Stand up to the NRA

As Vice President Joe Biden prepares to recommend steps to curb gun violence in America, I shudder to think what the National Rifle Association will do next ("No more loopholes," Jan. 14).

The NRA's predictable proposal to transform our nation's schools into armed camps shocked only those who haven't been paying attention to what the group has been doing in recent years. This is the organization that lobbied for the "stand your ground" law that drew so much attention in Florida last year. It opposes any restrictions on weapons or ammunition, including armor-piercing bullets that police forces want banned. It proposes arming America's citizens to the extent they could overthrow the government.

Just look at the control they wield over elected officials from across the country in Congress and in local government: "Do what we tell you or you'll be sorry." The NRA has them all on a leash it can yank whenever they threaten to get out of line.

The NRA is one of the biggest fear-mongers in America, stoking the idea that "the government" will take away all guns. And those "stand your ground" laws are simply an open invitation to racists: "Look at that person in the hoodie! I'm scared, and my state's laws say I can shoot them with whatever weapon I'm carrying at the time."

What's the bottom line? Scare tactics improve gun sales. Threats of guns being taken away improve gun sales. Laws that allow shooting first or carrying concealed weapons encourage people to buy guns to defend themselves against perceived threats. The net effect is a booming business in the arms trade.

We need to stand up against the NRA's shoot 'em-up approach and move toward a more sane policy. Let's tighten the requirements on who can own a weapon. Let's close the gun show loophole. We need elected officials who will stand up to the bullying tactics of the NRA and vote to restrict the kind of weapons citizens can buy.

M. Baker

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