Fear, frustration and guns as NRA targets Obama
THE green-tipped zombie killing bullets, pink-gripped pistols, and military grade rifles with sleek scopes are a fun distraction from the main event.
Amid the acres of guns and gear on display at the National Rifle Association’s convention in St Louis this weekend, an undercurrent of fear and frustration is fuelling a drive to oust President Barack Obama and wrest the United States back from the secular liberals.
“If President Obama gets a second term, America as we know it will be on its way to being lost forever,” NRA chief Wayne LaPierre warned his members.
“This election — it’s a fight for our country. It’s a fight for our values. It’s a fight for our freedom.” These are the people that Obama once said “cling to their guns” and they are proud to do so.
“The core of what this entire thing is about is an individual’s God-given right to defend himself,” said Roger Smith, 65, a small business owner from rural Missouri and a long-time NRA member.
“Obama’s administration wants to take it all away.” What liberals don’t understand is that guns are both a part of regular family life and a powerful symbol of the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, said Andy Rice, 66, a retired optician and former Marine from rural Illinois.
“Most of us grew up with guns in the house,” Rice said as he waited for the exhibit hall to open on Saturday morning.
“Our fathers had guns hanging over the dining room table because they’d fought in WWII or Korea and were proud of it.” Guns were for hunting, but they also meant a whole lot more. “It’s a belief in this country,” Rice said.
The nation’s founders understood that only a wellarmed populace could protect itself against tyrants and that remains a clear and present danger today, his brother Daniel Rice said.
“All you have to do is look around the world,” he told .
While the United States may have strong institutions to protect democracy, Rice believes freedom can only be maintained if the government knows that the populace is armed. And he is convinced that his gun rights are “under attack.” The NRA which calls itself the nation’s oldest civil rights group has been extremely successful in undermining gun controls. Some 40 US states now have permissive concealed weapon laws, up from just two in 1981.
That means hidden handguns can be carried just about anywhere in most states — bars, churches, banks and one Wisconsin legislator even brings his gun onto the statehouse floor.
Democrats have largely abandoned efforts to tighten controls and the Obama campaign was quick to refute accusations that it has a hidden agenda to take people’s guns away.
That’s because there is little political gain and plenty of potential loss in fighting the NRA when most Americans don’t care much about gun control.
“The NRA is very, very, very good at what they do,” said Robert Spitzer, author of ‘The Politics of Gun Control’ and a professor at State University of New York at Cortland.
“Even though they don’t win as much as people think, they can make the life of a political leader miserable.” Despite its substantial legislative victories, the NRA has also been very successful at convincing its four million members and millions of supporters that gun rights are under attack.
John Gilge, 52, joined the NRA years ago because he’s an avid hunter.
These days, personal protection issues are a major concern for the electrician and retired Marine. He has reasons to be afraid.