It's only fitting that the NRA's biggest tool in
He is Rep.
Three days after the slaughter of first-graders in
Said he: "In our zealousness to protect people from harm, we've created all these gun-free zones, and what we've inadvertently done is we've made them a target. A helpless target is exactly what a deranged person is looking for where they cannot be stopped."
So that's the problem. It's not crackpots with Bushmasters, it's those darn gun-free zones.
And since a brain-free zone usually encircles
You might be wondering what kind of a person would advocate saturating our schools with loaded firearms. How about a grandfather of eight who lists his hobbies as fishing, reading and "listening to Gospel music"?
Rock on, Dennis. Nearer my Glock to thee!
Although Baxley has been on the boards of child-protection groups in
He's been a longtime darling of the NRA. In 2004 the group gave him an A-plus rating and a "Defender of Freedom" award, and four years later it pumped
In return, Baxley has been obedient and loyal as a puppy. He's responsible for
The law has been so problematic for prosecutors that Gov.
As head of the House Judiciary committee, he's in position to snuff proposed changes to the "Stand Your Ground" statute. Similarly, any sane legislation that might limit access to weapons and mass ammo clips of the sort used at
He's way too tight with
A conservative pollster reported that more than 70 percent of NRA members surveyed support certain reforms that are rabidly opposed by the leadership -- requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers, for example, and banning firearm ownership by anyone on the FBI's terrorist watch list.
Another fact that the NRA doesn't brag about: Its funding increasingly depends on gun manufacturers, not gun owners. According to the Violence Policy Center, 22 firearms manufacturers, including
So it's basically a corporate shill promoting itself as a grass-roots defender of the Constitution.
In many states, the NRA has used campaign contributions and threats of retribution to secure political puppets such as Baxley. The successful tactic has given the lobby a clout that far outweighs the true size of its constituency.
The NRA claims 4.3 million members. If you charitably assume it's not padding the numbers, the total still represents just a tiny fraction of American gun owners, of whom there are at least 146 million.
In other words, more than 97 percent of legal gun owners in this country -- hunters, target shooters, people who keep or carry a firearm for protection -- don't belong to the NRA.
Many gun owners have multiple weapons (I own two, a shotgun and a rifle), but the vast majority don't keep assault rifles or military-style semi-automatics of the type used on the moviegoers in
The latest wave of attacks has shaken up a few pro-NRA stalwarts like Sen.
Tragically, nothing so sensible is being heard from lawmakers such as Baxley, though he undoubtedly has embalmed enough young gunshot victims to realize that something needs to change.
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