My Turn: Can the NRA really tell good guys from bad?
I have a question for the NRA: Will it kindly provide us with its formula for distinguishing good guys from bad guys?
It must have one; there are some 4 million NRA members, and most of them own guns. I don’t know about you, but if I were running an organization of 4 million gun-toters, I’d definitely want to screen out bad guys, so I’d figure out how to do that.
After all, how would it look if an organization that’s all about responsible, patriotic, Second-Amendment gun ownership turned out to have Jeffrey Weise (Red Lake, Minn., 2005) or James Holmes (Colorado, 2012) as members in good standing? What if Jared Loughner (Tucson, Ariz., 2011) or Steven Kazmiercsak (DeKalb, Ill., 2008) were NRA card-carriers?
In fact, what if any of the 60-plus mass shooters we’ve read about – or lost loved ones to – in the past 30 years were members of the NRA?
What a black eye that would be for such an upstanding club.
That’s what makes me sure that the NRA performs careful background checks before accepting applications from potential members. That’s what makes me confident that the NRA would instantly cancel the membership of anyone court-ordered into an anger management course, or charged with domestic violence or found hunting while under the influence.
And that’s how we can be confident that the NRA knows what it’s talking about when it tells us that all we have to do to protect ourselves and our kids is set up an armed good guy against every armed bad guy. It must know how to manage this; it represents 4 million gun owners. And if it can pull that off, it can surely help the rest of us tell the white and black hats apart.
So take a peek at the NRA membership application, which can be found and filled out online.
Here’s what the NRA wants to know about you before it will let you into its club: Your first, middle, and last names; your gender and date of birth; your email address, phone number and mailing address, including country.
It also wants some of your money. If you act fast, you can get a discounted one-year membership for only $25. If you want to pay by credit card, you’ll have to supply your card number.
That’s it. I looked hard for questions about arrest records, felonies, violent crimes or mental illness; if the NRA gives a hoot about your tendencies to road rage or hearing voices, it doesn’t show up on its application.
Maybe the NRA is willing to assume that membership automatically confers “good guy” status. I’d love to believe that’s true, but frankly, with a membership 4 million strong, the odds are simply not in the NRA’s favor.
(State Rep. Jane Hunt lives in Concord.)