Letter to Editor: Rewrite laws, not history

To the Editor:

I agree with Andy Torbett’s admonition, in a letter in last week’s Islander, that as “much of our history has been largely rewritten, digging deep into history is necessary.” And in that spirit, I would like to look at the history of the NRA and of gun control in the USA.

The NRA was founded in 1871 to improve the marksmanship of members of the United States military. For almost 100 years the NRA focused on gun safety.

In his 1934 testimony before Congress, NRA President Karl Frederick stated, “I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons” which he characterized as “the general promiscuous toting of guns.” Of course, general gun toting is the raison d’être and rallying cry of today’s NRA. You’ve come a long way, baby.

Until fairly recently gun control was an unremarkable part of life in these United States. Historic photographs of that icon of the Wild West — Dodge City — show signs prohibiting the carrying of firearms. In some places you had to leave your guns with local law enforcement.

Second amendment rights were not invoked and common sense prevailed.

Today the NRA, the legislators it helps elect, and the judges they appoint do all they can to prohibit any restrictions on the commerce in guns and their circulation in our society. It’s been a long way down.

The NRA wraps itself in the American flag and cloaks its deadly influence in claims of victimization.

Mr. Torbett asserts that “not one of these 6-million-plus members of the NRA has ever committed a gun related violent crime.” I would like to see the data. NRA President Oliver North was convicted of gun running to a deadly enemy of the USA and funneling the profits to violent terrorists in Nicaragua; uncomfortable facts uncovered during President Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal — but as the American Civil Liberties Union got North off on a technicality, that might not count.

Many claim that NRA influence on government policy is complicit in the unprecedented horror of gun violence in our nation. Only in America, kids. Accidents, killings, suicides — the blood of innocents is on NRA hands. Maybe that is why the majority of law abiding NRA members support closing the gun show loop hole and instituting effective background checks. Rewriting the current laws might bring us back to a safer time — without rewriting history.

Annlinn Kruger

Bar Harbor

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