We don’t talk a lot here about the group “March for Our Lives.” Certainly, everyone loves to see young people passionately arguing for their ideas, and this is no exception. The problems come about when the ideas are reheated leftovers from other gun control groups. For example, the group recently released their “Peace Plan for a Safer America.” Great title, but unfortunately these ideas aren’t new and aren’t effective. In fact, they will only serve to irrationally punish law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights, without creating “Peace” in any community.
Name-calling And Unfounded Charges
The plan starts off by erroneously labeling the criminal misuse of firearms as a “national public health emergency.” That’s wrong. And as we have said many times before, without an accurate description of the root causes of violence in our communities, we can’t identify real solutions that will help.
Even before the plan dives into the action items the youthful authors would like to see enacted, they argue that the next president, “must commit to holding an unpatriotic gun lobby and gun industry accountable not just for weakening our nation’s gun laws, but also for illegal behavior in self-dealing that offends and contradicts America’s vast majority of responsible gun owners.”
As the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, we find this statement both outlandish and offensive. Far from being the “unpatriotic” boogeyman, we are an industry that proactively funds and develops programs to create real solutions for safer communities. There is no more patriotic industry in America.
But putting aside the snarky insults for a moment, the real problem with the plan is the actual policies proposed. Let’s look at just a few of the highlights here, and why we would encourage these young adults to do some serious research on these issues.
- “a national licensing and registry system that promotes responsible gun ownership”
- The research the youth use to back this up is extremely biased and discredited.
- “a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other weapons of war”
- Just because a semi-automatic rifle is designed to cosmetically look similar to military firearms doesn’t change the fact that they are not. Modern sporting rifles fire one bullet with each pull of the trigger, same as more traditional-looking rifles. They are also rarely misused by criminals. And arbitrarily banning common magazine capacities will not reduce crime.
- and a national gun buy-back program to reduce the estimated 265-393 million firearms in circulation by at least 30%.
Industry Doing The Hard Work
There’s far more in the plan that we could tackle in a single blog post. Suffice it to say, they need to do their homework. Particularly when they call for holding “the gun lobby and industry accountable for decades of illegal behavior and misguided policies intended to shield only themselves…” As a heavily regulated industry, the firearms and ammunition industry prides itself on high rates of compliance and on our voluntary programs, often in partnership with state and federal government agencies, to help curtail the actual problems of guns illegally getting into the wrong hands. We – not gun control advocates – work successfully to make sure states are submitting all prohibiting records to NICS. We provide tens of millions of free gun locks and educational materials in all states. In partnership with ATF, we train our members to spot straw purchasers, to comply with all laws, and to use discretion when making transactions and keeping their inventory secure. We work with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help address the crisis of suicides in our country.
Sorry kids, we give this plan an F and suggest doing your own work, rather than copying straight from the ineffective gun control playbook.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.