nra: At NRA gun fest, the blame is on ‘evil’, not the weapons – Times of India

WASHINGTON: Gun lovers of America wheeled out a buffet of reasons on Friday for the epidemic of mass shootings in the US: Social media bullying, violent video games, broken families, single parents, declining church attendance, opioid crisis, mental illness, unguarded schools, open doors. Everything else except the surfeit of accessible weapons in a country with an absurdly permissive gun culture.
After standing in token silence to mourn 21 victims of the latest school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, thousands of attendees at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston celebrated their love of guns, raucously cheering the founding principle of the organisation echoed by keynote speaker Donald Trump: “As the age-old saying goes, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. ”
The fact that the “good guys” stood by doing nothing outside a classroom while a bad guy massacred children inside at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday was lost on a convention that outright rejected gun reform steps even in an hour of national tragedy. “We all know they want total gun confiscation, know that this would be a first step. Once they get the first step, they’ll take the second step, the third, the fourth, and then you’ll have a whole different look at the Second Amendment,” Trump said.
Attendees feasted on acres upon acres of the latest weapons at the convention after ignoring hundreds of protestors massed outside, some carrying placards reading “Shame” and “Protect Children Not Guns”. Speakers argued for stronger security measures such as hardening schools, arming teachers, locking classrooms, putting in bulletproof doors, single-entry point to schools, guarded by armed police or trained military veterans, among measures to contained school shooting –not gun control. Whether the same measures can apply to churches, malls, theatres, universities etc — all sites of mass shootings — was not clear.
“Laws won’t change evil.
Evil does not obey laws”, one delegate said, echoing a familiar argument made by gun lovers. Blaming “social ills” propagated by Democrats, liberals, media, communists, Marxists and other political enemies for the shootings, the gun crowd argued for what they said was a “constitutional right” of Americans to defend themselves. “We, the NRA, will never, ever stop fighting for the right of the innocent and the law-abiding to defend themselves against the evil criminal element that plagues our society because we know there can be no freedom, no security, no safety without right of the law-abiding to bear arms for self-defence,” NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre said.
Speakers, including Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, cherry-picked statistics to unload on Democrat-run cities such as Chicago, which they described as a hell-hole, to argue that tough laws don’t curb gun violence. While Chicago does have high gun crime, on a per capita population basis, it ranks below many Republican-run cities. Trump went so far as to obliquely defend the police in the George Floyd murder, saying, “The very same Democrat politicians who stoked riots over a single police-involved killing two years ago are numb to the mounting death toll of their own radical policies. ” The basic gun-lover argument repeated in several ways through the day was the same: Gun control measures don’t work; more guns and more security is the answer to gun violence.
Meanwhile, the actions — or more notably, the inaction —of police in confronting the 18-year-old shooter — who was inside the school for more than an hour — could lead to discipline, lawsuits and even criminal charges against police.

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