NRA Needs a Reform Movement That’s Realistic

While the figures involved in the hardliner (Knoxers in the past) versus pragmatist (Wayne’s faction) debate have changed, the essential debate is still with us.

NRA’s parasitic relationship with its PR firm isn’t anything new. The Knoxers railed against it too back in the day. I’ve never been comfortable with it either, but I’ve always had the choice of living with it as a member, or joining the hardliners. I am of the opinion that NRA taking a no-compromise, hardline stance will ultimately result in its irrelevance. Believing we can always win by saying ‘no’ louder is not a winning strategy when you’re working as a determined minority in a republican political system.

These days the issue is bump stocks and red flag laws. NRA largely surrendered on the bump stock issue to buy time to stop the bills that would have put semi-automatic firearms in legal jeopardy. They endorsed red flag laws provided they had sufficient due process (which none of them do). I believe both these moves are unpleasant necessities that reflect the reality of the political situation post-Vegas and post-Parkland. If you want to fight and die on bump stock hill, sorry, but we’re going to lose that fight. We also risk losing a large chunk of the current transferrable machine gun stock. You’re all aware of the debates, so I won’t rehash them.

The NRA is in desperate need of reform, but to date the drive for reform has only come from hardliners, who would cause a lot of other disasters for gun rights by failing to see what battles aren’t winnable and aren’t worth fighting, which aren’t winnable and are worth fighting, and which are winnable. We’ll never all agree on that. But most hardliners seem to think that all battles are worth fighting all the time, everywhere, and with maximum intensity. No one fights wars that way and wins. You have to take a lot of limitations into account if you’re waging war or waging political struggle. Hardliners don’t accept that there is a limit to our political influence. They fight as if we had 200 million other Americans behind us. Generals who fight that way lose armies. Political movements that are similarly unrealistic end up similarly destroyed. We need a reform movement for NRA that understands limits and is politically realistic. If such a movement were to appear, I would support it.

112 Responses to “NRA Needs a Reform Movement That’s Realistic”

  1. I have it on good authority that any talk of compromise on anything is Fudd talk. Apparently we can accept that real automatic weapons are basically outlawed but we need to fight and die on the bump stock hill (the alternative to automatic weapons in terms of going through lots of bullets but not worthwhile militarily or militia-wise).

    Talking no-compromise in a political battle is like Hitler not allowing his troops at Stalingrad (and other places) to retreat and maneuver intelligently like a modern army has to. It’s idiotic. But I fear that there’s enough idiots on our side buying into this that it may split our fairly large minority and keep us from being politically effective.

    It’s ironic that when the pro-gun movement is actually historically the strongest we may ultimately lose the war that we had been winning until now.

    Link Edited by Bitter; HTML is allowed and preferable in comments to minimize the formatting problems mentioned below.

  2. H says:

    Let’s get this straight: after decades have passed the “hardliners” have been proven right about NRA, and only incompetence on the part of New York state and/or the IRS will prevent those regulatory bodies from justly and legally terminating the NRA with extreme prejudice, and putting a lot of the Winning Team and board members in prison or bankruptcy for self-dealing, backdating sign offs, and other white line crimes, which might include raiding the 501(c)(3) NRA Foundation for money to prop up the 501(c)(4) NRA (the raiding occurred, we don’t know if it was legal, let alone what a New York state or inside the Beltway jury might rule).

    Even before we get into the AckMac relationship which has gotten so messy the NRA has sued AckMac!!!, which I don’t think any of us thought was possible, that’s pure Clown World. Previously, benefiting AckMac has been the primary goal of the Winning Team after it would seem self-enrichment, so going nuclear tells us how very dire the Winning Team itself believes their situation to be.

    But because the “hardliners” hypothetically would lose political battles worse than the NRA already has by for example signing off on every Federal gun control measure except the “assault weapons” ban, including the existential threat to RKBA activism of Red Flag laws which the Winning Team’s weasel words support, we need some squishy middle of the roaders you’re socially comfortable with to bring us out of this mess?

    That strikes me as also bring pure Clown World. Per Jim Hightower’s “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos”, the only thing we’re likely to get from the only “reform movement” you’re willing to be a part of is leprosy. As it is, your consistent position over the years is going to end the nation’s most effective gun control organization in the foreseeable future, absent enough incompetence from our very incompetent ruling class.

    In the aftermath, do you think enough “hardliners” will follow you to create a “reasonable, but with less graft” NuNRA? As the nation starkly polarizes, 3 states have gone Constitutional Carry so far in 2019, with 2 new governors making a point of that being the first bill they signed, while our modern slave states continue to turn the screws. Without, though, their gun owners complying, it was recently learned that exactly 0 “high capacity” magazines were turned into the New Jersey GestapoState Police.

    The way to bet is that the NRA will soon cease to exist, and we “hardliners” who do not agree with you will construct a new official gun movement out of the ashes. You’re entirely welcome to start setting up your own “realistic” movement and organization, which you should already be thinking hard about, along with what you’re going to do about your home state turning decisively anti-gun, in the weird new pattern of still being Shall Issue (maybe; Washington state is talking about moving to May Issue despite being Shall Issue with no problems since 1961, long predating Florida).

    • BC says:

      Wait, wait.

      Red flag laws are an “existential threat to RKBA activism”?

      Show your fscking work, pal.

      Also, this new organization you’re going to set up from the ashes of the NRA — will it be in any way distinguishable from the GOA, either in temperament or influence? If so, how? Be specific.

      • H says:

        Well, I suppose you could continue your RKBA activism after having lost your guns and your right to legally own them, assuming you survive the confiscation process. Alan Gottlieb did during the period between his Federal felony fraud arrest and conviction, and getting back his RKBA when that process was still funded. But in our increasingly polarized society it would put you and anyone in your household at a much greater risk from the direct action our enemies are so fond of. And I suppose you could cache some guns just in case hot shooting Civil War 2.0 started.

        As for the rest of your impolite demands, me and mine owe you nothing. Sebastian and it appears you have declared us beyond the pale, the best you can expect is that we ignore you.

        • BC says:

          Well, I suppose you could continue your RKBA activism after having lost your guns and your right to legally own them, assuming you survive the confiscation process.

          Let me translate, from the bullshit-ese: “Having been asked to substantiate my insane assertion that red flag laws present an existential threat to RKBA activism, I’ve got nothing except dystopian fantasies which haven’t come to pass in even robustly anti-gun jurisdictions like California.”

          As for the rest of your impolite demands, me and mine owe you nothing.

          My “impolite demand” was for you to explain how this new super-hardline gun lobby you imagine will rise from the NRA’s ashes will be distinguishable from the GOA, which has all the political juice of a fart in a windstorm. I’ll take from your refusal to answer the question that, once again, you’ve got nothing.

          Lord spare us all from Internet Tough Guy Threepers.

      • Joe says:

        Go read Colorado’s Red Flag Law, and that of Illinois’ better yet. There’s fine print elements in those Bill’s allowing for “anonymous tipoffs’ that can get a gunowner slapped with an ERPO.

        In short, a classmate, coworker, professor, superior, angry and hostile neighbor or dissenting family member can call the County Courthouse, make a false accusation against you, and Judge can then slap you with an ERPO where you will then be met by the SWAT team.

        Think about it; You, the wife and kids go out to your backyard Shooting Range (where in this hypothetical sense it would be legal to do) to plink with your Ruger 10/22. Your neighbor, whom moved in last week, is an anti-gun voting, gun owner hating pigs*** from NYC, NJ, or Boston MA.

        They call the county Courthouse or Police Department and make a false accusation that you threatened them, which is Here-Say. An ERPO warrant is issued, and then the SWAT Team attacks you; ya know? Just following their orders. You, your wife or kids get shot shot and killed by the cops in the process, but the State just says; “Oh well. It’s for everyone’s safety”.

        • BC says:

          Son, I live in California. This state is literally ground zero for these laws. And what you’re confidently predicting is going to happen?


          That’s not to say that there aren’t lots of genuine problems with these laws. Due process and custody are real concerns. But this idea that there’s a likely chain of events that begins with a malicious rando phoning in an anonymous tip, and ends with you and your family riddled with SWAT team gunfire in your living room, is just crazy.

          There are plenty of grounds to argue against these laws without sounding like someone whose tinfoil hat is wrapped a little too tightly, but right now that’s exactly what you sound like. And that kind of advocacy is the opposite of helpful, because it gives our enemies examples to point to when they argue that we’re all a bunch of paranoid nutcases.

          You’re making the other side’s job easier. Stop it.

          • 43 says:

            There already has been one person killed when the cops came to get his guns under a red flag law… called in by his irate sister.

            • H says:

              A niece of one Gary J. Willis in Maryland, and it was after the fact described as just “family being family”.

              This is increasingly going to be a major political issue as more people get killed by cops due to false reports. Remember that what really got the pro-gun side going was a stream of atrocities just short of killing humans from the BATF after Nixon’s sugar price supports reducing moonshining to a hobby level, and their out of work Revenuers used to busting stills were tasked to “enforce” the shinny new Gun Control Act (GCA) of ’68.

              And thus sooner or later no people or organizations who are sanguine with Red Flag laws will be viable in the RKBA movement.

              The “good” explanation for accepting the compromise of the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986 that included a ban on adding machineguns to the legal for civilians pool was that otherwise the BATF would extinguish US gun culture, primarily through oppression of gun shop owners, but also gun owners they made examples of. And per Sebastian’s greatest insight, no gun culture -> no gun owners -> no RKBA.

          • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

            So you have no problem with universal background checks then? Gun registration and licensing? Because its definitely tinfoil land to think that anti-gunners won’t use them for eventual confiscation.

            • BC says:

              I’m at a complete loss as to how you inferred any of that from anything I said.

              Of course I’m not okay with this stuff. But there’s a constructive way to oppose it, which doesn’t involve screeching about SWAT teams and state-approved assassinations, and carrying on as if the mere existence of ERPO laws turns a jurisdiction into a dystopian hellscape where things like the Gary Willis horror are routine, and where RKBA advocacy cannot survive.

              Again: the anti-gunners are arguing to the Normals that we’re all a bunch of paranoid nutcases, and you’re making their job easier. Knock it off.

              • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

                My point that the argument that its not a concern that the state can use red flags laws for confiscation is the same argument that its not a concern that gun registration and universal background checks can be used for confiscation. In fact, the argument is stronger for red flag laws because is literally their purpose- confiscation.

                I think arguing that it can be used for confiscation is a constructive way to oppose it. Its not the the only one of course. But its a good one, especially when it comes to gun owners on the fence.

                Again: this is not us showing we are paranoid nutcases. So I will not knock it off.

                • BC says:

                  This is exactly the problem.

                  You labor under the delusion that “gun owners on the fence” is an important constituency in this argument. It is not.

                  “Gun owners on the fence” are a minority of a minority. For every one of those people that you’re able to reach with apocalyptic rhetoric about incipient confiscation, you’re repelling three or four other normals who don’t own guns, and to whom ERPOs sound like a vaguely-plausible policy response to mass shootings. To those people, who are the majority of voters even in robustly anti-gun jurisdictions like California, you sound like a fucking whackjob.

                  To whatever extent these people value the Second Amendment, they are pragmatists, not deontologists. “Confiscation” is not only not a dirty word to them; they consider it a feature, not a bug. They believe we should take guns away from some people — that when we identify a troubled or malign soul, law enforcement should be able to disarm them in the name of community safety.

                  You don’t reach these people by putting on your Wookiee suit and delivering “from my cold dead hands” homilies. You reach them by patiently and calmly pointing out the practical problems with these ideas. In the case of ERPOs that means stressing how the low evidentiary bar for orders is inevitably going to lead to a lot of innocent people being misidentified as threats, and how that’s both unhelpful (it wastes law enforcement resources on people who aren’t actually dangerous) and profoundly unfair.

                  Unfairness is something they care about. Who doesn’t want to be fair? But the moment you start blathering about confiscation — which, again, they resolutely do not give a shit about — you make it easy for some Everytown dweeb to point at you and say, “Look at these people. They’re crazy. They don’t care about gun violence and they prize their stupid hobby over the safety of you and your family.” And then the normals dismiss you, because you do sound to their ears like a paranoid nutcase, and you lose, hard.

                  I don’t know about you, but I want to win. If you don’t? Keep doing what you’re doing.

                  • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

                    You labor under the delusion that “gun owners on the fence” is an important constituency in this argument. It is not. “Gun owners on the fence” are a minority of a minority.

                    You labor under the delusion that they are not an important constituency or that being a minority is relevant. They are, and it is not.

                    For every one of those people that you’re able to reach with apocalyptic rhetoric about incipient confiscation, you’re repelling three or four other normals who don’t own guns, and to whom ERPOs sound like a vaguely-plausible policy response to mass shootings. To those people, who are the majority of voters even in robustly anti-gun jurisdictions like California, you sound like a fucking whackjob.

                    Nope, not if you word it right. We sound like reasoned people.

                    To whatever extent these people value the Second Amendment, they are pragmatists, not deontologists. “Confiscation” is not only not a dirty word to them; they consider it a feature, not a bug. They believe we should take guns away from some people — that when we identify a troubled or malign soul, law enforcement should be able to disarm them in the name of community safety.

                    No, they don’t consider it a feature. They don’t understand it. We will help them understand.

                    You don’t reach these people by putting on your Wookiee suit and delivering “from my cold dead hands” homilies. You reach them by patiently and calmly pointing out the practical problems with these ideas. In the case of ERPOs that means stressing how the low evidentiary bar for orders is inevitably going to lead to a lot of innocent people being misidentified as threats, and how that’s both unhelpful (it wastes law enforcement resources on people who aren’t actually dangerous) and profoundly unfair.

                    Of course not, and what I am explaining is one way to patiently and calming pointing out the practical problems with these ideas. Not sure why you don’t get that.

                    Unfairness is something they care about. Who doesn’t want to be fair? But the moment you start blathering about confiscation — which, again, they resolutely do not give a shit about — you make it easy for some Everytown dweeb to point at you and say, “Look at these people. They’re crazy. They don’t care about gun violence and they prize their stupid hobby over the safety of you and your family.” And then the normals dismiss you, because you do sound to their ears like a paranoid nutcase, and you lose, hard.

                    Nope. The confiscation part is unfairness, which is how you get them to understand it. Everytown will call us crazy regardless, so I don’t care what they say. I care what they uninformed say. And pointing out how its unfair for a woman with a crazy boyfriend just got her guns confiscated and now she can’t defend herself.

                    I don’t know about you, but I want to win. If you don’t? Keep doing what you’re doing.

                    I do want to win, so that’s why I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Sounds like you don’t want to win, because you don’t want to understand.

  3. weredragon says:

    FYI, I’m on an iPhone, your comments appear wider than the article and disappear under the links on the side

  4. Richard says:

    I would support a pragmatist reform movement too for exactly the reasons you state. Not sure whether we can get there from here. Clearly, the posts here indicate that the hardliners aren’t getting behind any reform movement that doesn’t reflect their philosophy. Most actual members of the NRA probably fall in the pragmatist category but the structure makes it difficult for them to be effective. It will probably take board members and leadership falling on their swords to save the organization. Will they?

  5. Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

    There is always going to be the battle between the hardliners and the weakliners. We gotta come down in the middle. But you also don’t have to be a hardliner to want to fight battles like bump stock bans and red flag laws. For the Bump Stock Ban, it still sets up the ability of President Kamala Harris to ban all semi-auto guns. Red Flag laws (as pointed above) can have a massive chilling effect if not lead to mass confiscation.

    It’s all about how you approach it and how much effort you put into it.

  6. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    Reform the NRA? Great idea! Have been asking for that for years.

    Having the NRA be a compromise organization? OK, but then don’t advertise it as a no-compromise organization. The main beef with the NRA’s actions and the lack thereof is that they promised something, got paid and then didn’t deliver. The reaction by members was rather predictable. The reaction by the NRA was more propaganda about what the NRA allegedly is without any action to back it up.

    There is space for many organizations. Just don’t lie to your members!!! Reaction will be swift by those that refuse to be conned.

    The author clearly does not understand the legal implication of using the Chevron Deference to rewrite federal firearms regulations by the executive branch.

  7. 399 says:

    On the question of “hardline” versus “pragmatic compromise” I’d suggest a model worth considering is the ACLU – though I’m sure just mentioning that name will set some to gnashing their teeth and tearing their hair.

    But consider: There is probably not another organization that is more uncompromising regarding those issues it chooses to embrace, than the ACLU. It will hold to its positions pretty much regardless of what public polls show, or what legislators say about it. To the best of my knowledge it has always been like that.

    A major difference from the NRA approach is that while both the NRA and the ACLU will engage in lobbying and litigation centered on their issues, the ACLU does not involve itself in electoral politics.

    To quote Wikipedia on the ACLU,

    Legally, the ACLU consists of two separate but closely affiliated nonprofit organizations: the American Civil Liberties Union, a 501(c)(4) social welfare group, and the ACLU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Both organizations engage in civil rights litigation, advocacy, and education, but only donations to the 501(c)(3) foundation are tax deductible, and only the 501(c)(4) group can engage in unlimited political lobbying.

    Neither entity engages in supporting political candidates or campaigns, except possibly very covertly.

    In my opinion it has been electoral/partisan politics that has undermined us, stolen our focus, and generally perverted the gun rights movement. In practical terms I expect the ACLU to be around and influential long after the NRA has become a shadow of anything that it ever was before.

    • Sebastian says:

      That’s a good model if you have a strong basis to base your activism on litigation, which has been the ACLU’s go to. If Second Amendment law were to develop more it could be a viable option for a gun rights organization. But for now engaging in electioneering is probably a necessity.

      • 399 says:

        I would submit that the ACLU was largely responsible for establishing its own bases in law, where none had existed before except for the constitution — which was largely interpreted at one time in total opposition to the ACLU’s positions. As I vaguely recall, the ACLU was founded at least partially in response to suppression of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech during WWI, when thousands were imprisoned for criticizing the government during the war — something that even Oliver Wendell Holmes supported. Also, the Palmer Raids, which were usually clear violations of the Fourth Amendment. At the time Americans generally supported those violations of constitutional rights and hated the ACLU for resisting them.

        Our electoral efforts have certainly not had much effect in elevating the general public’s regard for the Second Amendment as a constitutional absolute.

        • Steve says:

          The ACLU and lawyers and judges had and have the same opinions. They didn’t need elected officials, electioneering would do them no good because the common voter disagreed with their position. The NRA is in the opposite position, the lawyers and judges do not believe common people should have guns. Electioneering is the only path for a gun rights organization. Unfortunately, elite opinion benefits the ACLU not gun rights organizations.

          • 399 says:

            “The ACLU and lawyers and judges had and have the same opinions.”

            Now the lawyers and judges may share the positions of the ACLU, but the ACLU had to achieve that. It was hardly the case when the organization was formed. As I alluded to, Oliver Wendell Holmes started out “squishy” on Freedom of Speech, and converted to a reasonably solid supporter of Freedom of Speech as time went on. I’m not claiming that the ACLU achieved that specific conversion, but then maybe they did, via a judicious selection of cases to get behind, that would win judicial sympathy to the plaintiffs involved. I’m not enough of a historian to know.

            Yes, it took the better part of a century for the ACLU to get where it is, but in the 1920s it was fighting more than a century of established law that said constitutional rights as the ACLU saw them were optional or situational.

          • Sebastian says:

            I don’t know enough about the history of the free speech movement to say either. But if Hillary had won in 2016, there’s be absolutely no hope of the courts doing anything useful for us on the 2nd Amendment.

    • Alpheus says:

      I can’t remember the particular issue, but the ACLU in recent years has demonstrated a willingness to accept a trampling of rights if it’s for the “correct” cause. Libertarians at Reason have observed (and lamented) this.

      I do not expect this to end well for the ACLU.

      As others have pointed out, the ACLU was in a position amenable to winning court cases, so they don’t need to electioneer. The NRA, however, is in a position where electioneering is needed.

      In either case, however, it’s not necessary to take sides, but with modern Democrats embracing gun control, it’s been tempting for the NRA to drift Republican, and the NRA hasn’t been resisting this temptation as much as they should have….

  8. Sprocket says:

    The primary issue I see with the hardliners is not that they are hardliners (though that has problems as well). The issue is the hardliners encompass a lot of people that simply want to shout, stomp around, and wave their arms about, regardless of usefulness or propriety.

    One of my biggest criticisms of the NRA has been it’s focus on DC over the grassroots. However, I sometimes wonder if the people in Fairfax are concerned about their ability to control the messaging if they focused on the grassroots hardliners/mouthbreathers. I’m sure the “Not one inch!” cheeto dust encrusted neckbeard, styling a Tapco’d SKS and swap meet pants is the thing of their PR nightmares.

  9. dwb says:

    Are hardliners actually reforming the NRA? Or just shouting very loudly and leaving/boycotting? I think the latter and I think that the hardliner problem solves itself: These types will leave and join GOA or some other group, leaving the pragmatists at the NRA.

    The real problem is that the “pragmatists” in Wayne’s camp don’t see a problem, for example a problem with outreach. We speak as if “something” like EPRO and bump stocks were “inevitable” post-Parkland and post-Las Vegas.

    There will always be post-Columbine, post-Sandy Hook, post-tragedy-XXX,… we have been playing defense for decades years without a real game plan to get ahead of the curve. Someone out there right now is planning the next insane mass murder, and then someone will come along and say {whatever we gave up} was a compromise in the {post huge tragedy environment} to prevent bigger things. True, but we missed the opportunity to change the game before the next mass murder.

    Riddle me this: Why are there only 5.5 million NRA members when there are probably 15 million CCW holders? Why are we not reaching the rest? Why have we not been able to capitalize on Chicago and D.C. going shall-issue, adding members, and pressing for reform in other places?

    My view is that while I fully understand the need to compromise to stave off worse outcomes, the real problem is that we have done little to prepare for the next tragedy, nor have we done much in 10 years as far as outreach. Lots of CCW holders and legal gun-owning residents of anti-gun cities are not members, and someone should ask why. Moreover, when we concede to a mass murderer, its analogous negotiating and rewarding a terrorist. The next insane attention seeking mass murderer looking for infamy thinks “game on” I can kill more. Maybe instead of the next compromise we should simply say we are no longer rewarding terrorism and mass murder.

    • H says:

      Very good insight, this is the “exit or voice” choice, see for example Albert O. Hirschman’s book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, as Wikipedia puts it, emphasis added:

      The basic concept is as follows: members of an organization, whether a business, a nation or any other form of human grouping, have essentially two possible responses when they perceive that the organization is demonstrating a decrease in quality or benefit to the member: they can exit (withdraw from the relationship); or, they can voice (attempt to repair or improve the relationship through communication of the complaint, grievance or proposal for change). For example, the citizens of a country may respond to increasing political repression in two ways: emigrate or protest. Similarly, employees can choose to quit their unpleasant job, or express their concerns in an effort to improve the situation. Disgruntled customers can choose to shop elsewhere, or they ask for the manager.

      Exit and voice themselves represent a union between economic and political action. Exit is associated with Adam Smith’s invisible hand, in which buyers and sellers are free to move silently through the market, constantly forming and destroying relationships. Voice, on the other hand, is by nature political and at times confrontational.

      While both exit and voice can be used to measure a decline in an organization, voice is by nature more informative in that it also provides reasons for the decline. Exit, taken alone, only provides the warning sign of decline….

      After the NRA forcefully (as in physical violence at the 1998 board meeting) removed the voice option, making certain the membership could never engineer another Cincinnati revolt, or change it through board elections, we “hardliners” largely exited unless membership was required for range access. Our exercise of “voice” eventually went outside the above framework because of the Winning Team’s control over membership communications, board meetings, and board elections.

      As you note, the NRA’s membership has not increased in line with the huge increase in US gun ownership, in large part driven by the nationwide sweep of shall issue or better concealed carry regimes making guns significantly more useful to ~72% of the population … and those in today’s slave states can exercise exit to move into one of the 42 states allowing concealed carry. Other factors are the aging of the demographic Baby Boomers who can less depend on physical strength, and the ruling class’ “you’re on your own” domestic lack of response to 9/11.

      As for your thesis about mass murders, I ask what was the big difference on both sides between Sandy Hill and Stoneman?

    • Alpheus says:

      Indeed. It’s clear that Everytown and friends have responses ready for the sadly inevitable mass murder — and mass murders, while not reliable enough to design a calendar around, are reliable enough that you could count on one happening every few months or so.

      Why in the world doesn’t the NRA have responses planned months in advance? Sure, a true response would need to be tailored to a specific event — but having a few PR scenario files on hand would be useful to (1) have a response somewhat ready for when such a despicable event occurs, and (2) to have a *mindset* for tailoring a response, even if the event in question is so weird, it requires something completely new.

      While to some degree we may always be on defense (it’s hard to see how we can go on the offense, when we need to respond to something evil), there’s no excuse for not having a defense ready!

      • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:


        I think the NRA being silent in the first few days after a shooting other than “we grieve with America” type statements is fine. But haven’t no offensive plan is just not good strategy.

      • Sebastian says:

        They should. But I would point out that NRA doesn’t have the advantage of a sympathetic media. But their plan needs to reflect that.

  10. Publicola says:

    I’m not an NRA fan – they’re way too much Chamberlain & not near enough Churchill among other shortcomings – but I do hate to see this stuff happening. & I would regret it if it caused their dissolution solely because that would negate any chance for reforming them into an actual pro-gunowner organization.

    One of the biggest problems they have is their structure; it’s a top down org that lends itself to shutting out the members views most of the time. Internal politics have made a members revolt like that which occurred back in ’77 nigh on impossible. This wasn’t for the benefit of the membership – it was so management could rest a little easier without having to worry about being responsive to folks that weren’t happy with management.

    Of course I think Lapierre & Cox et al should step down immediately. But unless they restructure things real quick another Lapierre will just rise up in his place. I mean things like shrinking the board down to a more effective number (<10-ish or so), diverting a good bit of power over the direction of the NRA from an exec to the board & president, letting members have more say to replace board members or presidents they aren't happy with, strict limits on associations with venders/service providers connected to management, perhaps salary caps (no one makes more than $100k), time limits on employment (no one in management more than 5 years or so), getting the hell out of New York & relocating to America, etc.

    But the biggest thing is to establish a clear premise to operate on & stick to it. I'm an absolutist so naturally I'd prefer they take an absolutist stance on the Right to weapons, but if the membership is as squishy as some here say then let them spell out that they're taking a pragmatic stance on the Privilege of owning & maybe carrying (sometimes) guns. Either way they should have some standard by which the membership can judge their actions & performance, instead of all the justifications about losing to win or compromising/appeasing to prevent something worse.

    Cause as it stands now red flag laws being an existential threat isn't the conspiracy theory you'd have to worry about (course if you dismiss their real danger to real people or their outright abhorrence to the Right to arms then we definitely ain't on the same side anyway). What you should see coming is someone claiming the questionable/unethical actions being discussed were presented privately to NRA management by some anti-gunner's sleazy lawyer (but I repeat myself) & they've been compromising/appeasing/losing up a storm to keep from being outed by said anti-gunner (or to avoid prison or just protect their rice bowl). I doubt that's the case, but it'd go a lot farther in explaining the NRA's support or unwillingness to fight various gunowner control measures than most other excuses offered.

    So again I really do hate to see what I think is about to happen to them happening to them. I do hope they can shape up & get things back together & this time actually be on the side of gunowners. But if they just re-shuffle their top down structure, stick to compromise/appeasement & not establish a real underlying premise then this will just repeat in a few years with different names.

    • Richard says:

      I have spent far too much time around legislatures to not have sympathy for the pragmatists. Your people who are on the front lines need to have room to maneuver (as long as they stay within the basic mission) if they are to have any success. However, the apparent internal sleaze is endangering the mission no matter whether that mission is hardline or pragmatist. It would be good if pragmatists and hardliners could put aside their differences long enough to clean up the internals and then we could go back to arguing about direction.

      I would suggest that the argument about direction is so intense because the NRA has been so successful in occupying the ideological space. You don’t see the antis foaming at the mouth about the SAF or GOA. The GOA accomplishes little besides hardliner armwaving. The SAF, however, is successful at actually moving the ball. Yet neither get much attention outside our bubble. Perhaps part of any reform measure could be “revenue sharing” with the various state organizations, most of which are affiliated with the NRA. This would dilute the footprint of the national NRA and still move the ball at the state level.

      • H says:

        It would be good if pragmatists and hardliners could put aside their differences long enough to clean up the internals and then we could go back to arguing about direction.

        This very discussion shows how that’s not going to happen. Sebastian’s first action beyond reporting on the developments was to attack the “hardliner” faction, rather than trying to find common ground on which we could work together.

        Based on his years of virtue signaling against us, going to the point of accusing us Gun Culture 1.0 types of being racist for making a bigger fuss about the Federal government’s execution of mostly white religious dissidents at Waco than the smaller scale, over before we knew it, entirely local under a black mayor but otherwise comparable MOVE bombing of blacks in his back yard. One could be forgiven for our conclusion that he hates us more than he hates gun grabbers who want he and him literally dead, it would appear that the only thing we have in common is the RKBA.

        See also the gross spewing of insults by those agreeing with him in this topic; can there be any peace between our factions??

        • Sebastian says:

          I’m not attacking anyone. I disagree with the hardline position. Everyone has known for years Ask-Mac and their relationship with NRA is a problem, but there hasn’t been anything that could be done about it short of joining the hardliners. Maybe we could put aside differences to clean NRA, but then what? If we clean up NRA by electing a lot of no-compromise board members, that’s effectively going to leave them in control.

          • H says:

            Are you so detached from reality that you think you aren’t attacking someone when you call them racist, along with many lessor slights, allow numerous clear verbal attacks by other members of your faction on this topic of a forum you control at the deepest levels (well, no soldering I suppose), and state you don’t want to reform the NRA if it leaves us “hardliners” in control?

            To repeat and reemphasize, that such divisiveness is your very first action on the NRA crisis tells us all we need to know.

              • H says:

                Maybe you would find it worthwhile to take a full tens steps back from the whole RKBA scene, and think hard on where you personally are? Something like:

                Having repeatedly declared at least half of US gun owners as beyond the pale, just what can I do going forward to be an effective RKBA activist?

                Because all you’re doing now is harming the cause by continuing to pick fights with that half. Having laid out your general position so firmly, you can never earn our respect, never get us to trust you, so maybe find other groups that you find generally tolerable but are still pro-RKBA? Maybe check out the liberalgunowners and 2ALiberals subReddits?

                • Sebastian says:

                  Half of US gun owners is what? 60,000,000 people? If 60,000,000 people were 2A hard liners, I’d go along, because we wouldn’t have to compromise on anything.

                  But they aren’t. About 20,000,000 US gun owners identify as Democrats, if you believe current polling.

                  • H says:

                    I’m guesstimating at least half of US gun owners are from Gun Culture 1.0, the ones you specifically declared to be racist, with many from 2.0 swept up in other culture war statements.

                    Did you never realize that uttering such calumnies would forever circumscribe your effectiveness as a RKBA activist?

                • BC says:

                  Having laid out your general position so firmly, you can never earn our respect, never get us to trust you

                  Quick question: What makes you think that your respect and trust is something that’s worth earning?

              • Alpheus says:

                Where in the world did Sebastian call hardliners racists? What other slights has Sebastian made, beyond being concerned that hardliners would have us die on hills that are indefensible?

                This has been his position on hardliners as long as I can remember. And it’s not an insult — it’s a valid concern, and one that’s real as well (even if some of us disagree with it — or, more likely, disagree where we need to be pragmatic, and where we need to stand and fight).

            • Richard says:

              I don’t see Sebastian attacking anyone and your link below doesn’t show it either. It certainly didn’t call Gun Culture 1.0 racist and didn’t mention GC 1.0 at all. I recall some posts of his where he objected to GC 1.0 because it wasn’t militant enough. Too attuned to hunting and traditional target shooting and not enough to defensive shooting.

              Cleaning up the internals of the NRA is vital to either vision of whether it should be hardline of pragmatist.

              • H says:

                The gun community back in 1985 was by definition Gun Culture 1.0, 2.0 started with the wave of shall issue laws that started in 1987 with Florida. And even he admits in his reply that we were “more racist” back then.

                He’s not an innocent actor in our culture war; that he can’t see that, or how it cripples his effectiveness as a RKBA activist … well, I suppose he wouldn’t have ever said these things if he did, or not tried to have a foot in each camp.

                • Sebastian says:

                  My grandmother sang in minstrel shows in the 1940s. I found the pictures after she died. Suggesting people were more racist in the past and that we’re better off today for not being so racist as we were in the past isn’t burning anyone at the stake. I’m not taking any statues down. I didn’t burn every picture of my grandmother because her racial sensitivities weren’t what people expect today. It was a comment made in passing six years ago I had totally forgotten about. If it offended you, I am sorry. That was not the intent.

                  • H says:

                    You’re intent doesn’t matter when you don’t realize how your long train of abuses has alienated a significant fraction of the people you need to accomplish your goals, “hardliners” or not.

                    Take 20 full steps back and seriously review your actions before taking 10 steps forward and deciding what you can possibly accomplish on the soil you’ve poisoned.

                • Richard says:

                  Don’t know about you but I have always been GC 2.0, even before the term was coined. And more important people than me were too. Gunsite, for example was founded in 1976 and the principles were under development by Cooper long before that.

                  • H says:

                    Never a foot in Gun Culture 1.0? And re Massad Ayoob I mention below, while he did target shooting with unconventional targets like bowling pins per Hit The White Part, he was primarily police and self-defense oriented and bowling pins were aligned with that; could a police only orientation count as at least proto-2.0?

                    You bring up a good point, I started out in 1.0, hunting and very conventional bullseye target shooting, then sometime in the 1984-5 range you could say I decisively transitioned to 2.0. But I don’t think our numbers were significant, enough to be politically significant, until that was reflected in states going shall issue. Which would have happened before a state passed its concealed carry law.

                    And then the floodgates were opened to “normies” who went straight to 2.0 … with a lot of help from people like me who’d gotten our start in 1.0 such that we could be 2.0 instructors.

                    See also totally 2.0 Massad Ayoob, who’s books provide useful dates, In The Gravest Extreme 1980, The Truth About Self-Protection 1983 (still recommended, it’s a total treatment of the issue, for example introduced me to Abloy locks), The Semi-Automatic Pistol in Police Service and Self Defense 1987, i.e. in press before Florida went shall issue.

                    • Richard says:

                      I hunted a bit and did a little traditional target shooting but in both cases the point was to develop skills that had application to defense.

  11. Joe says:

    30 years of advancing Gun Rights, all wiped out by the end of May of this year for the State of Nevada. Good ole’ “Demographics”, baby. Aren’t they wonderful.

    Nevada has had State Preemption since 1988, and now, those protections and 2nd Amendment Rights advancements passed more than a generation ago, will soon be gone.

    The Gun Rights movement can not find a ‘middle-ground’. Hardlining is the only way to go, and that includes Gun Rights groups, like the NRA, having to be single-issue. What just happened in Nevada last night is proof of one thing; once Democrats take unanimous power wherever they get elected, they will drop the hammer hard and impose their anti-gun agenda.

    I wish the GOP here in Ohio would pass Constitutional Carry with greater vigor than what good ole’ Stalinist Democrats in nevada are doing to erase the 2nd Amendment from the Silver State.

    • Richard says:

      What happened in NV was a really bad case of squishes taking over the Republican party. Sandoval and his minions essentially destroyed the Republican party by (among other things) passing the biggest tax increase in Nevada history and giving the money to the teachers union and refusing to support Trump. With conservatives having no reason to be enthusiastic, demographics and vote fraud had their way.

      • Joe says:

        Sad. At least Gun Owners in New Mexico and Vermont managed to mobilize and stop NY SAFE Act type laws getting stomped on to their States. Washington State gun owners seemed to have gotten a ground game going as well, and they seemed to have saved their State Preemption Laws. No rumblings of another “ballot initiative” to repeal that either.

        Sad for Nevadans in other ways too. Their Democrat Governor and Democrat Legislature are gonna do to their State what Jim Florio and his fellow Democrat pigs did to New Jersey from 1990-1993. More tax hikes are on the way too.

    • H says:

      Good ole’ “Demographics”, baby. Aren’t they wonderful.

      As I’ve commented in recent previous Shall Not Be Questioned topics on the NRA, historically unprecedented levels of immigration of anti-gun populations who naturally adhere to the now totally anti-gun at the national level Democratic party is a meta-issue akin to McCain-Feingold’s ban on electioneering political speech, which the “single issue” NRA properly opposed.

      This too is an existential threat to us, a number of states are rapidly turning Blue and anti-gun, and absent a lot of whites changing their party affiliation to Republican it’s hard to see the party or the RKBA being competitive at the national level in 1-3 presidential election cycles. See Venezuela for one likely outcome….

  12. Dave says:

    “NRA largely surrendered on the bump stock issue to buy time to stop the bills that would have put semi-automatic firearms in legal jeopardy.”

    That’s one way to look at it. Another, more truthful way to look at it is:

    NRA largely surrendered on the bump stock issue to set the stage for a “glorious defeat” which they will be able to leverage against membership to raise more money”

    The same strategy that many gun owners pan NAGR for.

    Ask Gura: if Wayne, Chris, Chuck and the rest of the Fairfax crew had their way, there would never have been a Heller victory or a case at all. I think there are a few hard line people in your eyes that are mainstream in everyone else’s. The gun rights calculus changed along the way from compromising away rights when there wasn’t a need in the Pre-Clinton era to the actual threat the mandatory waiting period posed, ameliorated with NICS. While NICS is kind of security theater, it makes the antis feel good but it’s way better than a mandatory waiting period, which if passed, by now would probably be a month or more – and again, in perspective if that had passed, no way would NRA have allowed a court case on it because just like they tried to torpedo Gura with Heller, they’d have tried to shoot down a challenge to a waiting period as well.

    Back in the days when there were a species of the Democrats called “blue dogs”, you could actually negotiate with democrats on 2A, but the blue dogs are extinct now. There is no long any compromise on the table other than “we’ll take your guns, your ability to carry them, your ability to shoot them and we’ll do it with swat teams”. So NRA needs to reform to a hardER line than their current preemptive surrender model.

    They don’t have to go full knucklehead to take a harder line, they have to adapt to the current political climate because the compromises on the table now only involve us losing and losing big.

    • H says:

      Ask Gura: if Wayne, Chris, Chuck and the rest of the Fairfax crew had their way, there would never have been a Heller victory or a case at all.

      That was an eminently defensible position, for without the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor we’d have suffered an historic and consequential defeat. As it is, Heller and McDonald have not changed the facts on the ground for firearms outside of D.C. and Illinois, with the Supremes denying cert to all firearms 2nd Amendment appeals until the recent NYC one which is on the narrowest of grounds, can subjects of the city transport their guns outside of it. A recent NYC action probably intended as a FU to hunters that they’re quite willing to reverse.

      About NICS, the calculus on it drastically changed in 2016 when the FBI predictably stopped hearing appeals to the many false positives it produces. Which will be even more numerous as FixNICS adds a lot more names. A true “pragmatic” “compromise” would have been to predicate its passage on reversing the FBI’s policy.

      Back in the days when there were a species of the Democrats called “blue dogs”, you could actually negotiate with democrats on 2A, but the blue dogs are extinct now. There is no long any compromise on the table other than “we’ll take your guns, your ability to carry them, your ability to shoot them and we’ll do it with swat teams”.

      And nukes if that fails, Eric Swalwell, a House Representative from California not surprisingly, and now a presidential candidate, has explicitly put them on the table, with no blowback from our betters.

      • Joe says:

        Indeed you are right. Our “betters” won’t even slap back at scum like Dannel Malloy, Josh Horwitz, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other anti gunners calling NRA and other Gun Rights Groups “Domestic Terrorist Groups”.

        My father (an Immigrant from the Dominican Republic) lives in Hunterdon County NJ, Tom Malinowski’s Congressional District. That Scumbag routinely calls Gun Rights groups ‘terrorists’, but my father verbally burned him at a Clinton Township Townhall back in March, and called him a “Stalinist Piece of Shit” an was received with applause from the crowd in attendance.

        • Miles says:

          Now the serious answer to the question will be whether or not those words will be effective in garnering enough support to vote out Malinowski.

          If they aren’t what good are they beyond people blowing off steam?

          • Joe says:

            Malinowski basically called my Dad a terrorist. In terms of letting off steam, how else are you supposed to feel if you have a politician, protected government agents with guns, calling you a terrorist?

            Besides, the audience overwhelmingly agreed with my old man.

            • Miles says:

              “…the audience overwhelming agreed…”

              Now, I do understand where you’re coming from, but feel doesn’t win elections, voters voting do. We just kicked out a multiple term demoncrap Senator. It’s hard work, but can be done.

              And the question -again- being, is your ‘overwhelmingness’ going to be translated into enough ‘rock the vote’ from more people than were in that meeting to kick the guy off off the .gov gravy train in ’20?
              Sincerely, for you guy’s sake, I hope so, but I don’t know jack from Joisey politics other than it’s a demoncrap $#!+hole for gunowners.
              Maybe someone less proggie can primary him ala’ the way AOC did Crowley.

  13. 342 says:

    If Neal Knox had been successful years ago in getting rid of AckMac and Wayne, we wouldn’t be having this problem now, would we?

  14. Scott in Phx says:

    I agree that bump-stocks aren’t a hill to die on but the NRA could have surrendered that hill without advocating for the “rule of men”.

    For the NRA to suggest that simply having ATF re-write the rules – essentially to create law – after having determined several times previously that these devices are not, and CANNOT be, machineguns is a betrayal of principle that marks them not just as bad pragmatists but as just as dangerous to liberty as the leftists.

    They should have said this is a matter for Congress and then worked that field to either make sure such law didn’t impact semi-auto firearms and/or tried to get something in return like NCCR (which there seems to be NO POSSIBILITY of getting now).

    And still, I bought a nephew a Life Membership a few months ago.

    But I hate the thought of giving those craven people any more money than that. And I won’t. They better get some smart patriots in there, Ollie North and Dana aren’t good examples of what is going to cut it.

    • H says:

      While “399’s” answer is obviously wrong, he did identify a problem of “electoral/partisan politics that has undermined us, stolen our focus, and generally perverted the gun rights movement.”

      Or as I’d say, the Winning Team has gotten too comfortable with a huge number of gun grabbing politicians, from Trump on down. About bump stocks, they had the choice of fighting it, for example noting how the BATF was never allowed to examine the insides of the Las Vegas guns (something the BATF has made pains to point out!), harming Trump, who won’t be relevant in 2-6 years, or inconveniencing a bunch of Congresscritters they highly rate (but now make very difficult to find their the ratings, historically or if you’re outside their district or state).

    • Sebastian says:

      The problem is, Congress was going to act. Did you see the bill Congress was going to pass? It would have been a bigger disaster.

      • H says:

        Any particular reason you think a Republican Congress and President were entirely comfortable with passing such a viciously anti-gun law (I assume this is the one that would have include trigger replacements and tune-ups)? Do you think there’s any chance Lindsey Graham is going to lose his A rating due to his full throated support of Red Flag laws (assuming the Winning Team is still running the NRA and it’s business as usual)?

        Any particular reason said Congress and President gave us more gun control, FixNICS and the bump stock ban, when the reversed first 2 years Obama and Democratic Congress gave us less gun control, concealed carry in National Parks and carriage of guns on Amtrak?

        Do you think the “gun voters” of America are entirely ignorant of these facts on the ground? The 2018 Congressional election would suggest “no”, although these were just a small portion of the betrayals we suffered.

        • Sebastian says:

          How many people do you think represent gun voters? We know there are approximately 5 million NRA members who give a shit enough to even join a group. Maybe 100,000 or so who won’t join NRA because they aren’t hard core enough. You end up with two horrific mass shootings within six months of each other with our political opponents ready with a well thought out and planned media campaign.

          How many politicians, most of whom don’t give a shit about this issue short of its ability to get them votes, are going to waver? We already know the answer: enough. It doesn’t take many Republican defections to join with the Dems to pass a bill into law.

          • H says:

            We know there are approximately 5 million NRA members who give a shit enough to even join a group.

            Yeah, we don’t exist in the same reality.

            How can you possibly be so sure the “hardliners” who refuse to join or stay with the NRA number so few as 100,000? I’ll quote one of your faction members, “show us your work”.

            I say the NRA would gain membership at net by taking a more hardline approach in practice because of their posture of being hardline.

            If the GOP leadership viewed the NRA as anything more than a paper tiger, they would never let such a bill come to a vote, at least in the House where the Speaker completely controls the agenda. But by getting too cozy with the GOP, by not sending enough/some/any? of them home to spend more time with their families, they’ve ensured that a host of A rated Congresscritters can betray us without harm from them (gun voters are another matter).

            And then we get to Trump. He clearly is deferring to them on policy, and what is that policy??

            Bottom line: you and your faction are losing the RKBA, heck, you probably even know it, all you’re trying to do is to slow down the process. That’s not going to end well for anybody.

            • Sebastian says:

              Take a look at GOA and NAGR’s income numbers. Talk to some ordinary gun owners not plugged into the Internet gun culture. 100,000 might be generous.

              • H says:

                I don’t belong to the GAO because they’re entirely ineffective and liars, claiming a huge membership when their 990 forms show ~30,000 paying annual dues. Although they’re going to get a reevaluation due to their changing of the guard and the projected decline and fall of the NRA. Oh, yeah, they lose a lot of points by being generally “conservative” on a number of issues that aren’t in any way related to guns, aside from the obvious of socialism resulting in a bad end.

                The NAGR has a horrible reputation, which starts with their mailings scream “scam”, which is trivially confirmable by looking at their 990s.

                Either of these are in no way a useful substitute for a “hardline” in practice NRA, and you haven’t shown us how the NRA would lose membership by adding the “hardliners” as members.

                And if you keep ignoring the other points I’m making, it’ll become crystal clear to all that you’re not able to defend your position based on your claims of why.

      • Scott in Phx says:

        “was going to act”, well maybe.

        There is many a slip tween the cup and the lip.

        Plus, our “pro 2A” prezzy should have been a backstop to that anyway, but as we found out he’s not.

        And the NRA evidently didn’t have enough pull with him to make him walk the talk.

        Or, maybe he was willing to toss bump-stocks on the pyre because the NRA was.

        Anyway, we know that the Repubs won’t stand by us, nor Trump.

        We’re back to the courts. Maybe they’ll over-turn the ATF law-making, maybe they’ll hand us a victory for CC too.


  15. BenW says:

    We never seem to gain ground on anything other than concealed carry. Is there a strategy where we win and don’t just lose slowly?

    • H says:

      Not counting Constitutional Carry I think concealed carry has reached its high water point, none of the 8 states left have any chance of politically moving to shall issue. And sooner or later attempts to reverse concealed carry will start bearing fruit, Washington state is a good bet despite having it since 1961 without problem.

      One problem with the “realistic” approach is that in truth it’s as or more high risk as they claim the “hardliner” approach is; as you see it inevitably results in our losing slowly, with absolutely no chance of winning.

      • Joe says:

        I would say Vermont is more likely to fall on the Concealed Carry issue. Bill’s have been introduced for May-Issue already as of February 2017.

        State Preemption in Nevada has been around since 1988, but it’ll be gone this year. Sad to see that if Democrats get total unchecked control, your gun-rights will be assailed and violated, but what’s most angering is that the GOP in an unchecked majority does nothing to advance our 2nd Amendment Rights and repeal Democrat imposed gun ban laws.

  16. 453 says:

    Is firing Wayne LaPierre realistic?

    • H says:

      Probably not unless enough board members think such an action will lesson their changes of going to prison or getting their reputation besmirched, and he’s just the tip of the iceberg, per the count of our enemies 47 employees or relatives of NRA and its units are alleged to be in self-dealing arrangements (where the NRA is sending money to an org they have an interest in).

      Even a clean sweep of the Winning Team won’t fix the structural problem where the executives trivially control a board that’s at least 10 times too big to exercise effective control (a subject of much research as it’s very important to investors of for profit companies). And the executives control the board’s makeup through their complete control of member communications and the normal nomination process, and have changed the bylaws so the members can’t effect another Cincinnati revolt at an annual meeting.

      Not sure the question matters, unless both New York state and the IRS are incompetent, which is entirely possible, the real question is will Wayne be able to avoid prison. There are too many white line criminal acts by the Winning Team, the board’s Audit Committee, etc., they’ve handed their political enemies all the ammunition needed to terminate the NRA with extreme prejudice without stretching the law or engaging in abusive prosecutions. Something reflected in reports of board members freaking out, and the previously inconceivable lawsuit against AckMac, that alone tells you how dire the Winning Team perceives their situation.

  17. H says:

    There’s a pro-gun organization of significant heft that as far as I know isn’t hardly as corrupt let alone mismanaged like the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Our betters routinely portray the NRA as being the lobby for the gun industry, well, it’s the organization that truly is that.

    I wouldn’t expect them to do anything now, but if the NRA dies, who knows? Without an effective organization taking the NRA’s place, the NSSF and its members won’t have much of a future.

    • FiftycalTX says:

      Oh, you are really salivating over the possibility of Coumo and NY state shutting down NRA. Think GOA will get to line it’s pockets and yours with the money from former NRA members? Or are you NAGR and sending out nigerian “your uncle left you 2 million and we just want $50,000 to process the forms”? Well, NRA has done more for more than 100 years to keep our RIGHT to arms safe. Not perfect, god knows, but a HELL OF A LOT BETTER than any other Country in the WORLD! Now if you yearn for bump stocks or whatever, leave. Find your utopia elsewhere. The political upheaval coming to this country in the next few years is going to bo immense. Our best hope is the courts will finally acknowledge basic 2nd amendment rights. And once that happens, shit will be harder for the socialists to do anything about. Absent that, some states are lost. Too bad. I don’t live there for a reason. That’s the way it is. Don’t like it? tough.

      • H says:

        You might try reading the whole conversation before imputing motives to someone you know nothing about. For example, this comment where I trash the GOA for being ineffective and lying, and the NAGR for being an obvious scam.

        • Joe says:

          NSSF, SAF, and Firearms Policy Coalition are all outstanding groups to pick up the slack should the NRA Fold. In reality though, you and I both know that the State Gun Rights groups are the only way to actually get effective grassroots efforts for Gun Culture 2.0 to be a force that the left can’t touch.

          States fall into the saying: “Elections are local”. NSSF, SAF, and FPC can certainly work together for the purpose of collaborating with statewide groups for the collective objectives we seek. Statewide groups here in Ohio did phenomenal without the NRA, save for that scumbag Sherrod Brown getting reelected.

        • FiftycalTX says:

          Oh, OK, your are just a troll that likes to stir shit up. Got it.

  18. Miles says:

    Interesting that we see “H” casting his aspersions and calumny elsewhere about his and Sebastian’s post here.

    When a passing comment made years ago is used as a pretext to be personally offended (that’s a tactic seen more from the proggies than from us) it makes me wonder just who is really ‘divisive’ within the RKBA movement.

  19. dwb says:

    Wow, 77 comments must be some kind of record. Must have hit a nerve. Good!

    I see repeatedly comments to the effect that SAF “only” does lawsuits. Not quite correct: CCRKBA, a sister org of SAF also started by Gotlieb, does legislative lobbying similar to NRA-ILA. As near as I can tell they mainly operate at the Federal level (unlike the NRA) and are not nearly as effective or omnipresent.

    For all those people predicting the NRA will fold, history cautions against apocalyptic predictions. A realignment and reassessment every several decades is completely normal. The .org will go on with new faces and new purpose.

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      Yes. Mostly this thread is a clown show, though, to get this high a number.

      I think the reasons for the NRA being in the predicament they are now speak for themselves. They will be replaced with a group who cares about gun rights and financial solvency. “H” seems to be the canary in the coal mine. There need to be the lion’s share of hardliners at this point in history who will “resist” (as we have heard from the prog side mostly).

      • H says:

        Tweet, tweet. And there’s one other group WRT to the NRA, those who are not hardliners who were completely turned off by the begging that enriched AckMac.

        “Resist” what, and the lion’s share needed for what?

        And who knows, how can anyone be so certain that continuing to keep us “hardliners” beyond the pale of the civilized pro-RKBA community is better than adding our numbers and influence? Per Wikipedia Neal Knox was fired by the NRA in 1982, so the proto-Winning Team was running things by sometime in the 1980s. It credibly says he started the effort that resulted in the FOPA of 1986; at the national level how much winning vs. negotiated surrendering have we enjoyed since then?

        Off the top of my head and checking Wikipedia: the sunset in Clinton’s “assault weapons” ban, the 1996 Dickey Amendment banning CDC gun control advocacy (not research), the 2003 Tiahrt Amendment limiting ATF trace data to law enforcement, the utterly critical 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, and the untested? post-Katrina anti-confiscation law. During the Obama administration, his Democratic Congress’ National Parks, Amtrak, and Obamacare provisions, and enough Senators refusing to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty during his administration.

        Despite their extremely limited effect on the ground, Heller and McDonald but the NRA gets scant credit for them (as previously noted, entirely justifiable when it was started). And we haven’t gotten anything from the Republican Congress that started reforming in 2011 beside the treaty ratification refusal which required very few of them, or Trump. I don’t count the elections of the gun grabbing Bushes or Trump.

        As I’ve noted, and the above supports, the current “realistic” “pragmatic” approach has us decisively losing in politics, in a timeline we can comprehend if for no other reason than the effects of mass immigration of anti-gun populations who reliably vote for Democrats, who at the national level have become 99% anti-gun. A not seriously anti-gun Democratic presidential candidate is at the moment unthinkable except perhaps Biden, and Trump’s reelection almost entirely hinges on how unhinged a Democrat he faces to counter blatant voting fraud, Florida likely turning Blue due to 1.4 million felons getting the right to vote, and mass immigration.

        There’s a vague hope the Supremes might save us, but for now, for anything serious, the evidence is a 6-3 anti-gun majority. I based this on Kavannaugh having clerked for Kennedy and being his hand picked successor, and the court’s refusal to hear a serious appeal prior to the extremely narrow one coming up on NYC’s ban on taking guns outside the city. I’m seriously concerned about Civil War 2.0 starting if one of the “liberal” 4 retired while Trump is President, although not at a high probability.

        The state level tells us we’ve got serious strengths, but they aren’t translating into national level success.

        • dwb says:

          As evidenced by the numbers and general fecklessness of the GOA, there simply aren’t that many hardliners. I’d invite each and every one to defect to GOA, except that I think they already have. hardliners are a very loud, vocal, but also small minority. Of course, social media seems to amplify them because it creates little bubbles of groupthink.

          Personally I think that anti-gun groups are going for small wedge issues like bump stocks and ghost guns, precisely to drive a wedge into the gun rights movement. Divide and conquer as they say. If you are dumb enough to fall for the tactic, shame on you.

          • H says:

            Your disdain of “hardliners” makes your analysis worthless. As noted above, a bunch of “hardliners” like myself don’t belong to the GOA precisely because it’s “feckless”, for example their invaluable historical politician ratings were lost in a web site update, and became useless when they added Obamacare and other conservative issues to the criteria. We have better things to do with our time and money, and you don’t have to join to get their emails.

            As for the anti-gun groups, “embrace the healing power of ‘and'”. They’re going for everything, but obviously nibbles like bump stocks that also trash the standing of a President they hate are where they’ll get the most likely successes. And this has been true since at least the 1960s with mail order and “Saturday Night Specials”. But Red Flag laws are vastly more ambitious.

          • Sebastian says:

            That’s exactly what they are doing. The trick to quashing gun culture is to extinguish new trends before they have a chance to take hold. Basically what they did with Machine Guns back in the 30s. That ends up making the gun culture moribund, which eventually will kill it. Bump stocks were just a way to say “Ha, ha, your machine gun restrictions are meaningless.” Well, the powers that be decided they wouldn’t be. To me that’s an extension of the machine gun fight which we lost years ago.

            But home gunsmithing, 3D printing, and milling…. not new technologies, but now within the reach of casual hobbyists. That’s a new fight, and they can’t be allowed to win.

            • H says:

              And this has national defense implications, although for our enemies that’s not a bug but a feature.

              The suppression of civilian machine gun work in 1934 resulted in our entering WWII with our WWI designs. That was great for the M2, perhaps OK for the BAR, no good for submachine guns, but terrible for medium caliber belt feds, precluding us from following the Germans with the critical development of the general purpose machine gun (GPMG) with quick switch barrels, which made the previous categories of light and not very portable water cooled heavy machines instantly obsolete.

              This lack of capability helped birth the M60 GPMG atrocity, we’re now using the FN design for all but a few very niche applications. If you don’t like the AR-15, well, there weren’t many indigenous options available by then due to the NFA of 1934. And this limits the options as the military continues to toy with the idea of replacing AR-15 derived designs.

        • Sebastian says:

          I share your frustrations with the GOP being feckless and not able to accomplish anything for us. But what got us here isn’t that we didn’t shout “no” loud enough. We’re here where we are because Mike Bloomberg dumped more money into the gun control movement than it’s ever seen, has been ralling other super-rich to his cause, and is using that money very intelligently.

          When monied elites decide they want something, they usually get their way.

          The problem with NRA right now is they are largely stuck on what “worked” before that pressure came to bear. I would also argue they have, for a long time, been withdrawing from a bank that was filled up by a strong grassroots game before Ack-Mac really got their hooks in. That bank is now empty, and they need to go in a new direction. Their PR firm wants to overcharge them for more Angry Dana videos to goose membership. But none of that will matter if the membership is disengaged, uninterested, and disorganized. Strong grassroots are the only way NRA is going to defeat Bloomberg. They will not succeeded in outspending him, and will not succeed trying to outcompete him in top-down organizing. They need to play to their strengths.

          • H says:

            That’s a serious rewrite of history, seeing as how we were losing badly before Bloomberg entered the arena in 2006 with his “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”. Now we’re losing catastrophically at the national and Purple/Blue state levels primarily because of him, and one could claim this is because your “realistic” faction refused to join forces with us “hardliners” to keep the NRA from becoming terminally sclerotic and impoverished, and likely facing corporate death, which will consume most of its attention.

            Would Bloomberg have even tried if he hadn’t sensed opportunity, and gotten good results with his earliest ventures?

            All that said, your analysis about gun culture above, and this comment, are examples of why you’re an extremely valuable member of the RKBA community, and free and un-pre-moderated discussion on your blog helps a lot.

            • Sebastian says:

              To be fair, the typical hardline stance is that it’s been nothing but a big downhill slide since 68. That’s also something I disagree with.

          • H says:

            Another thought about Bloomberg, how much has he been pushing against an already opening door? You can tell us about your home state, I can about Virginia where I resided until just before he got going with Illegal Mayors Against Illegal Guns after a little review, but in the west, I can think of 3 states, with Californication being a major factor in all, other demographics in Colorado and Nevada (immivation), and Washingtion (tech gentrification).

            Where else? He lost the first round in Maine. How much is he behind Vermont turning decisively anti-gun? It was clear to me in ~1990 that New Hampshire was doomed due to refugees from Massachusetts in the Californication style.

            • Sebastian says:

              “Another thought about Bloomberg, how much has he been pushing against an already opening door?”

              He’s been doing that a lot, and he’s been very smart about knowing where those doors were opening. All he really had to do to flip the states he’s flipping was get the Dems to not be afraid of gun control. That’s something money can accomplish.

              • H says:

                All he really had to do to flip the states he’s flipping was get the Dems to not be afraid of gun control. That’s something money can accomplish.

                That depends on how much the politician likes power, and whether Bloomberg is arranging soft landings for the ones who’ve been sent home to spend more time with their families. Colorado certainly saw a very long pause in gun grabbing, as I recall only resumed after the state turned significantly more Blue.

                • Sebastian says:

                  Demographically, Colorado has had too many coastal lefties move there. Their GOP is also feckless. Dudley Brown has done a lot of damage to the Colorado GOP if you believe what CO natives plugged into the political scene say.

                  • Publicola says:

                    The GoP in Colorado was perfectly capable of damaging themselves. & they did. Brown would have had to cut in on them & even then his efforts would have been negligible compared to the self damage they were doing.

                    Anti-gunowner bills stopped in Co because the senate was GoP by 1 seat. The recalls also altered Bloomberg’s plans – that’s why he went to ballot measures for a few years. Now he’s giving it a try again legislatively & if it works he’ll push legislatures in other states where he thinks it’ll be more efficient than a ballot measure.

                    Cali’s moving in had an effect, but the GoP could have countered it to some degree – enough to keep the legislature divided. But the Colorado GoP makes the national GoP look like bastions of principle with spines of titanium.

                    If the courts don’t save Colorado then it’ll be up to county-level resistance. There may still be hope for them, but well, just damn.

                    • H says:

                      I wonder how much damage Brown has done vs. giving politicians an excuse to do what they really wanted, see the Texas House Speaker for the current most notorious example.

                      Another data point on the Colorado GOP’s fecklessness, back when the RNC was missing in action on the ground game after Obama’s election, a committee of either governors or senators who did the national directed ground game omitted Colorado because the candidate was so hopeless.

                    • Richard says:

                      Going back further CO began to go blue with the activities of the Gang of Four (Gill, Stryker, Polis Bridges) providing the money and Al Yates, former President of CSU providing the brains. The original motivator was gay rights, specifically whacking Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave who was a visible opponent. They moved on from their to eventually establish Democrat control over the entire state.

                      While I am generally committed to keeping the NRA as a 2A focused organization, this is a cautionary tale about how one leftist issue can be parlayed into control. Bloomberg came on the scene much later, pushing on an opening door as Sebastian described.

                    • H says:

                      The book The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care), which I need to get around to reading, covers this story, including the Gang of Four you mention.

            • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

              Yeah, I don’t share Sebastian’s belief that this is all due to Bloomberg. I think he is a boogeymen on our side like the Koch brothers are on the left. His money certainly didn’t help, but at most it just sped up the process a bit. And other than states that were already going blue, he has very few wins. Even Florida last year has now come around now that the fog of death has passed and is allowed armed teachers.

    • Will says:

      “For all those people predicting the NRA will fold, history cautions against apocalyptic predictions. A realignment and reassessment every several decades is completely normal. The .org will go on with new faces and new purpose.”

      Wow! you didn’t bother to read anything on this subject, did you? Apparently NY Has the legal authority to shut down the NRA and put various officers in prison for being greedy and stupid, and/or not reading the fine print about what their position legally entails. If you think the Leftards of NYFC won’t exercise that legal muscle to eviscerate the NRA, I’ve got a bridge for sale…
      Not to mention the IRS getting primed to stick the knife in.
      Kiss the NRA goodbye, it’s gone.

      I’m hoping WLaP and friends at least pay a personal price for this fiasco. Only real question at this point is how many bodies will end up behind bars? You can be sure NY will go for the maximum body count. Tossing the BoD’s into prison is probably one of their aims. Lots of high profile gun culture people for a perp walk. Wanna bet they are willing to sacrifice Tom Selleck on the alter of being PC?

      I’ve been wishing for a shakeup in the NRA’s management for decades. This wasn’t what I had in mind.

  20. dustydog says:

    RKBA needs smarter bolder leadership. Trump is 72, and he’s mentally younger than the GOP leadership before him.

    For example: the response to universal background checks should be to unmoor them from gun purchasing. Anyone should be able to run an instant federal background check on anybody, for any reason. Private gun sale – run a background check. Blind date – run a check. Moving to a new apartment – run the neighbors. It isn’t something that should be limiting to the police and media.


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