The heads of the National Rifle Association wrote to President Obama Monday, taking issue with his op-ed in the Sunday Arizona Daily Star, in which he said that since the tragic shooting in Tucson perhaps another 2,000 Americans have been lost to gun violence.
The president pushed for states to provide better data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and suggested “an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers.”
The heads of the NRA responded to the president’s op-ed on gun issues, saying, “to focus a national dialogue on guns – and not criminals or mental health issues – misses the point entirely."
The problem is not gun laws, they say, bur rather lax law enforcement, a sensationalist media and deficiencies in the mental health system.
After suggesting that the president’s claim to support the Second Amendment is “lip service,” NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and chief lobbyist Chris Cox urged the president to:
• “contact every U.S. Attorney and ask them to bring at least 10 cases per month against drug dealers, gang members and other violent felons caught illegally possessing firearms. By prosecuting these criminals in federal court – rather than state court – strong sentencing guidelines would apply and charges would not be plea-bargained or dismissed, nor would criminals be released after serving only a fraction of their sentences. This simple directive would result in roughly 12,000 violent criminals being taken off the streets every year”;
• immediately end the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives‘ “Fast and Furious” operation, “in which an unknown number of illegal firearm transactions were detected – and then encouraged to fruition by your BATFE, which allegedly decided to let thousands of firearms ‘walk’ across the border and into the hands of murderous drug cartels.” (Read more on the Fast and Furious program HERE.);
• call on the media “to refrain from giving deranged criminals minute-by-minute coverage of their heinous acts, which only serves to encourage copycat behavior. If media outlets won’t show a fan running onto the field during a baseball game because they don’t want to encourage that behavior by others – surely they can listen to law enforcement experts and refuse to air the photographs, video messages or Facebook postings of madmen and murderers”; and
• “to encourage people to report red flags when they see them. In the case of Tucson, a man clearly bent on violence was not reported to the proper authorities by those who had good reason to believe he had serious mental problems. That’s not a deficiency in our gun laws, it’s a deficiency in our mental health system – and should be treated as such.”
You can read the whole NRA letter to the president HERE.