Mandatory gun zones and making marksmanship a mandatory requirement to advance in school are just a couple of the NRA’s newest gimmicks to maintain our lead as the country with the most guns, albeit in a fewer hands.
In a video released on Monday, NRA commentator Billy Johnson began his pitch for a gun in every hand by inferring that laws that keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories is akin to limiting access to public education.
Here is the video.
Transcript Courtesy of Media Matters:
JOHNSON: As a country we have an education policy. Imagine if that policy was about limiting who has access to public education. I mean, let’s be honest, the danger in educating people to think is that they might actually start to think for themselves. Perhaps we should think seriously about who we give access to knowledge. They could use it to do a lot of damage.
As a country we have a far reaching public parks program. Imagine if that program was designed to limit who has access to those parks. You littered once in high school, sorry no park access for you.
As a country we have labor policies designed to ensure that people are given access to jobs regardless of gender, race, or creed. Imagine if that policy withheld certain types of jobs as only the purview of the government elite.
The point is that as a country we often write policy to protect access to something; education, parks, jobs. But one for one of the most important protections, a constitutional right, we write policy designed to limit access. Among Second Amendment supporters it’s common to talk about U.S. gun policy. We worry that policies will encroach on our rights; we share our concerns about overreaching gun policy that fails to make any of us safer.
But we don’t spend nearly enough time asking what is the purpose of policy and what should the purpose of gun policy be? We don’t have a U.S. gun policy. We have a U.S. anti-gun policy. Our gun policies are designed around the assumption that we need to protect people from guns, that guns are bad or dangerous. But what would happen if we designed gun policy from the assumption that people need guns — that guns make people’s lives better. Let’s consider that for a minute.
Gun policy driven by people’s need for guns would seek to encourage people to keep and bear arms at all times. Maybe it would even reward those who do so. What if instead of gun free-zones we had gun-required zones?
Gun policy driven by our need for guns would insist that we introduce young people to guns early and that we’d give them the skills to use firearms safely. Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency. It wouldn’t matter if a child’s parents weren’t good at it. We’d find them a mentor. It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade.
Gun policy driven by the assumption we need guns would probably mean our government would subsidize it. I mean, perhaps we would have government ranges where you could shoot for free or a yearly allotment of free ammunition. Sound crazy? Think about it. Education, healthcare, food, retirement, we subsidize things we value. Gun policy, driven by our need for guns would protect equal access to guns, just like we protect equal access to voting, and due process, and free speech. Our Founding Fathers believed that we did need guns. That’s why they codified our access to guns into the Constitution. But the idea of a gun policy that does justice to their intentions sounds ridiculous. What does that say about us? Even as Second Amendment advocates we can’t fathom a world where we would treat guns as a need.
Wow, where do we begin?
According to Johnson laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, people with a criminal history and people with illnesses that make them a danger to themselves and others are way too restrictive because guns are a necessity, like food, water, clothing, and shelter. Keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people is like limiting access to knowledge (which Republicans do) or banning someone from a park.
It’s obvious that Johnson also doesn’t recognize that the NRA’s best friend in Congress and State legislatures has policies that do the very things he condemns in his pitch and doesn’t believe in the things he claims we should be doing.
One need only look at the climate change deniers, religion based Charter Schools and the Koch Brothers efforts to brainwash kids with their political philosophy to see that the Republican Party is doing all it can to eliminate access to knowledge. The last thing Republican lawmakers want is for people to think for themselves. We see it in their attack on Common Core, their efforts to replace science with religion and reinvent history. We see it in the Hobby Lobby ruling that forces employees to conform to their boss’s religious beliefs.
Republicans across the country are using every trick in the book to deny poor people access to healthcare – with some states even rationing access to emergency rooms.
Johnson wants to force kids to shoot their way to graduation, give them gun mentors and get the government to subsidies bullets. Sure, when America is already lagging behind other advanced countries in math and science, the obvious solution is courses in shooting and gun competency.
Then there’s the fact that the NRA friendly Republicans don’t believe in equal access to the vote as reflected in Voter and Registration ID laws, laws that restrict voting hours and days and laws that make it physically difficult if not impossible to have anything resembling equal access to the vote.
This is just crazy enough for the Tea Party controlled Republicans to get behind because subsidizing healthcare, school lunches or education is just silly when you can subsidize bullets and public shooting galleries. Besides, the best way to compete in a technology and scientifically advancing world is to force kids to learn how to shoot.