I have 20 questions for the National Rifle Association — one for each of the schoolchildren massacred Friday in Newtown, Conn.:

1. Why, more than 24 hours after the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, had no NRA official uttered a single word of sympathy for the victims?

2. Why, over the same period, did your Twitter feed go silent?

3. Why, whenever the United States suffers yet another mass murder by a lone gunman bristling with semi-automatic weapons, do your supporters insist that “this is not the time” to debate this nation’s NRA-fueled obsession with firearms?

4. If this isn’t the time to talk about gun control, when is?

5. A recent “Gun of the Week” in the NRA publication American Rifleman was the DRD Paratus-16, described as “a quick break down semi-automatic rifle (that) can be assembled in less than a minute without the use of tools.” Why is assembly time so important?

6. Uncle Henry’s website currently lists more than 900 items under “firearms” — including numerous handguns. Why does the NRA vehemently oppose any effort to require background checks on buyers of those weapons?

7. Why do you fight with equal ferocity against mandatory background checks at gun shows?

8. What is the purpose of a magazine that contains 100 rounds of ammunition?

9. Why, on your “NRA Store” website, do you feature a cloth baby bib with colorful blocks that spell “NRA?”

10. Why, on the same site, do you offer a “Camo Marshmallow Shooter” with “an easy-to-fill magazine tube (that) holds up to 25 marshmallows for rapid fire action?”

11. Have you no shame?

12. Currently there are an estimated 300 million guns in the United States — almost one for every American and by far the highest concentration of privately owned weaponry in the world. In the NRA’s view, how many guns in this country are too many?

13. After NBC’s Bob Costas said pro-football player Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins would still be alive had Belcher not owned a gun, NRA President Wayne LaPierre accused Costas of “trying to piggyback his agenda on the back of this national tragedy.” What say you now, Mr. LaPierre?

14. Ralph Nader on Friday called the NRA “the enabler of mass murder.” Can the NRA prove him wrong?

15. A tearful President Obama on Friday called for “meaningful action” to prevent future mass shootings. Will the NRA use those two words to urge its members to go out and stockpile more guns?

16. On the same day that a man with a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle and two handguns killed 27 people in Newtown, a man with a knife attacked 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in China. If, as the NRA is so fond of saying, “guns don’t kill people – people kill people,” how do you explain the fact that in China, nobody died?

17. Has the NRA ever seen a piece of gun-control legislation it didn’t consider a threat to the Second Amendment?

18. If Adam Lanza were a member of the NRA, would you posthumously denounce him?

19. Has any member of the NRA’s senior staff ever visited the scene of a mass shooting?

20. What if they were your children?

Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:

bnemitz@mainetoday.com