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NRA’s Statement on DISCLOSE

They work slower than Internet speed, but here it is:

The National Rifle Association believes that any restrictions on the political speech of Americans are unconstitutional.

In the past, through the courts and in Congress, the NRA has opposed any effort to restrict the rights of its four million members to speak and have their voices heard on behalf of gun owners nationwide.

The NRA’s opposition to restrictions on political speech includes its May 26, 2010 letter to Members of Congress expressing strong concerns about H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act. As it stood at the time of that letter, the measure would have undermined or obliterated virtually all of the NRA’s right to free political speech and, therefore, jeopardized the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding American.

The most potent defense of the Second Amendment requires the most adamant exercise of the First Amendment. The NRA stands absolutely obligated to its members to ensure maximum access to the First Amendment, in order to protect and preserve the freedom of the Second Amendment.

The NRA must preserve its ability to speak. It cannot risk a strategy that would deny its rights, for the Second Amendment cannot be defended without them.

Thus, the NRA’s first obligation must be to its members and to its most ardent defense of firearms freedom for America’s lawful gun owners.

On June 14, 2010, Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged that H.R. 5175 would be amended to exempt groups like the NRA, that meet certain criteria, from its onerous restrictions on political speech. As a result, and as long as that remains the case, the NRA will not be involved in final consideration of the House bill.

The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment from the attacks we face in the local, state, federal, international and judicial arenas without the ability to speak. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced while the national news media, politicians and others are allowed to attack us freely.

The NRA will continue to fight for its right to speak out in defense of the Second Amendment. Any efforts to silence the political speech of NRA members will, as has been the case in the past, be met with strong opposition.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this really addresses much of the criticism of this move. But standing up for their point of view in the court of public opinion has never been one of NRA’s strong suits.

3 Responses to “NRA’s Statement on DISCLOSE”

  1. David says:

    Red State really ripped into them this morning. Can’t blame NRA for looking out for their interests but can’t agree with them throwing smaller groups under the bus either. As Franklin said, we need to hang together or we will all hang separately.

  2. Miguel says:

    David, with all due respect, some of the smaller groups have no problem throwing the NRA under the bus, truck and 747 if it gets them more air time and contributions to do nothing. It was time for the NRA to shake its coat tails from the freeloaders that were dragging us.

  3. Some Law Talking Guy says:

    You know, Miguel, I’ve been in this town for a while, so I find it hard to get worked up about legislative horse trading, but I’ve got to say, I find myself really, honestly angry about the deal NRA has worked out on the DISCLOSE Act. For some reason, I always felt the NRA’s advocacy was about protecting my right to keep and bear arms (even when they ignored my state law issues or the Heller fight), so that the government could never really silence political speech. Maybe it’s because I felt the real value of the Second Amendment was as a guarantor of the other freedoms. I guess my love of this country stems from the fact that our fundamental, God-given rights are not subject to legislative dealmaking, and that there will be some further review of this law, if it’s actually passed, and if the legislature continues to infringe on the right of the people to free speech and petition, then the Second Amendment’s protection has guaranteed that we will not be as easily broken as other societies in the past.

    As much as I absolutely hate the “BOYCOTT THEM!” types who go off half-cocked on every little issue, what NRA did here touches on something much deeper than a legislative fight over reporting requirements or some hotel’s policy on guns. Maybe that’s what has me so emotional about this sellout. Your aside that a happy by-product of this nakedly totalitarian attempt to silence political speech would be that it would also silence those who “rode NRA’s coat tails” really underlines my impression that NRA is not deserving of my support.

    I’ve made the statement that I would never support them again, but that’s probably a little over the line. It’s an organization, not a person, and organizations can change their positions. However, NRA has a long way to go in publicly repudiating this deal, and specifically denouncing the mindset that the DISCLOSE Act was a useful tool to silencing their critics within the gun rights community, before I and many people like me who value freedom could return to the fold.

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