Pro-Gun Progressive on NRA President Sigler

Looks like the other Sebastian had lunch with one of the “Lairds of Fairfax” as they are being called in some circles, and discovers he’s concerned about infighting:

He stressed that infighting between various RKBA groups was way more dangerous to the 2A than the Bradys could ever be; the Tripwire effect (pernicious infighting and putting self-aggrandizement in front of political success has the potential to be our achilles heel).

I think he’s right, but I’m not sure that problem can really be fixed.  There will be disagreements as to tactics, no matter what you do, and you can’t expect everyone to agree with you all the time.  There will be disagreement.  That much I can accept.  But the nature of the disagreements often goes beyond polite and civil differences of opinion and into a nasty disposition toward others on the same side that is appalling.

I’ve expressed in many posts my disagreement with NRA on their pushing the workplace parking lot carry bills in various states, argued it’s a contraction of freedom, and is diverting resources from other, more important matters.  What I won’t do, is repeatedly criticize NRA leadership and staffers because they have a different point of view than I do.  Since I’ve started blogging, and getting more involved, I’ve met a lot of people who work in Fairfax, and know a few board members, some of them fairly well.  I’ve had a few conversations with Chris Cox, and have talked briefly with Wayne LaPierre. I have never had any cause to question their dedication to preserving the Second Amendment.  Most of the staff are getting paid far less than they would in a for-profit operation for doing the same job, and for the board members, they don’t get paid anything for having to give up nearly a month out of the year to tend to NRA functions.

NRA is far from perfect, and there are many problems with the Association which I think hurt their effectiveness.  Like any organization, there are going to be some people who have issues, and who don’t always act in the best interests of the Association or the movement.  But you have two choices in dealing with that, you can either throw stones through the windows from the outside, or you can engage NRA like the civic organization it actually is, and try to fix the problems you see as an engaged member.  The former is easy, but the latter is difficult, and requires an understanding that you are one voice of many, and one point of view of many.  It also involves helping NRA carry out its mission, sometimes even on things you might not privately agree with.

No pro-gun organization or its leadership should be absolutely above criticism.  I’ve certainly had my share of criticism for GOA and Larry Pratt, especially when I see them publicly attacking other gun rights organizations, or people in the movement doing good work.  But I don’t doubt that Larry Pratt cares about the Second Amendment, and charts his course based on that conviction.  I agree with John Sigler that we ought not to form a circular firing squad.  You will not often see NRA criticizing other pro-gun groups publicly.  This is by design, and not by accident.  We can argue about tactics, strategy, and the merits and problems with this bill or that bill until we’re blue in the face, but we should have an awful prejudice against questioning other people’s integrity or motivations.  It’ll happen sometimes — we’re all human, and passionate about the issue — but that should be an exception, and not a rule.

7 thoughts on “Pro-Gun Progressive on NRA President Sigler”

  1. The various pro-gun organization need to find a model on how to work together while retaining their different priorities. They seem to be acting like they are fighting over people to be members when they don’t have to. We should adopt the motto of how many pro-gun organization are you a member of. None of the groups should be happy with someone having just one membership. As for dealing with congress I suggest a model more along the lines og good cop/ bad cop.

  2. I think the Second Amendment Foundation does a reasonable job of that. Of course, they are a 501(c)(3), so they mostly do educational and legal matters. SAF also does not trash other gun groups, at least that I’ve seen.

  3. The NRA sold everyone out, they’re just happy to go to lunch with their puppetmasters in Congress. GOA sold everyone who wants to have an RPG launcher out. I used to support RPG owners of America, but they sold us all out when they refused to lobby for vehicle-mounted multiple rocket launchers. But now even VMMRLOA sold us out on private ownership of nerve gas. This is BS! SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED! SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED! (kidding)

    This might be one thing we can learn from the anti’s on. They don’t say “legal community against violence only supports one-gun-a-month, they don’t even care about registration”.

    Vigorous disagreement is ok, but sometimes the accusations that NRA is somehow anti are counterproductive.

    It only distracts from the well-deserved verbal napalming of groups like the AHSAholes.

  4. We are not always all going to agree–we are simply too passionate and too well informed about the 2nd Amendment. The NRA is still the best thing we have going even if it has some problems. The NRA shot themselves in the foot when they played the McCain reach-around nonsense last year. They will heal but they will limp for a while. We still need every member to recruit just two more members in the next two years!

  5. I’m a frequent, harsh critic of the NRA (as you may have noticed), but not because I have doubts about whose side they’re on–I just think that since the Neal Knox/Harlon Carter days, the leadership has devolved into latter-day Neville Chamberlain types (“Project Exile,” NICS “Improvement” Act, rampant grade inflation of candidates, etc.).

    I’m not going to be “polite” about denouncing that–I simply cannot find polite words to describe what I think of that “strategy.”

    As for the McCain endorsement, my biggest problem isn’t with the fact that it was a gamble (and one that was pretty obviously a losing gamble, even before they committed to it)–I see him as an anti-gun extremist (his vote for renewal of the AWB, his consistent, long term support for outlawing private sales, etc.), who didn’t deserve an endorsement, even if he had possessed a reasonable chance of winning. The biggest pro-gun aspect of his campaign was his opponent–he was less appalling than Obama. If that’s where the NRA is setting the bar, I’m going to call them on it, as loudly as I can manage.

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