NRA in self-defense mode

Between President Barack Obama laying out his plan to fight gun violence and New York state enacting the state’s toughest gun restrictions, it’s been a tough week for the National Rifle Association.

Don’t cry for them.

We’re all for the NRA standing up for the people’s constitutional right to bear arms, but we’re at a time in our society where some drastic measures need to be taken when it comes to getting assault rifles off our streets, and for the NRA to go after Obama before he even puts his plan out is troubling. Predictable, but troubling.

First, we doubt our fore fathers imagined military assault weapons being stashed in people’s homes when they drafted the Constitution and, more specifically, the Second Amendment that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. That amendment, whichever version you read, ties weapons, or arms, to a well regulated militia – and that’s where assault weapons belong.

We’re not saying people shouldn’t be allowed to carry a handgun or own a shotgun for personal reasons (home safety, hunting) – our own gun laws permit it, and every state has its own regulations – but when it comes to assault weapons that are designed to mow down scores of enemies on the battlefield not kids in a school, not even the NRA should argue that something has to change.

The issue of school safety has many layers and many potential solutions. One of them is to restrict ownership of assault weapons.

The NRA has proven it has plenty of muscle in Washington, but it’s paranoid more now than it has ever been in light of the Sandy Hook tragedy. NRA big shots don’t think banning assault weapons will help. They’re wrong.

We like what New York state has put out there. Some of the highlights of its gun control bill include, making the unsafe storage of assault weapons a misdemeanor; mandating a police registry of assault weapons; requiring a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally to report the threat to a mental health director who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services; banning the Internet sale of assault weapons; requiring stores that sell ammunition to register with the state, run background checks on buyers of bullets and keep an electronic database of bullet sales; and increasing sentences for gun crimes including for taking a gun on school property.

Nowhere does the New York state legislation say anything about taking people’s guns away from them.

If reinstatement of an all-out ban on assault weapons becomes a reality in this country, you can bet this will turn into a drawn-out, highly-publicized war between the White House and the NRA; in some respects it already has, and it wouldn’t be the first time.

We know who we’re rooting for.