The Common Good

One Day, I Will Join the NRA

National Rifle AssociationThis week, The New York Times ran an editorial about H.R. 6691, follow-up legislation to the June Supreme Court decision on D.C.'s gun ban. After reading the editorial, I made a resolution: One day I will join the National Rifle Association.

I first started learning about the sport of marksmanship when I was 10 years old at "Camp Good News." We practiced with our BB rifles every day after our morning worship services. I graduated to a .22 rifle soon after to rid our family's barn of pigeons and our garden of woodchucks. In the fall, our family would enjoy venison stew that came from deer shot in the woods behind our house.

What has stopped me from signing up for the NRA thus far has been their support of legislation such as H.R. 6691. This legislation has nothing to do with the Constitution and everything to do with powerful business interests looking to make a profit by moving more product. This legislation would allow residents of D.C. to legally walk the streets with loaded AK-47s. It would make it legal to own .50 caliber sniper rifles with an accuracy of up to 1 mile in our nation's capital.

The NRA has lost its way. It has made an organization of sportsmen and women into a cover organization for business interests ready to sacrifice safety and national security for their bottom line.

I am ready to join the NRA the day I can be convinced that its goals are to protect my constitutional rights and not to protect business interests at the expense of public safety. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.'s non-voting member of Congress, has introduced alternative legislation that would responsibly ensure the District's adherence to the Supreme Court's ruling. If it was about the Constitution, H.R. 6691 would be unnecessary.

So one day, when the NRA puts American lives, safety, and rights first -- and not lobbying dollars -- I'll join.

Tim King is the special assistant to the CEO for Sojourners. For more information, visit the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

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