To the Editor:

As the National Rifle Association (NRA) holds its annual convention in Atlanta, it is worth reflecting on the organization they once were versus who they are now.

Recent polling reveals that two-thirds of gun owners that the NRA is an organization “overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers, and has lost its original purpose and mission.” For over a century, the NRA promoted hunting, marksmanship and responsible gun use. That organization no longer exists. The current NRA fights against the laws they once supported.

The NRA is currently spending more on federal and state elections than at any point in its history, ceaselessly advocating for guns everywhere, for anyone with no questions asked. This despite public opposition to these policies and research showing that guns make us less safe, not more.

In 1999, in the wake of the shooting at Columbine High School, the NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre is quoted as saying, “We support the instant background check for every sale, every gun show, no loopholes, period.”

The NRA once advocated against “the general practice of carrying weapons,” arguing that carrying guns in public should “be sharply restricted.” Now it fights to eliminate safety standards for public carry in schools, houses of worship, on college campuses and all public places. They now claim that the very laws they once supported are unconstitutional.

The NRA is now an organization that hides behind the Second Amendment and spreads its message of fear to its members, and intimidation to anyone who disagrees with them. They portray the Gun Violence Prevention movement as enemies who want to take away firearms from everyone. This is far from the truth. Our goal is protect our families and communities from the death and destruction brought about by gun violence.

Gail Lehmann

Ridgefield, May 1