Society

Gun Maker Tied To Newtown, Navy Yard Massacres Gave $1 Million to NRA

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Gun violence – and the resulting push toward gun sale restrictions – equal wild profits for gun manufacturers. After Newtown, suppliers couldn’t keep assault rifles and ammunition stocked on gun store shelves. In the insatiable pursuit of ever-increasing profits, the gun industry is now pouring more money into NRA coffers to help the organization fight any type of gun reform.

Freedom Group, the maker of the Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle used in the Newtown massacre, was recognized by the NRA this year for donating $1 million or more, according to a new report from the Violence Policy Center (VPC). Freedom Group also manufactures the Pump Action 870 Remington shotgun, which was used in the Navy Yard attack that killed 12, and was among the three firearms used in the Aurora shooting that also claimed 12 lives.

Smith & Wesson, which made the AR-15 rifle used in Aurora, also reached the $1 million giving level with the NRA this year. All together, the gun industry has donated upwards of $19.3 million to the NRA since 2005, based on VPC estimates. The NRA reports only “giving ranges,” so we don’t know how high the actual figures reach.

NRA donors that give $1 million or more have the dubious honor of joining the “Golden Ring of Freedom.” As though it’s appropriate to celebrate gun profits while the families and communities struck by bloody gun violence mourn. As though the ability to kill with brutal and excessive force somehow makes one more free.

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I disagree that unrestricted gun use equals “freedom.” Bleeding out on the ground after you are gunned downed going to work, school, or a movie, that’s not freedom. Feeling scared that one day you will be the one to die from a random bullet doesn’t feel like freedom. Burying children shot by other children, that’s not freedom either. The fact that women in a household with a gun are three times more likely to be murdered than those living without a gun – again, not freedom.

Since Newtown, at least 164 children (12 and under) have been killed with guns, which nearly equals the child fatalities at Newtown every single month. The total number of people in the U.S. killed with guns since Dec. 14, 2012 is in the thousands. These include only deaths that were reported by the media.

The situation is dire, with gun lobbyists and Congressional Republicans working together to defeat common-sense proposals that would help prevent suspected terrorists and the mentally ill from buying weapons.

The temptation to do nothing about gun violence is strong, especially among those with power. Gun violence will always correlate with gun industry profits, because those who are shooting and those who are living in fear will continue to buy more guns.

We need changes in the way we use and regulate guns to combat the senseless, heart-wrenching violence we are living with now. And we do have the capacity to respond, like how we responded to 9/11 with tightened borders and ramped up airport security. But to act, we need to alter the face of the U.S. Congress in voting booths in 2014, and even spend time and money supporting gun solution groups like Moms Demand Action, the Sandy Hook Promise, and Americans for Responsible Solutions.

Some of you may not want change – you may be willing to live with the high price of innocent lives and public massacres that take place on a month-to-month, or more frequent, basis. You may think that guns require no greater regulation than ladders or swimming pools, which also have killed some people.

Guns, however, are different than other inanimate objects used in these gun rights arguments. First, guns, by their nature, are instruments of violence and aggression. Guns take far more innocent lives than those they save. And guns allow innocent victims – like those in Sandy Hook classrooms – to be quickly slaughtered by psychopaths.

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Source: Violence Policy Center