I felt a need to respond to the letter written by Stephen Advokat [“Patrick McHenry and the NRA,” Oct. 2, Xpress], which vilified Rep. Patrick McHenry for accepting a donation from the NRA, a civil rights organization. Yes, that’s correct, the NRA is one of our nation’s first civil rights organization. Since its inception, the NRA has stood for defending the civil rights of Americans who want to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones. Shortly after the Civil War, emancipated African Americans were being attacked and lynched by those who were angry at their newfound freedom. At the time, black Americans were prohibited from owning firearms. The NRA went to bat, got the laws changed and gave those newly freed citizens the means with which to defend themselves.
Advokat claims that NRA money is “blood money”! There is no logic in that statement. More than almost any other organization, the NRA is working for enhanced school safety and educating Americans about the safe handling of firearms. They are as upset as anyone when a tragic shooting occurs. Would Advokat criticize a candidate who accepted money from Planned Parenthood, an organization that conducts abortions? Wouldn’t that qualify as “blood money”?
I can’t comment on the exact merits of the two bills Advokat mentions in his letter, HR 8 and HR 1112, and I am sure McHenry had good reasons for casting a “No” vote on each one of them. Advokat claims that his candidate will pass “responsible gun safety regulations” if she wins the election. Let’s be clear, when politicians talk about “responsible” gun legislation, they are really talking about taking the initial steps toward gun confiscation.
We already have many, many laws on the books to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The problem is, criminals, by definition, do not obey the laws. We can pass all the gun legislation in the world, and criminals will still have access to firearms. Since they can’t pass background checks, criminals simply buy their guns on the black market. All that we will accomplish by passing new gun legislation will be to tie the hands of law-abiding citizens while giving criminals free rein. Just take a look at how unsuccessful drug laws have been at stemming the epidemic of drug addiction in this country to know that this is true.
— Roger Gilmore
Editor’s note: The NRA’s account of its founding on its website says two Union Civil War veterans “dismayed by the lack of markmanship shown by their troops” formed the organization in 1871 in New York. A Snopes article, “Was the NRA Founded to Protect Black People from the Ku Klux Klan?” offers: “While it is not impossible that some black Americans were indirect beneficiaries of the NRA’s firearms training evangelism after the Civil War, we rate these revisionist notions about the group’s founding purpose False.”