Tuesday, April 26, 2005

New NRA President and ABC's Article

After our trek across a large part of America, I've been catching up on e-mail at work and a little blog reading when I can get away with it. I had about 375 new work e-mails waiting for me and very little of that was spam thanks to excellent filters. I've been reading my little eyes out. Most of them were FYI and similar junk, but one has to skim it all to make sure that there's not one little action item stuck in an innocuous paragraph. So, enough of my whining. Let's talk gun news.

In one of my all too brief dips into gun blogs today, I found this curious article linked in Bitter's post on the Bitch Girls. Bitter pointed out that ABC News named Sandra Froman their "Person of the Week" even though we had a new Pope elected. Ms. Froman was just elected president of the National Rifle Association.

That ABC News chose Ms. Froman over the Pope is curious enough. So let's compare, a lifetime appointment versus a two year term--head of a 1.1 billion member church versus head of a 4 million member organization. I could speculate that ABC News didn't want to glorify a staunchly conservative Pope and turned their back on him in favor of Ms. Froman. I could so speculate, but I would probably be wrong.

Still, the article is curious in other ways and I wonder if certain points are made in ignorance or through malice. Let's take a closer look shall we.

The first paragraph after the slug reads:
The nations' 4 million gun owners, represented by the powerful NRA, believe their constitutional right to bear arms is constantly being threatened. The NRA is one of the biggest lobbying groups in the country, and Froman speaks their language.
In the first place, there are one hell of a lot more gun owners in America than 4 million. I've seen estimates ranging from 80 million to 100 million--that's only an underestimate by a factor of 20 to 25.

Also, not all gun owners are represented by or are members of the NRA. We have gun owners who think the NRA is too political and too conservative. We have gunnies who think it is too compromising and too liberal. Others think joining anything is anathema. Then there is a big fuzzy hard-to-define group of gun owners who rarely shoot. They might have bought a gun when they heard a bump in the night, inherited one, or bought one to look cool in a mirror when they play quick draw or play Travis Bickel. The NRA certainly doesn't speak for all of these gun owners.

The same paragraph includes a statement that NRA members believe their constitutional right (do they admit it is a right?) to bear arms is under threat. Maybe, I'm being over-sensitive here, but it sounds like they think these 4 million members are all paranoid. We know people want to take guns away from us and "you ain't paranoid if you're right."

The rest of the article is relatively neutral and quotes Froman saying positive things about gun ownership for women. I liked when she said, "[Carrying a concealed gun] feels as natural as carrying a Palm Pilot or cell phone — for me at least." I carry often, and for me too it feels really natural.

Evidently, Froman bought a gun when a would be burglar woke her one night. She has since become an ardent shooter and hunter and a gun rights advocate. The article points out, she had a misstep when she seemed to claim that teachers should carry guns, but then she claimed she was misquoted. Now, I think she was right and she should stick to her guns unless she truly was misquoted. Teachers, if they are willing and can legally own a gun, should be able to carry guns in schools or anywhere else.

Froman recognizes evil exists and we need to defend ourselves from criminals. In her words,
I believe there is evil in the world.... And I think that good people need to protect themselves from harm, from criminals who seek to deprive them of their life or their liberty.
I think Froman is a fine choice for NRA president. Women are an untapped resource in the gun world and she may be able to bring more of them into shooting and gun ownership. We'll have to see how she does.

I've said before, I'm an NRA member not because I always believe in their choices, but because I believe it is the strongest gun rights organization we have and we need to ensure it doesn't become full of "guns are only for hunting" types. I welcome Ms. Froman as my organization's president.

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