So it’s the end of the week, and the rumor that was spreading about an amendment being attached to the FAA Authorization Bill now being debated in the Senate has yet to materialize. Gun Owners of America is has now issued an alert on this rumor, but says “GOA’s sources inside the Senate indicate that gun amendments to the FAA bill are unlikely at this point.”
The problem goading people to act on rumors is that you can create a “the boy who cried wolf” problem among our base. Most gun owners do not have a remarkably high sense of dedication to the cause. If you can get them to contact a lawmaker once a year, that would be their contribution. Even that small contribution is more than 90% of gun owners are willing to do. It’s with an activist base of a few million people that we drive this movement, and that activist base can get worn out. The question is, do you wear them out on real threats, or do you wear them out on rumor and innuendo? When I say groups like NAGR and GOA hurt the movement when they do this, this is why.
Now, in addition to that, there have been a lot of accusations flying around the blogosphere I’d also like to address. Howard Nemerov has clearly has enough of groups who build themselves up by tearing other groups on the same side of the issue down. He mentions NAGR has no PAC to speak of. Up to the 2010 cycle, this would appear to have been true, however if you check the FEC themselves, they do have a very small PAC, which donated $1000 each to Sharron Angle, Paul Broun, Ken Buck, Cory Gardner, and Rand Paul. Their PAC has yet to show up on Center for Responsive Politics radar, which is why it doesn’t show up on OpenSecrets.org.
Truth About Guns seems to have had some correspondence with NAGR, where Dudley Brown told him that Durbin was the source of the threat to add anti-gun amendments to the FAA bill. As TTAG noted, “Huh. Yesterday, Brown told us Senator Reid was the man behind the plan.” So the story keeps changing. Naturally since nothing has yet happened, NAGR is suggesting that is because “Whenever you shine lights on rats, they scurry away…”
You see, this is a no lose situation for them. If an amendment indeed happens, they can take credit for alerting people before anyone else. If it doesn’t happen, they can take credit for that too, because their alerts made the rats scurry away. There’s nothing to lose from their point of view, but from our point of view, the razors edge of our grassroots political power gets just a little more dull.
But apparently Brown doesn’t like being called into question, and followed up to TTAG with a ranting e-mail, saying, among other things, they’d never employ a “Gucci-loafered K Street lobbyist,” which makes you wonder how they’d expect to know what’s going on in the respective legislative bodies without having people on the ground, actively talking to staffers and lawmakers. I know NAGR’s strategy focuses heavily on grassroots, at least I think, their statement of strategy is an article written by Michael Rothfeld, which contains a lot of truth, but it’s an article, not a strategy. I’ll write later about why NAGR’s approach to this issue is fundamentally flawed.