In an editorial published Sunday afternoon, Jeffrey Nugent, brother of National Rifle Association chairman Ted Nugent, explained that he and his brother have dramatically differing views on gun control and warned that the nation is moving toward regulating firearms with or without the NRA.
Specifically, the Detroit-born rocker’s brother came out hard for expanding criminal background checks to all gun buyers. He added that, much like vehicles, the U.S. should regulate guns to require a license and insurance at time of purchase, without exception.
“Car companies know it is good for the auto industry to make cars safer and get dangerous drivers off the road,” he wrote. “Why can’t gun manufacturers and the NRA realize this as well?”
Ted and I have talked about these matters over the years, but more often lately. I concede that he is right on some points: In some instances, cities and states with less-strict gun laws have less violent crime. But that does not argue for arming America. Ted is someone who speaks in extremes to make his points. It reflects who he is, and it works for him and his audience.
I have a 9-year-old son and two 6-year-old grandsons. Any of them could have been the victims of our recent gun tragedies — and still could become victims if we don’t do something. Virtually every day we see the tragic stories of kids shooting other kids, of children being killed in crossfire. We must act, not tomorrow, not the next day. End gun violence now, and start with limiting the purchase of firearms to those who really deserve the right.
Let’s see if the NRA and its new leaders step up and do what is right. If not, it will get done without them. We all have a role here, especially to protect our children. Who is going to be the voice for them?
Throughout my travels I’ve literally spoken with many hundreds of beat cops, homicide investigators, undercover cops, police chiefs, sheriffs, and federal agents about crime, and not one — not a single one — has ever said that closing the so-called gun show loophole or universal background checks would reduce crime.
What these brave law enforcement officers have told me over and over again is that America does have a loophole that, if closed, would significantly make America safer.
That loophole is the revolving door of our criminal justice system.
Despite his continued insistence that police do not support mandatory background checks for firearms, Nugent’s theory was contradicted rather abruptly during a February Senate hearing that featured Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suddenly at a loss for words when he was corrected by a career police officer.
“When almost 80,000 people fail a background check and 44 people are prosecuted, what kind of deterrent is that?” Graham asked. “I mean, the law obviously is not seeing that as important, if it’s such an important issue, why aren’t we prosecuting people who fail a background check?”
“I want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally,” Milwaukee police chief Edward A. Flynn replied. “That’s what a background check does. If you think we’re going to do paperwork prosecutions, you’re wrong.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.