Published 15 April 1993 in The Carolinian (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
NRA is a victim of media bias
by Matt Wallace
With the election of Bill Clinton and the attendant triumph of symbolism over substance, it has become fashionable to attach false causes to social problems and then to offer false solutions for them. An example of this is the problem of violent crime.
Recently, TV news programs and newspaper editorial pages have exploded with stories, articles, and cartoons that place blame for the violence on guns in particular and on the National Rifle Association of America by extension.
"Gun-control" advocates and their allies in the various media wrongly identify firearms as the cause of violent crime and mistakenly call for more legislation to "control" guns and their availability.
In truth, the criminal is to blame for the violence. His weapon, which he most likely stole or purchased illegally in the black market, is merely the tool of his "trade." Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. "Gun-control" laws are useless for this very reason.
Such laws serve only to hinder law-abiding citizens who wish to exercise their right of self-protection. It is no coincidence that cities with "strict gun control," such as New York or Washington, D.C., have higher rates of violent crime than cities without. "Gun-control" laws disarm law-abiding citizens and leave them open to the depredations of criminals who have no fear of selecting an armed victim who will injure or kill them.
Even more disturbing is the ease with which commentators, writers, and cartoonists blame the NRA and its more than 3 million members for the criminal misuse of firearms. The NRA has long advocated firm, certain punishment for violent criminals, especially those who use firearms unlawfully. Studies indicate that 70% of all violent crimes are committed by only 6% of all violent criminals, yet the criminal justice system has failed to separate this small minority from society.
Last year, the NRA inaugurated its CrimeStrike program to attack this failure of our criminal justice system. Operating locally, NRA members, serving as CrimeStrike volunteers, monitor criminal trials and parole board hearings and work to ensure that the criminal justice system operates for the protection of law-abiding citizens instead of criminals.
The NRA is the leading defender of the fundamental individual right to protect self, family, and property, as well as personal liberty. The NRA and its members realize that all rights contain equal responsibilities. The NRA actively supports responsible gun ownership through its numerous gun safety programs, including training courses offered to hunters, law enforcement agencies, homeowners, and children.
The media perpetuate the fear and ignorance of firearms and of those who cherish freedom. They would have one believe that the NRA is simply a bunch of "gun nuts." NRA members fill the spectrum of American society. The NRA "looks more like America" than Bill Clinton's cabinet.
As an NRA Life Member, I am thoroughly disgusted with those in the media who continue to disparage and to libel the NRA and to spread unabashed and shameful propaganda in the name of journalism. Meanwhile, they fail to exercise their professional duties of informing the public and assisting in the search for genuine solutions. We are entitled to nothing less.
Matt Wallace is a Finance/Economics major from Winston-Salem, NC.