Clarence Page: NRA vs. common sense

BY CLARENCE PAGE Published: December 28, 2012
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And Virginia Tech's campus police had their own trained SWAT team. Yet they, too, failed to stop a student before he killed 33 in 2007, including himself.

“There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people,” said LaPierre. No, he was not talking about the gun industry. He was talking about the entertainment industry.

He lambasted violence in movies, video games, a coarsening of the culture and, ah, yes, that all-purpose scapegoat, the news media.

What about common-sense gun reforms? At least two recent polls, for example, show large numbers of gun owners and nonowners favor measures that help keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, suspected terrorists and people who have a criminal past. But the NRA headquarters opposes them.

Most gun owners who were not NRA members supported a national gun registry, a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and a ban on semi-automatic weapons, according to a poll last year by YouGov, a global marketing firm. Most NRA members in the poll — and the national organization — opposed all three of those measures.

In an NBC “Meet the Press” interview Sunday, LaPierre rejected a proposed ban on large magazines, saying he didn't think it would “do any good.” Yet such a ban might have saved lives in Tucson, Ariz., last year. Jared Loughner was tackled and restrained by onlookers when he paused to reload his oversized magazines. That was after he shot 19 people, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing six.

If only he had been limited to smaller magazines, one wonders, how many other lives might have been spared? But LaPierre and the NRA don't seem to be interested in “If only” scenarios that don't fit their arguments — or promote more sales of guns and ammo.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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