Open scientific inquiry is self-correcting. Political demagoguery is not. The NRA (National Rifle Association, or No Reasoning Allowed) epitomizes the latter. For years, this freedom-muzzling organization has bullied cowardly legislators into suppressing objective research at the Centers for Disease Control on gun violence, an important public health and safety issue.
They recently prevented Newtown School Superintendent Janet Robinson from testifying before Republican-controlled congressional committees – not very good public relations to have too much attention drawn to horrific images of what your unnecessary products can do to a first-grader, in a big hurry.
They have also promoted legislation in several jurisdictions that would have the effect of interfering with the doctor-patient relationship, potentially subjecting doctors to legal action for inquiring about guns. And, of course, they are opposed to a renewed assault-style weapons ban. The Justice Department estimates that a renewed ban would “modestly” reduce gun deaths by about 100 per year.
I, for one, would rather save the lives of 100 Emilie Parkers each year than allow those with public-interest blindness to get their jollies by possessing and shooting weapons with no civilian purpose. It’s a question of what one values, I guess.