and LaPierre, survive to fleece its members and America while promoting the sale of dangerous weapons that are used far too often to kill people, including the 19 fourth graders in Texas this month.
It is time for serious gun control and prosecution of those who facilitate the use of dangerous weapons to massacre children.
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