Messenger: Canceled NRA event at Grant’s Farm hints at Busch heir’s action after Sandy Hook | Tony Messenger

I confuse my Busches.

There is Adolphus and August. Gussie and Billy. III and IV. So, it’s no surprise that when I went looking for an article the other day that I had written a few years ago about the Busch family and guns, I couldn’t find it. I remembered that after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults, one of the Busch family members resigned his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association.

It was big news at the time. Historically, the Busch family loves their guns almost as much as their beer. I was looking for past coverage because of a new mess involving guns and the Busch family. It turns out, as it has repeatedly in the past, that the NRA organized a fundraiser scheduled for this summer at the historic Busch family estate known as Grant’s Farm. Political fundraisers are common at the resort. But on the heels of the latest massacre of school children by a madman with an AR-15, this time in Uvalde, Texas, this news contained a particularly bad moment for Trudy Busch Valentine, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the United States. . Senate.

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Valentine’s opponents in the primary — Lucas Kunce and Spencer Toder — have jumped on the story, at least in the fleeting space of social media. Really, it was a few hours of hassle for nothing. The three Democrats are opposed to the NRA, in favor of the same gun safety measures, and to opposing polar sides of the gun debate, regardless of which gun-loving candidate wins the Republican primary. .

At the end of the day, Valentine had made a donation to Mom Request Actiona gun safety group, and convinced the family to give up NRA fundraising.

Valentine isn’t the only Busch family member to seek reasonable gun safety. That’s what I was looking for in my failed searches of Google and Post-Dispatch archives. But I was looking for August III, when I needed to look for Adolphus IV. Eventually I found it.

After Sandy Hook, at a time that somewhat resembled the current environment, Congress considered the most basic of gun safety measures, universal background checks. This is an idea that the NRA supported. It is a proposition that the majority of Americans have long supported. NRA-funded Republicans killed the bill.

This led Adolphus Busch IV, a hunter and conservationist, to resign his lifetime membership in the NRA. It was a strong letter, which Busch publicized in the Post-Dispatch and other publications.

“I don’t see how the NRA can ignore the overwhelming will of its members who consider background checks to be reasonable. In fact, according to a Johns Hopkins University study, 74% say they support background checks,” Busch wrote. “I am simply unable to understand how assault weapons and high capacity magazines have a role in your vision. The NRA I see today has undermined the values ​​on which it was established. Your current strategic direction puts the needs of firearms and ammunition manufacturers first while ignoring the opinions of your 4 million individual members.

Nearly a decade later, here we are again, with Democrats pushing for the most progressive gun safety measures and most elected Republicans continuing to mail their constituents with photos of them holding weapons of war, because the NRA transformed the American weapon. obsession into a profit center, as arms manufacturers profit from dead children. This is not hyperbole, by the way. After the school shootings, the arms sales point often.

Former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative, said years ago that the interpretation of the Second Amendment that put the US in this place is a ‘fraud’ . Thomas Coffin agrees. He thinks challenging that point, in the court of public opinion and in state and federal courts, is the only way out of this mess.

Coffin, a native of St. Louis, is a retired federal judge who spent two decades as a prosecutor. The road back to a more accurate interpretation of the amendment should begin the same way the current NRA-fueled view has become so mainstream, he says, with an unbroken drumbeat of education and court cases that can reverse the trend.

“The most important thing is to educate the public,” Coffin tells me. “America has been duped by industry propaganda. Politicians hide behind the blanket. Peel off the fake narrative and go from there.

Coffin has spent his life in a courtroom, and that’s where change needs to happen, with cities and states adopting common-sense gun safety measures that will eventually force gun makers firearms in court where they must be questioned under oath, and a case can be built. Then one day a Valentine, or a Kunce or a Toder, maybe, can come up with the legislation on background checks and ammunition limitation and assault weapon bans that a majority of Americans would like see it become law.

This kind of change will not happen overnight. Until then, maybe we should all go to Grant’s Farm, have a beer and feed the goats. Just keep your weapons at home.

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