In an interview with Rolling Stone, host Bryant Gumbel insisted that the National Rifle Association was one of the worst things to ever happen to the United States. “There are few things I hate more than the NRA,” said Gumbel. “I mean, truly. I think they’re pigs. I think they don’t care about human life. I think they are a curse upon the American landscape.”
Gumbel, who was discussing a recent segment on HBO’s Real Sports about the “Eat what you Kill” movement, said that his hatred for the gun-rights group did not have any effect on his reporting.
Whether his bias against the NRA colors his journalistic integrity is up for debate, but his view of the organization is one shared by many gun control advocates. The last major poll regarding America’s view of the NRA was timed to take advantage of the Sandy Hook school shooting, but it nevertheless showed that 54 percent of adults had a favorable view of the organization. That still left 38 percent with a “disfavorable” view. That percentage, according to Gallup, also included many gun owners.
The Unpopular Stance
The NRA, always first on the scene to defend gun rights in the wake of a tragedy, provides an easy target for gun control activists. By putting themselves in the unenviable position of opposing, say, the parents of Sandy Hook victims, they don’t earn a lot of goodwill from the public. But it’s precisely for that willingness to take the unpopular stance that the NRA is one of our country’s most important institutions. If tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting never took place, we wouldn’t need an NRA. Gun rights would be easy to defend if innocent people were never killed with firearms.
Far from being “pigs” that “don’t care about human life,” the NRA has been instrumental in restoring the country’s Second Amendment rights in states eager to ignore the Constitution. In the last decade, the organization has racked up more than 200 legislative victories against liberal gun control policies that encroach on American liberty.
At a time when moneyed groups funded by billionaires like Michael Bloomberg are doing everything they can to limit that liberty on a state-by-state basis, the NRA is more important than ever. They may not be cuddly, they may not always be nice, but they are essential in the fight against rampant liberalism. Were it not for the political power the NRA holds, there’s really no telling what the state of gun rights might look like in America. Fewer guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens would send a signal to the nation’s criminals that the sheep are defenseless. It would send a signal to the state that the citizenry can be easily controlled by force.
“A free people ought to be armed,” said George Washington, and his words inform the mission of the NRA 200+ years later.
But I guess he was just a “pig” who didn’t care about human life, either.