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Single Issue

NRA is a single issue organization. Let me repeat that, lest people in the conservative movement forget. NRA is a single issue organization. Red State lists it as selling out, and Instapundit joins in. National Review is echoing that language as well.

Campaign Finance and other such First Amendment issues are typically not the kind of things NRA involves itself in. It did in this case, because it directly affects their ability to communicate with members in order to coordinate to have an impact on the political process. That has been their soul concern. Their opposition to DISCLOSE was a real problem for the Democrats, so the Democrats exempted them from it. Whether that pleases the conservative movement or not, that eliminated NRA’s reason from diverting attention to their primary mission of focusing on Second Amendment issues. To further continue opposition here would move NRA into the realm of First Amendment advocacy, which is a distraction from their primary mission.

Now, that’s not to say I agree with exempting NRA from the bill in an attempt to ram this through Congress. It’s dirty. But this dirt firmly on the hands of the Democratic leadership, who did the carving. I am not agreeing with arguments, such as Erick Erickson from Red State who notes:

In fact, these days I cringe when I see good conservatives with their lifetime member sticker from the NRA on the back of their cars. I support Gun Owners of America, which is a consistent and uncompromising defender of the second amendment, not a weak little girl of an organization protecting itself while throwing everyone else under the bus.

You have an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress here that’s so afraid to be on the wrong side of the “weak little girl of an organization” that it had to find some way, any way, to get them out of the issue. How many other right leaning groups can claim this kind of a track record for their issue? I’ll tell you — none.

With NRA out of the way, the “consistent and uncompromising defenders of the Second Amendment”, GOA, will be utterly powerless to stop this bill, or to get an exemption carved out for themselves. So, by the way, will be the Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, end Mayors Against Illegal Guns, who you can expect to hear much hewing and hawing from over the next few days. In fact, the Brady Campaign is already starting.

Granted, my solution to all this would be to simply not pass the DISCLOSE act entirely, and everyone could be happy, but that’s not what the Dems want. I get tired of people on the right, and particularly Republicans, thinking that NRA is a foil on their mantle to be used at will to spar with their opponents on pet issues. I get this in local politics too, with the GOP getting huffy when we won’t get in line, and get with the program. That’s not how we roll, and before people on the right criticize, I’d point to our success on the issue doing things this way. Every other right leaning group has gotten steam rolled by this Congress, then backed up over, and steam rolled again. Except NRA. They ought to be the model for issue advocacy, on things like taxes, smaller government, and sound fiscal policy. It’s a shame no one seems to be listening, or learning.

UPDATE: Over at RedState, from Moe Lane:

Yes.  You have heard this one before: it was a popular brag among the National Right To Life folks, too.  And look how that turned out for them.

Except that the pro-life issue held up the health care monstrosity for a long time and nearly derailed it. Yes, they got steamrolled in the end, but they put up a good fight on what was the top issue for the Democratic leadership. There are plenty of Democrats who both fear and court the pro-life lobby as well, especially in Pennsylvania. Dan Onorato, who is about as left as they come, has felt the need to at least pay lip service to pro-life concerns, and Bob Casey famously ran as a pro-life Democrat, much like his father. So I wouldn’t say that the pro-life advocacy groups have fared all that poorly in the 111th Congress. I think it’s unfair to suggest their bipartisan strategy has been unsuccessful.

79 Responses to “Single Issue”

  1. mike says:

    Funny that Red State/Erick Erickson mentions NRA’s endorsement of Strickland over the gun banning Kasich as an example of NRA’s “sellout”. Kasich voted for the original ’94 gun ban and against its repeal in 1996.
    Typical partisan hack.

  2. Gene Hoffman says:

    If it makes Brady or LCAV unhappy, it’s almost always good for gun owners.

    Now the act is a horrible 1A violation, but that’s for IJ, ACLU, etc.

    -Gene

  3. Sebastian says:

    I think it ought to get tossed by the Court. I’d like to think having the Dems carving out exemptions for the sake of political expedience makes what they are doing so blatantly transparent, the Courts will have to throw it out.

    Of course, that’s what we thought when McConnell went before the Court, and it didn’t work out too well.

  4. Barry D says:

    GOA will be powerless?

    Hell, when have they ever had any power?

  5. cryptical says:

    GOP partisans seem to want all or nothing when it comes to toeing the party line. I appreciate the NRA for it’s single minded focus on RKBA, just like I like the Tea Partiers for their focus on fiscal issues.

    I don’t agree with this move that exempts the NRA strictly because I disagree with the the whole notion of limiting free speech, but I understand why the NRA made it.

    Once the GOA and JPFO can get over their size envy of the NRA and focus on RKBA without whining, I’ll be able to start taking them serious.

    • Bitter says:

      JPFO doesn’t come into this battle because they can’t participate in these kinds of activities anyway. I’ve already seen that meme around that this is somehow a plot by NRA to screw 501(c)3 groups in the issue – which makes no sense at all since this law has nothing to do with those groups.

  6. Mark Turner says:

    They also endorsed Strickland over Kasich today.

    Kasich supported the 94 Assault Weapons ban and other gun control measures when he was in congress.

    Strickland has been good on the gun issue.

    Actions have consequences.

  7. Dann says:

    Well said Sebastian.

    As a lifelong conservative Republican/borderline Libertarian and Ohioan, I must say that Gov. Strickland (D) has been the most gun-friendly governor in Ohio history. He’s run the rest of the state in the ground, but when it comes to guns he has signed several bills into law that have made our concealed carry laws and castle doctrine better each time.

  8. Dennis says:

    The NRA has sold out on this issue,I am an endowment member and this disgusts me It has gotten to the point in our history or should I say future that it is NO LONGER JUST ABOUT GUNS IT´S ABOUT FREEDOM ALL OF OUR FREEDOMS. THEY GAVE IN BECAUSE THEY WOULD BE ¨ALLOWED¨ TO BE THE ¨ONLY ONES¨.
    I no longer support the NRA with any financial contributions or in any political adventures they may care to engage in. Not when they support Harry Reid The Commie Senator from Nevada. I only Pray that the good people of that Great State have since enough to retire Ol´Harry gosh knows it´s time.

    Dennis
    III
    Texas

  9. Sebastian says:

    Hey, then maybe you’d be better off joining a freedom advocacy group rather than a Second Amendment advocacy group. Sadly, there aren’t many groups out there that advocate freedom generally. Generally speaking that’s because single issue advocacy has a better track record at making a difference.

    That doesn’t mean we as voters have to always vote on single issues, but Harry Reid is good on guns… so is Governor Strickland. So are a lot of Democrats. If you want to make the Second Amendment a partisan issue, that’s fine, but if you did we’d be getting crushed right now. Your gun rights are safe now because we’ve made it a bipartisan issue. Whether you want to admit it or not, you owe your continuing gun rights to Harry Reid being willing to keep gun control off the floor, and being willing to push pro-gun bills.

  10. Dann says:

    @ Dennis
    You may hate the NRA’s support of Harry Reid… and I hate Reid’s politics, but when it comes to guns, Reid has been old reliable for the NRA and essential in getting pro-gun legislation through the U.S. Senate that I’m sure made Obama cringe when he signed it into law.

  11. Life member, here and conservative Republican so I was a bit confused by it all when I first read of this dustup. But after reading your post I’ve got to agree with you. The NRA is a 2nd Amendment issue only organization and that’s that. Plus, I trust Wayne explicitly on gun issues.

    Thanks for clearing it up for me.

  12. Miguel says:

    GOA does not have the ability or power to face congress so it does what it does best: Take credit for what they haven’t done and attack the NRA. There is a gentleman’s agreement between 2A organizations about not attacking each other and agree to disagree in certain issues but GOA does not give a damn about it. It uses that agreement to attack without regards for the damage it may cause to the Second Amendment.
    Now that AHSA is dead and Brady is about to be unplugged, maybe it is time to go after the other enemies of the cause like GOA.

  13. BobinFL says:

    So, what you’re saying is that the NRA, as a “single issue organization” is perfectly justified in cutting whatever odious deal it can on any issue, as long as it serves its narrow purposes with respect to the 2nd amendment?

    How about a law that will round up and incarcerate every registered Republican in re-education camps, unless they are also registered NRA members? OK? You’re fine with the NRA going along with that? Or, perhaps we make all blogs and websites illegal, unless either licensed by the FCC or officially affiliated with the NRA? OK?

    Even single issue advocacy groups live in the real world, and they are affected by policies outside their “pet” issue. While their emphasis is rightfully on that issue — it’s their purpose, after all — there is a certain level of commonality of interest in other, interlocking issues. There’s a reason the Bill of Rights was passed as a group.

    And there’s a certain amount of truth in Ben Franklin’s old saw, that we must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately. But the NRA was just tossed the rest of us under the bus — hoping the bear will eat them last.

    That’s not honorable, it’s despicable.

  14. Former NRA Member says:

    It’s crap like this that led me to quit the NRA years ago. Single issue is simple minded.

  15. Sebastian says:

    BobinFL:

    When it comes down to re-education camps, we’re beyond politically defending the Second Amendment and will be needed to exercise its purposes.

    Keeping the argument in the realm of current political realities, there’s good reasons for keeping single issue. For one, it doesn’t alienate people who might agree with you, but who don’t agree with other broader parts of your coalition. For instance, we’ve not only survived in this Congress, we’ve been able to actually advance our agenda. How many other parts of the conservative movement can say that?

    Wouldn’t it be a good thing if Democrats felt they should adopt deficit reducing policies because they felt they could benefit from it? If you’ve never worked in Washington, you have no idea how many of these right-leaning groups sell out their issue for the sake of partisanship. NRA, to its credit, does not engage in that kind of thing, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that NRA can still work the Hill in this Congress, when other groups are shut out.

  16. Dave R. says:

    NRA is a single issue organization. Let me repeat that, lest people in the conservative movement forget. NRA is a single issue organization.

    I was clear on that long ago, but thanks for the patronization. This is categorically different from the NRA declining to actively adcance some non-gun issue I might like. The NRA didn’t want to be subject to this because it infringes on their 1st amendment rights. But so long as they get a targeted exemption, they’re fine with practically every other association in the country having their 1A rights infringed. That’s not neutrality, that’s collaboration. And they expect to come out of that smelling like roses, with no hard feelings? I too hope the whole law gets overturned, but if it doesn’t I hope the carve-out gets overturned. Equal status under a poor law would be marginally preferable to unequal respect for rights.

  17. CBS says:

    You make a number of fair points, Sebastian. However, the part that I can’t quite square (as a member of the NRA and a Republican) is that if this policy was bad enough that the NRA needed to carve out an exemption for the organization, isn’t it still bad enough to oppose generally?

  18. Sebastian says:

    But ultimately the only reason NRA involved themselves in this is because it interfered with their ability to achieve their primary mission. NRA is not a general First Amendment rights advocacy group.

    Yes, this is a bad law. But Congress passes many bad laws in any given year. The question is how much NRA wants to let itself burn money, political capital, and good will fighting laws that are only ancillary to their core issue.

    NRA spent a lot of money and time arguing McConnell vs. FEC, and in the end they still had to live with the BCRA for 7 years. I can see why if the Dems excepted them, they felt it was the prudent path to drop their opposition and get out of the issue that’s a distraction from their primary purpose.

    And I would note, NRA is not supporting this bill. They are just stepping aside. Other groups are still free to oppose it.

  19. Gene Hoffman says:

    Would everyone who thinks NRA should spend political capital on this issue be happy if that spent capital meant that NRA couldn’t push through DC gun control stripping or nationwide CCW reciprocity?

    I know I’d be angry if NRA spent my dollars fighting this bill at the expense of CCW reciprocity…

    The hardest things for most people to understand are opportunity costs.

    -Gene

  20. Miguel says:

    “But so long as they get a targeted exemption, they’re fine with practically every other association in the country having their 1A rights infringed. That’s not neutrality, that’s collaboration.”

    So where is the Other Organization’s efforts to stop the bill? Why should we be the only ones taking on Congress in this issue? Where are the lobbyist from GOA beating congress people’s doors and confronting them in the streets?

    The NRA is not a Gun Owner’s entitlement program. For $35 a year you cannot expect instant legal results to your liking plus free guns and free ammo. I swear some NRA members behave like Welfare recipients. It is shameful and a disgrace that those members who holler the loudest because the NRA does not make things go away with a wave of the magic wand behave like crack junkies demanding free government cheese.

  21. Tom says:

    “Campaign Finance and other such First Amendment issues are typically not the kind of things NRA involves itself in?” You’re uninformed. The NRA’s monthly magazine First Freedom has had several articles supporting free speech & Citizens’ United. Look at the First-Freedom web site — an article on Citizens’ United. And yes the exemption to Disclose is a short-sighted sell-out: either the government or perhaps some Soros-funded leftist organization will sue the NRA, and seek a retraining order against them from airing their TV ads (which some liberal judge will grant), thus burdening the NRA into spend millions defending themselves, while the election is held without the NRA’s viewpoint being heard. Doesn’t sound like much of a victory to me.

    Second, while the NRA tries to stay neutral between the parties, it’s kidding itself. There are no “blue-dog” democrats in this Congress. They all voted with Obama on health care in the Senate, and were ready to in the House if needed. The NRA shouldn’t be surprised when the red-dogs stick it to them at some critical juncture, perhaps after some deranged shooter goes off somewhere in the country (Fienstein has basically vowed to take advantage of such an opportunity). The NRA is being gamed and they may well not realize it. Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

  22. Sebastian says:

    Sue NRA for the actions of government? How does that work exactly? Also be sure to read that whole sentence, where I mention why NRA has involved itself in the campaign finance issue.

  23. LouisCipher777 says:

    the NRA has been compromising our rights for years, so none of this comes as any surprise. When I realized it, I canceled my membership. “Shall not be infringed” has a very clear and simple meaning, one that the NRA doesn’t seem to care much about any more.

  24. Miguel says:

    LouisCipher777 : Let’s grant your fictitious point for the sake of argument. What’s the effective alternative? GOA? Other than sucking membership monies and faxing statements they haven’t done one thing. Second Amendment Foundation? Great organization, great legal minds and I also belong but they just don’t have the congressional clout. JFPFO? They have great articles but no clout at all.
    The truth is that the only effective group that can exercise pressure in DC is the NRA. There are many gun owners that own guns thanks to the NRA, there are also many gun owners bad mouthing the NRA that have no moral issue ridding the coat tails of the NRA’s successes. To this day I have not met one single “whiner” that has refused to to partake on the fruits of the NRA’s work. I am betting that if McDonald v Chicago goes our way because of the NRA’s presentation at SCOTUS, I will not hear you or any of the whiners say “We will not accept that decision because it came out of the NRA’s work and they compromise. Such would be inmoral and a tainted decision which I will not share.”
    Bet you dollar to donuts you will quietly celebrate.

  25. slick says:

    Nobody is stopping anyone from joining the NRA, GOA, and the Second Amendment Foundation.

    I’m a lifetime NRA member. I’m planning to be a SAF lifetime member in a year or two (need to set aside the cash).

    GAO, I don’t know a lot about. Looking at their website, they set off the petty-detector with “http://gunowners.org/images/goanobel.jpg”. It would be fine, except they insult peanut farmers. There is nothing wrong with peanut farming, and no reason to take that jab. Gratuitous insult = easily-distracted, non-serious lightweight.

  26. tim ferrell says:

    The idea that the NRA is a one issue organization, unless they are not, is an insult to the intelligence of all gunowners and especially the NRA membership.

    The NRA has become what they used to oppose – a moribund bureaucracy whose primary aim is to increase their power and budget by any and all means.

  27. Brett Bellmore says:

    I understand why the NRA, (Of which I’m a life member.) did it. But it’s still stupid: Do they think they can do the whole job themselves? That they don’t need allies? When you’re in a war, an attack on your allies is an attack on YOU. The NRA has just agreed to let the government silence every other pro-gun organization..

    You know why I think they did it? Because they think that, once all the other pro-gun orgs are dead, gun owners will have no option but the NRA.

    “First they came for…

  28. sofa says:

    “you owe your continuing gun rights to Harry Reid being willing to keep gun control off the floor, and being willing to push pro-gun bills.”-Sebastian

    That succinctly describes the NRA position: ‘Rule of Man’ who can grant rights or not, at their whim. So they sleep with the enemy to beg for some rights, please. This also defines Quislings.

    The NRA is world view is repugnant to Americans and our Constitution: Where our rights come from God, and the role of government is to preserve and protect those rights.

    Once again: Where do rights come from? The NRA? Harry Reid?

    Despicable characters like the NRA Quislings are always a burden
    “If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were ever our countrymen.”
    — John Adams

  29. Jerry Fuhrman says:

    Since when is NRA’s “single issue” the NRA?

  30. murph says:

    Yay! Goody Goody Gundrops! I just spent a thousand seconds reading the 30 comments on this blog entry. Please sir may I have some more?!! I need to see who my countrymen like and who they call names so I can— Screw it. Are there any adults left? For 25 years I have seen these attacks on the NRA. I’ve also seen the f’d up ‘laws’ that made law abiding citizens criminals disappear. Read some history. Do the math. Don’t waste time attacking your allies. I hope I’m wrong in predicting the majority of the comments below will be identical the comments above.

  31. NRA: The American Judenrat of the 21st Century.

  32. FatWhiteMan says:

    I have doubts about that RedState site. I wished to comment on their article but had to first create a “login”. I went thru the pains of creating an account, waiting on the confirmation email and then logging in to post my comment only to be told “you have not been registered long enough to comment”. I probably won’t be going back to their site.

  33. setnaffa says:

    There’s a time to make a stand and apparently the NRA was busy stockpiling weapons for the next one instead of staying on guard against the thieves of liberty…

  34. Steve in TN says:

    America is not a single issue nation and no voter should vote single issue, especially in the next two national elections. Voting for a NRA endorsed Reid type candidate anywhere may be a vote for a when-it-suits-them gun friendly Demolibber, but it is also a vote for Cap&Trade, Obamacare, and a host of other gun hostile policies. The bad more than cancels out the good. The NRA is blind to that and that harms us, the 2AM crowd that has to pay for and be crushed under the many bad laws NRA endorsed Liberals enact.

  35. sofa says:

    murph – Speaking of history…

    The history of the Tories is interesting. They benefitted from begging bureacracy for extra tidbits, here and there. Pay-for-play middlemen, benefitting from tyranny. Some were tar-and-feathered. Thousands were killed. Many of the remnants were driven from the States and fled back to England.

    The history of the Quislings is interesting. They benefitted from begging bureacracy for extra tidbits, here and there. Pay-for-play middlemen benefitting from tyranny. Some were hanged. Thousands were killed. Many of the remnants were driven from their homes and villages and cities. Some fled to Germany or Austria. Some came to the United States.

    Do the math. Tories and Quislings were leeches, pay-for-play middlemen benefitting from tyranny. They screwed their fellow countrymen, for personal benefit and to grow their ranks. They were part of the problem.

    Is this the history you were talking about?

  36. Kevin Watson says:

    The NRA has a singular purpose, defending the second amendment, but that does not mean it does so with blinders on to other hazzards that pose a danger to their mission.

    When the Citizens United ruling was announced by the Supreme Court, the NRA’s own press release quoted Wayne LaPierre calling it “… a defeat for arrogant elitists who wanted to carve out free speech as a privilege for themselves and deny it to the rest of us”.

    This shortsighted compromise with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer turns NRA into the ‘arrogant elitists’. It buys the NRA a narrow exemption from regulations that will, if enacted, harm their single issue.

    The two tests for exemption from regulation in this sell-out deal are member identification and financial disclosure. The NRA cannot enjoy this so-called carve out, without opening up their membership roles, and their donation records to show that less than 15% of NRA funds come from corporate donors.

    That’s right, every donation to the NRA is now subject to discovery litigation by anyone challenging their nifty new free speech carve-out.

    The logic behind this blog article is about playing checkers in a game of chess, which is what the NRA appears to have done.

    I’ve been an RKBA activist for over half my life, and count a lot of people who work at NRA as friends of mine, but this is an action that they cannot justify, not in defense of the NRA, not in defense of the second amendment. This is a mistake, and it needs to be undone.

  37. Kim du Toit says:

    What the NRA fails to understand is that the 1A and the 2A are joined at the hip (as are all the first ten Amendments). If one falls, ALL the others are at risk.

    Sorry, but I agree with the man who said that if the law was bad enough for the NRA to get themselves exempted from it, it should not be a law.

    NRA people are always fond of pointing out inconsistencies in the ACLU (nominally, the umbrella “freedom” lobbying group except for that pesky 2A). Well, now they’ve become the ACLU’s spitirual bedmates.

    By supporting a law that applies to some but not to others, the NRA is in essence saying that “only the big guys can play” when it comes to protecting our rights.

    That attitude is profoundly un-American, and about as far from the spirit of this republic as you can get.

    Shame on the NRA, and shame on gun owners who support this action.

  38. Rmarkob says:

    Kevin Watson (#39) took the words right out of my mouth. I just finished reading the article celebrating the Citizens United case in my America’s First Freedom magazine. Looks like the NRA’s support of the 1st Amendment has a price and a shelf life.

  39. Sebastian says:

    Lots to catch up on, so bear with me.

    Sofa:

    That succinctly describes the NRA position: ‘Rule of Man’ who can grant rights or not, at their whim.

    Way to mischaracterize the issue. Reid is Majority Leader. He controls the Senate floor. He can make sure pro-gun bills and amendments get to the floor for a vote, and also make sure anti-gun bills stay off. In this role, Reid has been more pro-gun than a lot of Republicans. I would also remind you that if we don’t flip the Senate in November, and get rid of Harry Reid, we’ll have Dick Durbin or Chuck Schumer in that role. How’s that sound for gun rights?

    Kevin Watson:

    What makes you think NRA will be subject to lawsuits for the action of the government? It’s the government causing the harm, not NRA. Did you run your theory past a lawyer first?

    Steve in TN:

    You’re asking NRA to be a general conservative organization. How well do you think that’s going to work for gun rights? How well has it worked for other groups in DC who aren’t as willing to work with Democrats? NRA’s single focus has been very effective for their one issue. If we had a group so dedicated to fiscal prudence, we never would have had the health care monstrosity rammed down our throats.

    Kim:

    I agree this shouldn’t be law. But neither NRA nor I am supporting the law, and as a citizen, I’m still going to oppose it. NRA is just bowing out of opposition to the law, which is different than endorsing it. I can continue opposition, as can we all… but NRA’s reason for stepping outside its core mission is gone.. so back they go. It doesn’t always feel good, but it’s hard, I think, to argue it hasn’t been effective.

  40. Fiftycal says:

    Yah. The law sucks. IF it is passed. And the ACLU will take it to court. And the law will be overturned. Maybe by 2015. Anyone realize what that date is? AFTER the Presidential election. And after this years election. So, IF the law passes, NRA will NOT be hindered like other organizations. And that is in it’s MISSION to preserve gun rights. NRA is NOT a “republican” organization. And people should damn well recognize that FACT. This isn’t tiddle-winks. It’s NUKLEAR CHESS on a national scale. Try thinking past this week.

  41. Jon says:

    The NRA has become an institution – more interested in preserving it’s power and influence than in securing 2nd amendment rights for citizens.

    The NRA backed away from the opportunity to shut down the BATF because they need them as a boogeyman to raise money.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearm_Owners_Protection_Act

  42. Kim du Toit says:

    “NRA is just bowing out of opposition to the law, which is different than endorsing it.”

    No, they’re bowing out of opposition AFTER first securing an exemption for themselves, and tossing other gun rights orgs under the bus to appease the crocodile and clear the field for themselves.

    This isn’t “pragmatism”; it’s cynicism. Mike Vanderboegh (above) has the truth of it.

  43. scott says:

    Thank you Kevin for the Chamber of Commerce point of view.

  44. scott in phx az says:

    Life member of NRA for 40 years here, and I still advocate being a member despite my criticisms of it. If there had been 20 million members at any time over the last 30 years the legislative history would probably be a lot different.

    And I disagree strongly with those more strident critics of it (and we know who they are) who write it off entirely because the NRA hasn’t fought the battle the way they want it to be fought. Its partly because of people like them that there weren’t 8, or 10, or 20 million members when it was needed.

    To them I say you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face when you refuse to be a part of the solution rather than an opposition to the major player in the issue..

    But, on this issue the NRA is totally off base and it is decisions like these that give those critics the reason to write them off. And, this kind of decision makes even me pretty disgusted with them.

    It is pretty craven to accept a carve out to protect the NRA’s ability to exercise free speech in return for dropping opposition to a general assault on free speech. Kind a looks like the backroom dealing on the healthcare bill doesn’t it?

    If the NRA can’t bend their “single issue” rules enough to defend the 1st amendment as strongly as the 2A (at least so far as this issue goes) then I can’t give them the support I used to.

  45. Sebastian says:

    The NRA backed away from the opportunity to shut down the BATF because they need them as a boogeyman to raise money.

    Where exactly was this opportunity they backed down from?

  46. Sebastian says:

    Sorry, I missed the link…. FOPA was not an opportunity to shut down ATF. FOPA was a multi-year fight, and in the end we were lucky to get what we got, which wasn’t all of what we wanted.

  47. Sebastian says:

    Most of the other gun groups are 501(c)(3)s and aren’t affected by the bill regardless. SAF, JPFO, CalGuns Foundation… all 501(c)(3) status. GOA is a notable exception, but I wouldn’t expect NRA to spend resources fighting for their right to speak when all they do is throw shit at NRA.

  48. Sebastian says:

    No, they’re bowing out of opposition AFTER first securing an exemption for themselves, and tossing other gun rights orgs under the bus to appease the crocodile and clear the field for themselves.

    The Dems were going to ram this through until NRA stepped in and threatened to grade it. It’s likely they would have rammed it through anyway if NRA didn’t take the deal. Or at least tried to ram it through. Maybe they should have held firm, but I also understand why, after spending a lot of money and resources fighting BCRA, and then spending more money and resources bringing McConnell v. FEC, and then still having to live under the BCRA regime for seven years, they decided they had bigger fish to fry than this, and took the deal.

    I agree the bill sucks, even with the exception. As a citizen I hate it. But I’m blaming the people who are pushing this bill.

  49. Sebastian says:

    If the NRA can’t bend their “single issue” rules enough to defend the 1st amendment as strongly as the 2A (at least so far as this issue goes) then I can’t give them the support I used to.

    Defending the First Amendment isn’t their mission. They are the National Rifle Association, not the ACLU, or the Bill of Rights Foundation. It might seem myopic, but it works.

  50. scott in phx az says:

    Sebastion,

    I said “as far as this issue goes”, I don’t advocate they become another ACLU.

    Just that they don’t accept restrictions for others free speech as they carve out an exception for themselves.

    They should have opposed the restrictions period. Would they accept abrogation of the 4th amendment as long as NRA or NRA members were exempt?

    No, NRA is flat wrong on this.

    Scott

  51. Steve in TN says:

    @SebastionYou’re asking NRA to be a general conservative organization.

    No, I’m not. I’m asking the NRA to be a Gun Rights organization that recognizes there are more than Gun Rights that makes this nation America.

    Here’s what the NRA does. In the imaginary land of Coloropea an organization fights for the right of being Purple. They endorse politicians and back laws that promote and protect the rights of Purple. However, they do not care about the colors Blue and/or Yellow. They endorse politicians and negotiate laws that abridge the rights of Blue and Yellow. Thus they end up endorsing politicians and allowing to stand laws that harm the rights of Purple.

    That is the NRA. There are more God given – Natural – rights that make up the meaning of American than just the right to defend one’s self, family, and home. The NRA chooses to endorse politicians and negotiate laws that harm Gun Rights by attacking other natural rights. We must fight for freedom of speech, assembly, self determination, etc… for our right to arm for self defense to be valid. The NRA allows politicians and laws to attack those rights and thereby harm the Second Amendment rights we should otherwise enjoy.

  52. Sebastian says:

    Just that they don’t accept restrictions for others free speech as they carve out an exception for themselves.

    I wouldn’t look at is as NRA carving out an exemption for themselves, so much as the Democrats looking for a way to remove NRA as an obstacle to the bill. Once NRA’s concerns are addressed, further opposition serves what purpose from a Second Amendment point of view?

  53. Sebastian says:

    No, I’m not. I’m asking the NRA to be a Gun Rights organization that recognizes there are more than Gun Rights that makes this nation America.

    Then if you’re not asking them to be a general conservative organization, you’re at least asking them to not be a single issue organization, and to spend resources taking up advocacy on other issues, which are outside of NRA’s core mission.

  54. David says:

    They carved out a specific exemption for themselves to the disadvantage of other groups that want the same thing they do. Disgusting.

    I am not now a member of the NRA because they spent more trying to get me to donate more money than my membership cost.

  55. Steve in TN says:

    @Sebastian Then if you’re not asking them to be a general conservative organization, you’re at least asking them to not be a single issue organization, and to spend resources taking up advocacy on other issues, which are outside of NRA’s core mission.

    Again, no I am not. I am asking them to NOT endorse candidates and to NOT negotiate laws that harm our other equally important natural rights.

  56. Sebastian says:

    OK… so you’re not asking them to stop being a single issue organization, but are asking them not to support politicians who are good on their single issue, because they are bad on other issues outside that single issue.

    I’m not sure I follow.

  57. Bitter says:

    He wants them to stop lobbying & stop endorsements. I think he wants to shut down ILA.

  58. Some Guy says:

    People aren’t angry about this because NRA is a single issue organization, they’re angry because NRA is attempting to make the Second Amendment a single organization issue.

    NRA struck a deal with with Congressional Democrats to limit political speech from everyone on the Second Amendment, BUT THEM. They are trying to shut down the generally more effective upstarts on the gun rights side that are stealing NRA’s thunder.

    Giving the NRA, which has been an ineffective joke for about 5 years now, a monopoly on gun rights advocacy is not a prescription for expanding protection of your fundamental rights.

  59. Sebastian says:

    So they are an ineffective joke, but you’re pissed at them because they scared the Dems into cutting them out of the bill. Something doesn’t line up in that statement.

  60. Steve in TN says:

    No, I want them to be more circumspect on just who they endorse and what laws they negotiate. Being buddy-buddy with Harry Reid (I keep picking on that because it is timely and easy) got Obamacare passed which has harmful aspects for 2AM issues. The DISCLOSE thing is also harmful.

    I follow you, I think. You think they should be blind about matters other than 2AM rights. I don’t think they can afford to be blind and support 2AM rights. All our natural rights must remain intact for any of them to matter. By being blind to non-2AM matters when they endorse a candidate and push for legislation/regulation they end up undermining 2AM by eroding the other natural rights that team with 2AM to uphold Liberty.

    This isn’t about Part affiliation, this is about being American and fighting to keep our Liberty. We either hold these truths to be self evident or we do not. They can not be separated. They must remain whole or they will fall. Any organization that acts “destructive” to any of our natural rights is not in the end defending the right to which they claim to support.

    Fight for 2AM rights. Endorse pro-2AM candidates. Great! But, in doing so try to make sure the battles and the candidates support Liberty. That’s what I ask and is what I see as a failing of the NRA.

  61. Sebastian says:

    As a citizen, I agree with you Steve. I’m not personally a single issue voter. But as an NRA member, expect them to be singularly focused on preserving the Second Amendment, and not much else that isn’t directly related to that mission. As a volunteer for NRA, I’m singularly focused on that issue.

    The reason? Because it’s effective. I can’t save the whole Bill of Rights. But I can save one small part of it. If everyone picked their favorite, and we had effective organizations, each pushing an amendment along the same lines NRA does, the Bill of Rights would be in far better shape today than it is.

  62. scott in phx az says:

    ” wouldn’t look at is as NRA carving out an exemption for themselves” -

    but thats what they did.

    No, in this instance falling back on “single issue” defense is craven. If you are going to defend the right to free speech in order to defend the right to keep and bear arms then defend the right to free speech (for that reason) for all. Don’t throw everbody else under the bus.

  63. Sebastian says:

    Why should it be NRA’s job to defend everyone’s free speech?

  64. scott in phx az says:

    “Why should it be NRA’s job to defend everyone’s free speech?”

    Everyones free speech – to defend the 2A.

    Well, how about to stop the critics that think they are throwing other 2A advocates under the bus for their own (selfish) reasons. I don’t think they are doing that to destroy the 2A competition, but many people do.

    But over that, in this instance the 1A becomes as important as the 2A. As a Life Member of the NRA for 40 years I think they should have taken a principled stand for both.

  65. And the GOA has had how many of their legislative issues passed by Congress? Oh, yeah…..

  66. Why should it be NRA’s job to defend everyone’s free speech?

    I’d settle for the NRA defending their rights to free speech, rather than accepting an exception.

    You say that Dems offered the exemption after the NRA told all comers that they would grade the vote. Why?

    Doesn’t have anything to do with guns, does it?

    Does it?!

    Oh ….. wait ….. it has to do with curtailing a gun rights’ organiations’ freedom of speech.

    Hey, but that’s not the NRA’s issue, you know.

    Now, I believe that the NRA had every right to grade the DISCLOSE vote (nay, the obligation to), and instead of accepting the Dem offer, they should’ve let them try to ram it through, and then graded the vote. I also think they should have automagically graded anyone who co-sponsored that legislation.

    But now, they won’t have to give out any low grades to any incumbents, and they don’t even have to worry about DISCLOSE. At least, not yet ……

    Here’s what the most distasteful part about this is: the NRA refuse to step up to the plate and tell the world, ‘Hey, we fucked up ….. but we’re going to make it right.’

    I cannot trust the NRA.

  67. Unfrozen Caveman says:

    “Single issue organization,” huh? I guess I’m just a simple, unfrozen caveman lawyer, because I always thought the real point of defending the right to keep and bear arms was to ensure the government would never be able to infringe on the other fundamental rights, like political speech and the right to petition for redress of grievances.

  68. sofa says:

    “I would also remind you that if we don’t flip the Senate in November, and get rid of Harry Reid, we’ll have Dick Durbin or Chuck Schumer in that role. How’s that sound for gun rights?” -Sebastian

    Those rights exist, with or without Harry or the NRA.

    The rights are inalienable. And the Constitution acknowledges them.

    If you don’t think so, then consider yourself a Tory and join the NRA in begging the crown for more gruel.

  69. Sebastian says:

    That’s great. When the jews were gassed in Auschwitz, I’m sure it was great comfort to them that they retained the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, despite the nazis.

    Let me know when you’re ready to start existing in the real world.

  70. Kevin Watson says:

    responding to Sebastian,

    Do a little research on 501c(4) issue ads and the usual response when those ads are run by conservative, or pro-gun orgs, and you’ll understand what type of legal jeopardy the NRA has potentially placed its members in with this compromise. The language that Pelosi has used to buy the NRA’s silence on this bill is snake oil, pure and simple. On its face, the NRA would appear to be exempted from the bill’s infringement, since the bill exempts groups that have over 1 mil members, members in all 50 states, have been in biz for at least 10 years and receive less than 15% of their revenue from corporate sources. But the problem is in order to qualify as exempt from disclosure, the only way you can prove you qualify, is to disclose your members and their donations.

    If the NRA were to ever exercise their perceived exemption by running ads that would be otherwise subject to disclosure, a well funded political opponent (oh I don’t know, maybe an obnoxiously rich gun grabbing mayor of a big town in New York) might fund a lawsuit against the NRA, claiming they don’t qualify for the exemption and asking the court for legal discovery to establish whether they do or do not meet the tests established by law in the exemption. These battles would have to be fought over an over again, just as groups must continue to engage in legal defense of free speech protected by supreme court precedent set int he 1970′s in Buckley v. Valeo. This amendment doesn’t remove the burden of first amendment litigation from the NRA’s speech, rather it creates an even more challenging environment for the NRA to defend its efforts at free speech.

    The heart of why this was a bad move by the NRA is that it doesn’t even do what they imagine it does. It does not protect its members from the assault on free speech plotted by Pelosi and Schumer.

    Just as Neville Chamberlin’s ill-fated compromise with Nazi Germany didn’t earn the people of Britain any long term safety, the NRA’s latest deal making with Pelosi and Schumer will not provide for any long term protections for its members. But it will cause strife for the NRA with many of their allies in Congress and in political groups whom the NRA has much more in common than the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Further, it will cause gun owners who have spent the last ten years reading about NRA’s commitment to the principles of freedom, including the first amendment, to doubt the group’s sincerity and effectiveness in standing up for both. And that is a shame, because we need a powerful and effective NRA. For members who are upset with this action, I’d encourage you not to abandon the group, or withold financial support, but to stridently communicate your opposition to this action and demand the NRA come to their senses. Just because a few staffers in DC shot the movement in the foot, doesn’t mean we need to fire more rounds in a circular firing squad.

  71. Ken says:

    That’s great. When the jews were gassed in Auschwitz, I’m sure it was great comfort to them that they retained the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, despite the nazis.

    No, but I bet it was to the Jews in Warsaw in ’43…and had they been slower to go along to get along ten years before, neither Auschwitz nor Warsaw might have happened.

    That said, Kevin Watson wins Most Sensible Post of the Day. Mr. Watson, where you want your Internets sent?

  72. Former NRA Member says:

    If a bill had been proposed to send Jews to death camps, would it be OK with Sebastian for the NRA to agree not to oppose the bill as long as Jewish NRA members were exempted? Just askin’.

  73. Sebastian says:

    By the time we’re voting to send people to camps… the NRA won’t matter anymore. But we’re not voting to send people to camps, are we?

    My point with the last post was you can say it’s your natural right until you’re blue in the fact. That doesn’t matter in the real world. In the real world politicians make law, and if you don’t get off your ass, get involved, and make them follow the rules, all the natural rights in the world aren’t going to help you. My point is that natural rights are a small comfort when they come smack up against reality. They are a theoretical construct. You can’t depend on their existence to protect you. People who do are copping out and making excuses for doing nothing.

  74. Former NRA Member says:

    I understood and agree with your point that natural rights are subject to infringement and must be protected. Nevertheless, the argument “justifying” the NRA’s position on the legislation actually being proposed also “justifies” the hypothetical position on death camp legislation I describe. Saying that “we’re not voting to send people to death camps” does not respond to that point.

  75. Sebastian says:

    It’s kind of a Sofie’s Choice situation you’re describing, really. I don’t’ pretend accepting the deal is a good choice. It’s not. But you don’t always have great choices. In the real world things are seldom that clear, both strategically and morally.

    So the solution to the Nazis was, overall, to fight and destroy them. I don’t think anyone argues with that. But if someone had been able to cut a deal to keep most of the Jews in a ghetto from going to the gas chambers… would that have been an amoral deal? I don’t think that’s an easy question either.

  76. Former NRA Member says:

    Pelosi has pulled the act because of opposition from Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus. What does it say about the NRA that these two groups opposed the bill after the NRA promised not to?

  77. Sebastian says:

    It says that the votes of 95 Democratic Congress Critters are really important when you have 198 Republicans who are already opposing the bill.

  78. murph says:

    Well crud. I apologize to 13 reasonable commentators that preceded mine. I’m chagrined at being distracted from the reasonable comments by the 10 wakjobs comments. @22 ‘opportunity costs’ +10!!, your comment wins this debate. @sofa I apologize for unclear statements Read histories on this issue from the last 25 years comparing number of negatives to number of positives. Subtract – from + per each year. Research NRA involvement in each year. I’ll even let you determine +/- on your own. You might ask yourself if your own role as a ‘Usefull Idiot’ also makes you a Quisling.

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