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The NRA's days are numbered

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Lindell John Kay

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I agree with President Trump: Some teachers should be armed.

Add “I agree with President Trump” to the list of words I never thought I string together. But I’m not being facetious. Trump has scored some serious points with me on his new approach to gun control in our country.

After a few missteps — misTweets, actually — the Trump we were all promised, the great dealmaker, finally showed up to the gun debate. Now, it’s Donald Trump, and quite frankly, he could have changed his mind, ala immigration reform, by the time this column sees print. But for now, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

My sister is a cafeteria manager at a North Carolina public school. Most school food service workers and a lot of librarians have to get their commercial driver’s licenses as part of the hiring process. That’s so they can substitute as a school bus driver if the need arises.

I’m not — repeat I am not — suggesting that teachers should have to get a concealed carry permit as part of their application. That’s absurd and insane. What I am saying is that if a teacher or faculty member already has a gun permit or wishes to get one and can meet the standards required by the state, then they should be able to carry their handgun on school grounds.

Here’s the catch. The president talked about offensive and defensive actions when it comes to protecting our schools. That’s one pro-active measure I’m willing to agree to, but there are a couple of actions on the other end of the spectrum that gun rights advocates must be willing to concede.

Number one, we simply must have a national age requirement to purchase rifles like the AR-15. You should have to be 21 years old to walk into a sporting goods outlet, pawn shop or retail store and buy such a destructive weapon. This is a no-brainer that should have been enacted years ago.

And I don’t buy the argument that if someone is old enough to serve in the military then they should be old enough to own an assault rifle. It didn’t work with the alcohol debate and it shouldn’t work here.

The only group in America that benefits from teenagers buying guns is gun manufacturers. That’s why lobby giant, the National Rifle Association, is pushing back so hard on a concept most Americans understand.

Number two, we need universal background checks. Obviously, there are folks who can pass a background check, purchase a gun and then kill people with it. Background checks can’t catch everyone, but stricter checks cast a wider net and that might stop some people who shouldn’t own a gun from owning a gun. If better checks stop one more mass shooting then it will have been worth it.

Number three, bump stocks and devices used to convert semi-auto rifles into machine guns must be taken off the shelves and tossed in the trash. What’s the point of outlawing fully auto guns then selling a device that can easily upgrade a rifle with a one-trigger-pull to one-bullet ratio into a machine gun that sprays out 30 bullets with one squeeze?

And now a little bit about the Second Amendment. I’m a supporter. I also support the First Amendment, but our freedom of speech doesn’t give us the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater or protest without a permit. Likewise, the Second Amendment doesn’t give me the right to stockpile murderous weapons. And make no mistake, that’s what’s going on. When just 3 percent of Americans own half the guns, something's up.

Machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and silencers have been outlawed since the early 1930s. Who in their right mind thinks we would have been better off if Americans could have for the past several decades been able to walk into a Walmart and pick up a Tommy Gun?

The 1918 Thompson submachine gun could spit out 50 bullets with one trigger pull. The “Chicago typewriter” was the choice weapon of the mob and simply became too dangerous for civilians to own. The fully-automatic version hasn’t been manufactured in decades.

Isn’t that what we’re really talking about? The manufacture of the AR-15 doesn’t want to lose revenue so it spends as much money as it takes to ensure we stay deadlocked as a society - arguing over the big picture when the answer is right in front of us. Congress has outlawed dangerous firearms before, and it was upheld by the high courts as not violating the Second Amendment. That was 80 years ago.

The so-called slippery slope is pretty slow… Look, no one is coming in the middle of the night for your guns. But your child shouldn’t be allowed to buy a dangerous gun and kill my child with it.

Big tobacco once ruled Washington. The NRA’s days are numbered.

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