The National Rifle Association’s Executive Director Chris W. Cox begins September’s American Rifleman political report quoting Harry Truman who once said that politicians seeking a friend in Washington, D.C. should get a dog.
I would suggest to Mr. Cox that should the NRA desire that dog be its friend, it would behoove the NRA to not beat the mutt—or the membership of the NRA, myself included, who remain unconvinced the organization’s motivation in backing the DISCLOSE Act with an NRA exemption included was some noble statement of political opposition.
This unconstitutional legislation, again euphemistically labeled as a campaign finance reform bill is designed to muzzle First Amendment rights, again. It should be vehemently opposed to the bitter end, just as was its precursor, the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act which met its end in the Supreme Court case Citizens United vs. FEC.
“NRA is a single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members,” writes Cox, who also insists that, “Without NRA, the Second Amendment will be lost …”
Both statements are the purest of hubris. I have supported the NRA for a number of years because, for the most part, the organization has been effective in battling the anti-gun forces, but the NRA is not alone in this vitally important fight. Until this latest abomination of First Amendment rights infringement, if it passes into law, is tossed out by the courts the NRA will be the sole gun rights group not muzzled by egregious legislation. The NRA tossed its allies in the fight under the bus on the DISCLOSE Act, and it smacks of cheap political trickery.
Numerous firearms aficionados belong to several gun rights groups that lobby against Second Amendment abridgments. NRA members like me recall the hypocrisy of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s “I was for it before I was against it” stance on the Iraq war. The NRA’s we were against it until we got an exemption, so now we’re for it echoes that hypocrisy.
Despite Cox’s eloquent protestations otherwise, the NRA excuse carries overtones of jack-booted thuggery (and we all remember the last time the NRA invoked jack-booted thuggery) trampling the First Amendment disguised behind noble intentions, only this time around the NRA is the jack-booted thug.
Cox claims “ultimate responsibility for defense of the Second Amendment, but NRA’s actions illustrate that the leadership is out of touch with the membership that finances the battle. It is not only fair to criticize NRA leadership’s hubris, it is necessary when our lobby begins to resemble the misguided government that is stirring American voters to revolution at the polls.
So NRA, if you want a friend in Washington don’t beat the dog, and if you desire to stay in Washington to fight the battle, don’t beat your membership. We are not that stupid; the NRA is not as omnipotent as its leadership so pompously states. Your membership speaks through its checkbooks and the NRA is not the only game in town.