On Wednesday, President Obama will unveil the recommendations of the gun violence task force led by Joe Biden. Despite the popularity of many of the measures among the American people and even its own membership, the National Rifle Association is almost certain to oppose each and every bill and executive order. But that doesn't mean the NRA isn't willing to make a valuable contribution to the debate over the role of firearms in American society.
Here are 10 proposals you can easily imagine would draw enthusiastic support from President David Keene, Vice President Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the leadership of the NRA:
1. The Jack-Booted Thugs Act. In 1995, LaPierre famously denounced federal law enforcement agents as "jack-booted government thugs." In the wake of the Newtown massacre, he's apparently had a change of heart. Now, he'd like at least one on each of the nation's 100,000-plus schools to "to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January." As for the minimum estimated cost of $5 billion a year, LaPierre would happily redirect 10 percent of the annual U.S. foreign aid budget to pay for it:
With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can't afford to put a police officer in every school?2. The Individual Mandate. No doubt, the NRA would love to see an individual mandate. Not for health insurance, but for every American to own either a gun or at least a bulletproof vest or comparable body armor. After all, while it is better to give than receive, why not improve your odds of surviving when you're on the receiving end?
To help hard-working American families offset this cost of protecting their Second Amendment rights, LaPierre's NRA would repeal the Affordable Care Act. (That this would increase and not reduce the national debt is another discussion.) As President Bush, Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney all explained, "People have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room." Especially if you've been shot. (Please note that head wounds will be considered a pre-existing condition.)
3. The Dick Cheney Lawsuit Prevention Act. Thanks to the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act pushed by the NRA and signed by President Bush, victims of criminal violence have virtually no legal recourse against gun manufacturers and resellers. But now, new proposed legislation would not only shield you from any liability if you accidentally shoot your friend in the face, but require that he or she publicly apologize to you for inadvertently blocking the path of your buckshot. The draft Don't Stand in His Ground Law includes a mandatory mea culpa like the one Harry Whittington offered after getting in Dick Cheney's line of fire:
"My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week."(Continue reading below the fold.)
4. "Choose Life" Firearm Accessories. Leaders like Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich couldn't agree more with Wayne LaPierre's assertion that our "moral failings," and not guns, were behind the Newtown slaughter. This is simply what happens when "we've ordered God out of our schools" and "when you have an anti-religious, secular bureaucracy and secular judiciary seeking to drive God out of public life."
That's why "Choose Life" firearms accessories make the perfect gift that keeps on giving, in this life and the next. Modeled on state programs that sell "choose life" license plates and other anti-abortion tchotchkes, Uncle Sam would help local governments get up and running with their own catalog of gun-rights must-haves. "Who Would Jesus Shoot?" rifle scopes, "Pearly Gates" pistol grips, "Choose Life" holsters and monogrammed Uzis from Israel (also known as "God's chosen submachine gun") are just some of the items you can already order from Christian Soldier of Fortune magazine.
5. The Nuclear Disarmament Rearmament Act. For almost 20 years, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program (also known as Nunn-Lugar) has helped safeguard and dismantle nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union. But that initiative has cost American taxpayers billions of dollars, while denying law-abiding supporters of the Second Amendment access to the best deterrent money can buy.
The Nuclear Disarmament Rearmament Act would address both injustices by letting NRA members purchase the surplus thermonuclear devices from the old USSR. Would-be burglars will think twice when homeowners have their own independent nuclear capability. And as ground-breaking research by the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation shows, crime would be reduced in neighborhoods where every family had their own SS-18 long-range missile with multiple independently targeted warheads.
6. The "Hammers into Handguns" Program. Over the past few weeks, GOP Representatives Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have helped focus national attention on America's hidden killer: hammers. While Blackburn warned of mass killings by mentally ill armed with "a hammer" or "a hatchet," Gohmert alerted America's law-abiding home remodelers that an assault weapons ban could prohibit "any weapon" including "a hammer."
That's where "Hammers into Handguns" comes in. The Biblically-inspired program (Isaiah 2:3-4) helps fight the deadly scourge of mallet-on-man violence by allowing Americans to turn in their hammers in exchange for a handgun of their choice. To pay for its multi-billion dollar cost, funding would be redirected from the federal Head Start and school lunch programs.
7. "Helping Handgun" Home School Tax Credits. As Americans learned in the aftermath of the notorious Susan Smith and Andrea Yates cases, "statistics show that in the United States, when young children are slain, the parents are usually their murderers." Nevertheless, the Newtown massacre showed that America's public schools are just too dangerous.
That's where the NRA's "Helping Handgun" tax credits for home schoolers come in. Parents would receive a $5,000 federal tax credit for each child they take out of school and teach at home. All Mom and Dad have to do is provide their kids with firearms instruction and agree to pack heat during lessons.
8. The Faith-Based Firearms Act. Many Republicans legislators don't just want teachers to carry guns to school; some support concealed carry laws for churches as well. Apparently, if men of the cloth were also men of cold steel, the assassination of Dr. George Tiller at Wichita's Reformation Lutheran Church or the murders of three people at the First Congregational Church of Neosho, Missouri, might have been prevented.
9. The Altar Boy Armaments Act. Of course, given the clergy sex abuse scandals which have plagued so many dioceses around the country, the idea of pistol-packing priests could produce its own blowback. So, parents, don't get mad, get even. With the youngest worshippers legally packing heat in His House, it will be the altar boys telling their would-be tormenters to "get on your knees."
10. The Fetal Firearms Act. Long a favorite of Rick Santorum, the Fetal Firearms Act would let fetuses carry concealed weapons in the womb. The goal, advocates insist, is to let innocent life protect itself.
Now, all of these ideas may sound crazy. But one person's crazy is another's ideal public policy. As Wayne LaPierre put it:
"If it's crazy to call for putting police in and securing our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy,"