A conversation I look forward to having with the NRA
"Hello, Mr. Wray. This is John from the National Rifle Association. How are you doing tonight?"
"Mr. Wray, as a Life Member of the NRA, I know you are concerned with our right to bear arms. Are you aware of Obama's under-the-radar effort to destroy our Second Amendment rights?"
"You mean President Obama?"
"Good. Now, for the remainder of this conversation, every time you mention his name, the word 'president' will precede it. Is that clear?"
"Good. Now, what were you complaining about?"
"Well, er, President Obama is conducting an under-the-radar attack on our right to bear arms."
"What makes it under the radar?"
"His administration is not talking about it."
"Then how do you know what he plans to do?"
"Well, Mr. Wray, you have to look no further than his appointees. Consider that Attorney General Eric Holder is on record as wanting to bring back the Clinton ban on assault weapons."
"Attorney General Holder brought that up within a month of his appointment three years ago and was quickly shut down by the president. I haven't heard a peep since. What else you got?"
"Um, he appointed two of the most rabidly anti-gun Supreme Court justices in American history, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Given the advanced ages of several of the other judges, a second term may well give President Obama the chance to appoint three more justices."
"So, our liberal president appointed two liberal justices. What a surprise! I guess we'll have to hope that all of his appointees grow an independent streak and decide their cases according to our Constitution. I worry about the court becoming unbalanced as well, but it's hard for me to interpret Supreme Court nominees as an assault on my gun rights."
"Mr. Wray, are you aware that this administration reversed long-standing American opposition and now supports an International Arms Trade Treaty that will ban or restrict our gun ownership in this country? O...er...President Obama knows he can't get restrictive gun rules through the U.S. Congress so he's going to come at our guns through the United Nations."
"You know, I've been seeing those emails, so I started doing some checking. It turns out that the U.N. treaty is aimed at restricting dealers who provide arms to terrorists, insurgencies, rebellions and civil wars. There is specific wording in place, put there by the United States, to protect national sovereignty regarding firearms purchase and ownership.
"But Mr. Wray, our people have done extensive research into the administration's goals and we know that President Obama wants to restrict gun ownership."
"Sure, you know that even though all he's ever said is that he supports the Second Amendment and has no plans to take anyone's guns. In fact, he's signed a law permitting guns in national parks and signed another law allowing guns in checked baggage on Amtrak trains."
"Those were just a diversion, Mr. Wray, a smokescreen to hide his true objectives."
"So, even when President Obama does exactly what you guys want, signs laws that you had a hand in writing, you still don't give him credit. Did all of you intern at Pravda, or what? Here's what I think. I am truly worried about gun control. I've been in Great Britain and Australia and Canada and talked with the people there who've had their guns taken away. I know it can be done and there are people here who want to do the same thing. That's why I'm a life member of the NRA. But the way the NRA demonizes the President and creates crises where there are none is abhorrent to me.
"And that's not all. When then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend while quail hunting, the NRA went totally silent. I know the Bush administration was a big supporter of the right to bear arms, but for an organization like the NRA, which runs the largest firearms safety-training program in the world, to roll over and play dead rather than criticize an administration official's obvious hunting error was pathetic. This was an incredibly powerful teaching moment, but you bailed.
"In addition, John, by playing on the fears of gun owners, the NRA created the mass hysteria following President Obama's election that resulted in ammunition and reloading supplies disappearing off the shelves for more than a year. You did that, and all you can say now is, 'This time he's really going after our guns!'
"Sorry, John. Somehow the words 'NRA' and 'trust' don't fit together for me. But, hey, thanks for calling."
Pat Wray is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News (hcn.org). He lives in Corvallis, Oregon, with his wife, Debbie, and three hunting dogs. He can be argued with at email@example.com.
Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of High Country News, its board or staff. If you'd like to share an opinion piece of your own, please write Betsy Marston at firstname.lastname@example.org.