From: Bob Snively
Received: Jan. 25
There have been several op-ed pieces in The Republic the last few days that I take umbrage with. First of all, there is no disconnect between the leadership of the NRA and it’s members. Every year I vote for the directors of the NRA just prior to the national meeting and I vote for the ones who I think most represent my views as I’m sure most members do.
Second, the so-called “assault weapons” that your writers seem to think should be done away with are an integral part of the shooting sports community. These are the AR15/Bushmaster rifles which are semi-automatic rifles with many of the characteristics of current military rifles. Why do we need them? We need them because the AR15/Bushmaster family and the M1A/M14 rifles are the only rifles that are sanctioned for use at the national matches conducted at Camp Perry, Ohio, each summer.
Civilian shooters at the national matches must shoot against shooters of all branches of the U.S. military and the rules are that they must compete with civilian versions of current U.S. military service rifles. Hundreds of thousands of civilian shooters compete in local and state service rifle matches every weekend across the country vying for spots on their state association teams.
Only the best will end up at the Camp Perry matches, which are sponsored by the NRA, the Civilian Marksmanship Program and the Ohio Army National Guard. It is the Holy Grail of the shooting sports in the U.S. Outlawing the production of these weapons would effectively end the entire program forever.
Third, if either of those writers had ever spent any time around gun shops or shooting clubs or their members they wouldn’t make such idiotic comments as American gun owners want grenade launchers, surface-to-air missiles or nuclear and biological weapons. I know a lot of gun owners and I spend a lot of time around gun shops and I have never heard anyone express that kind of view.
Fourth, what we in the shooting sports community and gun owners in general want is for the federal government to enforce the existing laws that are already on the books. Overall, gun crimes are down, but, sadly, state and federal prosecution of violators of our gun laws are at an all-time low. One of the president’s executive orders that I fully back is that federal background checks on all sales at gun shows be enforced, but when a felon is caught trying to buy a gun at a gun show he should be prosecuted and not plea-bargained to a lesser charge.
Fifth, the NRA sponsors almost all of the firearms safety classes in this country, including a majority of all police firearms courses. The Eddie Eagle program is available to all schools free of charge to help teach young children about gun safety. Right now the NRA is preparing a new program for schools to teach them how to make schools more safe and is encouraging schools to consider getting retired police officers and retired military to come into the schools and patrol them during school hours.
Sixth, all of us deplore what happened at Newtown. Responsible gun owners keep their guns in secure gun safes and not out where children or people with mental problems can get their hands on them. I urge every gun owner to go out and buy a gun safe if you don’t already own one. Mrs. Lanza and the parents of the children of Newtown found out the consequences of leaving guns out and I pray that no one else ever does.