The NRA Doesn’t Kill People, It Saves Lives. Just Ask My Family

The NRA Doesn’t Kill People, It Saves Lives. Just Ask My Family

Far from being monsters, or the new KKK, the National Rifle Association empowered my family to reclaim its sense of security.
Harry Kazianis

While the legacy media might have you believe otherwise, the National Rifle Association is not the bogeyman it has been made out to be. In fact, anyone who wants to do just a small amount of research should talk to NRA members, law enforcement officials, or people who actually work with firearms. They will tell you a fundamental truth: The NRA has been a clear force for good in many people’s lives.

Criminals who use firearms to carry out heinous acts of violence are the real enemy, not those who stand up for our constitutional right to bear arms, promote common-sense gun safety measures, and work daily with police, hunters and sportsmen. Period.

I can personally attest to the positive impact the NRA has on countless individuals, as it was NRA members and NRA instructors who helped my own family in a time of crisis.

The Day He Was Robbed at Gunpoint

In the early 1990s, a member of my family was robbed at knife and gunpoint while trying to earn a living at his small business. The experience changed my family’s perception of our own safety and security forever. After several days of reflection, this family member made a heartfelt decision: he needed to protect his life, property, and our family by purchasing a firearm.

Such a choice did not come easy, but was guided by a fundamental truth. As someone who had never before considered purchasing a gun, he knew the police would never come to his aid fast enough if an armed assailant tried to rob him again—possibly costing him his own life. He made what he felt was the best decision for his family and his own safety, just like many other hard-working, honest Americans across our country do every single day.

Over the next few months he lived in libraries, talked with experts, and inquired with police and law enforcement to decide what type of firearm and safety courses he would need to arm himself and protect his business and our family in the safest possible manner.

This is where the NRA came in. When he did make a firearms purchase, it was NRA-trained and -certified instructors who spent hours of their own time to teach him how to safely operate his preferred method of self-defense. They did not talk politics or try to indoctrinate him in any way, but did what they could to teach him how to safely and effectively defend himself if the moment ever came.

The NRA Helped Us Feel Safe Again

Far from being monsters, or the new KKK, as some have tried to label NRA members, they empowered my family to reclaim its sense of security. NRA members and instructors made sure my family was also trained on firearm safety, a story I have heard repeated countless times.

I asked for and was taught the basics of firearm safety at an early age. My family felt it was important that I understand how these instruments of self-defense worked, that they were not toys, and that they were a part of our lives to protect us. They were necessary for self-protection, and we felt blessed to have such a right.

Now, to be blunt, being a teenager and never having seen a gun, I was unsure of what to think at my first training. But it was NRA-trained and -certified instructors and members who showed me that a gun is not something to be feared or scared of for self-defense, but something to be respected and understood. By taking the mystery out of firearms, as a child, I understood why my family took the actions it did to protect itself. That’s why I am a proud member of the NRA today.

The NRA helped my family find a sense of peace again. We collectively decided to be survivors and never victims, making sure our families’ safety would never be placed in jeopardy again.

Thankfully, no one in my family has ever been forced to defend himself with a firearm. However, people in the neighborhood where this family business once operated discovered that my family member was armed. Once this information got out I think it acted as a deterrent, indicating this business would be no easy mark. I honestly think it saved my family member’s life.

Stop Scapegoating the NRA For Things It Didn’t Do

In today’s media environment, some are looking for someone to blame, someone to punish—to simply “do something” to avenge the horrific mass shootings conducted by those criminals who want to hurt innocent people. That anger has been unfairly turned on NRA members and even employees.

One NRA staffer, who agreed to speak to me on background, explained he “refrains” from telling people about his place of employment. He says: “I need to come home to my family every night. I am proud of the work I do, standing up for people’s second amendment rights. But I know this issue is something that divides us—and I have been threatened in the past.”

“[A]ll I can do is keep my head down and keep fighting the good fight,” he continued. “The NRA wants an honest discussion with anyone who will listen, who will treat gun owners, hunters and law enforcement with respect. All we ask is that we are treated in a fair, honest manner. That’s all the millions of NRA members and law-abiding gun owners want. Please don’t make us into monsters.”

That’s all I want as well. It’s time for the war on the NRA to stop.

Harry J. Kazianis is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest in Washington DC and executive editor of their publishing arm, The National Interest. The views expressed in this article are his own. He's on Twitter @grecianformula.

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