NRA Blocks Effort To Prevent Military Suicides Because Counselors Shouldn't Be Allowed To Ask If Vets Own Guns

With the NRA, the principle of blocking any attempts to document or control gun ownership is always much more important than actual human lives - even if they're the lives of our war veterans. Let that sink in, because this might be the single

With the NRA, the principle of blocking any attempts to document or control gun ownership is always much more important than actual human lives - even if they're the lives of our war veterans. Let that sink in, because this might be the single most cynical thing they've done yet:

Of all of the lobbying organizations that feed off fear, and rely for their funding and power on dividing Americans, one of the worst is the National Rifle Association.

The NRA never misses a chance to misrepresent the positions of people who advocate reasonable gun control, to make Americans afraid that the government wants to take away their right to defend their homes and their loved ones, and to turn any attempt to have a sensible conversation about guns into an assault on the Second Amendment.

Why else would the NRA support a law that makes it more difficult to prevent suicides among members of the armed forces?

Let me explain. According to a report on the website Congress.org, more American troops killed themselves in 2010 than died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly half of those suicides involved personally owned weapons.

So it makes sense for military counselors to talk to at-risk active-duty soldiers about owning a gun. No, that’s against the law. A rule in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act — backed by the NRA of course — prohibits such conversations. The NRA was outraged, apparently, that a Kansas army base wanted soldiers to register privately owned weapons. Oh the horror! Next thing you know they’ll just take rifles away from combat soldiers and replace them with ACLU cards.

A new report, which you can read about on Think Progress, recommends that Congress repeal the provision. But I doubt many members of Congress have the courage to stand up to the NRA on this. In fact, the NRA is trying to make the situation even worse. It worked with Senator Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican, to add language to the military spending bill that would prohibit the Defense Department from “issuing any requirement, or collecting or recording any information” relating to legal gun ownership.

Of course. Because, as Andrew Rosenthal points out, anything approaching a reasonable compromise will put NRA lobbyists out of work, and who wants to give up that cushy gig?

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

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