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It’s one thing to put your foot in your own mouth …

… and quite another to put your foot in 5 million other people’s mouths. After a tragedy, NRA usually doesn’t have much to say other than thoughts and prayers for the family. And why would they? Let the media and politicians start throwing blame in NRA’s direction; it only makes it stronger. The debate is going to come to us regardless, so it makes sense for our side take the high road while nerves are still raw, and let the other side be the ones seen as not letting a crisis go to waste. Of course, it would be nice if everyone were on board with this.

The media, of course, quickly picked up on Cotton’s post, and before he could even delete it, headlines went around like: “NRA Board Member blames victims for church massacre.” Here’s what Charles Cotton actually wrote on a Texas gun forum Jun 18:

And [State Senator Clementa Pinckney] voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.

I think some of the headlines about this were overwrought, but that’s not to excuse Cotton’s statement. I have no disagreement with repealing government mandated restrictions on carrying in churches. Whether or not carry is allowed in a church should be between a church and its parishioners, not between a church, it’s parishioners, and the state. Even if carry were legal in churches in South Carolina, it would seem very likely none of the parishioners would have been carrying. I agree they should have the choice, but I don’t think the law in this case would have fundamentally changed the outcome.

But I don’t want to detract from the main issue here: whether it’s appropriate to second guess the voting record of a Senator who was ruthlessly murdered only the evening before, and on top of that to do it on a public forum as an NRA Board member. The answer for me is an emphatic no.

NRA Board members have one thing, just one thing to do in the wake of a tragedy like this: shut up. We’ll have our say eventually.

Cutting the Administration’s Funding

I just got this from NRA:

Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today lauded the passage of H.R. 2578, the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act (CJS), which contained strong pro-Second Amendment provisions aimed at stopping the Obama Administration from enacting its gun control agenda through executive action.

“On behalf of the NRA’s five-million members, I want to thank House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers and House CJS subcommittee Chairman John Culberson for their leadership in fighting against the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director NRA-ILA. “Their hard work and unwavering commitment to protecting our freedoms resulted in a strong pro-Second Amendment piece of legislation. The NRA will continue to work with Congress to prevent President Obama from imposing his back door gun control agenda on the American people.”

Among the key measures in the House CJS Appropriations bill are:

  • a prohibition on the use of funds for “Operation Choke Point,” a program that chokes off banking services to legitimate businesses;
  • a prohibition on funds to prevent the Obama Administration from banning commonly used ammunition, such as M855;
  • a prohibition on the use of funds to prevent the Justice Department (or any government entity) from spending taxpayer dollars on “gun walking” programs such as the flawed and controversial “Operation Fast and Furious”;
  • a prohibition on the use of funds to maintain any record or gun registry on multiple rifle or shotgun sales to law-abiding individuals;
  • a prohibition of funds for collecting data regarding a person’s race or ethnicity on a Form 4473 when purchasing a firearm.

That should help, but they’re still working on 41P, among other things. But it does show we can control the purse strings. Though, keep in mind this Administration is currently in court over spending money they weren’t authorized to spend, so this is no guarantee he won’t just do it anyway.

Remember that Yahoo Hit Piece on NRA?

YellowJournalism

The Washington Free Beacon did a follow up piece on it, and the BS continues to unravel. The Free Beacon talked to actual experts and not just Democratic Party operatives:

Donald F. McGahn, a former commissioner and chairman of the FEC, said the misdirected donations are not a major lapse and are unlikely to draw significant attention from the federal government.

“It’s not uncommon,” he said. “Not the first time this has happened. Won’t be the last time it’ll happen to somebody similarly situated. This isn’t a big deal. Previous reports, I think, were way overblown.”

McGahn said he does not believe the violation is serious.

“What you look for isn’t so much the ‘gotcha’ glitch, it’s did they discover it? Did they take corrective action? Did they unwind whatever happened? In this case it looks like they did.”

As I said before, those accusations were way too juicy for an outfit to the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, or other mainstream news outlet, none of which are friendly to NRA or our cause, to decline running with it. That had to have meant there were flaws even today’s journalists and editors could see through.

Federal Election Laws and the Internal Revenue Code are both byzantine labyrinths of rules and regulations. Even the regulators don’t really understand them all. That article from beginning to end was finding technical violations and trying to peddle them as serious an unprecedented, passing off DNC stooges as experts on the matter.

A Harbinger of Federal Action on Suppressors?

It’s a good omen when Chris Cox is bringing the Josh Waldron, President of SilencerCo, out to the annual Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation Congressional Shoot-Out:

This would be an indicator that NRA is doing the necessary ground work to push for having suppressors removed from the National Firearms Act at some point in the future. If we have a favorable outcome in 2016, something like that might make a good second term project for a Second Amendment friendly Administration. Though, maybe I’m being wildly optimistic. I’m probably being wildly optimistic.

2A Rally Photos

Yesterday was the 10th Annual 2A Rally at the PA Capitol. Pictures can be found here. I have not gone for several years. Mainly because we’re not facing any major threats. The situation in Pennsylvania is this: With the GOP firmly in control of the legislature, we’re not likely to see any bad bills. With Governor Wolf in the Governor’s mansion, we’re not likely to get anything done. So for the next four years, it’s a stalemate unless the Democrats manage to gain seats in the legislature. The other issue is numbers. Illinois does their IGOLD rally day which was turning up thousands. That’s many people makes an impression on legislators, especially when you can get repeatability every year. We’ve always struggled with that in Pennsylvania. Illinoisans had issues that galvanized their grassroots. We don’t have anything like that here in Pennsylvania.

I’m not saying don’t go, but if you do, I’d head in after the speeches to your lawmaker’s office and try to speak with them one-on-one about your concerns as a gun owner. If you can bring someone else from the district too, that would be even better. I’m big on the impact of direct contact with lawmakers. Not so much on rallies and protests, unless you can turn out numbers that wow lawmakers. That’s a hard thing to do without an issue or threat that galvanizes people.

Knife Rights a New Front in the Second Amendment

Andrew Branca notes that Freddy Grey’s knife was, in fact, illegal. We need to repeal all knife laws. Laws against sharp pointy things are even more ridiculous than gun control. Even Bloomberg News is recognizing that Knife Rights have become the new gun rights. Of course, I wouldn’t agree gun rights have gotten old, but the Second Amendment isn’t just about firearms, it should be about all personal weapons, armor, and other accouterments.

Against my better judgement, I became involved in a comment discussion on this article that appeared in Raw, accusing the NRA of not caring about the rights of African-Americans, because they weren’t standing up for the Second Amendment rights of Freddy Grey. I viewed my goal in this to dispel myths, rather than sling insults back at people. I do not speak for NRA, but in my opinion, when defending the organization online, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using “we” if you’re a member. It is, at the end of the day, your organization, and it helps people understand this isn’t just about some nefarious gun lobby:

Myth Number 1: NRA doesn’t care about the rights of someone like Freddy Grey. For one, even though NRA is not directly involved in knife rights, KnifeRights.org is a lot of the same people, and there’s cooperation. We are working to try to repeal and preempt the kinds of laws that got Freddy Grey into the situation that got him killed.

Myth Number 2: NRA doesn’t care about the rights of blacks. Gun rights is only for white people. No, we stand for the right of all peaceable people to keep and bear arms for self-protection. Gun control is actually far more burdensome for poor blacks to exercise their rights than it is for white people who can more often afford license fees, training classes, and to live in communities they aren’t likely to get harassed by the cops.

Myth Number 3: NRA is just the sales arm of the gun industry. It’s amazing how many people have a genuine and sincere belief that this is actually true. I believe it’s a deliberate self-deception at times, because if you’re for restricting the freedoms of millions of Americans, some of whom might be a lot like you, that kind of makes you a real killjoy. But if you’re fighting against some nefarious imagined “gun industry,” well, that’s just sticking it to the corporate man, and you one can think oneself a hero of the common man.

These were the common myths. Of course you had plenty of crap like this:

Niger [Innis]? he’s another self hating black man, who hates his race. Tell me about Wayne LaPiere’s lack of racism. Tell me about Pedophile Nugent’s lack of racism. When the NRA leaders stop making speeches about rebelling against the government, and attacking blacks and Mexicans, I’ll believe there;s no racism in the NRA. until then, the NRA is nothing but an organization dedicated to scaring ignorant white people into buying guns, out of fear of a black president and brown and black people.

He’s not speaking about the actual National Rifle Association, but instead a caricature of the organization constructed partly by the writer’s vivid imagination, partly by agitators who work very hard to divide Americans against one another, and partly by Ted Nugent, who is the former type’s wet dream, since he self-caricatures.

As an organization, NRA needs a lot more people like Sheriff Clark speaking for the organization, and a lot fewer people like Ted Nugent. Knife Rights, for its part, responded very well, I thought, to the current events happening in Baltimore.

The Magazine Battle in Colorado

Most everyone is aware of the effort by Senate Republicans in Colorado to repeal Colorado’s post-Sandy Hook gun control laws. That effort runs into issues in the Democratically controlled house, and then finally with Governor Hickenlooper. So you’d think of the Democrats conceded that maybe they went too far, and they’d be willing to consider a bill that would ease the magazine ban to 30 rounds, you’d jump at that right?

Not Dudley Brown. See more at the Denver Post:

“It is unforgivable that it is RMGO and not Michael Bloomberg keeping me from buying a 30-round magazine,” Caldara said Friday. “Just as every gun owner needs to know who was behind the terrible gun laws in 2013 — Bloomberg and Gov. John Hickenlooper — every gun owner needs to know that Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is stopping a huge step toward fixing it.”

Dudley is holding out for full repeal, suggesting the Dems need to repeal the law or “face the election consequences in 2016.”

First, I’d never be that confident that the 2016 elections are going to go our way. If the GOP fails to take back the Colorado House, you’re probably stuck with the 15 round limit, unless the courts come through, which I also would not count on. If Colorado stays in Democratic hands through the 2020 census, there’s a very good chance there is no saving the state at all, and it’ll continue to get worse.

On the other hand, 30 rounds is on the table now, which would mean the vast majority of magazines people tend to own in Colorado would be legal. It would render the magazine law essentially meaningless, which would mean getting the other half of the pie later would be an easier sell. If the GOP does prevail in 2016, well, then you’re one step closer to full repeal already. I just don’t see any downside to taking the House Dems up on their offer.

The Denver Magazine asks “Has Dudley Brown Finally Gone Too Far?” Also see this video with Dave Kopel:

Last Wednesday, Brown tried an unheard of maneuver that caught everyone off guard, and was eventually ruled out of order, and ultimately defeated, with five Republicans joining the Democrats. It should be noted that even on a straight party line vote, this would have been defeated. Brown is now threatening the five Republicans who voted against the motion in primaries. Those Republicans are:

  • NRA A Rated and Endorsed Rep. J. Paul Brown
  • NRA A Rated and Endorsed Rep. Timothy Dore
  • NRA A Rated and Endorsed Rep. Bob Rankin
  • NRA B+ Rated Yeulin Willett
  • Rep. Jon Keyser (never returned the NRA questionnaire

OK, I’d give Dudley challenging Keyser, and maybe Willett depending on whether or not that district can support a better candidate, or whether replacing him with a stronger gun rights candidate would throw the race to an anti-gun Democrat. I don’t know the district. But the first three are solid people on the issue, who perhaps voted against the maneuver because once you unleash a weapon like that, you invite your opposition to use it on you. There is a reason deliberative bodies have procedures.

We all want the magazine ban completely gone. But we can get 95% of the way there now, or hold off and rely on vague hopes that things will go as well or better for the GOP as they did in 2014. I’m for taking what we can get now. This no compromise stuff just doesn’t work in the real world. If Dudley were really the powerhouse he claims to be, and if he were truly a strategic genius, Colorado would never be in this mess in the first place.

Wayne LaPierre’s “Demographically Symbolic” Dog Whistle

It’s really not often you’ll find me agreeing with the Internet trolls at Media Matters, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Media Matters linked to a portion of Wayne’s Speech at the NRA Annual Meeting, which I must have missed when we skipped out to cover the MDA protest. Here’s video for the context:

Wayne was quoted saying, “eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough,” in the context of Hillary Clinton following Barack Obama into the presidency. What the hell is that even supposed to mean? Why bother with the dog whistle? Just come out and say “We don’t need another affirmative action token President,” and be done with it, because isn’t that what was really said?

What speechwriter of Waynes’s thought it was a good idea to put that jab in there? How did Wayne, who presumably might have practiced the delivery once or twice, not realize how this is going to sound to blacks, hispanics, and women? Are Ben Carson or Bobby Jundal “demographically symbolic?” Or what about Marco Rubio,  Suzana Martinez, or Carly Fiorina, all of whom might throw their hat into the ring themselves, or be a sensible veep picks. It’s not just Republicans either. What about Democratic Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clark? At what point does one become merely “demographically symbolic?” I don’t understand the rules for this.

I am not coming at this from the same angle as Media Matters, because I don’t want to give NRA or Wayne a black eye; I want them to be more effective. I don’t believe this error is going to take down the NRA, and I don’t believe Wayne is a racist or sexist. His very capable executive assistant, who essentially runs his office, is a female minority. Whoever wrote or reviewed that speech made a very serious lapse in judgement. Before folks comment that I’m just tooling for the politically correct junta, and that there isn’t anything wrong with saying things that imply White Male Conservatives need to be in charge, there’s a bit of reality you need to understand.

One is that the issue has made tremedous progress among women. Each year there are more women and families on the NRA Annual Meeting show floor than the previous year. Bitter even brought out her brother’s whole family this year, since they live in the Nashville area. Where women go, families follow. It is very important to appeal to women, and dog whistling to white males is not how accomplish that.

Second, this issue has to reach out to blacks and hispanics, and win them over. You’ll hear criticism of NRA for not getting involved in the immigration issue. I agree they should not, because even if you stopped the flow of illegal immigrants completely, hispanics are still going to grow as a share of the voting public for the simple reason that they are having children at a greater rate compared to other demographics. You will not fix this problem with even perfect border control, only delay the inevitable.

NRA has no choice: it must reach out to women, blacks and hispanics if it wishes to secure the long term health of the Second Amendment. Polling among these groups show we have a base of understanding that we can use to get the conversation moving. Statements like Wayne’s not only don’t help us achieve our goals, but serve to reinforce the notion that NRA is an organization for White Male Conservatives. The implication is even stronger when Wayne makes that statement on a stage where the only people visible are other White Male Conservatives. NRA hasn’t had a female President since Sandy Froman left the stage eight years ago. Despite a huge influx of women into the issue, I don’t notice the nominating committe reaching out to try to attract more women on the Board.

If in ten to twenty years NRA is only an organization for White Male Conservatives, the NRA will become an irrelevant organization.

Beck Walking Back NRA Statements

I’m told that Glenn Beck is walking back his NRA comments from last week on his radio show today, which is good. Grover Norquist announced that he welcomes NRA’s investigation. Like I said, I have mixed feelings about DC insiders on the NRA Board, but I do have to admit that David Keene fits that definition, and I thought during the worst of Sandy Hook he was quite an elegant speaker on behalf of the cause. But what bothered me about Beck’s statement was that it showed a lack of understanding about how NRA picks its board, and showed a willingness to hurt the organization over tangential issues. I should note that distinct from arguing NRA is too soft, etc. That’s a separate argument.

At this point, there is no control NRA can exercise over whether Grover Norquist wins or loses. The only control really is through the nominating committee, and that is largely a board entity. That ship sailed in January. Grover’s future on the NRA board is now exclusively in the hands of voting members. Second it’s over an issue that has no relationship whatsoever to NRA’s mission. Even if the accusation is true, I don’t see how one board member out of 76 is going to help accomplish a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the NRA. I agree with the reader who commented that he didn’t see the Muslim Brotherhood end game here.

There are dozens of people who are on the NRA board I wish weren’t, but it’s never been something I’ve thought worth quitting over. I just don’t vote for those people. If all Glenn Beck did was encourage his audience to not vote for Grover, I’d think that a perfectly productive way to deal with the issue. It’s the threat to quit, and by influence having members of his audience follow that I took issue with.

Does the Conservative Movement Own NRA’s Soul?

I’ll be frank, I’m not the biggest fan of having Grover Norquist on NRA’s Board, primarily because I want to the NRA to remain dedicated to its members, and not channeling the interests of DC insiders. But I am an even lesser fan of NRA living in terror of a nut job like Glenn Beck:

Beck said in a letter on the NRA political action group’s website that NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre is “taking this very seriously” and is beginning an “open and transparent investigation into these alleged ties.”

Beck’s accusation is that Norquist has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which seems rather fantastic to me, even if I’m not Grover’s biggest fan. But one thing I am definitely not a fan of is letting Glenn Beck dictate terms to the NRA. Yes, he has a large audience. I’ve been present at meetings of a local gun rights group where dozens of “Agenda 21″ whack jobs pummeled a local politician with that nonsense when the guy came to discuss gun rights. I do not think Beck is good for the conservative movement, and I believe NRA would be better off without those kinds of followers. I don’t want one man to have the ability to decide who will and won’t be on NRA’s Board.

The correct thing to do here is to tell Beck to get bent and stop hiring him to do NRA activities. If he quits, he quits. If his followers quit, let them quit. I want an NRA composed of people who support gun rights, and support it to the hilt. If you’re going to quit because you think Norquist might be a secret muslim because he married a Palestinian woman, I don’t need your “help.” If hating on muslims, or anyone who has any contact with them, is more important to you than gun rights, you don’t really believe in gun rights. If you don’t want Grover Norquist on the Board of NRA, then don’t vote for him. If other members still manage to push him over the top, and you quit NRA over it, then pardon me if I don’t question your dedication to the Second Amendment.

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