To the Editor:
The demonstration last Thursday in front of the NSSF headquarters attracted many counter-demonstrators as well as NAA [Newtown Action Alliance] activists. I took the opportunity to approach some NSSF supporters to discover what elements of gun safety legislation would be acceptable to them. I was curious to find out the reasoning of one young man who was holding a sign that read, “NAA protesting against NSSF is like MADD protesting A.A.” The short answer is that the NSSF promotes gun safety and provides training for proper handling of firearms. I continued the discussion by asking the gentleman if he was a member of the NRA to which he answered that he was. “Why doesn’t the NRA support universal background checks?” He wasn‘t able to say and added that he did not agree with everything the NRA does.
I next wanted to know his views on the so-called assault weapons ban and the ban on future sales of high-capacity magazines. He did not believe either of these proposed laws would make a difference in reducing gun violence. Besides, he owned an AR-15 and believed it to be a good way to protect his family. I disagreed and told him that I did not think that a rifle with that kind of fire power was necessary for self-protection. He responded, “Well, I guess I love my family more than you love yours.” I could have taken offense by his remark. Instead, I ended the conversation and moved on.
Afterwards, I thought of the deeper meaning of his statement and of the differences between our values. I think it comes down to this: I believe his need to possess superior fire power is a false refuge. It doesn’t truly make his family any safer. In fact, I believe it might have the opposite effect in certain circumstances not only for his family but for others as well. By his measure, Nancy Lanza displayed the utmost love and devotion to her son. When a belief leads to an absurd conclusion, then I think it wise to question the value of that belief.
30 Still Hill Road, Sandy Hook April 1, 2013