An Open Letter to David Keene, the President of the National Rifle Association

Subject: An Open Letter to David Keene, the President of the National Rifle Association
From: Colin Cooper
Date: 6 Dec 2012

Dear Mr Keane,

You are President of the National Rifle Association and are a major advocate for gun rights in the American political arena. With more than 4 million members, your N.R.A. has become a formidable player in American politics. You and your organisation try to resist any attempt to curb the prevalence of guns in the US, using largely specious arguments. Do you know the organisation over which you preside; the National Rifle Association was founded in 1871 in New York by two Civil War veterans who were concerned about the lack of marksmanship in the armed forces. You organisation has come a long way, and deviated off the original track.

Tightening US gun law will not stop the gun-related crimes and occasional massacres- these have happened in countries with much tighter gun laws, and as a UK citizen, I know that UK gun law has anomalies and flaws. But just as discouraging smoking will not eliminate deaths through cancer because of smoking, yet reduce it, can you not see that curbing the availability and love-affair with guns will have a positive effect on gun crime, even though it will not eradicate it?
The NRA and Chuck Heston (God bless him) in particular used to say that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the US Constitution. It seems to me the appropriate amendment is the Second Amendment. It says-
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Errr.. is every US citizen in a militia? How on earth can you interpret that as saying:
“hey everyone of legal age, let’s get a gun!”
I know that in 2008, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right of an individual to possess a firearm. Then change the second amendment and have a debate on it. Don’t just rely on a gun-toting set of judges changing the complete common or ordinary meaning of plain English.

One of the arguments you use in protecting the right for every Tom, Hick and Harry to bear arms is that guns save lives. "Guns Save Lives." I accept that in some cases, guns will stop a crime. In others, guns will kill a maybe criminal who has a gun. Eye for an eye etc. Ok. But even in humble Hobbiton; li’l ol’ England we’ve seen that when fear of being skanked by a knife spreads among the young community, the possession of knives goes up, and their use, with often fatal consequences increases. Clamping down and education are the ways forward, not the specious argument that guns save lives. Guns take lives. The more guns around, the more lives.
I like your argument that a gun is a defensive weapon. Defensive weapon? A flak jacket is a defensive item. Defence is protection. A gun is something you point at someone, squeeze the trigger and make a projectile hurtle towards the target that will, depending on where it hits, injure, main or kill. Defensive? Really?? You shoot at me defensively and I will shoot back at you defensively. The end result is still the same. Two people shooting at each other. Instead of one potential death you may get two. Oh that works then!

Finally you say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. All I will say is that the gun is the most effective personal weapon ever invented. It can kill from a distance. Yes a man or woman may pull the trigger, but the technology takes over. A sling from 200 yards is unlikely to kill someone. A gun almost certainly will. Guns AND people kill. People without guns will still kill, but not as often, not as quickly, and not as effectively.
Please Mr Keane, don’t just spout the standard arguments in favour of keeping US gun law as it is. Let’s have a reasoned argument and have a debate on changing the second amendment.


Colin Cooper