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Brugger: The NRA’s Hidden Gun Agenda
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Brugger: The NRA’s Hidden Gun Agenda

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Since two social misfits who attended Columbine High School in Colorado made world headlines by terrorizing and killing their classmates, the debate around gun control has centered around the second amendment vs. mental health issues. I do not deny that my previous columns have failed to mention the elephant I knew to be in the room. Since the mid-seventies, the NRA acted under the influence of members who want to amass private arsenals to defend America and its Way of Life. On Jan. 6, 2021, the elephant became too aggressive to ignore.

There is history to consider. Starting with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636, America formed militias for defense. State control of militias was part of the debate about the constitution. At the time, there was reluctance to pay for a standing Army. After the Federal government created an Army, states retained their militias. In 1861, Pennsylvania named its militia the National Guard. Militias have always been under government control, while the West’s vigilante movements were suppressed.

After WWII, the fact that Japan never invaded the United States mainland was often attributed to the prevalence of arms in private hands. Private gun ownership provides a rich pool of trained recruits for an expansion in the National Guard size. There is also a degree of public and personal safety when criminals must consider a target’s potential for armed opposition.

I can say with a high degree of certainty that there is no constitutional protection for non-governmental militias. I can also say that there is no right to privacy for illegal acts. The entire assertion about privacy hinges on the fifth amendment and the prohibition of warrantless search and seizure.

The NRA is completely responsible for promoting two false premises around the Second Amendment. They say public gun control will confiscate guns without legal cause. The courts will not allow any measure of that action. Absolutely. They say that only better mental health treatment will prevent gun violence. At the same time, they oppose any legislation that would provide reasonable legal means to remove firearms from the possession of persons with demonstrated mental health issues. Lately, they have gone to the states for legal expansions in the right to carry guns openly in any public place.

The premise that gun control is equal to a violation of the second amendment is false. Yes, Americans have a protected right to own firearms because it is in the interest of national and local public safety to have able gun owners who could muster into the National Guard. There is no protection for unhindered possession or use of that firearm. Currently, guns cannot be used to kill or threaten someone. The NRA is using state legislatures to expand the second amendment to facilitate the formation of informal militias.

The Supreme Court has only ruled on small slices of local gun law, but they have upheld a good deal of gun control legislation and struck civil penalties for manufactures. There are adequate penalties for gun trafficking used to regulate gun manufacture. The new technology allowing the printing of firearms by unlicensed individuals still needs legislative regulation.

I continue to suggest that each state’s National Guard issue permanent gun licenses requiring background checks and proof of the ability to use all firearms safely. It would be more effective in two ways. Selling to someone without a license would be illegal. Law enforcement could confiscate both the license and any weapons when arresting someone. A magistrate judge would be allowed to restore them.

Opinion: Idaho’s Legislators prefer to turn away federal dollars granted to the state to fund programs to assist parents and educators help children from birth until they enter kindergarten prepare their brains to learn. 

We must rid our nation of the idea that government at any level must be changed by force. The false narrative that our voting systems are vulnerable to widespread fraud is false. We are a nation of law. The law can be changed when necessary, but no individual or group may decide what the law should be without legislation.

We should not remove mental health from the discussion, but the false NRA propaganda cannot continue. Responsible, law-abiding Americans can own guns. Anyone breaking the law, including the intent to overthrow the government, is not protected by the second amendment.

Linda Brugger, retired from the Air Force, leaning Democrat and community activist can be reached at She welcomes feedback.


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