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Albert ten Cate: Why isn’t NRA declared a terrorist organization?

NRA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre speaks during the leadership forum at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting Friday, May 3, 2013 in Houston. (AP Photo/Steve Ueckert)

NRA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre speaks during the leadership forum at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting Friday, May 3, 2013 in Houston. (AP Photo/Steve Ueckert)

To the editor:

I need to respond to the April 16 letter writer of “Owning a gun for self protection.”

It’s all very well to say that the right to carry a gun was laid down by the founding fathers, but these people were carrying guns that could deliver one bullet at the time and then you had to clean, reload and you could shoot again after about five minutes. Now we are talking about guns that can shoot who knows how many rounds of bullets per second.

I am from the Netherlands and there people just don’t own guns, unless they are a member of a shooting club or hunter. And they have to keep their gun or rifle in a special case with two locks and these cases are to be locked all the time. At home this case has to be locked away in a drawer or closet, that also has to be locked at all times. In other words, the only time that weapon is not locked and in its case is when it is used at the shooting club or when it used during a hunting party.

The average Dutch citizen doesn’t want to own a gun because guns are dangerous. The more guns there are the more dangerous society becomes. Just look up the statistics and compare the number of deaths per thousand inhabitants per country.

It would be a great day when this great country would decide that it is unlawful to have the right to carry a gun. And it would benefit the whole of the society when the NRA would be declared a terrorist organization. But that will continue to be my dream. I don’t understand why they have so much influence, after all they only have around four million members.

Albert ten Cate

Easthampton

Legacy Comments9

Please go back to the Netherlands ! Please !

A very polite response. Not sure that I would have be so polite for such an offensive statement that this author made. The NRA stands for its members and for the free people in the US as it should. NRA is one of the oldest and largest civil rights organizations in the world.

Why isn't the National Cutlery Association deemed a terrorist group? All knives should be double locked in their drawer, even when the homeowner is home. This includes sheathing for protection and accidetal cuts. More knives means more incidents of stabbing and slashing.

Mr. Cate you will take endless criticism and insults for stating such views in public. The America mythos of the strong, silent loner who delivers righteous justice from a six-shooter is so ingrained in our consciousness that it will likely be another hundred years before anything changes regarding our gun laws. The irony is that part of that image is based on the original native Americans who were so savaged by the early settlers arriving here and moving westward. The NRA long ago lost its soul to the macho infantilism of the extreme right wing and now is a political propaganda machine. Politicians are afraid of looking weak on crime and so are afraid to buck it. And lastly of course, there's good money to be made, so nobody's going to tell me I can't manufactor and sell assault weapons if I want to!

I think Albert's arguments can be addressed by explaining more about Constitutional interpretation. Rights are not granted by the Constitution, but protected by the Constitution (United States v. Cruikshank, 1876). These rights have limits, but laws restricting these fundamental rights need to meet a very high burden. Advances in technology do not change the underlying rights of man, and the Court has been pretty consistent in saying so when these rights get challenged. For example, the First Amendment protects more than the printing press today, even though the ability for 'anyone' to be a journalist is now enabled by the Internet and the founding fathers never could have conceived of such a tool. Yes, the citizen can publish more quickly, but so can the government. Similarly, advances in technology for weapons do not alter man's core liberty to defend himself. Yes, we have access to weapons that can shoot more rapidly than muskets. But in this same time period, radios, helicopters, cruisers, and other means of rapid response didn't exist. Perhaps it's easier to commit a crime today, but it's also commensurately easier to stop crime. Technology then is like the incoming tide - it's unstoppable, but it also raises the water level equally for both the individuals and the state actors, foreign or domestic, that threaten the rights of man. It's an awareness of the need to protect these rights for everyone equally that distinguishes us from many European countries. Our culture is a more violent one for a variety of reasons, but on the balance we intend to never be subject to a marauding German or Russian dictator. Fair trade.

So by your logic the 1st Amendment would not protect internet publications because that is new technology. And there is something very creepy about your rush to call the NRA a terrorist organization for merely advocating a political viewpoint. I guess you would like everyone with whom you disagree thrown in jail. That used to happen in the former Soviet Union. Do you really want to go down that road?

If the Germans were armed, maybe we wouldn't have had the Nazi's take control of Germany. 50 million people died because of that. We can partially chalk that up to people not being gun owners in Europe. From the statistics I've seen, more lives are saved by gun owners than those who are killed by preventing violent crimes from occuring, and lets not forget most gun deaths in the US are self inflicted by people commiting suicide. The real problem with these recent school shootings is that the people who committed them were on some form of psychiatric drug prescribed by a doctor. That and violence in the media and video games. Until we address these issues the problem won't go away. Stop Big Medicene from giving drugs to kids and shame Big Hollywood into not making violent movies.

As a native of MA (actually, my family has been in MA since the mid 1700s) I am more than a bit offended that you want to declare an organization that protects the constitutional right to bear arms a terrorist group. This country was founded by people seeking to escape the colonial oppression of Europe (yeah - even the Netherlands was a colonial oppressor in it's day). Our history is different than yours. Our Constitution has a different history and basis than yours. Although the Netherlands has a rich history of democracy and capitalism, they also have a rich history of slavery and colonization. If you don't like how things are in this country - the United States of America - take your happy dutch self back to the EU.

"[The Netherlands] have a rich history of slavery and colonization." You don't think you could have just made the argument that there is a long and socially-validated tradition of private gun ownership in the U.S. without implying that our own country wasn't deeply involved in slavery and colonialism? Because this almost sounds like your saying that the second amendment is there to protect us from being enslaved by scary Dutch people. And maybe we can be a little classier than telling immigrants to "go back where they came from" when we disagree with them? Maybe? No? I guess you're too invested in making all your arguments from a place of victimhood.

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