Twenty years ago I was an NRA member...today I am not.
I do not believe the NRA represents the view of the vast majority of the Americans regarding firearms, or even it's own membership for that matter, and given the the attitude of their SIC (Shill In Chief) Wayne La Pierre, I feel obliged to respond as an anti violence, pro gun rights, American. So let me get to the point.
I've got guns (a 7.62 rifle W/30 rd clips, a shotgun W/12 rd clips, and a 9mm S&W w/15 rd clips) and I consider myself to be a sane, reasonable person. As to background, I am a professionally trained, Army veteran, with gun safes, locks and concealed storage. So what does that mean? Well it means, that unless you're a close personal friend that I would show my weapons to, or perhaps meet up with at the local range for some marksmanship practice...the only way you'll even SEE one of my firearms, is if you are a criminal and are about to be SHOT! But seriously. I don't shoot people, and in 56 years, I've never felt the need to carry a concealed weapon...EVER!
Responsible firearm owners, secure their firearms. If that Connecticut kid's mom really was a "Gun nut", then it's a fairly safe bet that SOMEONE...SOMEWHERE along the line, must have mentioned the HUGE responsibility that comes with ownership of a ballistic firearm.
She chose to ignore that responsibility, and for that mistake she paid with her life, killed at the hands of her mentally deficient offspring with HER OWN weapons.
The problem as I see it, is a bunch a NRA lackeys who are just as blind as she was, if not more so. They screech and carp, about their right to bear arms, and I'll bet there are millions of them who can't even disassemble, clean, and re-assemble their own weapons without assistance from someone who actually understands how they're built and how they function.
I was born into, raised in, and am the product of a family of military men who have owned and carried their own firearms for over 5 generations. NO ONE in my family has ever had to use a firearm for anything other than foreign wars (I think I had one great uncle who served in the Union Army during the Civil War), or for hunting or sport shooting. Why do you suppose that is?
My opinion is simply this... People who want to commit wholesale murder are not really that enthusiastic about taking on professionally trained well armed marksmen who will not only prevent them from their criminal intent, but in all likelihood end their selfish, worthless lives as well. On the contrary, they prefer defenseless women and children. You can find examples of this mentality in Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Nigeria, Indonesia, and...the United States.
Arming Mrs. Henderson (the 63 year old 4th grade teacher) is probably not going to make much of a difference (Unless Mrs Henderson just happens to be an ex Green Beret butch, who likes to frighten bad little boys with a Fraternity paddle). Neither is posting Police at the now locked doors of the schools (The brain dead bad guys are just gonna motor on down to the local mall and try their luck there).
A national database of people who have a history of mental illness is a good place to start. A national database of gun owners and their firearm background info would be real cool too (I'm SOOOOOO sickl of having to fill out 5-6 pages of background info EVERY FRICKIN' TIME I want to buy a firearm). Wouldn't it be great if the info was already there and you showed up as PASSED...or Grade A...or...whatever. And as a bonus, anyone who suddenly shows up on the "Koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs" list, will suddenly find themselves NOT showing up on the "Good to go" for firearms list. In addition, it would eliminate the need for 2,3,5 day waiting periods. because you'd have already passed muster and be certified "NOT stupid, NOT...retarded or crazy."
As to the firearms themselves...Pistols, for example, don't need and shouldn't have magazines that hang 3-6 inches BELOW the grip butt. My Smith will hold 15 rounds and that's plenty, especially when I have about a half dozen clips and I can reload in 1-1/2 seconds.
Assault rifle? No such thing. there are single shot bolt, Multi shot breech load or lever action, semi auto, and semi/full auto. The cosmetics (trigger handle, fore end furniture, sight mounts etc.) are meaningless. The REAL measures of a long barreled firearm are rate of fire, round caliber and projectile weight (directly affects velocity and bullet drop rate), and maximum range.
And finally there is the matter of capacity. If it were MY call, I'd say 30 round max capacity. Drums are ridiculous, and far too heavy to even be plausibly defended as a "Hunting" application (Yeah right, when was the last time YOU set up a machine gun nest in a deer stand?)
Most people aren't even aware that the ammunition commercially available for sporting .223's (that's 5.56mm in "Military" nomenclature) is significantly less powerful than the equivalent military loads. The muzzle velocity (the speed at which the bullet exits the weapon barrel) is nearly 600 FPS slower than the military versions. When I was younger and had good eyesight, I could knock down pop up silhouettes at 500 yards with my M16 using open sights (and that's a fair shot by anyone's standards). With a military grade sniper's rifle I could hit a target at TWICE that distance using a scope.
Is there a difference? YES! But what most people do NOT realize is that the stuff we have access to and can purchase commercially is NOT of a sufficient grade to deem ANY of it as "ASSAULT" weaponry.
Which brings me to my final point, which is education. If you demand your right to own a gun...then the government has every right to require you to undergo the same firearms training that any other gun bearing professional would be required to complete. Rules of engagement, safe firearms handling, firearm security, TLA (Threat level assessment), The law, and legal responsibilities of the gun owner, cleaning and maintenance, eight steady hold factors, etc...etc.
There are a LOT of people on here who are just SCREAMING about rights. But when it comes to the responsibility aspects...not so much. If my comments leave confusion as to my position on the issue, I can clarify it by simply stating:
"The right to bear a firearm, goes hand in hand with the solemn trust and associated responsibilities that come with that right. To responsibly own, maintain, and bear arms is the unavoidable birthright and pledge of every American citizen. To that end, a commitment to the training, practice, and judicious usage of arms is as necessary to the perpetuation of our freedom as our individual votes, and essential to the security and preservation of liberty, both for ourselves and our posterity."
If cooler heads prevail, and we all apply just a little bit of common sense, we can solve this. As for the NRA, they'll never help solve anything, because they're too busy being part of the problem.