Protest Easy Guns
American politics has always had pockets of extremists, from the
antebellum Anti-Mason Party and Know-Nothings to the Weather Underground
and John Birch Society during the Cold War. In a democracy like ours,
everyone has free speech rights – but not all opinions are equal or
deserve equal footing.
You wouldn’t invite anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists to the table to
talk health care. You wouldn’t invite the Westboro Baptist Church to the
table to talk gay rights. You wouldn’t invite a white supremacist hate
group to the table to talk affirmative action. And you shouldn’t invite
the NRA to the table to talk guns.
Too often we see the NRA being reached for comment in news stories on
gun violence when they don’t have to be. It is insulting to
professionals and especially gun violence survivors to give the NRA an
equal voice in news coverage, since the gun lobby smears the former and
shares responsibility for the latter. The NRA are not physicians,
criminologists, law enforcement or counselors; they are the gun-rights
wing of the Republican Party and lobbyist wing of the weapons industry.
This is particularly disappointing when the consensus is so heavily
against the NRA’s view, such as with weapons on campuses. If all the
stakeholders involved – administrators, faculty, police, mental health
experts, criminologists, students – overwhelmingly oppose the idea, then
why voluntarily ask non-stakeholders with no expertise in higher-ed
administration what they think?