The NRA shows true colors in Violence Against Women Act debate

Zach Murphy, Contributing Writer

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Gun violence is a sensitive, important issue in the United States. Every year, thousands of Americans die as a result of murders, suicides, and accidents in which a gun was used. With such a high number of deaths by firearms, it would be reasonable to conclude that the United States has a problem with gun violence. Recently, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law passed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994 as a result of high amounts of violence against women at the time. The vote was endorsed by the vast majority of Democrats, yet was rejected by most Republicans, who were encouraged to vote no by the National Rifle Association (NRA). With the lives of many women at stake, one must ask why the NRA would encourage Republicans to reject the bill. The answer is the fundamentalist ideology.

 

I am sure that many people who read my articles would rightly say that I lean left on many issues. Yet when it comes to the case of gun ownership in America, I tend to agree with many conservative speakers. While I do believe in strict background checks and a limitation on what can be bought and sold, I also believe that upstanding citizens should be able to own firearms. However, the issue surrounding the VAWA does not concern the right to own guns by upstanding citizens; it concerns the ability for known abusers to access guns. Women who suffered abuse already deal with high amounts of anxiety, stress, and other health issues. The additional fear and stress that comes with knowing that your abuser can easily buy a gun will do nothing but make life more difficult. The NRA claims that this law is a smokescreen to push gun control, but is gun control really a bad idea when it comes to this issue?

 

The NRA has an obsession with gun rights. According to the NRA, the Second Amendment should be interpreted literally, meaning the less gun control, the better. But should the Second Amendment really be interpreted literally? The question cannot be answered here, but when one looks at the First Amendment, one finds many restrictions that were enacted to keep society safe. A few examples of the limitations on the First Amendment are the fact that one cannot shout “fire” in a crowded movie theater, a journalist cannot commit libel, and a religious organization cannot threaten the lives of others. Even the Second Amendment as it currently stands has limitations, as felons cannot buy guns and people cannot manufacture or buy bombs, which are technically arms.

 

My point is that limitations can and do exist for the benefit and safety of others. That is simply the case with regards to the VAWA. The Democrats do not want to take away the gun rights of upstanding citizens using this bill, only the ability for known aggressors to obtain guns. Why, then, does the NRA oppose this legislation vehemently? The answer is basically blind ideology.

 

The NRA does not want to admit that guns can be problematic in some contexts, and will go to any extent to see any legislation that confronts gun violence rejected, even if it means putting Americans in harm’s way. The NRA claims that they care about women and reducing domestic violence, but one can say many things while doing others. It is easy to say you are against something, but when you vote or take action against that same issue, your true colors shine.

 

There is really nothing new here with regards to the NRA. This organization has consistently shown a lack of care or compassion for victims of gun violence. This is as clear today as it was in 1999 when the NRA held a conference near Littleton, Colo. a few weeks after the Columbine High School shooting. If you genuinely concern yourself with gun safety, then take action that shows you genuinely care by volunteering with organizations that work to reduce gun violence in an effective way. If you only care about gun ownership, even when people could die as a result of it, then write a check to the NRA.

 

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