There is nothing in our history quite as bizarre as the continuing influence of the NRA (National Rifle Association) despite one  gun-related tragedy after another, at home, at school, in shopping malls, bars, sporting events, political rallies, churches, airports—everywhere people gather together.  More Americans die each year from gun-related incidents than were killed during our entire involvement in Vietnam! If there is one group that we can single out for its depraved influence on American life: in expertly leading gullible folk away from facts to emotional, spurious constitutional gun arguments: whose policies and lobbying practices have resulted in making gun-buying an all-too-simple process: who oppose all background checks of prospective gun-buyers, including those who are mentally unstable: who want even assault weapons to be sold and bought—the NRA has no rival. If ever Mephistopheles sought out a partner to bring terror and violence to the American way of life, it would surely be an unholy alliance with the NRA.

What’s the NRA’s typical response to any and every incident of gun violence?—If everyone had been armed there would have been no incident in the first place! Now if their retort weren’t so very dangerous, it would be simply laughable—laughably stupid. But the steady, seemingly unstoppable stream of gun violence now defiling our land is certainly no topic for laughter.

Behind the NRA lies the gun manufacturers and their owners, like the notorious rich and powerful DuPont family, originally made rich by selling shoddy, substandard goods to our troops in various wars (like the Civil War) and owner of Remington Arms, as well as longtime backer of many right-wing extremist groups like the KKK, the Minutemen, and the John Birch Society. Their politics is determined solely by financial considerations masquerading as politics. What care they who die by the gun so long as they can hear the ‘klink’ of the cash register for yet another gun sale?

Of course, to any half-normal mind our gun laws are completely insane. There is no clearer proof of the dangers of lobbyists, to my mind, than the example of the NRA. Not the common weal is under consideration by congressmen and women when they pass gun laws that (however unintentionally) make mass killings possible, even inevitable, but simply the wealth and power of gun manufacturers and their owners. But let’s call a spade a spade: lobbyists give money as BRIBES. It’s unethical and decidedly unchristian. They buy votes—and what ought to be done gets buried under so many handfuls of cash. The word “Lobbyist” comes straight from the devil’s own dictionary, to obscure truth and to make evil easier to get away with.

The Constitution’s phrase, “The right to bear arms,” was intended for militiamen in a country that at that time had no standing army. (Our Founding Fathers would never have been so insane as to allow, e.g., assault weapons in the hands of anyone, including the mentally unstable.) But that was then. Times have changed. We have an army now, and so we don’t need militiamen—or their weapons.

Moreover, many laws enacted during our colonial period (like proslavery legislation) are today seen for the insane laws that they were all along. But people were blinded by self-interest. And such will future generations view today’s gun laws—they were insane all along, but were supported by those whom the NRA bribed, so that a congressman’s self-interest, and not the concern for the common weal, alone motivated their votes on all gun legislation.

The NRA has an assault rifle pointed directly at America’s head—and, incredibly, the majority of Americans don’t even seem to care.

Len Sive Jr.