Jack Tame: US gun lobby blind to reason

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After four months of waiting, the anticipation was killing me, and the waiting, dithering, pondering and politicking were killing a fair few others, too.

It had once seemed the most impossible of PR spins, in the immediacy of the Sandy Hook slaughter.

As 20 children lay dead, America's National Rifle Association (NRA), facing aggrieved, angry masses, was preparing to defend the right of anyone to own a semi-automatic assault rifle.

How on Earth, after such horror, could they profess to keep America's kids safe?

Paperwork, that's how. And finally, it was published this week: a 225-page report on preventing school shootings, balancing specifics with ambiguities and loose freedoms with hardline rules.

The NRA taskforce officially recommends teachers with guns in schools. It was firm in endorsing a range of armed options and even the training staff should undergo.

What sort of gun should Mrs Carrington in Room 8 keep stowed for special occasions? "Everything from a sidearm to a shotgun to an AR-15 in the car of a school officer."

Ohhh good.

So how could the NRA push such absurdity without fear of a damaging backlash? If it had pushed for guns in schools on the morning after Sandy Hook (instead of waiting in silence for almost five days), perhaps the emotion of the moment would have propelled a majority to dismiss the NRA for good. By contrast, the politicians closest to the shooting are still in the moment.

Also this week, Connecticut's governor signed into law the nation's toughest gun restrictions. State Democrats and Republicans came together to ban assault weapons and big magazines.

Anyone in sleepy Sandy Hook will now have to drive a good hour across state lines for an armour-piercing bullet fix.

As it did after Columbine, and after Virginia Tech, the NRA insists true "freedom" means fighting fire with fire, firepower with firepower. They'll give these bastard shooters a lead taste of their own medicine.

And they're right, in a way.

Because the next time a kid rips up a community, he'll know before turning his gun on himself, the NRA will respond to his senseless attack with some more insanity of its own.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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