Shooting BB guns was a right of passage for a 12 year boy. I couldn't wait to get one, and I remember that Christmas morning when I saw the long, bow-wrapped package standing up against the wall. I eagerly ripped open the package to find the most beautiful wood-grained Daisy BB rifle gun I'd ever seen.
My friends and I would set up targets in the yard, which could have been anything from cans, to bottles, to bulls-eyed sheets. My friend's dad (Barry) was an avid gun sportsman. Barry was a hunter who belonged to a gun club where I was introduced to skeet shooting.
But, before I even held one of his guns, Barry impressed safety rules on me. We signed up for gun safety classes, which were sponsored by the NRA.
There was a definitive tone of solemnity about these classes accompanied by an overwhelming sense of responsibility one assumed when handling a gun.
It was meant for sport, and as such, knowing the safety rules about handling a gun was of utmost priority. Thus is my experience with guns and the NRA.
Back then, it was about encouraging and supporting safe gun use. I understood how incredibly dangerous one of these weapons could be based on the training and experience I gained with them.
But now, the NRA has turned into an extreme group whose sole purpose is to increase the sale of guns, ignoring the safety ramifications of their agenda.
Assault weapons in the hands of non-US military is a safety issue.
Enabling gun purchases to be made without a background check is a safety issue.
What was once an organization focused on gun safety has now become an organization focused on commercial enterprise without regard for the implications of their policies.