Citizen-Times, 6/2015

Your April 14 front page featured a Republican state senator who has proposed a bill to allow permit-holders to carry concealed weapons anywhere but courtrooms.

Tarheel Tombstone, here we come. See that sweet family two pews down? Well, Mom and d Pop-Pop have his-and-her Glcoks.

The bill’s author is quoted like this:   “In a country with more than 300 million guns, we have to come to grips with the extent to which we are violent by nature.”

There’s a word for that. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Oh yes: “vigilantes.”

We now have so many guns, he says, we need citizens moving among us to suppress our violent nature. I’d say the “gun rights” people have done their job.

The National Rifle Association started after the Civil War to improve the marksmanship of our citizen soldiers.   And that’s how it stayed until the Coup of 1977, when gun militants ambushed the establishment at their convention and took over.

With amazing skill, the new guys turned a target-shooting group into a political steamroller. They aligned themselves with the Republican Party, and they built a membership base, two related objectives.

America could get along fine if all of us owned guns – like Switzerland’s citizen militia, like the status quo in America when James Madison wrote the Second Amendment.

But peaceful ownership doesn’t fit the NRA strategy. Experience shows that membership falls without crisis. So they stir…and stir. Their message: gun owners should fear confiscation of their personal firearms – by the government.

Last month, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre displayed their strategy in his speech to their convention:

“Between now and the day [President Obama] leaves office, he has 650 days to do whatever he wants to whomever he wants.” He called this period “the most dangerous days in history for the Second Amendment and for our personal freedom.”

Garbage. See-through, cynical garbage. We’re a mature democracy, and the NRA knows it.

But public opinion is against them issue-by-issue, even among non-gun owners living in NRA households. So if they’re to maintain power over trembling Republican politicians, they must radicalize gun owners – beyond their four million members to the 77 percent of gun owners who aren’t NRA members.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (NRA rated A+) said: “If Hillary Clinton is going to…come after our guns, then what I say is, come and take it.”

A bumper sticker out there shows a rifle sight and cross hairs and block letters: “Peace Sign.”

In 1999, a Pew Research Center poll found that the main reason people owned guns was: “hunting,” 49 percent and “protection,” 26 percent. In 2013, 32 percent said “hunting,” and 48 percent said “protection.”

Like Tarheel Tombstone? Vote Republican.