In a move that many are describing as "smart" and long overdue, the National Rifle Association is urging track and field officials across America to begin using live ammunition in their starter pistols.
"Today's landscape is a frightening one," the gun-rights group said in a statement. "More than ever before, we are under siege no matter where we are—at home, our places of business, shopping malls, movie theaters, and on and on."
The statement continued:
"We can no longer expect to be safe, even in places where we've long taken safety for granted. While sitting in the stands and watching a 4x100 relay, for example. And we cannot rely on law enforcement, who may be hundreds of feet away, to react quickly enough when there's trouble. Therefore today we are calling on all freedom-loving track and field officials to swap the blanks in their starter pistols for live rounds."
"On your marks... Set... Lock and load."
The announcement met with universal praise, including from groups that historically have opposed the NRA.
"While we continue to fight the NRA's 'guns everywhere' mentality, we applaud this common-sense effort to ensure the safety of track and field athletes, officials, and fans," said Vasco da Gama, executive director of Americans for Firearm Sanity, a pro-gun control group. "I know that I, for one, will feel more secure at track meets knowing that an official can pivot in an instant from starting a race to taking out a bad guy. And then, I guess, back to starting the race."
To read the NRA's full statement, click here.