NRA’s Kagan Gag Order

Yesterday, RedState’s Erick Erickson broke the story that

[T]he National Rifle Association’s management team has explicitly and directly told the NRA’s board they are prohibited from testifying about second amendment issues during the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings. …  [and] from coming out against Kagan in their individual capacity.

Matt Lewis of Politics Daily and I added some details this morning.  Matt notes that

[I]t appears obvious a major schism has developed between the NRA-ILA executive director and several members of the board of directors. As one board member told me, ‘The bottom line is Chris (Cox) wants to have all decisions go through him and have no board involvement in decisions about or communications with Congress. He was the problem with the DISCLOSE Act. He’s the issue re the SCOTUS nominees.’

Also, I expand on Erick’s thoughts about the connection between the NRA’s positions on Kagan and the DISCLOSE Act:

[I]n light of the NRA’s recent negotiation of a special carve out in the DISCLOSE Act, the controversial campaign finance bill, the NRA needs to be sensitive to putting politics above principle.

To be fair, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre has a point when he explains the carve out: ‘If we don’t have our speech rights, it would mean the end of the Second Amendment.’  But in dealing with the Kagan nomination, LaPierre needs to be equally aware that the shift of a single vote on the Supreme Court would even more surely doom the Second Amendment.  Moreover, if the DISCLOSE Act becomes law, the fate of its crackdown on free speech will be decided by the Supreme Court.  And in Supreme Court decisions, there are no opportunities to negotiate carve outs.

. . . [I]f the NRA can venture beyond its traditional agenda into the First Amendment issues implicated by the DISCLOSE Act, surely it can weigh in on the Second Amendment issue of Elena Kagan’s gun rights record.