Revolt of the Provinces

The national American Civil Liberties Union opposed the Supreme Court's recent defense of the individual right to bear arms. A state branch of the organization begs to differ:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada has declared its support for an individual's right to bear arms, apparently making it the first state affiliate to buck the national ACLU's position on the Second Amendment....

"The Nevada ACLU respects the individual's right to bear arms subject to constitutionally permissible regulations," a statement on the organization's Web site said. "The ACLU of Nevada will defend this right as it defends other constitutional rights."

"This was the consensus," said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for ACLU of Nevada. "There really wasn't a lot of dissent."

Gary Peck, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, said an individual's right to bear arms is in the Nevada Constitution, reflecting the state's "long, proud tradition of libertarian skepticism of government overreach."

The Nevada group's statement is here.

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  • robc||

    This is why I have never been able to support the ACLU (despite them doing generally good work). The single most important civil right is having the right to kill the fuckers trying to take away our civil rights.

  • Episiarch||

    Good, this is a nice thumb in the eye of the National ACLU, which they deserve for their absurd rejection of the 2nd as an individual right. The more state chapters that do this, the better.

  • ||

    I don't understand. The national American Civil Liberties Union was against the liberty to bear arms?

  • Elemenope||

    Good. If this keeps up I won't have to side with partisan hacks like the NRA to support the 2nd Amendment. I'd prefer to be a card-carrying member of only one organization; it leaves me ample wallet space.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    If you dont like the parisan hacks in the NRA, thats why GOA exists. Plus, they dont wuss out like the NRA does on occassion.

  • Episiarch||

    I don't know if others have experienced this, but I've found that all of the ranges I've become a member at--and it's quite a few--require an NRA membership. I suppose it's possible some of them might accept a GOA membership instead, but they all have "NRA#___________" on the membership form, and more than one explicitly said that you have to be an NRA member to join.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Still, the GOA is worthy of support. I'm going to join as soon as I turn 21 and get my CCW.

  • J||

    Good for them. I wish the Mass ACLU would too, but I find that extremely unlikely in the near furture.

  • J||

    future.

  • hotsauce||

    The ACLU is largely a partisan organization, that is, it is controlled by partisan hacks. If there is a bread and butter Democratic position, odds are these folks support it.

  • ||

    Epi is right, shame on the national ACLU. I don't think there is a coherent reason they can give for their stance. Given that they tend to read most rights rather broadly for individuals vs. the state, why stop short for the 2nd Amendment? Originalist concers, give me a break! Stinks to high heaven if ya ask me.

  • ||

    Can I selectively join the Nevada ACLU even though I live in Missouri?

  • J||

    I disagree hotsauce. One of the reasons I dislike democrats is their willingness to abandon principles of free speech (hate speech). Some are not, but by and large that is not a standard democrat value.

  • ||

    What most folks have said. The national ACLU does much good work but displays cranial rectal inversion IRT the 2nd.

  • ||

    There's nothing in the name "American Civil Liberties Union" that says they have to be in favor of civil liberties.

    Or better yet: The ACLU has to oppose gun rights because they are uncivil liberties.

    Finally, fellow Americans, our greatest civil liberty is the liberty to oppose liberties seen by the oppressive majority as liberty.

  • ||

    The difference between the NRA and the ACLU is that the NRA doesn't take righty positions on things that have nothing to do with guns.

    The ACLU apparently doesn't think the 2nd amendment has anything to do with civil liberties, yet they feel compelled to take the lefty position on it.

    Good joke from the comment thread at the ACLU blog:

    Q: How does an ACLU lawyer count to 10?
    A: 1, 3, 4, 5,...

  • robc||

    A: 1, 3, 4, 5,...

    Do we know the ACLU supports the 3rd amendment? I have never heard them publicly declare that they do. :)

  • Erÿk Boston, J.D.||

    It is one thing to remain silent and be thought a bunch of leftist partisans. It is another to speak up and remove all doubt.

  • J||

    The difference between the NRA and the ACLU is that the NRA doesn't take righty positions on things that have nothing to do with guns.

    I know nothing about the NRA, really, but I've heard that this is not actually true about the NRA. Anyone have more info (like a link or something?)

  • ||

    J,

    Well, I can't prove a negative. They did have an article in their member mag about the danger Gonzales v Raich posed to the earlier SCOTUS ruling that "Gun-free zone" laws were unconstitutional, that was very sympathetic to med MJ, but mentioned they don't take positions on non-gun issues.

    They also endorse many pro-gun Democrats running for Congress.

  • Mr. X||

    I've long held memberships in both the NRA and the ACLU. Before Heller, I could chalk it up to them not wanting to get involved in dealing with a civil liberty not recognized by the Supreme Court. Now, however, they've come out against a civil liberty recognized by the Court.

    Does anyone know where the Colorado ACLU comes down on this?

  • ||

    I believe the Texas ACLU has held pro-gun positions in the past.

    The only really notable NRA positions that didn't have anything to do with guns were on the subject of McCain's Campaign Finance Reform... they despised him for that (although for the most part his record is pretty pro-gun, with a few black spots). Of course, that directly affected the NRA's advertising campaigns, so it's only natural.

  • economist||

    Proof that the National ACLU is run by partisan hacks (but that Nevada now, as always kicks ass).

  • economist||

    J,
    In general, the NRA usually is also "tough on crime". However, with respect to environmental, economic, social, and foreign policy they do not have many specific position.

  • ||

    To me, the ACLU lost much of its credibility when it stopped being an organization that defended free speech, and became an organization that focused on banning "hate speech" at work, passing "equal pay" ammendments, and increasing affirmative action. They are no longer an organization focused on civil liberties, but simply liberalism, and those two principles only sometimes coincide.

  • economist||

    Sorry, many should be "any" and make position plural

  • Ken Hagler||

    The NRA played a big role in promoting the "three strikes" laws. They also have a history of endorsing anti-gun politicians as long as they're Republican.

  • ||

    They also endorse many pro-gun Democrats running for Congress.



    Fun Fact: The NRA gives more money to Democrats than the Brady Campaign has given to Republicans.

  • ||

    In general, the NRA usually is also "tough on crime". However, with respect to environmental, economic, social, and foreign policy they do not have many specific position.



    The closest they get to having an opinion on environmental issues would be a general support for conservation and hunting. But that's hardly surprising.

  • º|||

    I suppose it's possible some of them might accept a GOA membership instead

    Probably not. The NRA is only partly a political organization; its politics gets it in the news, but that's not its founding purpose. The GOA is explicitly and only a gun rights group, while the NRA's primary business is (or was) keeping the "well-regulated" - in the original sense - in the "militia." They're the UL of firing ranges, kind of, and the membership requirement is about that, not politics.

  • ||

    "Hate-crime" laws have been opposed by several local ACLU groups, including, last time I checked, the Ohio and Florida state organizations and the Central Ohio chapter.

  • ||

    As for the NRA memberships at ranges, you're missing it (ha,ha, a pun).

    Having members who also happen to belong to the NRA is for insurance purposes.

    GOA has never done anything, aside from send me lots of ranting letters through the mail. I let my membership with them lapse a good while back, because nobody ever paid them any mind, they never did activism that ever mattered worth a lick, and even if their positions were excellent, they had no ability to push anything through.

    Join the NRA, the JPFO, and the SAF. And any local organizations, too, if you want to make your money work for you.

  • ||

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada has declared its support for an individual's right to bear arms,

    That's a first.

  • jimbo||

    Nobama,

    The Texas ACLU teamed up with the NRA in 2005 to pass a law legalizing the transport of firearms (that were otherwise legally owned) over county lines. Until that time, it was legal to own these weapons and hunt with them, but sometimes illegal to carry them over county lines.

  • dm||

    Talking about opposing Heller, I remember seeing something from CATO around the time the ruling of the DC Ciruit ruled, saying that the NRA leadership had not really supported the DC gun suit. Anyone else know about this?

  • LarryA||

    I don't know if others have experienced this, but I've found that all of the ranges I've become a member at--and it's quite a few--require an NRA membership.

    To add to what nobama said, the only reasonable source for liability insurance for a shooting range is the NRA. They require a percentage of NRA members in the club.

    Personally, it would be worth supporting the NRA if only for their civilian marksmanship instruction programs. But they do much more.

  • ||

    They also endorse many pro-gun Democrats running for Congress.



    They also have a history of endorsing anti-gun politicians as long as they're Republican.



    I will respond to those two contradictory comments by pointing out that Jon Tester, Brian Schweitzer and Bill Richardson are all rated A+ by the NRA.

    In a house race in Florida in 04 the NRA endorsed a Democrat over a Republican with an equal questionaire rating score. Presumably they trusted the incumbent Democrat's existing voting record over one promised by the challenger.

    Kind of suggests that the NRA's endorsement doesn't really depend on "as long as they're Republican."


  • ||

    It's also worth noting that the NRA was silent on political issues until the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

    The lead up to that changed the NRA from a club to promote good shooting practices to a major political lobbying group.

    It's also interesting to note that Charlton Heston was at the forefront of the effort to pass the Gun Control Act of 1968.

  • ||

    Sorry, to avoid nitpicking complaints, I should note that the NRA did actively lobby in support of things like funding for the Civilian Marksmanship Program and the Pittman-Robinson Act (which levies an excise tax on firearms related purchases to fund purchase of land to be set aside for hunting and other recreational purposes).

    Incidentally it is on the Pittman-Robinson Act that the Democrats have a chance with some gun owners. On the other hand hunters have had to fight over state officials prohibiting hunting on land purchased with Pittman-Robinson funds after lobbying by anti-hunting groups. It's been a serious fight some places.

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