The National Rifle Association has been mercifully and appropriately silent since the mass gun murders at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. They should stay that way.
It appears now that we may have a real debate about the proper place of guns in our society, but the NRA has no place in that debate. Time and time again, that organization has proven itself incapable of reasoned dialogue.
Over the years, the NRA has vigorously opposed such common sense measures as employee screenings at gun stores, mandating reporting of stolen firearms, prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms, and prohibiting violent misdemeanants from receiving permits to carry concealed guns.
The NRA leadership is so far out of the mainstream that they're even out of touch with their own members, strong majorities of which support each of the proposals listed above.
The NRA has maintained its power by fighting even the most innocuous gun restrictions, with the result that more meaningful efforts were never even considered. But now the tide seems to be turning. As I pointed out shortly before the Connecticut tragedy, the NRA is a paper tiger. Now, it seems that even pro-NRA legislators are starting to see that.
In the last few days, NRA favorites, including senators Harry Reid, Mark Warner and Joe Manchin have all come out to say that they'll consider taking action on guns. Manchin was especially convincing in describing how sensible gun laws won't impact his hunting rights at all.
If we allow the extremist leaders of the NRA to have a significant seat at whatever forum our gun policies are decided, they will drive the debate and the results toward the weak and the meaningless. Like most Americans, I've had enough of the NRA and the needless gun violence that their senseless policies promote.