Skip to main content

Americans, even NRA members, want gun reforms

By Mark Glaze, Special to CNN
updated 7:42 AM EST, Fri February 1, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mark Glaze: Gun murders, mass shootings force Washington to rethink gun policy
  • Glaze: Americans want background checks and no military-style assault weapons
  • U.S. has more guns than any other nation and towering gun murder rate, he says
  • Glaze: Mainstream gun owners, 74% of NRA members want background checks

Editor's note: Mark Glaze is director of the national coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Join Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, Jeffrey Toobin and Jack Gray at noon in a live Google Hangout at AC360.com. Send questions and thoughts via #gundebate360 on Twitter and Google+.

(CNN) -- The daily toll of gun murders, and the increasing frequency and scale of mass shootings, have finally forced Washington to rethink gun policy.

Predictably, emotions are running high on TV talk shows and congressional panels. So it's a good time to remind ourselves that Americans -- including gun owners -- actually agree about what to do now, and have for a very long time.

From requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales to getting military-style assault weapons off our streets, Americans understand that it's entirely possible to respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and do much more to keep people safe. The nation may be politically divided, but on guns there has long been a broad and enduring consensus.

Mark Glaze
Mark Glaze

The only people who seem to disagree are the National Rifle Association's Washington lobbyists. What was once a modest gun rights and gun safety organization is long gone. Today, as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said, it is principally a marketing organization, and its flagship product is fear.

Opinion: Gun extremists' alternate reality

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



This sad development was on full display during Wednesday's Senate hearing on gun violence, where NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre claimed that background checks for gun buyers -- a two-minute process that most gun buyers are happy to undergo -- will become "a universal federal nightmare imposed upon law-abiding people all over the country."

As an alternative, LaPierre has suggested that the answer to guns is more guns -- in the hands of almost anyone, in almost every place in America: every classroom, every daycare center, every movie theater, every shopping mall, every place of worship.

If more guns in more places is the NRA's proposal, we've run a pretty good pilot project -- and the results aren't good. The U.S. already has more firearms per capita than any other nation, making it the most heavily armed civilian population in the world. We have a gun murder rate that is about 15 times higher than other populous, high-income countries. This correlation has lost the power to surprise -- except perhaps for LaPierre, who believes "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Complete coverage: The gun debate

If only it were that simple. This isn't just about good guys and bad guys. Very often, the good guys get shot by bad guys with guns. This is about smart policies and dangerous ones.

Newtown parents plead for change
What gun hearing was like for Giffords
Victim's dad: 'We don't need those' guns
Guns find new life as jewelry

Gun owners know this, too. Those like my dad, a former firearms dealer in Colorado, are mainstream Americans with mainstream views on guns. That's why 74% of NRA members and 87% of non-NRA gun owners believe all gun buyers should get a criminal background check. A CBS/New York Times poll released on January 17 found 93% of those living in households with gun owners and 85% in households with NRA members support background checks.

They believe we have the right to bear arms, and they believe with rights come responsibilities. An instant background check is not too high a price to pay, when we know the current system -- even with big loopholes -- has saved many lives.

We have the right to go to the movies without being gunned down in our seats. We have the right to pray in our houses of worship without being victimized by a mentally unstable young man and his assault weapon. More than anything, we have the right to send our kids to school in the morning with the guarantee that they'll return home in the afternoon.

Opinion: Why the NRA fights for gun rights

Until lawmakers stand up to the gun lobby and stand up for the people they represent, the death toll will only continue to rise -- 33 people murdered with guns, every day, everywhere, in the world's indispensable nation.

When they do, they'll have major police organizations, survivors of gun violence, faith leaders, domestic violence opponents, many millions of parents, and more than 850 Mayors Against Illegal Guns standing with them.

If it's electoral retribution they're worried about, they should look at the last election. After investing more millions than ever to defeat President Barack Obama and elect pro-gun politicians, the NRA had one of the worst success rates of all political groups: a 0.83% return on a massive investment of its members' hard-earned money.

We can pass commonsense gun laws that will save many lives. The American people are demanding it, the president is demanding it, the families of the dead are demanding it.

It's time for our leaders to buck the NRA's Washington lobbyists. It's not as hard as they think.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Glaze.

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
updated 6:48 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
updated 4:49 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
updated 10:19 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
updated 2:59 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
updated 5:37 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
updated 5:10 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT