The National Rifle Association (NRA) is known for being a formidable force in politics. The civil rights organization is dedicated to the preservation of our Second Amendment rights and more than complaining about the erosion of these rights, the NRA continually fights-back in a very effective way: by reminding legislators that supporting anti-Second Amendment efforts has consequences.
With that having been said, however, the NRA is not the fire-breathing defenders of constitutional liberties that Democrats routinely pretend that they are. The NRA has bent on significant issues in recent decades.
For example: they support the imposition of background checks- a provision that should make strict constructionists recoil in horror. The idea that citizens are obliged to ask for permission of any kind to exercise their civil rights is contrary to the very premise of our enlightenment-based ideals that assert that our rights are God-given and that government is merely the steward of these rights, not the giver of these rights.
The NRA’s slightly-compromised position became even more evident in recent weeks as GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump reminded that had some club patrons been armed when Omar Mateen opened fire at the club in Orlando, many lives may have been saved.
While Trump appeared to support the right of citizens to carry their firearms into clubs, the NRA was not-so-thrilled about the recommendation and maintained that they did not advocate allowing people to carry concealed firearms into places where alcohol is served.
Both Donald Trump and the NRA have clarified their positions in the days since announcing their respective thoughts.
At a campaign event on Friday, Trump reminded the crowd that a “good guy with a gun” could have stopped the carnage sooner.
“If we had people, where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac,” Trump said, poking between his eyes. “And this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting and one of the people in that room happened to have [a gun] and goes boom. You know what, that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks.”
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NRA chief executive officer Wayne LaPierre said,
“I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking. But I will tell you this. Everybody, every American starts to have — needs to start having a security plan. We need to be able to protect ourselves, because they’re coming. And they’re going for vulnerable spots, and this country needs to realize it.”
It may be true that firearms in the hands of intoxicated people is a bad idea, but LaPierre’s comments imply a lack of support for laws that allow such scenarios.
NRA lobbyist Chris Cox said on ABC’s “This Week,”
“No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms. That defies commonsense. It also defies the law. It’s not what we’re talking about here.”
It may be a good idea to leave the firearm at home if one intends to do some heavy drinking. However, this is a decision best left to individuals. If one is not responsible enough to handle the power, he or she should leave the gun at home and the NRA should be instrumental in stressing this maturity inventory for gun owners.
However, as the NRA is well aware, criminals do not abide by laws and places where alcohol is consumed is some of the most-likely places for violence to break-out. Anyone who supports a law that keeps firearms from an establishment that serves alcohol is defying commonsense and tacitly supporting the notion that government is allowed or even obliged to regulate when and where people ought to be able to exercise their constitutional rights.
Further, laws that prohibit people from carrying weapons into places where alcohol is served are predicated upon the notion that all patrons will be drunk.
How many of us have had a beer or two with friends but refrain from getting drunk? In these situations, having a firearm should be totally acceptable.
Trump has walked-back his comments slightly by clarifying,
“When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees.”
LaPierre has also softened his tone by clarifying,
“I want to clarify my comment: if you’re going to carry, don’t drink. OK to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.”
That’s a fair position.
There is that which is just and that which is a good idea. It is unjust to deny someone the right to carry their lawfully-owned firearm. It may very well be, however, a good idea for someone to leave their gun at home if they intend to become intoxicated.
In either case, the NRA would be wise to be more rigid in their understanding that a right is a right and not a privilege that allows cherry-picking.