The NRA just saw a shadow move in a dark alley and immediately surrendered its only defensive weapon, making common cause with that dark shadow instead of standing by its own guns. The NRA abandoned millions of members who count on them to preserve its integrity and do the right thing.
My NRA Life Membership brings a lot of very fine things into my life.
For instance, when I was travelling in Alaska, many fine-looking, clear-eyed folks walked up to me and introduced themselves as NRA life members. Because of the NRA ball cap I was wearing. I loved being able to tell them that I am an NRA life member, too. Same thing happens at the range or out in public here in CA.
My brother, a captain for United and a federal flight deck officer, is also a NRA life member. He objects a little more than I do to the multiple shrill emails and letters we both get from the NRA talking about legislation that’s about to pass in our respective states. He lives in OK which is about as gun-friendly as you can get. I live in CA where those shrill emails often get me on the phone or get me to fire off a few emails to Sacramento.
Today, the NRA is saying that in order to continue to speak for the Second Amendment, they needed the carve-out in the current proposed DISCLOSE law. They compromised their integrity and security in exchange for a little temporary ‘safety’. They are willing to sell out your liberty and mine in exchange for a little temporary safety for themselves. The carve-out from the Democrats purchased consent, or at least silence from the NRA. Do they really think the Democrats won’t be back to take away that little carve-out they gave the NRA?
But as Erick points out, without the NRA’s consent or silence, the Democrats never would have had the votes to advance the measure anyway. The NRA sold the Democrats the rope that the Democrats will use to hang the NRA.
It does indeed look as if part of the motivator for the NRA was to see other pro-gun ‘competitors’ silenced. (A very un-gunman-like thing to do because in the competitive shooting world, competitors often help each other and cooperate – then turn right around and compete vigorously – one of the things I love about the shooting world).
NRA national leadership is mostly lawyers anyway – and we are seeing that today in their legalistic-sounding justifications for their decision. Has the NRA joined that league of lawyers we all deplore who will always do the expedient thing regardless of morals? One of the things I thought I was purchasing with my life membership (and that many, many others think they are purchasing with their annual memberships) was a core national leadership team with unassailable moral integrity. That is threatened now in the name of expediency.
When McCain-Fiengold passed, the NRA did the right thing. They organized opposition. They created the new type of legal entity required by the law to engage in collective free political speech called a ‘527’ and they continued on. They did not agree to be silenced by a law that sought to ‘license’ free political speech. If memory serves, I think they may have been instrumental in helping prepare court challenges to the McCain-Fiengold law, just as they have many, many times with local and national challenges to laws that threaten the Second Amendment.
But this time, they failed to consult their moral compass and they made common cause with the enemy. They should have followed the precedent they set with their original response to McCain-Fiengold again.
Now NRA members will have to worry if the NRA is not secretly selling out their members with every threatening measure advanced in the future. If the price is right, maybe the NRA will go along.
If it meant they they would be temporarily ‘silenced’ by a law that would have galvanized the national electorate into insisting on a repeal, then so be it. The NRA has enough lawyers to prepare all the court challenges required to get the law overturned in court and/or enough lobbyists to get the law repealed. They would not have been truly silenced. The Tea Parties would not be silenced on this issue either.
When my son was only 3, he could recite the advice given by the NRA’s Eddie Eagle to children if they encounter a firearm in the household: Stop. Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.
The NRA didn’t take its own advice. Especially that last part.