As reported here previously, on December 21 the National Rifle Association broke its week-long silence regarding the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. At a press conference, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre (pictured), the most visible spokesman for the organization, took aim and blasted away at the federally imposed Gun-Free School Zones Act (first passed in 1990 and revised in 1995). Mr. LaPierre declared that nobody “has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?”
The only way to answer that question is to face up to the truth. Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.
And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.
The politically correct (but fatally wrong-headed) Gun-Free School Zones are an easy and appropriate target. However, in the interest of full disclosure, Mr. LaPierre should have reminded his listeners that only a few years ago he and the NRA were major backers of the Gun-Free School Zones. Yes, it will surprise many Americans, including many NRA members, to learn that LaPierre testified in favor of the Gun-Free School Zones he now decries, when President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno were pushing their ambitious attacks on the 2nd Amendment.
Here is what LaPierre said, on behalf of the NRA, when testifying on May 27, 1999, before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee:
We think it's reasonable to support the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act. What's unreasonable is letting 6,000 students caught with illegal guns at school go, prosecuting only 13 of them the past two years.
In addition, at the same time, the NRA also supported a vast expansion of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
As we pointed out at the time (The NRA’s Gun Control Schizophrenia), the NRA’s "reasonable" so-called solution to gun violence in the schools was foolhardy on the practical level and a gross violation of our Constitution’s strict limitation on the powers of the national government.
Now the NRA is at it again. This time it is trying to undo the evils that it helped unleash with its support of the Gun-Free School Zones Act by proposing still more unconstitutional federal intervention in state and local affairs. In this particular case, the NRA is proposing a vast expansion of federal TSA-style police-state occupation of every school, which means virtually every neighborhood as well. The NRA cannot credibly claim to be the defender of the Second Amendment while it simultaneously is trashing the most fundamental concept of our Constitution, which is that the national government in Washington, D.C. has only those “delegated” and “enumerated” powers expressly given to it by the States and the people.
That is most particularly expressed in the 10th Amendment of our Bill of Rights, which states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment while trashing the 10th Amendment and the fundamental principles on which all of the guarantees of our rights under the Constitution are based.
Photo of Wayne LaPierre: AP Images