For the first time in a while, Democrats and Republicans have found themselves on the same side, at least they appear to be. And remarkably enough, the uniting issue concerns guns. The National Rifle Association recently made claims that were so outlandish that neither party could respond with anything but outrage.
The NRA stated that schools should have armed guards to protect students from incidents like the one at Sandy Hook, claiming that having guns in schools would make children safer. An assault rifle made its way into the hands of someone who meant to cause harm to a lot of people, and the accessibility of firearms to Adam Lanza allowed him to kill over two dozen children. The chief executive of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, is claiming that the no-weapons policy at schools is putting children at a greater risk than his proposed idea, but he is clearly overlooking the overarching theme at hand: guns are dangerous and equipping everyone with a firearm is more likely to lead to firefights than safe children. There is little interest in turning elementary schools into the wild wild west.
Even Michael Steele, a former Republican National Committee chair, is uncomfortable with the ideas set forth by LaPierre. Steele says, “As a supporter of the Second Amendment and a supporter of the NRA, even though I’m not a member of the NRA, I just found it very haunting and very disturbing that our country now that are talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms. I do not believe that’s where the American people want to go.” Gun-control advocates like Mayor Bloomberg of New York City are also extremely dissatisfied and upset about the comments from the NRA. What the NRA is proposing as a solution would only lead to more disasters.
Republican Congressman Ron Paul also joined the chorus of leaders who are going after the NRA for their outrageous claims. But Paul doesn’t seem to have much of a solution to the problem, unless you consider it to be a solution to blame both parties:
“Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control. This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government ‘do something’ to protect us in the wake of national tragedies is reflexive and often well-intentioned. Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented. But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws. The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence. If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters would be dissuaded or stopped. While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings. I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.”
Paul went further on the gun control issue:
“Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, x-ray scanners and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports, witness this shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided ‘security,’ a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.” He argued that the federal government should not try to “pursue unobtainable safety” with state-approved security precautions, and said the government has “zero moral authority to legislate against violence.”