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‘Thank You, NRA’


I’m delighted to say that Politico is now running a version of my  column once a week. Here is the first one, about the gun debate in the aftermath of Aurora:

Highly intelligent, methodical and determined to kill, Holmes the person constituted the elemental danger. Guns, even scary-looking guns formerly banned by Congress, do not go on killing sprees on their own.

A relative of mine owns an AR-15. Every few months, he removes it from the gun safe and takes it to the shooting range. He’s a careful — nay, a meticulous — gun owner. I live in the serene confidence that he will never harm anyone with it — any more than he will with his cheese-paring knife or his chain saw.

Most of the column is devoted to praising the work of the NRA. Liberals tend to say — at least some of them — that they respect the Second Amendment, but only want reasonable regulations on guns. But if they have any respect for the Second Amendment, it is only because the NRA forced them into it. Its work has been a model of democratic persuasion — mobilizing voters, winning elections, changing public opinion. A couple of people sent me this quote this morning from the Washington Post in 1999:

“The NRA does the best job of any group in lobbying members,” said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. “They don’t have marches, they don’t have demonstrations, they don’t shoot their guns in the air. It’s just good, straight democracy.”


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