As the national cacophony against guns, gun owners and gun rights groups increases in volume, Second Amendment activists gathered for their monthly Washington Arms Collectors gun show are talking about hate.
They’re seeing it from the political left; the kind of visceral hatred that erupted at a CNN “town hall on gun violence” during which commentator Dana Loesch reportedly heard people yelling “burn her.”
They’re seeing it from corporations that have cut programs in cooperation with the National Rifle Association.
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And they are seeing it in legislative proposals that blame law-abiding gun owners and their fundamental rights for the mayhem at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a crime no NRA member committed. It was a crime that might not have happened had local law enforcement acted after the frequent occasions deputies were called to the home of the alleged perpetrator, a person apparently reported to the FBI, which did nothing.
It was not the NRA, but four sheriff’s deputies who stayed outside the school building while teens and staff were being shot inside.
One retired Pierce County sheriff’s detective attending the WAC gun show expressed astonished disappointment at the Broward lawmen.
The gun-free school zone law failed — again — to prevent a mass shooting. But the WAC members at the Puyallup Fairgrounds uniformly say they’re being blamed.
The NRA on Saturday released a statement:
(FAIRFAX, VA) – The more than five million law-abiding members of the National Rifle Association have enjoyed discounts and cost-saving programs from many American corporations that have partnered with the NRA to expand member benefits.
Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a number of companies have decided to sever their relationship with the NRA, in an effort to punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community. We are men and women who represent every American ethnic group, every one of the world’s religions and every form of political commitment.
The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.
Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.
Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.
And in the midst of this, gun prohibition lobbying groups are pushing to raise money with a promise that gun owners say they cannot keep:
“Will you give $5 to add your voice to theirs and help us pass lifesaving legislation that will prevent future tragedies?”
These messages, they say, confirm that the gun control crowd is exploiting the Florida tragedy to rake in the money now buoyed by raw emotion. Many of the people gathered at the WAC gun show feel that war has been declared on them, their traditions, lifestyle and constitutional rights.
It has been a difficult week for gun owners, especially those who are parents who worry about their kids, too. They understand the emotions of bereaved parents whose children were taken by someone who should probably have been in a padded room.
The sad irony here is that the one group that wasn’t remotely responsible for the Parkland shooting is being blamed for it.