By Budd Schroeder
Murray Holman’s Another Voice column was filled with misstatements and dubious data. I have served six terms as a member of the NRA board of directors and currently am chairman of the board for SCOPE. I know a little bit about gun laws and political action.
Holman’s statement that “Three out of four NRA members support background checks for all gun purchases” is questionable because of the small number of people polled. Since the SAFE Act became law, I have spoken to thousands of gun owners, most of whom are NRA members, and have yet to hear anyone say he supported background checks on all gun purchases.
My experience has been that most of the people who join the NRA and SCOPE do so because they don’t like the gun control laws on the books and the ones being proposed. These people know the definition of the word “infringed” and are fighting to keep their Second Amendment rights. The NRA has more than 5 million members; how a poll of them could be made is suspect since nobody has access to the membership list, especially non-NRA pollsters.
It is strange that the column would suggest that law enforcement officials are in favor of the SAFE Act since sheriffs in more than 50 counties have stated that they oppose the act and many have said they won’t enforce it. This is hardly an endorsement. Many police chiefs who are appointed will follow the dictates of mayors who appoint them.
It is also noteworthy that county legislators have overwhelmingly sent resolutions to Albany calling for the repeal of the SAFE Act.
Responsible gun owners have long supported reasonable gun laws such as prohibiting the possession of guns by criminals, felons, those with mental disabilities and children. They also recognize the limitations of constitutional rights. As you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater or commit perjury, libel or slander within the protections of the First Amendment, they recognize the limits of the Second Amendment.
The law-abiding gun owners know that you can’t use a gun to threaten, intimidate, scare or harm a person. Their guns are tools that they use for hunting, target shooting and for personal defense. They agree that those who misuse firearms should be arrested and punished. Members of the NRA and SCOPE readily agree.
A hammer used to build a home is a tool. If the person holding a hammer crushes another’s skull with it, the tool becomes a weapon. The gun owners in the NRA and SCOPE see their guns as tools. The difference between a tool and a weapon is the person holding it.
According to FBI data, more people are murdered with hammers and blunt instruments than with “assault weapons.” The truth is that less than 1 percent of gun owners are irresponsible. The SAFE Act should be repealed.
Budd Schroeder is chairman of the board of SCOPE.