I am not a member of the NRA. While I am a strong advocate for our 2nd Amendment rights, I have always been a bit skittish with the NRA. As a large, powerful lobbying organization, they are susceptible to corruption and acting to maintain their own power despite their stated principles.
Just as opposition was building in the House to the unconstitutional and burdensome DISCLOSE Act, which is intended to help Democrats in the November election by stifling the political speech of corporations and many non-profit advocacy organizations (but not unions), the NRA has apparently sold out.
Politico and others are reporting that the NRA has reached a deal to withdraw its opposition to the bill in exchange for an exemption for the NRA from its disclosure provisions. The exemption would apply to “organizations which have qualified as having tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code for each of the 10 years prior to making a campaign-related disbursement, that had 1 million or more dues-paying members in the prior calendar year, that had members in each of the 50 states, that received no more than 15 percent of their total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and that do not use any corporate or union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures.”
There aren’t too many organizations that will fit within this exemption, but I understand the NRA thinks it is one of those that will. This exemption will not apply to small, less powerful 501(c)(4) organizations, which will be hit the hardest by the onerous, burdensome, and expensive disclosure requirements of the DISCLOSE Act, but it will apply to the large, well-funded and well-connected NRA.
The NRA does a lot of great things - especially their training and education programs - but it’s hard for me to send money to people who cut such deals.
Consider joining Gun Owners of America. Much better than NRA. The opposed Brady, they pushed Heller when the NRA tried to run from it, etc. Far less dependent on internal politics than the NRA.
I’m a member of both, but my political donations go to GoA.
I don’t agree with everything the NRA does either, but let’s not lose sight of their goals here. They want to be able to get their message out there. They didn’t get involved in a fight over DISCLOSE out of high-minded idealism. Their members don’t send in dues and political donations so the NRA can fight to protect the speech rights of other organizations.
Put simply, it’s not the NRA’s concern or the NRA"s business what other groups can or can’t do. IF there was no other way to secure their own right to political speech except going to war en masse along with every other 501(c)(4) or (c)(3), then I think we could all justify their spending their money in that battle. But the NRA isn’t the CATO Group, or the Tea Party, or anything else. Its only concern SHOULD be how to get its gun-owning members’ message out there, including during election time. They found a way to do that with less bloodshed than might have otherwise been the case.
I’m sorry, but as much as I’d like to see the silly rule lifted across the board, I can’t fault NRA for keeping its focus narrowed.
You don’t need to get your undies in a bunch. While the bill could possibly move to the floor of the House this week - and presuming it passes it - it is uncertain if the Senate will take it up.
An NRA membership is $35 a year. You can probably get off for less.
I’d be willing to bet you spend more on your cable bill in a month.
Put your money where your mouth is.
I can’t say I agree with you, Owen. Clearly that bill is typical of the non-stop assaults that this congress has made on the Constitution, but it is a First Amendment issue and the NRA is all about the Second Amendment.
Sure, I’d love to see them fight for conservative values, but I can’t really fault them for doing everything they can to support their mission to protect gun owners rights. If they are muzzled by our Venezuelan congress, they can’t accomplish the goal that their members paid dues to have as mission one.
I’m not always happy with the things they fight for and against, but overall they certainly do have great effect in their chosen sphere of influence… generally for the good of those of us who own guns.
Frankly, while I am just as unhappy as is Owen about their action here, the American Rifleman is worth $35.00/year.
Wow. I really have to say that I’m shocked, Owen. Not by your opposition to the bill, that I understand and support that position. But you are involved in politics. You understand that it’s not always pretty or picture perfect. The idea that you refuse to join the largest and most powerful lobby on the issue that has definitely invested in your state is really surprising.
I guess that explains why it seemed you didn’t come to the NRA meeting in Milwaukee when it was there. At least I didn’t think you did based on the blog updates at the time. I was a little disappointed at the time that I didn’t get to meet you, but I didn’t realize that part of skipping it was rooted in believing the organization is corrupt and working against the issue. Just wow. Seriously, I’d love to talk to you more about this maybe by email if you’re up for it because I’m pretty surprised to hear that from someone like you.
Anyway, back to the issue of the DISCLOSE Act, might I suggest taking a few minutes and watching this video commentary on the topic. It’s worth thinking about.
I have to agree with Liberty, Dad, & Bitter (and with myself of course). I’ve never understood firearms owners who distance themselves from the NRA, knowing what the political situation is out there.
The NRA is without a doubt a large, powerful organization which does not always act in perfect lock-step with every one of my wishes. But I agree with them 80-90 percent of the time. And they have the clout to back up my otherwise lone voice in the wilderness on those 80-90% issues.
What’s the alternative? Shall I get my twenty friends who think exactly like I do and buy a bunch of postcards to send to my representatives? Or drive up to Washington and try to get our voices heard? No, I think I’ll go with the over-three-million-member organization that doesn’t concern itself with foodborne illnesses or oil drilling in the gulf or anything else except the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Because at the end of the day, the Schumers and Feingolds and all the rest of them will never respond to logic or reason in deciding which course to take. They think they know what’s best for all of us and many of their (largely uninformed) leftist constituents apparently agree. It doesn’t matter how right I am or what the Founding Fathers said. They want you and me and everyone else stripped of our weapons, and other senators and congressmen are prone to follow along if we let them. They claim they’ll leave hunters and target-shooters alone, but we grownups should by now know how incrementalism works. Once they’ve disarmed the self-defense crowd of their handguns but people still continue to be harmed by firearms, do you really think they will just throw in the towel? Do you? Do you think the Brady crowd will just declare victory at that point and give up?
Of course they won’t. And since we know the Schumers are not motivated by logic or rationality but rather about soothing their voters’ feelings and staying in office, I really don’t care to waste a second of my time trying to change their minds on this issue. They already have all the facts in front of them to come to the right conclusion. They won’t do it. But the one thing legislators DO respond to is fear of being voted out of office. My vanload of buddies and I from Texas will never have much of an influence in D.C. no matter how eloquent we are. But a massive national organization of people who are willing to spend money to protect their 2nd Amendment rights? Well, experience shows that most legislators will sit up and listen to what they have to say. Schumer and friends may be secure from removal in their own little leftist enclaves, but the rest of them are not, and I like the NRA to remind them of that as often as possible.
Which brings me back around to gun owners who choose to go it alone… I just don’t get it. There are lots of hunters and so on who already know how to shoot, don’t need training, and don’t care about handguns. They think the NRA only exists for self-defense nuts.
If you were talking about keeping your right to own hang gliders and didn’t think the NRA had anything to offer you I’d completely agree. But the anti-gunners don’t see the distinctions that way. They don’t like Americans who have GUNS. They all pay lip service to bird hunting and plinking at cans - think Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy at a photo op with a shotgun and an orange vest - but that’s just to get votes, and to a lesser degree to divide gun owners up against each other. It’s also worth pointing out that hunting and plinking are not what the 2nd Amendment is about. And like I’ve said, in their fantasy world once they’ve gotten handgun ownership outlawed, what do you think they’ll do next?
You don’t understand firearm owners who are content to simply own firearms, and not worried about changing laws so they can carry them around hidden in their pockets, or blow away anyone who approaches their homes, cars or businesses?
If the estimates I just tracked down are to be believed there are about 4 million NRA members at any given time. There are 80-some million gun owners in America. You shouldn’t be surprised that so many of us have absolutely no interest in the NRA. If there’s every an actual, legitimate threat to gun ownership in this country then maybe I’ll consider it a political issue and pick some allies, but for the time being I’m not worried.
(I know, I know, I’m free-riding on the efforts of all the brave patriots whose efforts keep that imminent liburl gun stealing at bay – I’ve heard it all before but I’m still not ready to play victim to the phantom menace)
Jason, I get it that you think the threat of confiscation is imaginary, or at least far less imminent a potential threat than I do. And I read from your sarcasm that you believe that people who want the right to defend themselves at any time are a little bit nuts.
I’ll just point out that whatever your lifestyle, wherever you live, work, or play, your situation is not the same as everyone else’s. Are there people who are too zealous in their desire to arm themselves? Sure. But however secure your existence may be I can assure you that there are people in dangerous situations every day. Some of them live in places you would never venture. Some of them work in jobs that take them places, or in contact with people, that you would probably pay to avoid. Some of them get carjacked during the simple act of driving home, minding their own business.
I’m glad you are in a position to scoff at those concerns, and I understand that you think the likelihood of firearms being outlawed is remote. But that means you’re not the in the demographic that puzzles me. You don’t realize the extent of the gun-haters’ lobby and the extent to which they’ll circumvent logic to achieve their aims and yet avoid the issue; you’re just naive. That’s okay. I hope you never get proven wrong.
NRA sent out a note to members today explaining their position. Folks have apparently been giving them heat for this decision. If you care I can copy it over here, but basically it said that we don’t like the law, but if we can do what we do now we won’t complain about it.
Of course you have to believe that the Demoncrats are telling the NRA the truth about exempting them, and that they’ll keep doing that. That’s what I don’t believe.
No need to be patronizing. I spent most of my life before I moved to Wisconsin living in the places you describe. I’ve been robbed on the street many, many times. My family home was burglarized more than a few times. I’ve never been car jacked, but I’ve always been very cognizant of the possibility. Despite those experiences I still believe that concealed carry and the castle doctrine have more to do with selling guns than protecting anyone. And I continue to be pretty confident that the liberal brown shirts won’t be kicking in my door to confiscate my guns without a fair amount of advanced notice, socialist muslim terrorist Kenyan president notwithstanding.
And I continue to be pretty confident that the liberal brown shirts won’t be kicking in my door to confiscate my guns without a fair amount of advanced notice,
Do you suppose the people in New Orleans thought that same thing before Katrina? I bet they did. Then, just when they needed a gun the most, in the law enforcement vacuum created by the Hurricane, the authorities showed up at the homes of registered gun owners and confiscated more than 1000 firearms.
Perhaps you feel a warm and fuzzy security from your government, but not everyone would agree. We are simply a law or governmental order away from big trouble. Had it not been for the NRA and other pro-gun groups, those NOLA gun owners would have simply been out of luck.
Overzealous local law enforcement might temporarily and wrongly deprive me of access to my firearms as in the case of NOLA, but that’s not the same as saying that there’s a serious, imminent threat to the Second Amendment so we need to throw a whole bunch of money at a lobbyist organization in hopes that some of it will trickle down and influence politicians.
Spend your money however you want, I just don’t have any interest in paying to fight a war of words against a trumped up, unrealistic threat, and I’m obviously not alone among gun owners in that regard.
Overzealous local law enforcement might temporarily and wrongly deprive me of access to my firearms as in the case of NOLA, but that’s not the same as saying that there’s a serious, imminent threat to the Second Amendment
Not so fast, Naive One.
In essence, you just said that OTHER people’s Constitutional rights are not as important as YOUR Constitutional rights.
And what makes NOLA zealot-cops any different from West Bend zealot cops?
In essence, you just said that OTHER people’s Constitutional rights are not as important as YOUR Constitutional rights.
Dad, aren’t you and the NRA in essence saying that the 2nd amendment is more important than the 1st amendment? Virtually all donations to the NRA are motivated by self-interest.
Generally, liberals are the ones trying to define other people’s self-interest. The only other thing it seems you could be trying to do is convince Jason that his self-interests would be better served by joining the NRA. If that was your intent, you are doing a crappy job.
I don’t intend to get Jason to join the NRA. He claims to understand what the anti-gunners are up to and he’s convinced that there is no imminent threat to the 2nd Amendment as a whole. Given his viewpoint he is not going to join.
What baffles me is the gun-owners who know what the gun-control people say and do, but buy into the fantasy that it isn’t their guns that are at risk of being outlawed or seized. Typically these are hunters or whoever and they’re convinced that the NRA has nothing to offer them. They believe the rhetoric from the more visible anti-gun politicians, who are careful to state or imply that hunters have nothing to fear.
Does the NRA pump up the dangers of confiscation to fantastic levels? Sometimes they do. Their own language may be somewhat overblown at times. But every time they quote a politician or a member of the Brady Campaign, the quotes are accurate. Whether people take those speakers seriously is an open question but the NRA seems to always accurately report what the gun-control folks are up to. And there is no shortage of dialogue from some of those people indicating their desire to outlaw all firearms.
As to whether the 2nd Amendment is more important than the 1st - I think the NRA would agree that while both are critical, you can’t rely on the 1st without the 2nd. By that they mean that the very protection against the government infringing the right to free speech, etc., is the fact that the 2nd Amendment allows for an armed populace.