Declare the NRA a supporter of domestic terrorism

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The National Rifle Association (NRA) in no longer a sportsmen's organization; it's a political lobby. It spends enormously (over $3 million per year since 2013) to keep our gun policies in a hopelessly backward, 18th century state. More Americans have died from gun violence (over 1.5 million) than from all the wars since the Revolution, and Americans overwhelmingly want some form of gun control. A sensible reading of the 2nd Amendment would allow gun ownership but restrict purchase of equipment designed for mass murder: large clips, military grade semi-and fully automatic rifles, and ammunition for the same, which could be as easily tracked as over-the-counter medication. Yet none of this will be regulated while the NRA is allowed to influence public policy with its entirely lopsided donations to Republican legislators.

One of the many stupid things NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre (who earns nearly a million dollars a year) has said is that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." As at Stoneman Douglas High, where three or four armed deputies waited outside during the shooting, this is rarely true and unfortunately doesn't help the shooter's victims. In Las Vegas, where over 500 people were shot with automatic gunfire, the shooter was completely inaccessible and shot himself before police arrived. What the NRA does now is use these horrific attacks to spread the demand for weapons, enriching gun and ammo manufacturers while putting Americans at increasing risk of being shot.

Domestic terrorism is on the rise in the wake of Trump's Russian-engineered election. White nationalist groups were eager to claim the shooter in Parkland as one of their own. The NRA, which facilitates both the arming and the militant ideology of these groups, should be declared an organization that supports domestic terrorism. While right-wing politicians try to divert our attention to immigrants and foreign terrorist groups like Islamic State, the real damage to our democracy is being engineered by the NRA, which has been successfully spreading anti-government hysteria and seeking to legitimize armed insurrection for at least a decade. Even if the FBI refuses to make such a declaration, a strong public demand for it could tarnish the reputation of NRA-supported candidates enough to interrupt their pernicious influence on our politics. The victims of Stoneman Douglas (Parkland, Fl), of Sutherland Springs (11/5/17), of Las Vegas (10/2/17), of the 2016 Orlando shooting, of Sandy Hook Elementary, and on and on and miserably on deserve no less. 

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