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Prior to mid 2009, I was not an N.R.A. member and had no wish to be so. I felt that all the hooplah over what was going to go down under the 2009 Congress as overstated and spawned by fear created by propeganda. It was only after a few specific incidents occured along with blatently false statements made by politicians that made it clear that decisions on this issue were in no way going to be based on anything logical but based on primal fear fed by half-truths or false statements by the other side, as well as the increasingly intense polar division on the topic of gun control that convinced me that despite my misgivings, it was necessary to throw my credit card into the fray.

This does not suggest that I hold the same views as the N.R.A. on all issues, in fact while I generally support their aims, I do differ on a number of issues and take exception to certain aspects of this group's conduct. Unfortunately, this group, to me, often engages in pursuasion through alarmist rhetoric about how everything congress and our local legislatures do is an attempt to restrict our right to own and bear arms. With those tactics, it creates a significant conflict in me between the part that wants Congress and other law makers to get a clue and the part of me that is repulsed by fear mongering. (It should be noted that this very thing has in part contributed to the polar divisions we now see.) Further, for any group to attempt to tell me who to vote for suggests that I lack the intelligence to make up my own mind or that I am willing to surrender my right to vote for the sake of a political agenda. Not gonna happen.

The "this far, no farther" mentality is a recipie for conflict and perpetual disagreement. It is the irresponsible use and handling of firearms more than the criminal application, in my oppinion, that has led to the fear that has caused the strained crys for gun control. It is countering those uses and the perception that every gun owner is a potential criminal that should be the N.R.A.'s primary focus as far as political activism is concerned. When you get right down to it, responsible gun control laws will HELP the N.R.A. far more than they will hurt them. The problem is finding a suitable deffinition for what "responsible" means. Regardless, there are plenty of laws on the books now. While a good many of them are worthless and even non-sensical, there are also a few really good laws. Better enforcement (or even basic enforcement in the case of some of these) would go a long way towards ending the criminal use of arms, not simply making it illegal to own anything more powerful than a sling shot.

If I had my druthers, there would be very few restrictions at all but we must acknowledge that not everyone is careful and attentive. We must also acknowledge that there are those out there with little regard for law and less for life. Therefore, some restrictions are necessary in the best interests of society as a whole. Recently, though, society seems to have turned decidedly against guns and gun owners. Our best defense against unreasonable restrictions is to educate others and help them to see that guns don't have to be bad when they're not in the hands of bad people and that unreasonable gun control laws only serve to create more victims by removing the most effective means of defending one's life when threatened. The inability of law abiding individuals, when confronted by those who mean to do us harm, to match force with force will only result in law abiding citizens cowering in fear as criminals run amok.