The NRA Ain't Gonna Punk Me! by Russell Simmons

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The NRA stands for National Rifle Association. It was founded in 1871 with the mission of creating rifle clubs comprised of mostly Civil War veterans to improve their marksmanship. Today it has a membership of over four million people with an annual budget of over $300 million dollars, $20 million of which is spent on political lobbying. It no longer just focuses on rifles.

They say that the NRA is the most powerful lobbying organization in our country. They say that after President Clinton put a ban on assault weapons in 1994, the NRA was the reason why many of the Democrats who voted in favor of the ban lost their jobs. They say because of what happened in 1994, every politician is now afraid of the NRA. President Bush reversed the ban on assault weapons and President Obama has not touched the subject. We have been left with laws that allow people to own weapons that are more powerful than any regular police officer has access to and on par with weapons of war.

And not only does it allow people to own these weapons, the NRA has been successful at blocking attempts to pass reasonable legislation that would require background checks at gun-shows (currently there are none), as well as blocking people on the terror watch list and those who are mentally unstable from obtaining guns and putting an end to the sale of accessories like 100 round drums. They are also the group behind the “Stand Your Ground” law that George Zimmerman claims protects him from being convicted of killing Trayvon Martin. Our nation has been held hostage by 4 million people and $300 million dollars. The safety of our schools, our streets, our homes, our movie theaters, is being controlled by those who cling to their guns, their assault weapons and their weapons of war. They don’t intimidate me, so I will speak my piece, as I am a man of peace.

Let me break down two high-profile shootings. The gunman in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Arizona used a 9mm handgun, killing six and injuring fourteen.  The shooter had a thirty bullet magazine with one in the chamber and was able to get off 31 shots. It was during a moment when he had to re-load his weapon that 61-year-old Patricia Maisch wrestled him to the ground and stopped the massacre. Contrary, the shooter in the Aurora Theater shooting had a AR-15 semi-automatic assault weapon with a 100 round drum, along with two hand-guns and a rifle. He had bought 6000 rounds of ammo and loaded up on body armor, all of which he bought legally on the internet. The AR-15 has the capability of shooting 50-60 bullets per minute that would pierce through a steel door.  The shooter killed 12 people and injured 58 before his gun jammed. The two police officers who first arrived on the scene would have been out-powered by the shooter, as all they had were handguns and shotguns. Their lives were potentially saved by a jammed weapon. Both incidents were horrific. Both incidents should never have happened. But in the case of Aurora, the shooter was able to injure or kill 50 more people than the shooter in Arizona (and he was shooting in the dark compared to broad daylight). So, it is difficult for me to swallow the argument that if we ban assault weapons, people will just find a way to continue killing at the alarming numbers they do now. We might have saved multiple lives and stopped the injury of dozens of others if the shooter in Colorado didn’t use the weapon of his choice.

When anyone dies from senseless violence in this country, I will raise my voice of support for tougher gun laws. In one year, guns murdered 35 in Australia, 39 in England, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada & 9,484 in USA. It is unfathomable to me that the only time this country or the media wants to broach the subject is when there are mass shootings, and most of the victims are white. Well, I hate to break the news to you, but there are mass shootings in Chicago every weekend. There are mass shootings in New York City every weekend. There are mass shootings in Los Angeles every weekend. EVERY 39 MINUTES, A BLACK CHILD OR TEENAGER IS SHOT IN AMERICA, AND THE MEDIA DOESN’T MENTION IT AND EVERYONE ELSE KEEPS IT MOVING. And we only want to mention the word “gun reform” when white people are killed? My heart is heavy for the victims in Colorado, but I can’t be silent because every politician in Washington and around this country is afraid of the NRA. No other country in the civilized world allows this to happen. Only in the land of the free, where politicians can be legally bribed and our democracy is for sale, do citizens have access to weapons of war. Well, I’m not a politician, so the NRA can’t silence me and they certainly ain’t gonna punk me!

The time has come for our nation to face the National Rifle Association and its bullying-tactics. There is no way that our forefathers envisioned twelve innocent people lying dead on the floor of a movie theater when they wrote the Second Amendment. They didn’t even know what an assault weapon was or what urban communities would become. A man walks into a movie theater dressed as “The Joker” from Batman and shoots seventy people, and how do we respond? We ban people from wearing costumes!?!?! How about we address the real problem by banning weapons of war, so we never deny the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for another innocent American again.

-Russell Simmons

If you want join in fighting the NRA’s control of our country, please visit MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns.org  or SecondChanceOnShootFirst.org

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