Tomorrow the NRA issues its first statement about the Newtown massacre. It promises to "offer meaningful contributions."
But don't think they'll support any kind of weapons ban.
NRA fundraising letters have warned for years about a secret Obama agenda to ban assault weapons, and last year Wayne La Pierre got up and said, "The president will remind us he's put off calls from his own party to renew the old Clinton gun ban, saying he's actually been good for the second amendment. But it's a big, fat, stinking lie."
So if you think the NRA is going to accept any kind of ban I've got a Mayan calendar to sell you.
But here's what it COULD do.
I was an NRA member for a while. I got a plastic card, and window sticker - better than a security alarm sticker by the way - and I ended up on a mailing list for various special offers.
But there was no initiation, no pledge to sign, nothing.
What if NRA membership stood for a level of personal responsibility. Suppose as a condition of membership weapon owners had to provide proof of training. Suppose you had to pledge to store your weapons securely - subject to inspection by an NRA official. Suppose you had to pledge NOT to attend movies that glorify the misuse of weapons, or pledge to boycott arms manufacturers whose ads play to angry young men, or video games that award points for killing?
The NRA is right - guns don't fire themselves. But when a country's gun culture is as casual as ours has become -- they might as well.