It is time for the National Rifle Association to admit that universal background checks should include gun shows ... kind of like they did in 1999 after Columbine.
In 1999, Wayne LaPierre told Fox News, when asked if he was protecting gun shows, "That's ridiculous ... the fact is that we're supporting the bill in the Senate that provides a check on every sale at every gun show, no loopholes at all." The NRA took out ads in papers across the country in a campaign entitled "Be Reasonable" and wrote: "We believe it's reasonable to provided for instant background checks at gun shows, just like gun shops and pawn shops."
Why won't the NRA stick by their statements? Because they would rather stick by their guns.
One simple reason: They were being cute back then and they are being cute now. They rail against fees, or records, or private citizens getting hurt. It is all baloney.
They will not admit that according to a New York Times-CBS News poll over 90 percent of Americans want more background checks; they won't admit that criminals are kept from buying guns; they won't admit that 20 to 40 percent of gun buyers escape the scrutiny because they don't go to gun shops.
They deny reality every day.
They can take away their "A ratings" of Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey. They can rail against those 16 Republicans who refused to go along with a filibuster to prevent the Senate from acting. They can claim they are worried about a "slippery slope" on gun control.
But it all rings hollow to those families from Columbine, from Newtown, from Aurora. It all rings hollow to those innocent bystanders who have been gunned down in street violence, or who have died when families are torn apart, or those returning veterans with easy access to a gun who have committed suicide at the rate of three a day.
It is long past time for the NRA to do what is right for America's families – "be reasonable" should be the cry Wayne LaPierre hears every day.
Corrected 4/12/13: A previous version of this blog post incorrectly stated the name of the 1999 NRA campaign; it was “Be Reasonable.”