Op-Ed, 656 words

Sabotaging the Conversation about Guns

The NRA’s antics could hinder global efforts to reduce weapons sales to terrorists and regimes that abuse human rights.

Don Kraus

Does NRA stand for “No Rational Argument”? In response to the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the gun group’s CEO called for an armed cop in every school and a national database to track the mentally ill. Wayne LaPierre’s widely broadcast proposal prompted the New York Daily News to ask whether this list “should include the paranoid, delusional man himself?”

But this is far from a laughing matter. When it comes to gun violence within the United States and around the entire world, the NRA makes our planet a much more dangerous place for our children and families by using lies, misinformation, and political arm-twisting to support easier access to assault weapons and ammunition.

In the days and weeks to come, debates will rage within the United States on how we can best address the 30 mass shootings that, since 1999, have left over 260 people dead and many more permanently disabled. The NRA will work hard to derail attempts in statehouses and in the nation’s Capitol to tighten controls on the assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips. But in New York, there’s another debate brewing where the NRA will also attempt to play the role of spoiler: the upcoming negotiations at the United Nations to establish a worldwide Arms Trade Treaty. The gun group’s antics could impact the lives of millions around the world.


Gage Skidmore/Flickr

In March, negotiators will meet at the UN for a final round of talks to hammer out a set of common global standards on how countries import, export, and transfer conventional weapons. Every year, 12 billion bullets are produced worldwide. That’s enough to kill nearly everyone on the planet twice. Yet, bananas have stricter international trade regulations than weapons and ammunition.

The Arms Trade Treaty is a common-sense measure that would make it more difficult for weapons to be sold on the black market and halt the flow of weapons to dangerous regimes. This treaty, if enacted, would stop the irresponsible transfer of ammunition and arms to nations that support terrorists and to countries where there is a high risk of weapons being used to violate human rights, like in Syria and Bahrain.

The UN resolution that authorized the treaty talks made sure that the agreement only dealt with international sales and reserved “the exclusive right of (individual nations) to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership.”

Despite this assurance, the NRA’s LaPierre has gone on record saying the Arms Trade Treaty will threaten Americans’ rights to bear arms. Even a senior research fellow from the very conservative Heritage Foundation, Ted Bromund, has debunked this big lie.

“I don’t think that the ATT is a gun confiscation measure for a variety of reasons,” Bromund said. “First, because I don’t regard that as within the bounds of possibility in the United States and secondly, because that is not what the text says.”

But facts have never gotten in the way of those determined to use controversy and fabrication to undermine civil debate. Take Bradlee Dean, a heavy metal drummer, ordained minister, and a columnist for the arch-right publication World Net Daily. He has called the Sandy Hook shootings part of a government plot to win support for the Arms Trade Treaty. As “evidence” he notes that the shootings happened “just days after Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sent out an alert that the UN was set to pass the final version of the Small Arms Treaty, supported by Obama the day after the election.”

While it would be easy to dismiss Dean as delusional and LaPierre as paranoid, their tactics and goals undermine efforts to protect children and families at home and abroad.

Our nation is clearly ready for a healthy debate on our relationship with guns. The question is, are we prepared to stand together to discredit those who deploy lies and fear to sabotage the conversation?

Don Kraus is the president and CEO of GlobalSolutions.org, a groundbreaking movement of Americans who support a cooperative and responsible U.S. role in the world. Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)

  • JB

    Where, in the opinion of 2nd Amendment supporters, is the line drawn? What’s wrong with everyone having atomic bombs? After all, the 2nd Amendment provides the right to bear arms. Nuclear arms? When anyone calls for restrictions, they say no. Do any of them rationally argue against the possession of nuclear weapons and in favor of an automatic firing machine that can wipe out hundreds of school children in a few seconds? I’d like to hear that.

    • AZ Dave

      @JB … you leftists murder more kids in a year than guns have killed people in 100 years …. you’re in love with abortion …. jsut look at it this way … the 28 killed at Sandy Hook were rebated back to you having missed your abortionist Doctors vacume machine the first time around …. don’t worry … be happy ….

  • Armycav

    The vast majority of people who own guns are not crazy or nuts. All the schools in New York City have armed Police Officers at them. Here in Conn, all of the High Schools have police Officers stationed at them. Most of the inner city schools all have some form of security Officers at them. We do need to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.gardner.965 Jim Gardner

    Hey Kraus . . . remember the “tie them to the truck” and drag them comment? Grow some then come try to tie me to a truck! There is only one of me. Better yet, we should take people like you and replace our combat troops with you. Paint targets on your foreheads and tell the Taliban to have a ball!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Kenneth-Grasser/1182036596 Gary Kenneth Grasser

      Yeah,him and Kaul will be on the front lines,right,,, Another pussy liberal with no concern for the kids or common sense. We have all seen what happens in the world when the un-armed face the armed and Russia or China will gladly arm the dictator of their choice. (see Russia in Ahfganistan) Just drink the kool-aid and STFU.

  • AZ Dave

    Kraus …. I refuse to register any of my guns to preserve my Second Amendment rights just like I refuse to register my dictionary to preserve my First Amendment rights …. and people like you need to have your lips surgically sealed and your fingers superglued to your eyes …..

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.dominiak.3 Chris Dominiak

    Spoken like a true Communist and hater of America and her precious Constitution. God help us if people like you are ever taken seriously or put in a position of power…oh crap they are AKA Obama. You and Hitler must be happy.

  • J

    I can’t believe someone hired this idiot. otherwords.org is a joke

  • tb

    who is going to come take the guns away if they are made illegal. Military or police? Guess who are some of the largest private gun collectors in the US? Good luck trying to remove 300 million guns from the public. It will never happen.

  • Mike D – Illinois

    While it is tempting to call Mr. Kraus on his duplicity, in the end, perhaps the framers of our outrageously successful constitution, and its second amendment, such as Jefferson, answer the objections and arguments of seemingly well intentioned ratbags, such as Kraus, best:

    “The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that… it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”

    –Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824

    “One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.”

    — Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341

    “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements).”

    — Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution (with his note added), 1776. Papers, 1:353

    that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are
    neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make
    things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve
    rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may
    be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” — Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment (1764).

    And the quotes could go on and on…. Mr. Kraus, surely a more palatable political and social climate awaits you in Canada or the UK….please don’t let the turnstile pinch on the backside as you slide through….

  • Equinox Black

    Lets take a good hard look at those countries in the past that HAVE either banned guns completely or have extremely strict gun laws… Mexico, Russia, Canada, UK… and compare their violent crime rates to ours… and don’t stop there… keep going. In 95% of those countries where there are bans or strict gun laws the violent crime rate is the same as or WORSE than what it is in the US. Now lets take a look back in history… Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany for example… as soon as they began to consolidate power, they began to confiscate guns so that people could no longer defend themselves.

    It may be a hoax, it may have never been said… but “You cannot invade the mainland United States because there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” is an ideal that this country was built on, and any regime that has ever even thought of threatening US as a country had better keep that in the forefront of their thoughts.

    If that is how you want to talk and how you want to think, it is your right, but maybe you should brush up on your Mandarin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/javier.cadena.56 Javier Cadena

    Mr. Kraus, since you mentioned that this debate is about controlling the export of weapons and bullets, I have two simple questions for you: Have you ever tried to export a weapon or ammunition out of the US?? I can tell you that is not easy, even 1 gun has more paperwork than the fun you will get out of your it. Second, have you ever tried to import a gun into another country? Just ask the ex-marine that got stopped with it at the border with Mexico (He declared the weapon to make sure that it was legal to bring into the country). Once you have answered those questions, please tell me how difficult will it be for CRIMINALS to break another law that is put into the books.
    I grew up in Colombia, where LEGAL gun ownership was extremely difficult. Permits for each individual gun, caliber restrictions, when/where a gun could be taken to, etc and I can tell you that none of those rules stopped criminals from having ANY type of weapon or using them to threaten, kidnapp or kill the responsible gun owners who used to have weapons until the goverment throught that THEY knew better.
    Criminals will still be criminals despite any number of laws that are put in the books. Should there be better control on gun access to mentally ill individuals? Of course. Can we prevent such a horrible act to happen again, it will be difficult, since behavioral prediction has not yet been invented.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1122577654 Greg Miller

    Come and get um you piece of shit

  • Schoonerdog

    If you truly want to save children, then ban swimming pools. Until then, your politically motivated hate speech means nothing.

  • Athought

    He who is will to sacrifice liberty’s for a little safety. He does not deserve safety nor liberty

    Thomas Jefferson 1786

  • Cliff

    Gonna join the NRA after hearing your twist. I’m not sure if you actually beleive your stuff or your just looking for a paycheck.

  • Fearnone

    Hey Kraus I am a veteran and volunteered to protect this country and the constitution. FOR YOU TO HAVE THE AUDACITY TO SAY GET RID OF THE SECOND AMMENDMENT IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO EVERY PERSON WHO HAS, IS SERVING, AND WILL SERVE FOR THE NATION. You are a ture idiot, to say the least

  • Mike D – Illinois

    +1 on what AZ Dave said below — Kraus is handy to quote that there are 12MM bullets produced annually — purportedly enough to kill every person on the planet 2X, but fails to tell us how many people are actually killed by those bullets and how that number might compare to say the number of abortions performed in the US and worldwide annually???…

    “In 2008, approximately 1.21 million abortions took place in the U.S., slightly down from an estimated 1.29 million in 2002, 1.31 million in 2000 and 1.36 million in 1996. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S.” (The Guttmacher Institute).

    “In 2009, the highest number of reported abortions occurred in New York (119,996), Florida (81,918) and Texas (77,630); the fewest occurred in Wyoming (≤20), South Dakota (769) and North Dakota (1,290).” (Centers for Disease Control).

    “The 2009 abortion ratios by state ranged from a low of 57 abortions per 1,000 live births in Mississippi (Wyoming had too few abortions for reliable tabulation) to a high of 713 abortions per 1,000 live births in NYC.” (Centers for Disease Control).

    “An estimated 44 million abortions are performed globally each year, with slightly under half of those performed unsafely.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion)

    Ooops…maybe he’s not as concerned about dying (murdered) children as he would like us to believe…

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