In a new ad released by the NRA, an announcer poses the question, “Are the President’s kids more important than yours?”
To which most people will reply, “No, of course not.”
The ad goes on to ask, “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”
By “armed guards” I’m assuming the ad is referring to the Secret Service protection offered to the President’s kids because, they’re the President’s kids, and it’s the law. Though others have pointed out that the President’s kids attend a private school with security guards. The school, however, has gone on record saying those guards do not carry guns.
Many schools, however, do have armed guards. They’re called school resource officers and campus police. They were present in Columbine in 1999 and at Virginia Tech in 2007.
We also have armed guards, known as police officers, protecting our neighborhoods every day, yet they cannot prevent the 30,000 plus gun deaths that occur, on average, every year in communities across the country.
On Wednesday the President issued 23 Executive Orders that, among other things, called for incentives for schools to hire additional resource officers, which means the NRA’s ad wasn’t just tasteless, it was false.
The NRA will tell you that we need more armed individuals, not less, to keep us safe when the cops are “minutes away.” Except we have more guns than any nation in the world, and a much higher proportion of gun violence than other comparably wealthy and peaceful countries. The argument that more guns equal safer communities just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Nor does the argument that President Obama or Joe Biden or Gabrielle Giffords or Michael Bloomberg or (insert the name of anyone talking about gun safety) are trying to take away our guns.
Strengthening enforcement of existing gun laws, making gun trafficking a felony, keeping guns out of the hands of those deemed psychologically unstable, and requiring background checks for all gun purchases is not a radical idea. It does not take away anyone’s guns. It does not impede the Second Amendment.
The same can be said for the proposals the President would like Congress to consider such as getting rid of armor-piercing bullets, also known as “cop killer bullets” because that’s what they were designed to accomplish. Or his proposal to end the ban on gun violence research so we can understand why we top other nations in this category. Or to ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits. Or give law enforcement additional tools to help prevent gun crimes. Nothing radical here, yet I’ve already heard people claim the President is “shredding the Constitution.”
Who makes the determination that our President or our police officers are no longer obeying the Constitution? Do these individuals think it’s okay to open fire on elected officials and peace officers because they disagree with the laws they are passing or enforcing?
Considering the extremist language we’ve heard from those on the right, individuals who speak of a foreign-born Muslim President who isn’t legally fit to serve, I am especially concerned about what they will do with their “God-given right” should they completely crack and decide to take action against those they believe are “shredding the Constitution.”
The fact is, the NRA and the Arizona Citizens Defense League have taken on radical stances and knowingly espoused myths that have spurred fear and angst. That fear does not allow us to have a serious conversation about gun safety but rather continue with the status quo and this country’s alarmingly high rates of gun violence.
Azcvoices.com is a network of community bloggers created by The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News to highlight diverse viewpoints. Members' opinions do not represent the views of Republic Media.
Bio: The story behind this blog begins in 2007 when, on an ordinary September morning, my world was unexpectedly smashed to pieces. A drugged-up gang banger with multiple arrests and outstanding warrants crossed my husband’s path. As my husband and his partner attempted to arrest him, he pulled a gun and shot my husband twice in the back of the head.
The murder of a Phoenix police officer is big news. Bigger still is the fact that this happened at the hands of a previously deported illegal immigrant in a border state rife with contentious immigration battles.
As I listened to the politicians and pundits spin my husband’s death to further their interests, my journalism background came into focus and I found myself doing my own research into the causes and possible solutions to our nation’s immigration problems. I also gained an awareness of what it was like to be on the opposite side of the lens. I had been a member of the media, and now my family was the subject of the story.
When I went public with my views on immigration, I was drawn even further into the political web of Arizona politics, and though I shied away for a time, I felt I could no longer be silent.
And so I created this blog, my editorial on the challenges facing our state and our nation. My expectation is that it will be used as a source of reasoned debate to elevate our discussions in a thoughtful and informed manner while seeking solutions to complex problems. I hope the differing opinions expressed by myself and others will both challenge and motivate individuals to work for the greater good.