The Washington Post Gets It Wrong On New Gun Legislation

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Chris Cox Executive Director, NRA's Institute for Legislative Action
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Law-abiding gun owners are tired of reading articles from elitist writers who want nothing more than to eliminate gun ownership in America. The latest example was Dana Milbank’s Sept. 11 piece, “The NRA’s idea of recreation: Assault rifles, armor-piercing bullets and silencers.

Milbank’s article, about a new piece of pro-sportsmen legislation, the SHARE Act, is littered with misleading and incorrect terminology to describe even the most basic firearms classifications, revealing how little he actually knows about guns.  His contempt for hunters, NRA members and gun owners in general is made clear through his condescending tone and misrepresentation of the facts.

The piece was published in a number of anti-gun publications, foremost among them the Washington Post. When the NRA complained to the Post about the article, the post declined to give NRA equal space to rebut Milbank’s accusations, and then heavily edited a short, 200-word letter to the editor they did agree to publish.

The SHARE Act is an important bill that will both protect and expand the rights of hunters and sportsmen. Millions of Americans enjoy our hunting heritage and The Washington Post should treat them with respect, not condescension or condemnation. In the future, Mr. Milbank should try to act like a fair journalist, not an elitist advocate for gun control.

To be blunt, Milbank’s extreme rhetoric gets it wrong on every front and the bill is nothing as he describes.  Among its many provisions, the bill accomplishes several goals that hunters and anglers have been seeking for many years.

The bill allows states to allocate more funds toward the construction and improvement of regulated shooting facilities so that law-abiding gun owners can take training classes and engage in recreational shooting.  The bill protects — and provides recourse — for law-abiding gun owners who are unfairly targeted by extreme anti-gun jurisdictions when traveling state-to-state, a protection that already exists under federal law. And it lifts the current ban on carrying self-defense firearms on millions of acres of federal land, while easing the regulations on suppressors so that hunters can protect against hearing loss while in the field.

The writer, like so many of his colleagues, fails to understand the majority of Americans do not share – or even appreciate – his elitist take on firearms and the denigration of our Second Amendment freedoms. Hunting and fishing is a beloved part of America’s heritage and must be defended. That’s what the SHARE Act does.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Instead of acknowledging the very real difficulties America’s sportsmen face, Milbank takes issue with nearly every aspect of this comprehensive bill, denouncing all sportsmen in the process and showing the world that he is incapable of objective reporting on a major piece of legislation before Congress.

This nation’s hunters and anglers face very real challenges – restricted access to this nation’s federal lands, lack of adequate training facilities despite their major investment in wildlife conservation, conflicting local laws that lead to their harassment and even arrest, and serious health consequences from hearing loss. These issues need to be addressed, and the SHARE Act does just that.  It should be strongly supported by everyone who supports this nation’s proud outdoor traditions and those who engage in them.

Chris Cox is executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Perspective expressed in op-eds are not the views of The Daily Caller.