Today, I joined the NRA. I went to www.nra.org, used my VISA card, and selected the one-year membership of $25. With my membership to the National Rifle Association, I’ll receive the digital magazine, America’s First Freedom (the cover story on the promo copy—“The Catastrophic Consequence of Gun Registration”—piqued my interest). I declined the offer to receive a free, camouflaged duffel bag with “NRA” emblazoned on the side. Quick confirmation of my subscription included the promise that my membership card will arrive in the mail.
I don’t own a gun. I don’t hunt. I don’t collect antique firearms. However, I’m not about to deny responsible people the right to do what I choose not to do.
I joined the NRA because I can’t get the names and faces out of my head: Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor and Susie Jackson—all killed on June 17 by a 21-year-old gunman during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC.
The impact of this latest gun massacre already is fading from the news. In the United States, horrible stories like this one don’t remain front page stories for long. Here’s another reality: If the 2012 gun slaughter of twenty white children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School did nothing to tighten federal guns laws in our country, the death of nine black adults in Charleston will do even less. Nothing will change. Despite Columbine, Virginia Tech, The Navy Yard—nothing will change.
Nothing will change, in large part because of the power and influence of the NRA. The NRA owns too many politicians, is a darling of Fox News, and is warmly embraced by conservative talk show pundits. In my opinion, the leadership of the NRA spews forth far too much Second Amendment bullshit.
So, on this Father’s Day, I joined the NRA. As a dues-paying, card-carrying member, my goals are (1) to fight for universal background checks, (2) to seek a ban on assault weapons, and (3) to establish a federal database to track guns.
I entertain no hopes of succeeding (I imagine Donald Trump secretly feels the same about his run for the presidency), but what else can I do? Maybe something will change.