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American Gun Culture, the NRA, and the AR-15

Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, July 4, 2018


I am a dedicated precision target shooter who owns and shoots a wide variety of small caliber firearms and air guns, both rifles and pistols, but not including AR-15s or similar higher-caliber, military style semi-automatic rifles. Unfortunately, firearms are not mere tools or instruments of precision but fall into a unique category of industrially-manufactured commodities — weapons. For this reason, firearm distribution must be strictly regulated to avoid misuse. The NRA has largely abandoned its public educational role about the nature and use of guns in favor of partisan politicking and promotion of the firearms industry.

Given my orientation and type of participation in gun culture which does not involve self-defense, law enforcement, military, or hunting activity, I am in a minority at any Texas gun range. For me, concealed-carry promoted by the NRA for self-defense purposes and their obsession with kill-power of firearms, is delusional, paranoiac, and grounded in a fundamental misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. NRA propaganda has promoted the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun and the .223 caliber AR-15 rifle into best-sellers in the gun market – despite the fact that these guns must be customized and expertly handled to accomplish repetitive precision shooting. However, banning these guns should be a last resort – only after the passage of stricter background checks and gun market regulations have proven to be ineffective to reduce gun-related violence. But, I fear, reason and commonsense do not prevail in NRA-land.

Scott Cook

San Marcos