Link here. It’s a very in-depth article, and there are a lot of potential takeaways, including how remarkably dumb our opponents were. But I would note I’m rather skeptical of the sources of some items in this report, as I suspect they are mostly Joe Manchin’s office, and other people who have a vested interest in discrediting NRA. Generally speaking, NRA won’t speak to investigative reporters, so if there’s a source for, say:
In their conversations, Cox told LaPierre that he did not yet have a clear sense of how their congressional allies were reacting to the Newtown shootings. Coxâ€™s instinct was that the N.R.A. should stay quiet for the time being, as it had done following past shootings. Instead LaPierre decided to respond forcefully, without consulting the N.R.A.’s lobbyists or its full 76-member executive board. One week after the shootings, he stood behind a lectern at the Willard InterContinental hotel a few blocks from the White House and broke into a blistering attack on the news media, the movie industry and video-game manufacturers while defiantly declaring, â€œThe only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.â€
It would be interesting to know who’s talking to the enemy (The NYT is the enemy). I suspect a leak from a member of the Board. A lot of people are upset that the report states they were working with Manchin’s office. I would note the source for this is likely Joe Manchin’s office, who aren’t exactly enamored with NRA these days.
But I’ll accept that it’s true, for the sake of argument. Even if it’s true that they were negotiating over the bill, I would kind of expect NRA to be sure, if there aren’t votes to stop it, that what passes is less of a disaster for gun owners. Note this from the article:
The N.R.A. declared war on those who helped pass the 1994 assault-weapons ban, most of whom were Democrats, but while the bill was being crafted, the N.R.A. worked with two of its House Democratic allies, John Dingell and Jack Brooks of Texas, to weaken it so that if it did pass, it would apply to only a limited number of firearms and would expire a decade later. (It did not pass again.)
As it was this time, we had the votes to kill the Manchin-Toomey deal outright, so it was done. Did GOA have anything to do with that? I’m sure they believe they did, and I’m also sure they likely told that to the author of this article. But does anyone seriously want to argue that we’d have been better off if Dingell and Brooks hadn’t negotiated to get important element like the sunset provision? Does anyone feel confident after failing to outright repeal the bill in 1996, we’d have had any luck now?
Too many people think politics is all binary choices. It’s not that kind of game. If you can buy yourself a little insurance, in case the vote goes badly for you, you do it. If we hadn’t done that in 1994, we’d all still be living under the federal assault weapons ban, and that ban would have looked more like California’s than what eventually passed.