Gary Hart, the former senator and presidential candidate, said today “legitimate” gun owners should separate from the National Rifle Association, which he said has yet to be willing to deal with “military-style” weapons that have no place in society.
The paranoid notion that the U.S. federal government is going to take away people’s freedoms, so they must be armed, has given the NRA power and driven up gun sales and ownership across the country, Hart said in an interview with HuffPost Live.
“Clearly, we’re in a pattern in this country, where the amount of gun violence in is escalating. Of the 12 most serious mass killings in America, six or seven have occurred in the last decade. So there is clear escalation here, and the principal gun lobby is resisting any change,” Hart said.
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He said he’d be suprised if the statement the NRA released Friday departed at all from the organizations traditional positions that “all kinds of guns should be owned by all sorts of people.”
“All I was trying to indicate was of the legitimate gun owners who do have, according to the Supreme Court, the right to protect their homes by owning guns, and sportsmen,” Hart said. “I suggested to them they form their own organization that is separate from the predominant national rifle association, which refuses to, at least up to now, cooperate in controlling the military like weapons that have no place in home security or in the field.”
Noting that the Second Amendment calls for a well-regulated armed militia, Hart said the purpose laid out by the Founding Fathers already exists in the form of the National Guard.
He said he believed both the Guard and the reserve troops in the U.S. armed forces could play a role in separating responsible gun ownership from irresponsible ownership, though he did not explain how.
“It would be a surprise if they [the NRA in its announced statement Friday] make any significant departure from their traditional position that all kinds of guns should be owned by all kinds of people, not only for sporting purposes or for home protection, but for protection from their own government,” Hart said. “They rely very heavily on a paranoid notion that the government of the United States, elected by the people of the United States, is going to take away their freedom, and therefore they must arm themselves. That’s at the center of the NRA argument.”
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