The NRA and the USA

Let’s do this for the beautiful girls and boys of Newtown, whose happy smiles, wide eyes, caring hearts, and loving souls will never again warmly hug the families that love them or joyously open the presents that await them, as the nation that mourns them and loves them begins heartfelt thought and prayerful reflection during this holiday season.

Regarding the role of the National Rifle Association in a nation that has witnessed far too many killings of far too many innocents in a nation with far too many of the kind of weapons that are best left to Navy SEALs killing enemy terrorists, I write today to reach out.

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A great political battle might be necessary, but a national consensus for unity and action would be far preferable. Not one child will be saved by renewing ancient political wars that inevitably lead to inaction that history will condemn as another appalling prelude to the next mass murder.

On Friday the NRA will offer public comments, following a statement that promised to offer meaningful contributions to building a nation where the killings of Newtown are not repeated.

A growing number of pro-gun political leaders are calling for limits on the most extreme assault weapons. Some respected conservative voices are joining the call for some restriction on military-style weapons that are never used for hunting and often employed for mass murder. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wisely calls for this matter to be depoliticized. Something powerful has changed in an America where mass murder has become the new normal. Let’s hope the NRA on Friday calls for compromise to protect the lives of the innocent from the murders of the guilty using the weapons that have no place at the center of American life.

President Obama might address the nation from the Oval Office speaking as a dad, a Christian, a citizen, a neighbor and our president and challenge us all to action against the culture of carnage and violence that infects far too much of our daily lives.

Let’s hope that if he gives such a speech, the president will be joined by leaders from the NRA and clergy from our great houses of worship, by leading moguls from the world of entertainment and leading stars of the creative communities, by Nobel laureates in fields of medicine and psychology and quarterbacks from the National Football League, by officers who wear badges while they protect our streets and moms and dads of the PTA, by those who now profit from video games that thrill young people with the joy of electronic killing and military commanders and psychologists working desperately to reduce the horrific number of military suicides.

The NRA can support what is right for the USA. Military-style assault weapons should be banned in ways that honor the Second Amendment, which was written by those who never imagined the nightmare that the killings of Newtown could happen in the nation they founded, or that mass murder could become the new normal in the land we love.

Yes, principled conservatives should contact the NRA and counsel new thinking and compromise.

But principled progressives should equally call on the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the movie studios and record labels, the video game producers and the great actors and singers, because if we truly want to save the kids, we are all part of the problem, we are all part of the solution, and we are all in this together.

America needs a dramatic new commitment to mental healthcare, trauma research and suicide prevention and to heeding calls to conscience issued by leaders of our great faiths from pulpits throughout the nation.

Let’s collectively kneel down in prayer for the children of Newtown as they ascend to heaven, and with open minds ask Him what is the right thing to do to end this carnage against our kids. 


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.