The National Rifle Association has been catching some serious hell as of late. While that is nothing new? Where the incoming fire is coming from is. It has been from people such as myself, a Life Member, and others that make up this organization.
Don’t get me wrong. The NRA has done a lot for gun owners over the years. Most training and safety involving firearms has roots in the NRA, and that surely is a good thing. However, politically the NRA has for many years taken the easy route. Deal cutting may be the way that things are done in the beltway, but on the range there are no excuses for acting in an irresponsible manner.
Simply put, the NRA has been a pig with lipstick that fly’s for quite some time, and the membership is more than a bit fed up with that. What follows is a follow up from Gun Owners of America, and then my “personal” response about my complaint from NRA / ILA. I will leave it to my readership to read the tea leaves as it were…
Threat to Free Speech Lights a Fire in the Grassroots
— Vote has been temporarily postponed; keep up the heat!
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
“[T]he NRA — on whose board of directors I serve — rather than holding steadfastly to its historic principles of defending the Constitution and continuing its noble fight against government regulation of political speech instead opted for a political deal borne of self-interest in exchange for ‘neutrality’ from the legislation’s requirements.”
— NRA Director Cleta Mitchell, June 17, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
The above quote — part of an editorial authored by NRA Director Cleta Mitchell — ran in The Washington Post today.
Like Mitchell, bloggers and editorial writers around the country have lit up the Internet with the story that we have been alerting you to over the past 48 hours. Here are just some of the headlines:
* “The NRA sells out to Democrats on the First Amendment,” The Wall Street Journal
* “Conservatives take on the NRA over deal on disclosure bill,” The Washington Post
* “The National Rifle Association’s Excuse Holds No Water,” RedState.org
The conservative movement (and to be honest, many liberal organizations as well) are coming together to loudly protest the DISCLOSE Act — legislation that threatens to gag our ability to effectively hold individual congressmen accountable in the days and weeks leading up to an election.
It is imperative that we continue hammering the Congress. But rather than cry “uncle,” liberal Democrats are now trying to buy off more groups with an exemption for those that have at least 500,000 members (rather than the higher threshold of one million, which would have applied to few groups other than the NRA).
Of course, how is the government going to know how many members an organization has? According to the legislation, each organization will have to certify to a government commission how many members they have. But what if the commission wants documentation; will the organization have to “disclose” the names of their members?
GOA, of course, will never do this. Furthermore, you should know that your Gun Owners of America can NOT be bought off. We will continue opposing this bill on principle, urging all gun groups to stick together in this fight. As we stated yesterday, we realize that: “We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.”
GOA applauds NRA Director Cleta Mitchell for the courageous stand she took today. (You can read her editorial here.) We hope that the NRA leadership will heed her wisdom and take a stand against this bill. If they don’t, we wouldn’t be surprised if NRA members start demanding a change in their leadership. After all, the NRA has engaged in many good fights over the years, and it would be a shame to lose this VERY IMPORTANT battle because high-ranking staff led the NRA down the wrong path.
1. Please call your congressman today and urge him or her to oppose HR 5175. We’ve asked you to send emails before, but now on the eve before the vote, it is crucial that the phones ring off the hook. If they’re not ringing, they won’t be worried.
You can use the Talking Points below to call your Representative toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.
2. If you haven’t yet urged the NRA staff to change its position on HR 5175 and stand with Gun Owners of America, please do so. NRA Director Cleta Mitchell was absolutely correct, and the NRA leadership should heed her wisdom. You can call the NRA at (800) 392-VOTE (8683).
3. Please help Gun Owners of America to continue fighting for your rights. You can go to http://gunowners.org/contribute-to-goa.htm to help us alert as many people as possible to the DISCLOSE Act threat.
—– Talking Points for contacting your Representative —–
1. I stand with Gun Owners of America in opposing the DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175).
2. The Bill of Rights is clear in saying that Congress has no authority to pass legislation like this. Just like the Second Amendment says our gun rights “shall not be infringed,” the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”
3. The Supreme Court was right earlier this year in the Citizens United case. Sen. John McCain — the author of the Campaign Finance Reform law (otherwise known as the Incumbent Protection Act) — was wrong. Americans, and the groups they choose to associate with, should be able to criticize Congress in the days and weeks leading up to an election WITHOUT BEING GAGGED OR FORCED TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS that are mandated by Congress.
This is the baffle them with bull pucky response that I recieved from the NRA;
We appreciate some NRA members’ concerns about our position on H.R. 5175, the “DISCLOSE Act.” Unfortunately, critics of our position have misstated or misunderstood the facts. We have never said we would support any version of this bill. To the contrary, we clearly stated NRA’s strong opposition to the DISCLOSE Act (as introduced) in a letter sent to Members of Congress on May 26. Through the courts and in Congress, the NRA has consistently and strongly opposed any effort to restrict the rights of our four million members to speak and have their voices heard on behalf of gun owners nationwide. The initial version of H.R. 5175 would effectively have put a gag order on the NRA during elections and threatened our members’ freedom of association, by forcing us to turn our donor lists over to the federal government. We would also have been forced to list our top donors on all election-related television, radio and Internet ads and mailings—even mailings to our own members. We refuse to let this Congress impose those unconstitutional restrictions on our Association. The NRA provides critical firearms training for our Armed Forces and law enforcement throughout the country. This bill would force us to choose between training our men and women in uniform and exercising our right to free political speech. We refuse to let this Congress force us to make that choice. Is it worth us having to live with this bill’s draconian restrictions just to protect the First Amendment rights of other groups? We don’t think so. We didn’t “sell out” to Nancy Pelosi or anyone else. We told Congress we opposed the bill. As a result, congressional leaders made a commitment to exempt us from its draconian restrictions on free speech. If that commitment is honored, we will not be involved in the final House debate. If that commitment is not fully honored, we will strongly oppose the bill. Our position is based on principle and experience. During consideration of the previous campaign finance legislation passed in 2002, congressional leadership repeatedly refused to exempt the NRA from its provisions, promising that our concerns would be fixed somewhere down the line. That didn't happen; instead, the NRA had to live under those restrictions for seven years and spend millions of dollars on compliance costs and on legal fees to challenge the law. We will not go down that road again when we have an opportunity to protect our ability to speak. There are those who say the NRA has a greater duty to principle than to gun rights. It’s easy to say we should put the Second Amendment at risk over some so-called First Amendment principle – unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as we do. The NRA is a bipartisan, single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members dedicated to the protection of the Second Amendment. We do not represent the interests of other organizations. That's their responsibility. Our responsibility is to protect and defend the interests of our members. Best regards, NRA-ILA Grassroots Division _________________ Lipstick on a pig...