Updated NRA Response to DISCLOSE

This would seem to be the letter they are sending to members:

We appreciate some NRA members’ concerns about our position on H.R. 5175, the “DISCLOSE Act.”  Unfortunately, critics of our position have misstated or misunderstood the facts.

We have never said we would support any version of this bill.  To the contrary, we clearly stated NRA’s strong opposition to the DISCLOSE Act (as introduced) in a letter sent to Members of Congress on May 26 (click here to read the letter).

Through the courts and in Congress, the NRA has consistently and strongly opposed any effort to restrict the rights of our four million members to speak and have their voices heard on behalf of gun owners nationwide.  The initial version of H.R. 5175 would effectively have put a gag order on the NRA during elections and threatened our members’ freedom of association, by forcing us to turn our donor lists over to the federal government.  We would also have been forced to list our top donors on all election-related television, radio and Internet ads and mailings—even mailings to our own members.  We refuse to let this Congress impose those unconstitutional restrictions on our Association.

The NRA provides critical firearms training for our Armed Forces and law enforcement throughout the country.  This bill would force us to choose between training our men and women in uniform and exercising our right to free political speech. We refuse to let this Congress force us to make that choice.

We didn’t “sell out” to Nancy Pelosi or anyone else.  We told Congress we opposed the bill.  As a result, congressional leaders made a commitment to exempt us from its draconian restrictions on free speech.  If that commitment is honored, we will not be involved in the final House debate.  If that commitment is not fully honored, we will strongly oppose the bill.

Our position is based on principle and experience.  During consideration of the previous campaign finance legislation passed in 2002, congressional leadership repeatedly refused to exempt the NRA from its provisions, promising that our concerns would be fixed somewhere down the line.  That didn’t happen; instead, the NRA had to live under those restrictions for seven years and spend millions of dollars on compliance costs and on legal fees to challenge the law.  We will not go down that road again when we have an opportunity to protect our ability to speak.

There are those who say the NRA has a greater duty to principle than to gun rights. It’s easy to say we should put the Second Amendment at risk over some so-called First Amendment principle – unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as we do.

The NRA is a bipartisan, single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members dedicated to the protection of the Second Amendment.  We do not represent the interests of other organizations.  That’s their responsibility.  Our responsibility is to protect and defend the interests of our members.  And that we do without apology.

Certainly better, and more powerful than the last statement, and would refute the notion that they are going to reverse their position.

21 thoughts on “Updated NRA Response to DISCLOSE”

  1. let me get this straight –

    NRA opposes the bill, but won’t oppose it in the final debate as long as the NRA is excepted.

    but they didn’t act in a self-serving manner or sell-out.

    guess that depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

    i’m an increasingly disgusted 40+ year Life Member.

    NRA better man up. they are dead wrong here and might get my card back in the mail.

  2. Wow, they’ve doubled down.

    And they’ve tacitly admitted that they pursued special consideration back in 2002, leaving all other Americans in the cold then as well.

    This bill would force us to choose between training our men and women in uniform and exercising our right to free political speech.

    Are the NRA serious? Sounds like lying Dems claiming that senior citizens will have to choose between life-saving medicines and eating dog food.

  3. There’s a bit of “Please don’t make us kill this kitten” in that sentence that I don’t like. There are a few aspects of this response I don’t like which I shared with them, sadly after they had already released it and it was too late.

  4. Packetman:

    There are many forms an exemption could take. Originally in DISCLOSE, the exemption pursued was for all 501(c)(4)s. If that had been the exemption NRA secured, everyone would think they are heros. But that’s not what the Dems ended up doing. They narrowed it so it would only apply to NRA and a few other organizations. But that was the Dems.

  5. I am disappointed that the NRA has agreed to withdraw from the fight now that they have gotten their exemption. My suggestion to them is that they score this vote like any other gun-related vote, exemption or not. Throwing SAF, GOA, JPFO under the bus because they are small doesn’t endear them to the gun community.

    I appreciate that they are again articulating that they oppose this measure. For them to say later in the same letter that they would not be a part of the debate is tacit acknowledgment that their opposition could kill the bill.

    Fine. Stay on the sidelines. Stay silent because they are no longer coming for you this time. Perhaps someone else will be able to speak up on your behalf when they do, next time.

    1. Really people. Really. There’s no excuse for not understanding this bill at this point if you’re going to bitch. Pray tell how this impacts SAF & JPFO. Out with it. Tell me how this throws them under the bus.

      Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t. DISCLOSE regulates activities that SAF & JPFO are not legally allowed to participate in at all – regardless of whether this bill passes.

  6. Fine, I object to it because it requires VPC, Brady Campaign, MAIG, and other groups on this list (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?lname=Q12&year=2010) from keeping their membership lists private when lobbying Congress. SAF and JPFO are exempted due to being 501-c-3 not c-4. I get it. You missed my larger point.

    The NRA was bribed to remain silent on the issue. Good for them. Good for us that they can still advocate on our behalf. The bill is still wrong and should be opposed on principle.

  7. To little to late. The damage the the NRA is done and will continue. I have to wonder how many people cancelled there membership or will no longer donate to them ever again.

    So really the NRA screwed themselves and with the reaction it has gotten we screw ourselves in the process making the NRA weaker.

  8. Bitter, I really don’t wish to pick nits over issues of principle. I am trying to prove a larger point and you wish to pick apart technicalities.

    This bill is another incumbent protection act like McCain-Feingold was. I don’t care if the group that is affected is the AARP, the NAACP, the NRA, CCRKBA, NSSF, or the Vermont Maple Growers Association. It is wrong. For the NRA to allow themselves to be manipulated into staying on the sidelines makes me wonder just how committed to the principle they truly are.

    How long until the “NRA Loophole” in this act gets closed sometime later? Can we really afford to be “Single-issue organizations” as long as it is OUR oxen saved from the goring? If so, who comes to our defense when it is our turn (my original point).

  9. I don’t really disagree with you. It’s an abominable bill. But the question is whether NRA is obligated, or whether it’s wise, for NRA to spend its resouces fighting First Amendment issues just because it’s right on principle, at the expense of 2A advocacy.

    One thing that’s been distorted in this whole debate is that NRA is not supporting DISCLOSE. They are just not spending resources fighting it if it does not affect their ability to advocate for the Second Amendment. Some are trying to confuse that point, but it’s an important one.

  10. One thing that’s been distorted in this whole debate is that NRA is not supporting DISCLOSE. They are just not spending resources fighting it if it does not affect their ability to advocate for the Second Amendment. Some are trying to confuse that point, but it’s an important one.

    Sebastian, it is untrue that anyone is accusing the NRA of supporting this constitutional abortion of a bill. The primary beef with the NRA is that initially, they opposed the bill (with a most strongly worded letter, natch); but upon having been handed exemption, they’re suddenly going to not really say anything bad about this draconian legislation.

    That is what we call quid pro quo.

    And I sincerely doubt that the NRA would spend any more money than they already do on lobbying against this bill than they would anyhow.

    After all, how much can it cost to have the webmaster post updates on the web site that the NRA opposes the DISCLOSE Act, and that the vote will be graded?

  11. “If that commitment is honored, we will not be involved in the final House debate. If that commitment is not fully honored, we will strongly oppose the bill.”

    If we get ours, we will not oppose!

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

  12. So NRA’s job is to fight evil now? Next time I see someone from HQ, I’ll have to give them a cape… and remind them to avoid kryptonite.

  13. I’ve got to agree with Sebastian.

    Say there was an organization that was singlemindendly devoted to protecting the first Amendment. Would you expect them to get involved on a RKBA issue?

    NRA reacted strongly until the threat to their mission and existence stopped being a threat. Isn’t that how we train to employ defensive weapons ourselves? “Shoot to stop?” If NRA starts crusading on other issues they will waste credibility, money, expertise, and focus. Anyone that has been in a leadership or managerial position knows how hard it is to split a large organization’s attention between multiple issues. While this is a bad law, tHe impact to other RKBA organizations will be minimal.

    NRA is making the best decision out of several bad choices:
    – Make a principled stand and risk losing a ton of money, credibility, and jeopardizing your entire organization’s existence. Let’s say you have a 30% chance of a “Win” (defeating the whole bill) which gets you, say, +2 points; a loss gets you -100 points.
    – Make a compromise. A “win” (still defeating the whole bill) is only, say, 15% likely and gets you +2 points, a “loss” (the bill is enacted but with NRA’s exemption) gets you -1 points from the bad PR for your own disgruntled support base.

    Which would you choose? Door #1 where you could win a little or likely lose your shirt, or Door #2, which is playing it safe? It is easy to say, “Put it all on Black!” when you aren’t paying… but then how will you feel when the wheel stops on red?

  14. Gentlemen, and good Lady:

    Very good points, all of you. I understand the situation much better now than I did driving home from work listening to Mark Levin tear the NRA apart on the radio for “accepting a bribe.”

    I am personally opposed to the idea that any one or any organization gets exempted from laws the rest of us have to follow (remember how Congess always exempted themselves?). It’s like allowing some to be “above the law.”

    But I understand the mission of the NRA, and the practicality of this “deal” allows them to pursue that mission unfettered by rotten legislation. There is principle in that decision.

    But I still don’t like having my NRA duck a fight that the rest of us need them to win.

    Remember this one:

    First, the nazis came for the Jews, but I wasn’t Jewish, so I said nothing. Then they came for the gypsies, but I wasn’t a gypsi, so I said nothing…. Then they came for me, and there was no on left to say anything.
    Someday, they may come for our NRA. Will anyone speak up for us?


  15. I think one of the issues I have Arnie, is that they’ve been coming for the NRA for a long time, and without the GOP being able to hold themselves together to fight for us. None of the other parts of the Republican coalition could care less either. They’ve always kept us by not being as bad as the Democrats.

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