NRA pimps for gun makers by obscuring the obvious

Martin Solomon is a retired University of Kentucky professor. Reach him at mbsolomon@aol.com.
Martin Solomon is a retired University of Kentucky professor. Reach him at mbsolomon@aol.com.

Obfuscation is the art of obscuring people's understanding, leaving them puzzled or confused, even when a truth is obvious.

The tobacco industry used obfuscation to make people think cancer was caused by a variety of factors but not cigarette smoking. Automobile manufacturers alleged that producing cars that averaged 30 miles a gallon would bankrupt them. More recently, the oil and gas industry is paying TV hosts to question whether humans have any role in global warming, even when the mountain of positive evidence reaches to the sky.

Perhaps the best orchestrated obfuscation campaign in American history is by the National Rifle Association. Since America is awash in guns, the NRA is trying to convince the public that availability of guns is not why the number of gun murders here is so out of line with the rest of the world.

First, they say that more guns in society will deter criminals because the bad guys will be afraid of being shot and that will reduce gun crimes. If that were true, the United States would be the least violent society on Earth. The U.S. has more guns per capita than anywhere else in the world and more firearms than people. The claim that more guns will reduce gun violence is bogus and contrived.

The NRA claims that easy access to guns is not a problem, rather, it is other factors such as guns in the hands of the mentally ill and violent movies and video games. Yet in one year guns were used to kill 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia and 60 in Spain. In that same year, guns killed 9,484 in the U.S. Why the difference? It can't be mental illness because other countries have their mentally ill. It can't be violent movies and video games because citizens of other countries have the same movies and games as Americans.

The NRA claims that gun laws won't work because the bad guys will always evade the law. But if laws don't work, why not abolish all laws as irrelevant? How absurd.

What is the real difference? It seems self-evident that it is the ready availability of guns. Guns are not as easily accessible to citizens of these other countries. So the answer is as plain as the nose on a pig.

The first step in solving any problem is to define it. Until we realize that the 310 million guns in the hands of 305 million Americans is the problem, we will get nowhere.

The National Rifle Association is not in the business of truth-telling. It is in the business of promoting the sale of guns. Gun manufacturers know there are about 100,000 potential new gun owners a month. The NRA does their bidding so that more guns can be sold, not only to Americans but to drug dealers and terrorists all over the world.

In the 1950's, the NRA was a sportsman's club. When kids had a playground spat, a bloody nose was the result. But today, one kid pulls out a gun and kills the other. What happened? The NRA became the pimp for the firearms industry and, through a campaign of fear, flooded the country with guns. Surely our Congress can see through the NRA's obfuscation and help make our country safer.

Owners of modern firearms suffer from a grave defect that makes them potential time bombs — they are human beings. In addition, the George Zimmerman case must make gun owners think twice — if you kill someone, you will very possibly be accused of murder. Did you act too quickly? Did you try to back away first? You may find yourself in prison, with your life destroyed, even though you thought you acted in self-defense. Maybe that license to carry is your worst nightmare rather than your best friend.