The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sandy Hook

December 19, 2012

At NRA museum, sadness and defiance mix

(Continued)

McGinnis, an NRA member for at least two decades, said he's against more weapons bans but supports more background checks. "I as a gun owner don't want someone who's not supposed to have guns to have them. It makes us all look bad," he said, as he walked toward the display case featuring several modern military-style weapons.

After last week's shootings, McGinnis braced himself for plenty of media vitriol against gun owners. "The first thing that crossed my mind was, 'Here we go again," he recalled. "So now I'm going to be punished because someone else did something wrong.' "

But the killings did prompt him to have a school safety talk with his daughter. "I just said to her, 'Listen, if someone walks into your classroom with a gun, attack them. Don't die in a corner. Because I can guarantee you that hiding under a desk won't work.' "

Once he finished his museum tour, McGinnis headed out past the gift shop, toward the NRA campus' basement. He wanted to tour the NRA's gun range.

Jimmy Ha, 28, a Web designer from nearby Falls Church, Va., stopped by the NRA museum Tuesday because he wanted to join the organization. He mainly signed up to get a discount at the gun range. He believes in gun rights, but he worries about the NRA's rhetoric.

"I'm not always a fan because they're kind of divisive," Ha said.

Back in the NRA museum, John Montgomery, a Fairfax City, Va. defense contractor, toured the galleries with his three children — two sons, ages 8 and 17, and a 13-year-old daughter. Everyone snapped photos of the guns, often posing in front of them.

"How about a picture of Timothy in front of the Gatling guns?" Montgomery said, as his 8-year-old lit up.

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