Encourage National Rifle Association Leadership to Be More Open-Minded About Gun Control

Target: Wayne LaPierre, Leader of the National Rifle Association

Goal: Convince Wayne LaPierre to start understanding the President’s point of view on the gun control debate rather than immediately dismiss everything he says about it.

In reaction to Obama’s second inaugural address, wherein he subtly referred to his ongoing battle to pass gun control legislation (with the line “we cannot afford to mistake absolutism for principle”), National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre made outlandish and scornful public comments and refused to accept anything the president’s words were offering. It has become obvious that the NRA is prepared to disagree with President Obama on just about everything gun control-related, and is willing to go hard and go publically if need be (see the recent attack advertisement geared around Obama’s two daughters). Encourage the NRA to open up positive communication with President Obama and work towards a collective goal with him, rather than simply decry his every word and stubbornly refuse to accept any of his points or ideas.

LaPierre’s response to Obama’s “principle over absolutism” line was to make a series of comments to the effect of “absolutes do exist, it’s the basis of all civilization,” and that Obama’s speech made “a mockery” of the founding documents of the country as well as the idea of “unalienable rights.” What he missed was that Obama was not specifically decrying absolutism in his speech; he was simply saying that, while the country was founded on absolutes and continues to be built on absolutes, certain absolutes must be altered if they are having a negative effect on the world. Given the numerous acts of gun-related violence that have occurred in the country in the past month, it’s become clear that the “absolute” of the right to bear arms, any arms, has been having a negative effect on the world.

This is not to say that the American public should not have the right to bear arms, although this is what LaPierre seems to think Obama is saying–it simply means that, out of the principle of wanting to create a safer environment for American citizens, the “absolute” of allowing any and all arms to be possessed by American citizens needs to be questioned. LaPierre has said and continues to say that this is a violation of rights, and that President Obama’s actions reflect a sense of power-mongering on his part. If this continues to be the case, the gun control debate will go nowhere and no progress will ever be made. LaPierre needs to open up communication with President Obama and really try to make positive strides on this issue rather than continuing to engage in a game of political name-calling.


Dear Mr. LaPierre,

Your stance on the current gun control debate seems very set in stone. Therefore, it is not surprising that you would disagree with the President, who holds views staunchly opposed to yours. However, it is vital that the two of you begin to come to some kind of compromise, lest this debate go on for eons without any progress.

Your recent comments about Obama’s inauguration speech seemed especially telling. The President did say that, in this particular situation, principles need to be favored over absolutes. Your response was that, given the subjectivity of principles, the Constitution then becomes simply a blank canvas for anyone to use to fit their principles.

In theory, this idea has merit. But consider all of the public gun-related violence that has occurred in the last month or so. Would any sane person argue that attempting to prevent such tragedy would be a negative thing? President Obama is not simply attempting to bring his own principles to the forefront here; his actions are motivated by a desire to increase public safety and prevent massive tragedies. That is the principle he is referring to, and any right-thinking person would agree with him.

You and he are still far apart on this argument. But you must open up communication with him and begin to understand where he’s truly coming from; without this, no progress will ever get made in this debate. Take a more open-minded approach to the President’s words and ensure that this whole debate is not all for nothing.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fotopedia

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