To the editor:
Tom Teepen's recent anti-gun column arrives at a surprising conclusion that the extremism of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) and the rest of the "gun lobby" are responsible for shooting deaths in America. However, he does not provide even one example of an "extremist" action by these groups. The one position of the gun lobby he does discuss jail terms for people who commit crimes with guns is a sensible, mainstream ideal well accepted in this country. Maybe some of the activities of the NRA are what he considers extremist, such as the following: providing police officer training, conducting hunter clinics and hunter safety courses, offering self-defense training for women, training instructors to teach safe shooting practices, supporting the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, urging its members to vote, sponsoring competitive shooting matches, and airing paid public service advertisements showing children what they should do if they encounter a gun.
Another area in which Teepen is notable vague is the makeup of the "gun lobby." No doubt he would have us believe that gun manufacturers are the core of the lobby, when, in fact, the NRA is comprised of millions of Americans from all walks of life, including the president of the United States, who enjoy shooting. It's natural they would join an association of firearm enthusiasts.
Another misconception he puts forth is that "almost no one wants to take guns away from hunters." He is most assuredly wrong. Today, several animal rights groups are actively trying to ban hunting. Despite the promotion of hunting by wildlife professionals in fish and game or conservation departments of every state, the anti-hunters tie up courts with nuisance lawsuits, harass hunters in the field, poison hunting dogs and destroy property.
Fortunately, the ranks of the NRA are swelling 30,000 new members join every month. They're joining because they saw what happened during the L.A. riots to unarmed civilians, who could not obtain weapons for self-defense because of California's restrictive waiting period for gun purchases. They're joining to protect our hunting rights from militants. They're joining because they realize simplistic gun control schemes are not effective in fighting crime. The NRA is no more responsible for gun homicides than the American Automobile Assn. is responsible for car deaths.
4301 Wimbledon Ter.