In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, a Harvard University professor has described the National Rifle Association as a "terrorist organization."
Jonathan Walton, a professor of religion and society at Harvard's Divinity School, also urged Congress to act to implement gun controls, according to Campus Reform.
"We have to have the courage to call the NRA exactly what it has become: a domestic terrorist organization that places profit above the lives of the American people," Dr. Walton said during the university's "Morning Prayers" event, Campus Reform reported.
Walton alleged that mass murder "is what the NRA, weapons makers, and all who financially profit from this country's pain desire" because "weapons sales increase and gun stocks rise following each mass shooting."
Walton warned that more deaths would occur if Congress fails to act.
"Mass shootings will just become a part of the quotidian fabric of American life -- a sad, but an unsurprising event," he added. "Thus, don't ask me to pray. Don't ask me to hold a vigil for victims. Nor will I light any more candles."
He also offered a broader assessment of social life in America.
"This nation is sick. Our cultural anxiety, toxic masculinity, and racial, religious, and ethnic bigotries are eating away at the soul of this nation," added Walton. "It even caused us to elect a madman to the presidency that embodies the worst aspects of our country's cultural disease."
The NRA has responded to the Las Vegas shooting, which claimed the lives of 58 people, by calling for the regulation of bump stocks. Bump stock are aftermarket modifications that can effectively turn semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic weapons; gunman Stephen Paddock reportedly used one in his attack.
However, critics say the NRA made the move in a bid to avoid facing broader gun control regulation from Congress. The NRA is requesting that bump stocks be regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, not Congress.
NRA leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox released an Oct. 5 statement regarding the issue:
In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved ... The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.
In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans' Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities.
Sources: National Rifle Association, Campus Reform, CNN / Featured Image: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons