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National Rifle Association holds annual meetings

May 14, 2010 - UNITED STATES

Business at the National Rifle Association annual meeting, in Charlotte, North Carolina, includes rallying members to vote in the United States mid-term election for pro-gun candidates, and assessing recent wins and losses for the gun lobby. A new law that allows guns, including semiautomatics, in national parks and wildlife refuges unless banned by state law, ranks as a win: the NRA was its prime backer. The body will be alert for moves to tighten gun laws after several recent mass shootings.

Business at the National Rifle Association annual meeting, in Charlotte, North Carolina, includes rallying members to vote for pro-gun candidates in the United States mid-term election, and assessing recent wins and losses for the gun lobby. A new law that allows guns, including semiautomatics, in national parks and wildlife refuges unless banned by state law, ranks as a win: the NRA was its prime backer. The body will be alert for moves to tighten gun laws after several recent mass shootings. The gun lobby's 'right to carry'; agenda is built on the idea that there is no place — campuses, workplaces, churches — that should be off limits to guns. The new legislation overturns a 1936 law declaring national parks and monuments sanctuaries for wildlife, which it said should not be threatened by firearms. The NRA is reported to have spent millions of dollars to challenge opponents to the law, who fear allowing guns in the parks and refuges increases the risk of violent crime in them. The Coloradoan newspaper points out that mayhem is relatively uncommon in national parks. It quotes National Park Service statistics that show in some 275 million visits in 2008 to the 391 units of the National Park System, there have been five murders, 24 rapes, 13 attempted rapes, 66 robberies, 259 aggravated assaults, 15 kidnappings, 255 sex offenses, 27 hate or bias crimes, and more than 6,700 drug violations. Few of those crimes occurred in the nation's 58 national parks, however. Many happened in more urban parks, including the National Mall in Washington, DC. According to the Federal Elections Commission Reports, over the last four election cycles, the NRA has spent over US $18 million on Congressional candidates who support their agenda. A rival of the NRA, the smaller Gun Owners of America organization, operates around a similar agenda. The mass shooting headlines of recent months included a US Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 12 people and wounding 31 others. And in February a woman professor, Amy Bishop, opened fire on colleagues at a faculty meeting at University of Alabama-Huntsville, because she was denied tenure. The soundness of a 1986 ruling of accidental death after she killed her brother with a shotgun is being re-examined in light of the 2010 shooting Gun control is one of the most polarizing issues in the United States. The NRA, one of the best-funded and most powerful lobbies in the United States, promotes a literal interpretation of the right to bear arms laid out in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. The argument, frequently tackled in the courts, is whether the amendment ensures an individual's right to bear arms, rather than the collective right of state militias.

NRA

New law allows guns in national parks, including RMNP (Coloradoan 22 Feb 2010)

Gunman kills 12, wounds 31 at Fort Hood (MSNBC 5 Nov 2009)

For Professor, Fury Just Beneath the Surface

Pastor urges flock to bring guns to church (NYT 26 Jun 2009)

The Fast-Draw-but-Don&rsquot-Drink Law (NYT 26 Jun 2009)

Date written/update: 2010-05-14