And the Verdict is… NRA not guilty for mass shootings


Illustration by Mara Farese

Will Muller

With gun violence in the United States seemingly on the rise, political tensions and conversations regarding guns are becoming increasingly prominent in society. Second Amendment enthusiasts have taken one side, strongly protecting the constitutional right to bear arms, while anti-constitutional groups such as March For Our Lives and Moms Demand Action have stood on the other. The issue plagues modern day politics, and left-leaning groups have chosen to place all of the blame on one scapegoat, the National Rifle Association (NRA).  

When arguing against the NRA, it is important to know that they do not sell, manufacture or distribute guns. The sole purpose of the association is to protect America’s Second Amendment constitutional right to bear arms; the NRA is a civil rights group for all citizens and stops arguably the most important amendment from being infringed upon.

The tradition of blaming the NRA began after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. Adam Lanza killed 27 people, including teachers, students and even his own mother. The accusations for this tragedy quickly rotated onto gun activists and even weapon companies like Bushmaster, since Lanza used one of their rifles in the attack. The victims and the families of the Sandy Hook Massacre are currently suing Bushmaster for manufacturing the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle that was used in the shooting. Surprisingly, none of the blame was placed on Lanza’s shoulders.

According to The National Review, Lanza had a long history of mental illness and had even been treated under New Hampshire’s Birth to Three program and in the Yale Child Study Center. It is clear that most mass shooters are not right in their minds, especially when Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 13. Someone who was mentally healthy would never commit such an atrocity, making it hard to argue that the NRA should be to blame for incidents such as the Sandy Hook mass shooting.

Furthermore, in a more recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, often referred to as the Parkland shooting, shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 students and staff members. According to CNN, Cruz, similar to Lanza, was placed in a broken home when he was first adopted when he was an infant, and his mental state only deteriorated when his adoptive father died of a heart attack when Cruz was just five years old. According to Psychologist Dr. Peter Langman, 75 percent of shooters of the 25 most cited school shootings since Columbine grew up in broken homes, which could entail numerous issues a child could have endured, including substance abuse, criminal behavior, domestic violence and child abuse.

Mental illness is clearly the cause of mass shootings, and yet, most anti-gun social justice groups use strong anecdotal evidence and weaponize children in order to shame and guilt the average gun owning American.

Additionally, according to many critics from both political parties, the Parkland attack could have easily been stopped if Stoneman Douglas resource officer Scott Peterson had performed his job correctly. During the attack, he was armed, and instead of using his weapon to protect children, Peterson cowered outside the school as innocent lives were senselessly taken by a madman plagued by mental illness.

Since the Parkland shooting occurred in a very divided political climate due to President Trump’s recent inauguration, there were a lot of activists that arose from this horrible situation. Most of these activists were Democrats advocating for more gun control restrictions, creating the organization March For Our Lives and blaming right-leaning politicians and the NRA.

However, Kyle Kashuv, a Stoneman Douglas student present during the shooting, did not blame the NRA. He had the courage to confront Peterson after the shooting. Kashuv had a much better approach to this issue for calling out one of the people that could have stopped the tragedy instead of blaming the NRA that did not have any involvement in any mass shooting.

Increasing gun ownership among “good guys” is one solution to combat shootings, and this can be proven with a shooting in Texas. In November 2017, Devin Patrick Kelly shot numerous churchgoers in a Sutherland Springs church. Fortunately, civilian Stephen Willeford was armed with an AR-15 and quickly pursued the shooter, stopping further tragedy from occurring. This is clear evidence that gun ownership has the potential to save lives.

Mass shootings are horrific incidents that shouldn’t happen to anyone, but the NRA should not be blamed for a crime,  it is as if a victim of a drunk driving incident blamed car enthusiasts for the accident. they did not cause or support in any way. According to the NRA, former Pennsylvania Republican senator Rick Santorum and other Republican leaders, mental illness, broken homes and other additional issues all contribute to these mass shootings. Gun control will not help, as it will only strip rights from law-abiding citizens, something that our founding fathers provided us in the United States Constitution. The only possible solution I see for school security is arming our school’s resource officers, as well as making sure they will be up for the challenge if it ever occurs. There is some hope for our generation and the ones that follow if we demand the protection we deserve.