Why is the NRA so paranoid?

From Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President:

Help Fight the Socialist Wave

“President Trump’s election, while crucial, can’t turn away the wave of these new European style socialists bearing down upon us … How about Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bill DeBlasio, Andrew Cuomo, Corey Booker, Christopher Murphy and Keith Ellison … they hide behind labels like ‘Democrat,’ ‘left-wing,’ and ‘progressive’ to make their socialist agenda more palatable, and that’s terrifying.”

Why is the NRA so paranoid about the Second Amendment and its interpretation? Why not embrace some positive self-policing of gun ownership instead of interpreting every discussion about limiting access or requiring responsible behavior of gun owners as a hysterical attack on America, Americans and the Second Amendment? We believe the NRA would gain a huge amount of credibility with and support from centrist Americans of all political stripes if they adopted a less shrill and less paranoid political stance. Nothing is going to eliminate gun-related deaths, but every American should be deeply interested in reducing gun-related homicides, suicides and mass shootings. If the NRA is truly behind strengthening the Second Amendment, then it should be 100% behind efforts at suicide and homicide study and prevention. It is cowardly–and incorrect–of people (and organizations) to claim that those homicides, suicides and mass shootings would occur anyway by some other mechanism; maybe some (or even most) would, but the ease and rapidity can be reduced, thereby reducing the number of deaths. All Americans should want to do so. Our Constitution is comprised of many rights and guidelines, and no single article or amendment can supersede the others. It is (and always will be) a constant balancing act, with citizens, politicians and courts bearing responsibility for vigilance in maintaining the integrity of all parts of our Constitution.

An AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon. From the NRA website, “10 Reasons to Own an AR-15“:

Regardless of why we, as Americans, choose to own AR-15 rifles, we will always face the scoffers—Second Amendment deniers who would be happy to take away our right to own any gun. In the end, we don’t need to puzzle for answers to anyone who rudely asks us, “Why do you need an AR-15?” Instead, we should simply ask our own question: “Why should the government be able to deny us the constitutionally protected right to own one?”

Owning an AR-15 is as uniquely American as baseball, apple pie and the Second Amendment. It’s a classic example of American exceptionalism, independence and ingenuity—all the things that make us the land of the free and home of the brave.

After mass shootings occur in schools, theaters, nightclubs or elsewhere, both sides in the gun control debate claim it’s “time to unite” with others on their side to keep the “enemy” at bay. All this appears to do is further polarize Americans over a topic on which there should be less frenzy and more deliberation, facts and discussion. We feel the NRA quote above is offensive, claiming it’s rude to ask someone why they need an AR-15. Why is it “rude”? It may be a sincere question inviting discussion and greater understanding. The NRA quote also implies that if you’re not 100% on “their side” then you’re in some way not a real American. Bullshit.