GOA Dividing the Community Again

Once again, GOA is off its rocker, this time on the federal land bill.  They are quite correct to raise concerns about the status of carrying firearms for self-defense on all this new federal land and wilderness area, a concern that is shared by NRA.  But I find this passage in their press release unproductive and divisive:

That’s right.  Many Congressmen claimed to be protecting the Second Amendment, when all they were really doing was thumbing their noses at self defense.

Here is the entire “pro-gun” amendment that was considered in the House.  Judge for yourself if this really protects your Second Amendment rights:

“Nothing in this Title shall be construed as affecting the authority, jurisdiction, or responsibility of the several States to manage, control, or regulate fish and resident wildlife under State law or regulations, including the regulation of hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting.  Nothing in this Title shall be construed as limiting access for hunting, fishing, trapping, or recreational shooting.”

They may as well have called it the “Elmer Fudd Protection Act.”

A lot of people who voted for this bill campaigned for office as champions of gun rights.  They said “Send me to Washington; I’ll fight for the Second Amendment.”

And this is what we get?  Pathetic.

And with that, you can hear the anti-gunners and HSUS salivate with anticipation as the gun rights community once again turns on itself.  The proposed language was by NRA and GOA A rated Congressman Jason Altmire.  The same Jason Almire who went to bat trying to get the repeal of DC’s gun laws through Congress.  The same Jason Altmire who helped form a Second Amendment Task Force in Congress on the heels of Holder calling for a new Assault Weapons Ban.

Could it be, rather than Congressman Altmire being “pathetic,” he was attempting to help an important constituency, namely hunters and recreational shooters.  Helping them alleviate at least some of the concerns about the federal land bill if it had passed.  Given that it passed by two votes, I’m going to guess a lot of our friends in Congress were concerned that it would, in fact, pass, and pass without any pro-gun language in it whatsoever.

Are we to believe that GOA does not consider hunters and recreational shooters an important constituency, and would rather a bill pass without addressing any concerns?  Is GOA agreeing we should throw the “Elmer Fudds” off the lifeboats?  Their language certainly indicates that.  It’s one thing to be disappointed that you didn’t get everything you wanted, but we would have at least gotten something if the Democrats had made up those two votes and passed the bill.  GOA would seem to prefer we got nothing.

It’s garbage like this that makes me unable to take GOA seriously as a gun rights organization.  GOA has always seemed to me to be more interested in feathering its nest as the expense of other groups and other concerns within the community than it is with actually helping pick up the ball and move it forward.  Until that changes, I’m going to continue speaking out against their divisiveness.

11 thoughts on “GOA Dividing the Community Again”

  1. Of course, Sebastian, no one is going to be salivating cause no one in D.C. pays one second of attention to anything GOA says. Heck, I suspect most of them don’t even know GOA exists, let alone care what they say.

    This idiotic press release won’t do anything to help GOA out in that regard.

  2. In my area of the country we carry for self defence and hunting. Gun rights affect the way we vote more then hunting rights. The GOA will never get my surport, it’s going to the NRA.

  3. The GOA’s always been a little edgy, but the last couple of years, they’ve flung themselves off the deep end, and taken what credibility they had with them.

    My take on the matter is that the collapse of the AWB renewal was a watershed moment for how the NRA operates. Going into that fight, the NRA was (IMO) still very much in defeatist “compromise our rights away mode”, and the GOAs criticism had enough truth in it to sting, and their “no compromises” approach had enough differentiation that they could effectively keep the NRA honest, at least in terms of rhetoric.

    During the AWB renewal fight, the membership bitch slapped the NRA hard and in no uncertain terms, making it very very clear that no finagling would be accepted. Something was going to die, and it was going to be either the AWB or the NRA’s credibility. As a result, the NRA woke the hell up and flew (relatively) straight, prevailed, won the day, and has more or less stayed away from the nonsense that marked them as weak prior.

    With the NRA moving into what was once “GOA territory”, the GOA had to find or make some distance, somewhat blindly in my view. Their blind effort to differentiate themselves from a somewhat reformed NRA has driven them into the weeds.

  4. What kind of finagling were they considering with the AWB renewal? My understanding was that it was always the plan to kill PLCAA if the AWB was attached. They let the amendment vote go forward to get Kerry on record as voting in favor of its renewal, knowing they had the votes to kill the eventual bill with the amendment on it.

    The gambit worked. Kerry lost the election, and we got PLCAA and no assault weapons ban.

  5. I’ve always been and continue to be more of a GOA person than an NRA person, but both orgs are prone to make some big mistakes.

    I won’t make excuses for the those of the GOA, but I will say that the NRA has pulled some major boo-boos that have hurt more than helped. Those sorts of things ‘divide the community’ every bit as much as the GOA’s mistakes.

  6. I won’t deny that NRA makes mistakes, but mistakes don’t divide communities. At least they shouldn’t. If GOA wants to be a no-compromise gun group, that’s fine by me. I might question the value of that tactic from a lobbying perspective, but it can serve useful functions within the community.

    My problem with GOA, at least in this particular instance, is that they are pooh poohing gains made by another constituency within the gun rights movement because they didn’t get their pet issue dealt with. Moreover, they are downplaying the contribution of their own A-rated Congressman who got the language in there.

    Why would they do this? What purpose does it serve to get people foaming at the mouth at friends in Congress who are trying to get things done for us in what can be optimistically called a challenging political climate?

    GOA just isn’t complaining that the Dem leadership killed the bill over the concealed carry issue, they are complaining that someone took care of hunters and recreational shooters. More than just complaining, they are trying to get people outraged about it.

    That’s not going to help things in the big picture. That’s one thing you’ll never see NRA do.

  7. What are you folks doing to find non-professional candidates to run against those pushed out by the ‘system’?

    Professional politicians are more often expert liars whose principal interest is to simply get elected. If that means telling you what you want to hear, then that’s their goal. So, it should come as no surprise or disappointment if they don’t do what they promised you they’d do … if only they could depend on your vote.

    There’s buzz about restoring the State Militia system for its political function of filtering out genuinely attractive people to get into government and keep them true to their intended purpose … defending the natural rights of their constituents! Also, to act as an agency to reliably report back on their legislative activities so replacement candidates can be preened whenever subsequently necessary.

  8. Neglect or unity? The proposed amendment is the source of disunity not the GOA’s response. I generally side with the Gun Nut faction of the greater Gun Nut/Fudd gun rights community. The proposed amendment does help Fudd interests and does not hurt mine, but it does neglect them. Self defense/concealed carry on federal lands is a goal that should be addressed. Because of the current political climate we are told that this not politically expedient. In the near future what other issues will not be considered politically expedient to propose or fight against…AWB 2, repeal of Tiahrt, restrictions on CCL? While this concern may be premature, it is my fear that this discounting or neglect of one side of our community’s goals will be much more divisive than any response letter by the GOA. What is the value of a united front if one side’s goals aren’t valued somewhat equally? As a Gun Nut, is neglect the best I can hope for when times are tough politically?

  9. Dougly,

    I think the entire way you’re looking at the issue is not really productive, in terms of moving the movement forward. I don’t think there can be a Fudds vs. Gun Nuts. In fact, I think this division has been played up far beyond what it actually is by unsavory elements of our movement

    In the case of the land bill, Altmire went for what he could get added to a bill that might actually pass.

    Is neglect the best you can hope for? Considering what we went through in the 90s, if all I have to deal with over the next four years is neglect of my pet issues, I’ll consider myself lucky. My worry is that we don’t just get neglected, but get screwed.

  10. Sebastian,
    I expect the supporters of gun control to try to roll back all the gains we have enjoyed. I do not expect neglect from them. I expect it from our less zealous political allies in the gun community. I do agree with you that there is significant overlap between the interests and membership of the so called Gun Nut and Fudd factions of the larger gun rights community. My fear is that goals that are championed by politicians sympathetic to gun rights will become more fractured into the categories of self defense vs. recreation/hunting, with the less politically expedient self defense goals being neglected. It is my concern that we are already assuming a defeatist posture and writing off the goals of the Gun Nut side of our community. Frankly, we may lose badly going forward, but I was still hoping there would be more of a fight before we talk about compromise and lowering our expectations.

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