Original published here
A new commentary video from the National Rifle Association suggests we can live up to the Founding Fathers' ideals by creating "gun-required zones," and making gun training for children "necessary to advance to the next grade."
In a July 21 NRA News video titled "Everyone Gets A Gun," NRA News commentator Billy Johnson said, "We don't have a U.S. gun policy. We have a U.S. anti-gun policy" that is based on "the assumption that we need to protect people from guns" and "that guns are bad or dangerous."
Instead Johnson wondered what gun policies the United States would have "if we designed gun policy from the assumption that people need guns -- that guns make people's lives better." Johnson then made the following recommendations that would "encourage" and might "reward" people "to keep and bear arms at all times."
- Johnson wondered, "What if instead of gun free-zones we had gun-required zones?"
- He imagined a compulsory education system that would require children to become proficient with firearms, just like "reading and writing," even "if they didn't want to learn" in order to advance in school: "Gun policy driven by our need for guns would insist that we introduce young people to guns early and that we'd give them the skills to use firearms safely. Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency. It wouldn't matter if a child's parents weren't good at it. We'd find them a mentor. It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade."
- Like "education, healthcare, food, [and] retirement," Johnson suggested that gun ownership be subject to a government subsidies, either through "government ranges where you could shoot for free or a yearly allotment of free ammunition."
According to Johnson, "Gun policy, driven by our need for guns would protect equal access to guns, just like we protect equal access to voting, and due process, and free speech." While acknowledging that his ideas may be seen as "ridiculous," -- even by "Second Amendment advocates" -- he argued his proposal "does justice to [the Founding Fathers] intentions."
Johnson's video was published as part of the NRA's recent efforts to appeal to a younger and more diverse audience through its NRA News Commentator program and millennial-oriented NRA Freestyle online television network. The commentary videos have frequently featured bizarre and offensive content:
- A July 18 commentary referenced the Holocaust to promote the baseless fear that the government will confiscate lawfully held private firearms.
- A July 7 commentary claimed that laws regulating gun ownership are "equally as unconstitutional" as Jim Crow laws.
- A June 30 commentary insisted that the media stop calling a man who used a gun to injure or kill 11 of his 19 victims during a May 23 rampage in Isla Vista, California, a "gunman" or "shooter" because several other people were killed and injured by means other than a gun during the attack.
- A May 30 commentary warned viewers of a "trick" where media figures "race to label anything with a gun as a shooting, because they know how much more attention they are going to get with that word."
Full transcript of Johnson's July 21 commentary:
"JOHNSON: As a country we have an education policy. Imagine if that policy was about limiting who has access to public education. I mean, let's be honest, the danger in educating people to think is that they might actually start to think for themselves. Perhaps we should think seriously about who we give access to knowledge. They could use it to do a lot of damage.
"As a country we have a far reaching public parks program. Imagine if that program was designed to limit who has access to those parks. You littered once in high school, sorry no park access for you.
"As a country we have labor policies designed to ensure that people are given access to jobs regardless of gender, race, or creed. Imagine if that policy withheld certain types of jobs as only the purview of the government elite.