Along with most Americans, I was appalled at the horrific shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. I am, however, at odds with the part of society that blames the National Rifle Association, at least in part, for this terrible tragedy.
The NRA is the one organization, with its Eddie Eagle and Hunter Safety programs, that does more to promote firearms safety than any other group. I have been a member since 1949, and competed in marksmanship matches for 15 years. At no time did I see any accidents or unsafe handling of firearms, probably because we were taught how to safely handle weapons. This organization is comprised of over 5 million members whose interests include hunting, collecting firearms and competitive shooting, and who strongly support the Second Amendment.
It is easy to attempt to blame an organization like the NRA for something they had absolutely no part in, especially by people who have probably never even held a weapon, let alone fired one. I’m sure the NRA would not have wanted the latest shooter to possess any firearm in light of his reduced mental capacity.
It is time that we start enforcing existing laws to get illegal weapons off the street, lock up the gang bangers and others who possess weapons when they are not permitted to, and enforce mandatory prison sentences for law violators. This certainly makes more sense than trying to blame the one organization that is trying to make us all safer.
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Stanley D. Schaffer, Arroyo Grande
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