Keep the peace

To the Editor:

In response to Genevieve Beenen's column expressing her thoughts on the National Rifle Association, I am sorry she didn't keep her boyfriend long enough to let him teach her the sport of shooting, she might have enjoyed it and now have a different attitude about gun ownership and the NRA. Ms. Beenen implies that the NRA has given up "teaching hunters to shoot straight" in favor of lobbying against gun control. The NRA is still focused on firearms safety training. The NRA has 80,000 certified instructors who train almost 1 million individuals in hunter safety, basic firearms training and personal protection each year. The per capita rate of accidental deaths with guns is at an all-time low. No other organization comes close to doing as much to promote firearms safety.

I am a gun owner. I hunt and target shoot and train others. I don't need a gun to prove my manhood or be "in charge of my life," but being a man, I feel I am in charge of and personally responsible for my own protection and the defense of my family. I also admit that it does my ego some good to shoot in competition with some of the best shooters and sometimes win. But isn't that true of any sport?

Among the good works of the NRA is the NRA Foundation. Nonprofit and non political, it has raised and granted $2.2 million for education programs, hunter safety, range improvement, and conservation clubs. Locally the Bay Lakes Council BSA, Camp Anokijig, Farmers and Sportsmen's Club, Rhine Plymouth Field and Stream, and the Sheboygan Rifle and Pistol Club have been beneficiaries.

The NRA has always been in favor of keeping guns out of the wrong hands and has time and again lobbied for stiffer sentencing for those who commit crimes with guns. And, yes we have lobbied strongly against "feel good" laws that would restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens while having little or no impact on crime. It is no coincidence that the NRA started their lobbying efforts at the same time our sport and our rights became at risk from anti-gun lobbying organizations and their cohorts in government.

You need only to read the writings of our founding fathers to know that they meant that right of the people to keep and bear arms was an individual right and also to be available for militia duty, bringing your own weapon. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is, what we knew all along, an individual right. The constitutions of the various states, including Wisconsin, give us the right to keep and bear arms without mention of a militia.

The Second Amendment is not just about hunting. It is also about self-defense. The right of self-defense is given to us by natural law far older than our constitution. There is evil in the world. The violence of the Mexican drug cartels is spreading across our Southern border. There are religious fanatics that want to see every American dead. We all want to live in "peaceful communities" and having armed neighbors (probably NRA members) will go a long way toward keeping it peaceful.

Burdette "Burt" Schuldt,
NRA senior training counselor

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