Vote out the cowards who are afraid of the NRA

February 23, 2018

The NRA will be quiet for a few weeks and then it will launch another aggressive campaign.

It will be another us against them message. "They" will be the rapist and the government and the person with a mental illness.

When we discuss mental illness in the context of gun violence, we are using one of the NRA's redirection tactics. Even if a cure were found for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, overall violence would go down by only about 4 percent. The NRA doesn't care about facts. People with mental illness are vulnerable and easy scapegoats. So the NRA uses them.

The bulk of the NRA influence isn't the money it gives directly to candidates' campaigns. It's the money it spends on ads and commercials. The NRA's greatest strength is the voice and vote of its members. NRA members are politically engaged and politically active. They call and write elected officials, they show up to vote, and they vote based on the gun issue. In 2014 only 36 percent of Delaware's voters went to the polls, but you can bet that most of the state's NRA supporters were among that 36 percent. They can determine the outcome of an election by showing up!

For decades the NRA has used aggressive advertising to change Americans' view of the Second Amendment. It isn't about a well-regulated militia any longer. It's about individual gun ownership - ownership that is constantly under threat.

In the 1970s the NRA ads were about protecting hunters. ("Only you can save hunting.")

In the 1980s the NRA launched a fear-mongering campaign. ("Do robbers, murderers and rapists wait in line to buy guns?")

In the early 1990s the NRA warned against a police state. ("Take back your government and save your guns. Join the NRA now.")

In 2013, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook murders, President Obama proposed to ban automatic weapons, limit magazines to 10 bullets, and require universal background checks for all firearms buyers. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said to get ready for the "fight of the century." The NRA won that fight - and every other one the past 150 years.

After the NRA endorsed Trump, it launched another message campaign: Only the NRA can keep America safe. The first commercial had a country singer telling the Ayatollah of Iran and all the terrorists he sponsors that "you may have met our fresh-faced, flower-child, weak-kneed president, but you haven't met the real America yet. I'm the NRA of America. I'm America's safest place."

Trump won, and the NRA won yet again. The NRA will continue to win unless we fight them as aggressively as they fight for the gun manufacturers. We made a mistake 20 years ago when we changed the message from Gun Control to Gun Safety.

Let's make it clear we want legislation that will make us safer. And that means a ban on all semi-automatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazine clips.

Let's stop asking for common sense gun legislation and demand stricter gun laws. Let's call it like it is: We want to regulate what guns individuals can own. For decades, the NRA has frightened lawmakers with their ad campaigns. Too many legislators do not want to be victims of those commercials, so they do nothing to anger the NRA.

We need to call out and vote out the cowards in our state and federal government who are afraid of the NRA. There is no other way to stop gun violence.

Joanne Cabry
chair, Progressive Democrats of Sussex County



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