AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File
Today, in newspapers all over the country, a report ran about how the National Rifle Association (NRA) advises gun rights groups throughout the world. This comes on the heels of an Australian “scandal” where a pro-gun political party sought help from the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
The outrage swept across Australia, but plenty in the United States have been furious as well. Somehow, it’s forbidden for the NRA to look beyond our national borders.
In the report previously mentioned, however, they try to talk about why the NRA supposedly inserts itself in other nation’s affairs.
There are several reasons why the NRA doesn’t confine itself to the U.S.
For one, it’s helpful to American gun makers if other countries make it easier for citizens to buy and possess firearms, opening up new markets. And when other countries ease restrictions, it helps bolster one of the NRA’s most prominent messages.
“They can make the argument, you know, ‘Look, other nations don’t like stricter gun laws either,’ because one of the debate points that has hurt the NRA is that pretty much every other democratic nation has stricter gun laws than us and lower gun ownership,” said Robert J. Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland and a longtime watcher of the NRA.
That may be true.
But there’s probably another reason, one very simple to articulate, but one people like the writer wouldn’t think to ask about, and someone like Spitzer wouldn’t acknowledge even if they did.
It’s probably because the NRA views the right to keep and bear arms as a human right.
While our constitution enshrines that right, proponents of that right understand that all of our civil liberties are natural rights, rights granted by virtue of being living, breathing people. Governments don’t grant those rights, and as such governments can either protect them or take them away. That’s it.
So while other nations don’t have our Second Amendment, they do contain people. Those are people who have a right to keep and bear arms as well, a right that has been stripped of them for generations in many cases. It’s a right they have, whether they want to exercise it or not, and laws that infringe on that right are problematic regardless of the respective nations’ constitutions.
The fact that all of these other nations have stricter gun laws is often touted as evidence we should enact more gun control, but that argument doesn’t sway gun rights activists. Speaking for myself, it infuriates me. Not because it’s a valid argument, but because these anti-gunners are celebrating entire nations of people being stripped of their civil liberties.
So yes, the NRA interjects its opinions into foreign nations’ affairs. They do it because there’s no one else doing so when it comes to people’s gun rights. It’s not nefarious, nor is it cynical like Spitzer argues. Instead, it’s about believing that people have a right to keep and bear arms regardless of what borders they live within.