If you’re not from the DC area, you may not have heard of Destination DC. It’s the city’s convention and tourism group that seeks to market all that the city has to offer to potential guests. And, up until the last few weeks, one of the attractions it marketed was the NRA’s National Firearms Museum. This month, however, the group made it clear that they do not feel that historical firearms, some of which were essential parts of this nation’s founding, have any place in DC tourism.
According to an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Destination DC told NRA officials, “We recognize the place that firearms have had in history, but have decided not to run any ads that depict weapons or ammunition at this time.” This fear of even the image of firearms is irrational. Even putting aside the fact that the Smithsonian itself has a collection of priceless firearms that it proudly touts as crucially important artifacts in the establishment of the United States, this refusal to admit that firearms may be anything other than instruments of fear is emblematic of our very “poltically correct” culture.
Many of the firearms in the museum were carried by American heroes and serve as a testament to their sacrifice. Denying that the museum is worth visiting is denying that the history within is worth telling. And denying history for the sake of political points is morally unacceptable. One of the firearms available at the museum is the rifle said to have been used by John Brown during his raid on Harpers Ferry in the events leading up to the Civil War. It was one of the rifles known as “Beecher Bibles” that were shipped to the western states in crates marked “bibles” by abolitionist preacher Henry Ward Beecher. The mother-of-pearl grip pistol used by Annie Oakley as well as a beautiful replica of George Washington’s pistol also sit in the museum.
Perhaps most heartbreaking is a revolver that was carried by NYPD Officer Walter Weaver who lost his life after selflessly attempting to rescue those trapped inside the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The debate over firearms is seemingly at an all time high and certainly some evil people have used firearms for horrible purposes, but countless lives have been saved due to those with firearm carry permits. Our military uses firearms in daily acts of heroism. Athletes in the Olympics have earned our country medals due to their expertise with firearms. It is a shame that in our nation’s capital United States’ history cannot be given the respect it deserves.