By Priscilla Feral, President, Friends of Animals
Published in The Connecticut Post
“If only thinking people like New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo could energize the gun-control debate without throwing a bone to deer hunters. Gov. Cuomo declared in his State of the State address: “No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.” No one needs one bullet to shoot a deer, governor…”
After the massacre in Newtown put a spotlight on firearms and gun violence, we’ve seen tidal waves of the horrible and the promising.
On the bigger-profits front: Wyoming lawmakers moved to designate the Freedom Arms revolver as a state gun. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Richard Cannady — who runs a shooting supplies company — explained, “It’s one of the best guns made, high quality. It’s nothing out here that somebody would absolutely just go out and start shooting people with. It’s made more for protection from bears and stuff like that, and hunting.” The proposal would make Wyoming the fourth state to herald an official gun — following Utah, Arizona, and Indiana. Bob Baker, president of Freedom Arms, has explained “we’re kind of in a league of our own,” and his $2,500 guns, as he told the Billings Gazette, are fired by hunters around the world “to kill just about every sort of creature imaginable.” When Baker was asked whether it was insensitive to have Wyoming champion his revolver during the debate on the issue of gun violence stemming from Newtown, he replied: “But you know, one thing that’s interesting on shootings like this, usually it’s in a gun-free zone, and in a God-free zone.” Former President Bill Clinton told a crowd at a Jan. 9 gathering: “I grew up in the hunting culture, but this is nuts,” with reference to assault rifles and high-capacity gun clips.
There’s a glut of profits to overcome. In the United States, as Lee Fang says in The Nation magazine, for every gun or package of ammunition sold at certain stores, a dollar is donated to the National Rifle Association. If only thinking people like New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo could energize the gun-control debate without throwing a bone to deer hunters. Gov. Cuomo declared in his State of the State address: “No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.” No one needs one bullet to shoot a deer, governor.
AR-15s — military-style semi-automatic rifles — are called “user-friendly guns” for shooting coyotes, rabbits and squirrels, a 28-year-old Ohio resident told The New York Times in December, “[i]f I’m going to be out hunting or I want to get a young person interested in hunting.” Relief arrived when Connecticut’s Sen. Richard Blumenthal weighed in, saying he’d require instant background checks for purchasers of ammunition through a bill that “deals with the fuel that drives firearms violence. It’s the oxygen supply,” Blumenthal said.
In a December letter published in the Connecticut Post, I asserted that the National Rifle Association can’t be running the country, and Congress and the rest of us have to stop seeing violence as fun. We do not want to hear about the “cherished American right” residents have to shoot ducks, deer, bears or other animals to death. “Whether a gun is fired at a human or an innocent animal,” my letter stated, “it’s an act of terror.” Let’s challenge the hunting culture at every opportunity, defend the rights of animals to be free of recreational violence, and press Congress to tax guns and ammunition. Let the NRA’s influence collapse of its own dead weight.
Priscilla Feral, president,
Friends of Animals