Columbia, SC — As of Jan. 16, 2012, the U.S. population was a little more than 315 million. The NRA membership numbers almost 4.5 million. That means that the NRA represents about 1.4 percent of the U.S. population.
Do our congressmen listen to the NRA because it represents the majority of citizens? Obviously not. Perhaps they listen to organization because it provides support for their re-elections. Or perhaps the NRA uses scare tactics and threats to intimidate both ordinary citizens and congressmen. (The NRA has said it will work to defeat any member of Congress who votes for President Obama’s gun control proposals.)
I ask my congressmen — Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott and U.S. Rep. James Clyburn — to support the 98.6 percent of Americans who are not members of the NRA and protect innocent citizens from gun violence. Ban the production of assault weapons. Limit ammunition magazines. Require background checks for all gun purchases. Support buy-back programs for assault weapons.
Cultural change comes slowly: The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863, but not until 100 years later did the Civil Rights Act begin to grant African-Americans their rights as citizens. Let’s begin to change our culture of guns and violence, recognizing that it may take 100 years for the change to come.