Wrong, Congressman Beyer. Self-Defense is a Right Shared by all Law-Abiding Americans

Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va

The Wall Street Journal recently published an irresponsible opinion piece written by Virginia Congressman Don Beyer. The article was misleading and manipulative of the facts and it was clear that the op-ed was published without a basic fact check. The NRA sought to set the record straight by submitting both an op-ed piece and a letter to the editor. The WSJ published neither.

It’s important people know the facts behind Beyer’s ludicrous claims. Here’s the op-ed Chris Cox , NRA-ILA’s executive director wrote in response:

By Chris W. Cox
Executive Director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action

Congressman Don Beyer last Thursday wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that followed a routine formula among those who want to destroy the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms.

The formula is simple.

First, use the shock and horror we all feel after a deranged gunman opens fire on the innocent to advance their agenda. Second, disparage the five million members of the National Rifle Association by suggesting they are somehow responsible for the attack. Third, staunchly refuse to recognize that law-abiding citizens should be afforded the means to defend themselves, whether at home, while traveling across the country, or even while practicing for a baseball game.

While Beyer passes the anti-gun advocate test with flying colors, he fails miserably to understand the policies he rails against, the men and women of the National Rifle Association (NRA), our tens of millions of supporters nationwide, and how deeply the American people believe in their right to defend themselves and their loved ones against violent attack, wherever and whenever it occurs.

And even more troubling, he seems incapable of understanding the most basic truth of all — that the bad guys could care less about the gun control laws he supports and for which he advocates.

Beyer states that concealed-carry reciprocity is the №1 priority of the National Rifle Association. On this count, we agree. In fact, the NRA has supported this policy for many years, not just in the current Congress. The reason is simple. We believe that law-abiding citizens have the basic human right to defend themselves, wherever they are or whatever their circumstance.

Research has shown that concealed carriers do not break the law. And our experience with concealed carry goes back many decades. It is estimated that more than 15 million permits have been issued, again, with many years of evidence showing that we can trust the law-abiding to be just that — law-abiding — while carrying. We believe that peaceable citizens carrying concealed are part of the solution to violent crime, not as Beyer states, “a recipe for disaster.”

From his comments and staunch opposition to national concealed carry reciprocity, it’s clear that the men and women of the NRA trust Beyer’s constituents more than he does.

This is not only unfortunate, it’s hypocritical. Beyer’s opinion piece fails to point out that Virginia is among the states that recognizes every other state’s permits for visitors traveling through or staying in the Commonwealth. Last February, Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat I might add, signed a bill to require this recognition of other state permits. This bill was good policy in Virginia for all the reasons why concealed carry reciprocity is good policy for the nation.

Beyer also uses another favored technique of anti-gun advocates — use the emotion of a tragedy to advance the cause, even on legislation that has nothing to do with the tragedy in the first place. Beyer follows this script well by railing against the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), a bill in Congress to reduce the costs and bureaucratic red-tape of owning a firearm suppressor by treating these accessories as regular firearms instead of requiring the current $200 tax, fingerprints, registration, and approval wait times that can approach a year.

The NRA supports this legislation because firearm suppressors reduce the sound of a gunshot by about 30 decibels, and that’s enough to have a real impact in reducing hearing loss over a lifetime of shooting. Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) also shows suppressors are not used in crime and deregulating their ownership would not have a negative impact on public safety. We believe that promoting suppressor use is a health and safety no-brainer.

What Beyer claims — that law enforcement and others won’t be able to hear the sound of gunshots and this would facilitate crime and decrease public safety — is sheer nonsense. Beyer and other anti-gun advocates call suppressors “silencers,” but a firearm affixed with a suppressor is still noticeably loud and the report is readily identifiable as a gunshot when fired.

We need look no further than a Washington Post fact-check on this claim, which stated, “There is little that’s quiet about a firearm with a silencer, unless one also thinks a jackhammer is quiet.”

This is about more than a simple disagreement on policy. The NRA simply has a much different worldview than does Congressman Beyer. We trust his constituents and believe they have the right to defend themselves while traveling this great nation of ours. We believe that America’s gun owners, hunters, and recreational shooters should be afforded the health benefits that suppressors provide, without paying a $200 tax, submitting their fingerprints, and waiting in line for nearly a year to be approved. And, at the end of the day, the NRA does not believe that law-abiding gun owners, NRA members, or our supporters are to be blamed for the horrific shooting that took place on a baseball diamond in Alexandria in early June by a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter.