A new National Rifle Association video supports firearm instruction in elementary school and proposes mandatory gun ownership, both garnering political and media blowback.
Entitled "Everyone get a gun," an NRA News video posted to YouTube on July 21 showcases hipsterish commentator Billy Johnson advocating for previously unheard gun policies based on the Founding Fathers’ ideals.
“What if instead of gun-free zones, we had gun-required zones,” asks Mr. Johnson, recommending that “we design gun policy from the assumption that people need guns – that guns make people’s lives better.”
With his plastic frames, kempt beard and black t-shirt bedecked, Johnson is part of an NRA millennial-outreach program to connect with demographics less interested in guns, according to Mark Prentice, a staffer at the gun control lobbing group Americans for Responsible Solutions.
The gun ownership rate has declined significantly over four decades, with a third of all American households possessing guns, down from half of all households in the 1970s, reported The New York Times in 2013.
In the video, Johnson suggests adding sharpshooting to public school curricula nationwide.
“Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills, we would teach shooting, he says. “It wouldn't matter if a child's parents weren't good at it. We'd find them a mentor. It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade."
The proposal is no laughing matter, says Erika Soto Lamb, communications director with the pro-gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety.
“We believe that our children should be going to school to learn math and science, not to hold an assault rifle, says Ms. Soto Lamb, stating that she believed most mothers did not want shooting skills to be taught in public schools.
“The idea that a child would have to show proficiency in guns to advance to the next grade is provocative,” she adds, questioning whether the NRA was even serious in its proposal.
The video also recommends that the government “subsidize gun purchases with public ranges “where you could shoot for free or a yearly allotment of free ammunition.”
In response to media inquiries, the NRA declined to comment.
Previous videos on the online NRA television network also featured seldom-heard proposals and viewpoints. According to Media Matters, a left-wing news site:
▪ A July 18 commentary referenced the Holocaust to promote the baseless fear that the government will confiscate lawfully held private firearms.
▪ A July 7 commentary claimed that laws regulating gun ownership are "equally as unconstitutional" as Jim Crow laws.
▪ A June 30 commentary insisted that the media stop calling a man who used a gun to injure or kill 11 of his 19 victims during a May 23 rampage in Isla Vista, California, a "gunman" or "shooter" because several other people were killed and injured by means other than a gun during the attack.
Since the Sandy Hook elementary school incident – when 20 kindergarteners were killed by a gunman – there have been 74 school shootings nationwide, reported The Washington Post.