RICH JAMES: NRA's shotgun approach to recruiting backfires

2014-02-23T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: NRA's shotgun approach to recruiting backfiresBy Rich James nwitimes.com
February 23, 2014 12:00 am  • 

There are days when we all dread going to the mailbox.

You never know what will be there. It could be a call to jury duty or a notice that you are late on a bill.

What happened to me was even worse. I received an invitation to join the National Rifle Association. And sticking through an envelope window was the red and black decal that said “Member National Rifle Association 2014.”

Perish the thought.

The invitation talked about all the wonderful things that would come my way.

The so-called benefits include 24/7 defense of my Second Amendment freedoms, the “award-winning” NRA magazine, a free subscription to the NRA/ILA grassroots alert, a personalized membership card and decal and free admission to the NRA’s annual meetings and exhibits with more than 7 acres of guns, gear and outfitters.

But there’s more. If you join for a year or more you get the NRA’s heavy-duty duffel bag. And joining for three years will bring you the NRA’S 9-LED aluminum barrel flashlight.

No thanks. I’d rather have the Little Orphan Annie Secret Society decoder pin. And I’d rather have a jar of Ovaltine than a NRA membership.

While I don’t have a whole lot of use for guns, I also don’t have any desire to take them away from people, other than, say, assault weapons.

The Second Amendment provides the right to bear arms and – despite what the NRA says – I don’t see anyone trying to repeal that amendment.

What bothers me is the number of kids who have access to guns and the number being killed by accidental gunfire.

That was spelled out in an ABC-TV special, “Young Guns,” recently.

And the New York Times last fall took an in-depth look at the accidental deaths of children and explained how the actual numbers are hidden in bureaucracy.

What we do know is that a minimum of 800 kids under age 14 were killed in gun accidents over the last decade.

And the Archives of Pediatrics and Adult Medicine indicates 30 percent of the households with children younger than 12 don’t lock up guns.

Yet the NRA opposes “safe-storage” laws, as well as laws to hold adults responsible for the accidental deaths of children with an adult’s guns.

In opposing “safe-storage” laws, the NRA says children are more likely to be killed by falls, poisoning and environmental factors. That kind of makes it sound like the lives of children killed in accidental shootings don’t matter.

The NRA believes education is the answer and that kids should be told that if they see a gun they shouldn’t touch it but should call an adult. Anyone who has kids knows that doesn’t work.

Just 18 states have “safe-storage” laws. Unfortunately, Indiana isn’t one of them.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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