Reasonable measures

The NRA is the one in danger, not the Second Amendment

When President Obama took office four years ago, sales of firearms shot up because of a rumor that he was going to ban them. Obama never mentioned the issue at all during the presidential campaign. However, a fear that was very profitable for the gun industry still spread.

Today that same machinery is the one accusing the president of being “hypocritical” and “elitist” because of his reaction to the Newtown school massacre.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is on the warpath against the White House for its decision to issue executive orders like for example, asking the Health Department to conduct studies to figure out the causes of gun violence and ways to prevent it. The administration is also promoting legislation to require background checks for all gun buyers, ban assault weapons and impose a limit on ammunition magazines.

These proposals are reasonable, but not new. Also, they cannot be considered a violation of the Second Amendment principle, which authorizes the possession of weapons, since they impose limited controls in a specific category.

Nevertheless, for the NRA and its sympathizers, this is a constitutional attack. They are using the absurd argument that a small restriction can basically lead to citizens not being able to defend themselves from a tyrannical government.

This is a paranoia that has yielded political results for a long time, but polls are now showing a shift in public opinion, since people are sick and tired of so many outrageous deaths. Public opinion no longer looks kindly on uncontrolled and anonymous sales of weapons.

The NRA has lobbyists in Washington and has made donations to the large majority of GOP lawmakers in the House of Representatives. We must keep an eye on this to see if it is another reason for that group to take on unpopular positions—like on the fiscal issue—by opposing universal background checks for gun purchasers.

The Second Amendment is not in danger. The one at risk is the NRA for throwing low blows—like using the president’s daughters—that are unworthy of the political debate.