Carter, Peers Should Stand Up to NRA – SMN letter to the editor – March 5, 2018

Carter, peers should stand up to NRA

I appreciate the paper covering Congressman Buddy Carter’s town hall event on Skidaway Island and that Carter visited with us on his 15-event tour of Georgia’s First District last week. He deserves credit for meeting with his constituents in an open setting, while many of his peers do not.

You reported that I asked the Congressman whether he’d renounce his “A” grade endorsement by the NRA and refuse to take any funding from them going forward. He didn’t give us a straight answer — and I really hadn’t expected him to. The point I was trying to make was that the NRA’s opinions are so extreme today that they do not reflect the majority of Americans’ views. How can we have a real dialogue about making our country less susceptible to gun violence when an extremist group holds politicians like Carter for ransom?

At Friday’s town hall, others with great credibility spoke far more articulately than I ever could on this issue. A Vietnam vet told Carter he didn’t understand why AR-15s are available to U.S. civilians. Another Vietnam vet, a former Marine, told Carter that seeing civilians on the street with concealed weapons triggered his PTSD. Perhaps most heart-wrenching was a local teacher who told Carter she worried that we are raising a generation of children who will be deeply and permanently scarred mentally as a result of their constant fear of becoming victims of mass gun violence, like the murdered souls of Parkland, Las Vegas, Charleston, Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary.

In contrast to Carter’s entrenched position, Brian Mast, a Republican congressman from Florida, wrote in The New York Times last week, “The Second Amendment is unimpeachable. It guarantees the right of citizens to defend themselves. I accept, however, that it does not guarantee that every civilian can bear any and all arms. … The president, House of Representatives, Senate, every state legislature, sheriffs, police officers, school boards, students and parents must unite with one goal: that no one will ever be murdered in school again.” Mast is ex-U.S. Army, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and a longtime member of the NRA.