I spent about ten minutes talking with Chris Cox, Chief Lobbyist for NRA-ILA, about this Motion for Divided Time that was filed with the Supreme Court in McDonald, asking for ten minutes of the Petitioner’s time during oral arguments. Needless to say, it’s not often I raise a concern with NRA that I’m in a phone call with the head of ILA a few hours later, so NRA is taking the issue seriously, and taking blogger concerns about the motion seriously enough to give us that consideration. I will share with you what Chris did clarify with me, quoting:
NRAâ€™s solitary goal in McDonald is to ensure that that our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms applies to all law-abiding Americans, regardless of the state in which they live. To that end, we fully support the Court incorporating the Second Amendment through either the Privileges or Immunities or Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The brief NRA filed last November presents a clear roadmap to the Court for incorporation under both a Due Process and Privileges or Immunities analysis.
We believe the Court should reach the same conclusion — that the Framers of the 14th Amendment clearly intended to apply the Second Amendment to the States — under either provision of the 14th Amendment. NRA, as a party to the case, has asked for the opportunity to participate in oral argument to ensure that all options for incorporating the Second Amendment are fully considered.
Again, NRAâ€™s solitary goal in McDonald is to see the Second Amendment incorporated against the States, whether through the Due Process Clause or the Privileges or Immunities Clause.
I did convey to him that while I understood and could appreciate NRA’s core concern, that I did not think this motion was the appropriate vehicle for expressing that concern. I still stand by that. But this gives you some insight into NRA’s reasoning straight from the top.Â For the reasons I’ve already outlined, I’m not going to stand on NRA’s side in regards to this motion, but nor am I going to accuse ILA leadership of trying to ruin the case, sabotaging the Second Amendment, or other such nefarious motives people like to attribute to them. I believe their concern is real, but the manner they chose to raise it was inappropriate.Â I’m also cognizant of the fact that if it wasn’t for the groundwork laid by NRA and the people close to it over the past several decades, we never would’ve won Heller.
Over the three years I’ve been blogging, I’ve gotten to know a number of people at NRA. A few of them well enough that they’d be folks I’d be comfortable inviting out for a drink if I were in town, or inviting them to my house if they were in town. Meet a dozen people at NRA, you’ll get a dozen different perspectives, a dozen different sets of skills, strengths and weaknesses. I no longer think of NRA as a monolithic entity — some giant brain in Fairfax of singular thought and mind — either to be loved or hated, promoted or resisted. It’s an organization made up of people as distinctive and individual as you see on the many gun blogs around the Internet.
But most importantly, NRA is made up of us, the membership, volunteers, and donors, in addition to the staff and board members. If you’re going to set out to be a voice cheering NRA when you think they do right, and to try to convince and influence them when they do wrong, you have to first start with a realistic view of what NRA is, and what NRA is not. Next, you need to get involved, and for that there are many paths one could take. Get to know any board members in your area if you can. Get to know some staff. Become an EVC, or help out your EVC. Run a few local matches at your club. Get involved with a local club. Keep your membership current, become a voting member, and for God’s sake, vote in Board elections, and encourage your friends to vote too.
Every once in a while, NRA is going to do something we don’t agree with, which is inevitable, and understandable. The question is whether that disagreement is going to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, or whether you will have a real voice. NRA is a membership driven organization, ultimately, but in order for that to work, members have to be involved to a greater degree than just receiving the magazine, and paying their 35 dollars every year.
9 thoughts on “NRA’s Position on the Motion for Divided Time”
But this gives you some insight into NRAâ€™s reasoning straight from the top.
Well, no. It restates their already stated position in PR-speak. The position itself remains as baffling as ever. I also can’t read it any other way than that Chris Cox and any other involved leadership are truly blind and clueless as to how this comes across.
It pleases me greatly that Cox took the time to discuss this issue with you. Among other things it demonstrates that he understands the importance of bloggers and “grass roots.”
Good job, Sebastian.
Am I correct to understand that the court shall consider this motion as early as this week?
I seem to recall it was soon, yes.
I was happy he took the time as well, even though Dave R is correct that it’s basically a restatement of their official position on this. I didn’t honestly expect much else, though, given the sensitivity of the topic. But Chris listened to what I had to say, I think we understood each other’s respective positions. Their position is what it is, and mine is what it is, and what’s done is done regardless. That we don’t ultimately agree on the motion is not something I’m going to hold a grudge over. The important thing is that we win McDonald. I think we all agree on that.
Speaking of 800lb gorillas, something that’s never mentioned is the Prime Directive of any group: preserve the organization. This goes from a garden club all the way to nation-states, and the NRA is no different.
Of course the NRA is full of fine folks (why, some of my best friends…), but that’s not the point. What the NRA does as an organization is the point, and this case, like Heller, sure seems like some “hey! remember me?” is going on.
I’m sure at least *someone* in Fairfax is worried about the day that some major pro-2A decision/law comes down, and folks start to wonder why they need the NRA, even if the need for them remains.
No, I agree they should be judged according to what is done in NRA’s name, otherwise I wouldn’t disagree with them publicly on this. My point is that you can’t really approach NRA as a monolithic entity.
And for the record, I’ve never met anyone in Fairfax who thinks they are in danger of being obsoleted by the Courts. Hell, I think I can even recall Cox saying something along those lines too. No one there is worried. The Courts will likely let a lot stand, and leave plenty of room for the other side to damage us.
I doubt I know all of NRA’s reasons for this motion, aside from the given concerns. There’s a lot I could speculate on that they wouldn’t reveal to me. I won’t speculate here. But fear of being obsoleted I can pretty confidently rule out.
“…nor am I going to accuse ILA leadership of trying to ruin the case, sabotaging the Second Amendment, or other such nefarious motives people like to attribute to them. I believe their concern is real, but the manner they chose to raise it was inappropriate. Iâ€™m also cognizant of the fact that if it wasnâ€™t for the groundwork laid by NRA and the people close to it over the past several decades, we never wouldâ€™ve won Heller.”
I don’t think the NRA is (now) trying to ruin the McDonald case, but they certainly did everything within their power to stop, scuttle, divert, co-op, and otherwise interfere with Heller.
This and the fact that Heller would never have been brought had the NRA had their way is indisputable.
There is no need for the NRA to be granted time — the Court is well aware of the standard incorporation arguments and will almost certainly choose these to rule in favor of McDonald if they don’t see it the way Gura does.
The most likely PRIMARY reason for the NRA to participate is so that when McDonald wins they can claim to have brought the case before the Court.
Many people already (falsely) attribute Heller to the NRA, and it will help the prestige of the NRA greatly if they can actually take part this time.
The motion was a bad idea. However, Clement’s involvement broaches on inexcuseable. I wonder how many of us NRA members remember these stories: http://www.scotusblog.com/novak-clement-cheney-and-the-gun-case/
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