By Cliff Schecter, AlterNet
Posted on April 29, 2011, Printed on April 30, 2011
This weekend is a special one in Pittsburgh. The NRA is there for their convention, with the leadership presumably coming up with new ways to say they support enforcing our gun laws while finding ways to undermine law enforcement so instead of just some blood they can perhaps have a whole artery on their hands.
Patricia Maisch, who is at the NRA convention this weekend to make her voice heard, after saving countless lives stopping Jared Loughner from reloading during the tragedy in the Tucson, puts it a bit more eloquently:
On that quiet January morning in Tucson, my life and the lives of so many other innocent people changed forever. Six innocent people lost their lives and 13 others were injured, including my Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords. Thanks to the courage of Bill Badger and Roger Salzberger, who tackled the shooter, I was able to grab his ammunition clip from him before he was able to reload and inflict even more destruction.
But Jared Loughner never should have been allowed to purchase a gun in the first place. And that\'s why I\'ve traveled to Pittsburgh this weekend -- to ask the NRA to talk with me and other victims of gun violence about how we can fix the background check system so that we can keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people like Mr. Loughner.
This weekend, an unprecedented coalition of more than a hundred victims and family members of victims of gun violence, many of whom are gun owners themselves, and I are very politely asking the NRA to talk. We\'ve mailed a letter, taken out a full-page ads in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Times Review and we are even commissioning a truck to drive the ad around the convention center.
We\'re asking NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre to join us in seizing on this rare opportunity to make a change that 86 percent of all Americans and 81 percent of gun owners say needs to happen. Because the NRA supports background checks, and Mr. LaPierre has said he wants the checks to be more effective so they catch people who the law says can\'t have a gun, it stands to reason they should be willing to talk about how to make those checks comprehensive and unavoidable.
It would stand to reason he\'d support comprehensive background checks (like 69% of NRA members do), if he even resembled anything approaching an honest broker. But sadly, he is who he is, and honestly is not the best policy to him and his ilk. We\'re talking about someone who accused former President Bill Clinton of murder and egged on a cop-killer in this very city of Pittsburgh, by lying to him and telling him President Obama was coming to take his guns.
So, while not overly sanguine, I do hope Mrs. Maisch\'s message gets through to the media. For she is a hero, not just because of the amazing thing she did that terrible day in Tucson, but because of her willingness to step forward now, so that all Americans might be safer in a future not dominated by the arms dealer lobby over at NRA HQ.
Follow Cliff Schecter on Twitter: @cliffschecter
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