(original art: John Cory/RSN)
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is not spending millions of dollars per year to protect gun rights as much as it is protecting gun sales. Arms dealing, that's where the money is. And that's what justifies the length the NRA lobbyists go to, both at the federal and state level. The NRA has helped protect the questionable right of Americans to own firearms, but they have also helped to transform the United States into the most lucrative personal arms market in the world.
Arms dealing in America only differs from drug dealing in three significant ways: it's more profitable, it's more lethal and it's legal. Guns, like crack cocaine, enter communities and have the same if not more destructive effect. Everyone has heard about the murders of 20 kindergarten children and six school administrators in Newtown, Connecticut. Who has heard about the year of death and pain in Chicago, or Oakland, California? Liz Goodwin reports for Yahoo, "Death by firearms are on track to surpass automobile related deaths by 2015 ... Every day, 85 Americans are shot dead ... 774 people were killed between 2006 and 2010 by a mass killer."
There was no good reason that Nancy Lanza needed military-grade firearms in her home. She was taken in by NRA hype. "Guns are your right; buy guns." ... "They are making laws that are too restrictive in terms of what kind of guns, clips and ammunition you can buy, be free, buy what they don't want you to buy." ... "They are coming to take your guns away, buy more." She - bought - into it, lock, stock and barrel. All of this -- all of it -- plays to the NRA's bottom line. Now, as in the aftermath of every mass killing, gun sales are soaring, profits spiking.
To the arms dealers, the people who get hurt are an acceptable if unfortunate consequence. They react no differently than the tobacco industry, they regret but they don't stop. These are international arms dealers; it's a rough crowd. It's no different than Afghanistan or the Congo or Colombia to the flow of cash, money doesn't care. Move the weapons.
A visceral reaction to the horrific events in Newtown is driving this dialog, but it isn't just Newtown, it's Everytown across America. If Americans were limited to hunting rifles and revolvers they would survive ... literally. Profits would be down, but who cares about that?