Gun Rights

Is the NRA Too Republican to Effectively Advocate for Gun Rights?

Self-defense rights need to be a cause in themselves, not just a totem of political tribal identity.


President Donald Trump featured front and center at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, exchanging praise and support with the organization's leaders. That helps to explain the continuing clout of the self-defense rights organization. But the NRA's close link to Trump also reveals its weakness in these hyper-partisan times, when Teams Red and Blue seem compelled to pick opposing sides on almost every issue.

"There's never been a worse time to be a terrorist than with Donald Trump as president," gushed Chris W. Cox, chief lobbyist and political strategist for the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "But you know what? There's never been a better time to be a law-abiding, gun-carrying, flag-waving, god-fearing, freedom-loving American patriot," he added, tacking on an endorsement for a second term for the president.

"Your Second Amendment rights are under siege," Trump told the supportive crowd just moments later, "but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president."

It was a mutual love-fest between the president and the leading U.S. organization supporting self-defense rights and the legal protections for those rights embodied in the Second Amendment. But such a partisan partnership runs the serious risk of linking the security of the NRA's goals to the fate of the politician it has chosen to back—and implicitly gives that politician and his party a pass on their own threats to self-defense rights.

"There was the Republican embrace of the so-called Fix NICS Act," Declan McCullagh pointed out last week in Reason, "despite Gun Owners of America pointing out that the federal database in question 'contains the names of 257,000 law-abiding veterans who have lost their constitutional rights.'"

Then there was the administrative ban on bump stocks announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions' at President Trump's urging. The president escaped NRA criticism not only on the policy, but on its implementation by the sort of administrative fiat Trump criticized when it was wielded by his predecessor.

Picking tribes over principles can blind you to your allies' flaws. It can also turn the liberties you support into totems of tribal identity, targeted for destruction by the opposing tribe.

"[W]e should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) wrote in a USA Today op-ed published the day before Trump addressed the NRA gathering. Seriously? Does Swalwell really propose to double-down on the failures of Prohibition by throwing law enforcement officers at millions of defiant Americans who, by definition, have the means to resist?

"Five thousand people to every one officer of the law," an FBI agent comments in Paramount's powerful Waco docudrama miniseries. "You know how we keep order with those odds? Because they believe we are more powerful than we are." If implemented, Swalwell's ban would quickly reveal the federal government's limitations and breed chaos.

Gun-phobic politicians have traditionally had to consider the likelihood that the most draconian restrictions would scoop up some percentage of their own supporters who happen to differ with them on the issue. But, assuming Swalwell isn't a complete idiot (admittedly, a bit of a leap with elected officials), his proposal makes more sense in an environment in which guns are less likely to cut across partisan divides than to define them. If firearms and the NRA are perceived as purely Republican, why not weaponize the law to antagonize the "enemy," even if enforcement is impossible?

The NRA makes the opposition's job easier with its own selective defense of self-defense rights. The organization chimed in only belatedly and weakly to the killing of Philando Castile by a police officer who seemed to fly into a panic despite the calm efforts of the concealed-carry permit holder to defuse the situation. Castile was black, fueling accusations that the organization is slow to defend minorities (although the group certainly has stood up for black gun owners in the past). He also enjoyed marijuana, leading to charges that the organization is uncomfortable with cannabis users in a country that is moving away from prohibitions on the substance.

More likely, the NRA's long alliance with police and law-enforcement organizations made it hesitant to intervene, even when the cop who killed Castile was so obviously in the wrong. "When I started writing about the massive increase in the use of SWAT teams, no-knock warrants and 'dynamic entry' police raids back in the early 2000s, I was at first surprised at how quiet the NRA was about the issue," former Reasoner Radley Balko wrote last year.

But it's the soles of cop boots that people are most likely to be seeing up close and personal whenever they're being stomped by agents of the state. If you won't criticize police excesses, when will you step in?

There are alternatives to the National Rifle Association for people seeking more consistent advocacy of self-defense rights and with less partisan baggage. Gun Owners of America bills itself as the "no compromise" gun lobby and has a history of slamming Republicans as well as Democrats. The Second Amendment Foundation saw the landmark Heller case through a successful decision in the Supreme Court—despite early opposition from the NRA. The Firearms Policy Coalition tries to appeal to younger gun owners. The National Association for Gun Rights leans more socially conservative than all the other organizations, potentially alienating anybody who doesn't see self-defense rights as intrinsically linked with hostility to abortion and gay marriage.

But none of these groups have the prominence or the clout of the NRA and its millions of members. When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo leaned on banks and insurance companies to break their ties with advocates of self-defense rights or else, he warned them about having dealings with "the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations." Whatever their virtues or flaws, only the NRA was named, and the other groups were shoehorned in as being "similar" to that organization.

So, until somebody else can displace the NRA from its leading role, it remains the face of self-defense rights advocacy. And that face looks both erratic and very Republican—especially with controversial conservative firebrand Oliver North assuming the presidency—in its advocacy of an issue that requires consistency, and can only be weakened by a lock-step partisan affiliation.

NEXT: A Male Professor Told a Female Professor a Stupid Joke. Now He Faces Disciplinary Charges.

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  1. This is the classic chicken or egg question, like with every other "whataboutism" game in politics. Everybody is to blame. There was no sudden switch where things got bad; it was gradual change on both sides. Did the NRA go full-blown Republican first? Or did the Democrats abandon the Second Amendment first? Those questions are irrelevant to how to fix the problem.

      1. Progressives live in cities, conservatives live in rural areas, libertarians live in mom's basement?

      2. Would you still get the same distribution if you took religion out of the equation?

    1. The Democrats abandoned the Second Amendment first, as I recall. The NRA actually had a policy of supporting any pro-gun Democrat they could find, just to keep some influence in both parties.

      But pro-gun Democrats have become very thin on the ground, and pro-gun Democrats who are permitted by the party to be pro gun even when it matters are basically non-existent.

      So they became the National Republican Association by default, just because there weren't any Democrats who they could support above the local level.

      1. Interesting article showing the NRA ratings of all the Senators. As you might expect it's largely split on party lines. The Dem's who do cross over to the higher ratings are from Republican leaning states (Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, etc).

        Essentially gun rights advocacy seems to follow the urban/rural divide in general, or these Senators really have no principles beyond doing what it takes to get elected.

      2. Whenever I think of pro-gun A-rated Democrats, I remember that upstate rural New York representative who turned F-rated the instant a federal Senate seat opened up and she ran in that election. Then there's pro-gun A-rated GP governor Scott of Florida, and once again it's obvious all politicians are fickle. Paul, Amash, and M--- what's-his-name aren't as fickle as most, but all are fickle when push comes to shove.

        1. And they turned John Dingle, NRA board member, when they needed his vote for the '94 AWB. I like to think he wasn't lying about his position before that.

          I've had to conclude that they're just willing to apply so much pressure only somebody with a martyr complex would stand up to it. Maybe they privately threaten your family, or something like that.

        2. The NY rep was Kirstin Gillibrand

      3. Actually, the NRA has pretty much always given their endorsement to the major party candidate with the best score on their questionnaire combined with their actual rhetorical and legislative record. Often a Democrat incumbent would get the endorsement over a Republican with an equally good questionnaire score based on the Democrat's proven record of pro-gun rights votes (better the devil you know). It is worth keeping in mind that a significant portion of both the Democrat's and the NRA's base were unionized industrial workers for whom hunting and/or recreational shooting were a valuable respite from their often dreary work schedules.

        Even though LP candidates almost always score higher that major party candidates on the questionnaire, they never get endorsed. One candidate told me that an NRA official told him that the LP was not considered as electable by the NRA leadership.

        The NRA's first concern was always election of the most gun friendly candidates, period. They were a single issue organization no other political, social, racial or cultural position was considered in determining their endorsements.

        It remains to be seen whether Ollie North's appointment is a harbinger of change in that policy.

        1. That's what they told me: That they'd start endorsing LP candidates just as soon as we started winning races.

          These days, of course, the LP is starting to run candidates the NRA wouldn't endorse if they were guaranteed to win.

        2. Doubt it will change under Ollie. I disagree with some of my old teammates on various issues yet when it comes to our Constitutional Rights, we are almost all in agreement whether it is 1A, 2A, Unfortunately the Democratic Party has gone full-blown Progressive and like other derivatives of Marxism (Communism, Socialism, etc.); they can't allow the citizens to have Rights unless the government decides which rights they are allowed to use and how to use them.

    2. A typical Reason article, too cute by half, and only half thought through.

      Worst, it's question begging. Who is to say what the most effective way for the NRA to protect our rights to bear arms is? Why is it assumed that anything more 'middle of the road' would accomplish anything that isn't already being accomplished. Maybe the reality is that the current state of affairs is the best possible outcome any actual supporters of the 2nd Amendment could realistically achieve.

      The article could just as easily, and just as effectively be turned around to note that most of the people who are not already aligned with the NRA aren't really accomplishing much if anything positive, that the Democrat Party is diametrically opposed, and the 'undecideds' are a small and insignificant element of the issue.

      But, maybe that sort of attitude wont get you entree to the private winery parties in the Verde Valley.

    3. The NRA has been "full blown Republican" since at least Reagan. The Democrats have never abandoned the Second Amendment. (But, like all political parties, there are Democrats who are entirely anti-gun and there are Republicans who support assault weapons. Never forget that the NRA supported a ban on assault weapons not very long ago.)

      Part of the problem is this tendency to equate a Democrat-supported set of regulations like universal background checks and registration as "gonna take away all teh gunz!" As long as one side isn't willing to even hear what their opponents are saying, there's no way we'll get through this with a compromise solution.

      1. You don't ever compromise on rights. What part of shall not be infringed lends you to believe that compromise is warranted? And define assault weapon, slavery. The Democrats abandoned the 2A a long time ago, who are you trying to bullshit?

      2. That's just it. There is no compromise on either side. It's give us what we want period no discussion needed. It isn't like we'd get back short barreled shotguns, short barreled rifles, or even suppressors in exchange. The gun ban side isn't willing to bend at all. It's pretty clear that the model is California where it's a full press to chip it away to nothing. They don't say "you can have your suppressor but we want your 30 round magazine in exchange", it's just "we're taking your shit because we can and you're powerless to stop us" which is just the long form of FYTW. It's also clear in Cali that they have every desire to take away peoples guns that's why they pass ever expansive laws that allows practically anyone you have contact with to get an order to confiscate your firearms on mere hearsay - and good luck getting them back even after a lengthy and expensive court battle.

        1. "give us" nothing. Those are my rights, that you are trying to take away. You don't give anything you're only taking.

      3. Hate to burst your bubble however the Democrats abandoned the 2A a long time ago. Perhaps you've forgotten that Progressive Democrats denied MLK his 2A Rights just as they denied all POC their 2A Rights. They also opposed the Civil Rights Act and once that passed, they abandoned the 2A for everyone not just POC with carved out exceptions for the Elites to have bodyguards, etc.

      4. That's the problem--your side doesn't have any credibility when it says that you don't want to ban all firearms.

      5. But the "common-sensers" will not even admit that there *are* people in politics who *do* advocate sweepingly restrictive, if not totally confiscatory gun laws. The "common-sensers" want to pretend that "No one wants that"[confiscation]. If there is to be *any* compromise on this issue, the "common-sensers" will have to be willing to call out the extremists by name and disavow those extreme proposals. So far, the "common-sensers" have been more than reluctant to do so.

      6. The Universal Background Check is a $30 to $55 sin tax on transferring a used gun between citizens.
        Virginia State Police charge $5 to do a federal NICS background check for gun show attendees.
        Tennessee gun dealers selling retail charge $10 for a state TICS and federal NICS background checks.
        The cost for a private background check on a gun transaction in Tennessee is $30.
        The cost for a private background check under the law promoted by Bloomberg Everytown is $55.
        The purpose of sin taxes is to discourage activity disapproved by the powers that be.
        What gets discouraged by $30 to $55 sin taxes to do a private background check is ... doing a used gun sale with a background check.

        I followed how the "free" rifle registration system worked in New York City. It eventually became $140 purchase permit + $96 fingerprint and background check ($236 but no fee for registration). Then when they decided to ban "assault weapons" registered owners were notified of their options: surrender the gun to NYPD, take it out of NYC, have a gunsmith render it unfireable.

        I do not listen to what my opponents are saying to me. I follow what they do and what they say amongst themselves.

  2. The left is not interested in natural law, so what do you expect? Better the devil you know, even if the devil is orange today, was blue yesterday and turns brownshirt tomorrow... or in a few hours.

    1. Nice straw man.

  3. Cocaine North is not as popular among Republicans as you might expect. The Tide has turned against the Drug War. Republicans are no longer reliable supporters.

    1. "North is not as popular among Republicans as you might expect. "

      Well yeah, that's why he's gone all in with the NRA. Many people strongly active with the NRA may have entered 'through' the Republican Party, but that does not mean they've all stayed within the Party.

  4. "[W]e should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) wrote in a USA Today op-ed

    So much for " Oh, we're not talking about taking your guns by force, you silly paranoid, fringy gun nut!"

    1. I will bet your next paycheck that "we" will NOT include Eric being at the front of the group coming to forcibly take constitutionally protected arms from (soon to be former-) law abiding citizens.

      I know several current and past members of law enforcement who are on record as ready to refuse an unlawful order to confiscate guns. There was a lot of talk in that community after the military backed gun confiscation in New Orleans. The image of cops body slamming grandma while the National Guard stood sentry was more than some of them could stand.

      1. Maybe when their paymasters' checks bounce.....otherwise, stop with the LEO as principled defender of liberty.

      2. Google New Orleans Katrina Gun Confiscation Patricia Konie

    2. I know, right?! Because Eric Swalwell (whoever the F that is...) speaks for all Democrats, even the ones who own guns! Everyone nows that, right? Right?!

      1. Maybe the Democrats should tell Swalwell to shut the fuck up, then, because he's inadvertently giving the game away.

  5. "J.D. Tuccille worries that the hyper-partisan partnership"

    J.D. Take a few days off. Stock up on Depends undergarments. Shit your pants worry-free.

    And, as a libertarian, shouldn't you be worried that opposition to the natural right to bear arms is hyper-partisan?
    In plainer English. Are you not able to identify which "side" is wrong?

    1. Libertarians became a Party because of Nixon's Drug War. They used to be Republicans (with a twist). And now?

      I wonder if this will shake the current crop.

      John Huber, who will investigate the FBI, is a special counsel in every way but name

      He is looking into things. Look into him.


      I have heard totally unverified rumors that things will get interesting around May 17th. The charges were filed on 18 April. So 30 days (about) from filing.

    2. AS someone else noted in a comment thread yesterday:

      "Ah, Reason, when you aren't arguing that Rs and Ds are moral equivalents, you're arguing that Rs have an especially depraved nature to atone for."

    3. Both sides are wrong. That's why we are libertarians and not Republicans. Too many on here are unwilling to shed their GOP roots and embrace full-on libertarianism.

      1. The 2nd Amendment predates our modern political parties. The only "side" that matters is which side of the 2nd Amendment you come down on. If the vast majority of modern Democrats were pro 2A and the vast majority of modern Repubs agin', the NRA would court Democrats more, regardless of their stand on other issues. But these are effects, not causes. The NRA courts individuals of all political slants because a diverse range of people are 'pro-gun'.

      2. A proud member of the anti-tribe tribe.

    4. It is PID (pot induced dementia).

  6. The NRA is a hunting and shooting sports organization. It is a "law and order" organization.

    Also recall that they backed Harry Reid. So you can't accuse them of naked partisanship.

    1. Hunting, and shooting sports were the natural constituency for an organization initially created to promote marksmanship.

      It morphed into a 2nd Amendment organization once 'gun control' became a thing.

      It adopted 'law and order' support even later, and primarily in response to the unrest and lack of law and order unleashed by the radical left in the 1960s. Expressly to defuse the accusations that the organization was not concerned about lawless violence.

      1. Essentially the NRA supported all gun control up to and including the Gun Control Act of 1968.

        (Long story short) Gradually, post 1968, cracks appeared in the NRA's leadership and membership, as they will in organizations when some members start to feel that their very values and lifestyles are under attack from outside forces and think that other members have "gone soft" on principles or "gone too far" with concessions to those outsiders. As an aside I suspect that is especially true if the organization has heretofore promoted an activity which was seen as not just perfectly respectable but as part of the very bedrock of American social and cultural life.

        Thus the organization which had in the twenties written the original model concealed handgun legislation and had in the thirties accepted licensing of automatic weapons and federal licensing of gun dealers gradually in the sixties and the seventies began to have a faction that thought we had gone to far banning mail order sales and restricted interstate sales to those between licensed gun dealers.

        1. Thus began the political activism of the NRA which ended the decade of the seventies as a potent political or perhaps even king-making force - 1980 saw the election of "the first presidential candidate to ever be endorsed by the NRA, Ronald Reagan, in 1980."

          Thus "[The NRA] morphed into a 2nd Amendment organization once 'gun control' became a thing."

          1. The NRA has indeed tried the 'reasonable' 'middle ground' approach in the past. It first got involved with politics in the '30's with the passage of the NFA. GCA 68 was a big turning point, but at that point the membership was still largely rank and file Democrats who were naive to the game - they thought they could feed the crocodile.

            Once the intended end game of the banners became apparent everything changed.

        2. The NRA backed gun control when the general populace was worried about African American groups like the Black Panthers arming themselves against whites.

          This was before the NRA became an industry shill.

          1. Industry shill? Do you just cough up easily discredited talking points without any critical thinking? Oh you're a progressive, so that is a rhetorical question, of course you do. You do realize the industry group for firearms manufacturers is the NSSF, the NRA is not associated with the manufacturers. It is over 90% funded by member dues and small dollar donations. Unlike the gun control astroturf groups, such as Everytown and Mom's Demand action, which are largely bankrolled by billionaires such as Bloomberg.
            As for your inference of racism, may want to study history. The NRA assisted many civil rights leaders with procurring firearms to defend themselves. They have also sued states, such as Texas, who denied specifically African-Americans concealed carry permits, etc. Karl Malone is on their board of directors.

          2. This was before the NRA became an industry shill.

            Proglydytes will never forgive the NRA for realizing they were the only large organization of gun owners during a period when the left was screeching for gun bans, and that they needed to actually stand up for the right to keep and bear arms rather than simply be a historical society for guns.

            Your entire legal standing for gun control is rooted in a Supreme Court decision that overturned the convictions of a white mob that attacked black men bearing arms.

            1. The cornerstone for state and local laws violating the 2A was United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1876) which held that the Bill of Rights only protected against infringement by the federal government (Cruikshank had been charged with leading a mob that deprived about 100 black voters of the right to assemble and petition the government, to keep and bear arms, to vote, and to live). Cruikshank gave free hand to state governments to violate BoR protections. The decisions in Guest and Price 1966 are supposed to have undone Cruikshank. The decisions on Heller 2008 and MacDonald 2010 should have been fair warning on 2A rights. The gun banners are still living in 1876.

              In the 1960s, the NRA was criticized for giving a gun club charter to Rob Williams, a black civil rights leader, to organize a Black Guard in Monroe, NC to defend the black community from the KKK.

    2. The NRA endorsed Harry Reid for many years because he scored well on the NRA candidate questionnaire combined with his actual rhetorical and legislative record on gun issues alone. The NRA has never concerned itself with candidates positions on issues like healthcare policy, foreign policy, race relations or any political, social or cultural issue other than legislation on gun issues.

      As a Democrat incumbent you could be the ragingest leftist on unions, socialized medicine, welfare handouts or workers owning the means of production - you'd get the NRA's endorsement over a Republican challenger as long as you scored 100% on the NRA candidate questionnaire and voted the NRA's position on every piece of gun legislation ever.

  7. I will listen, briefly, to gun control advocates when they each and every one dismiss their armed guards.

  8. The NRA is an organization that defends the Second Amendment just as the ACLU is an organization that defends the First. The key word there is "organization". If you stand on principle, sooner or later you're going to have to be willing to die to defend that principle. And if you're dead, you aren't an organization any more, are you? The ACLU still feeds on the legacy of Skokie, but they lost so many supporters and so many dollars that they decided they weren't going to do that any more - better a live fox than a dead lion. The NRA supports "reasonable" gun control laws because being 2A absolutists is just silly and would soon make them a marginal group of whackos. Once you start compromising your principles for some "greater good", it gets easier to compromise the next time and the next and the next.

    Of course, it's not just the ACLU and the NRA that made the decision that this hill isn't worth dying on, nor is this one, nor that one, nor any hill at all is actually worth dying on - I'm sure we can all think of organizations that have compromised their principles in the name of expediency. Maybe a political party or something.

    1. "The ACLU still feeds on the legacy of Skokie, but they lost so many supporters and so many dollars that they decided they weren't going to do that any more - better a live fox than a dead lion."

      Part of the reason they can't afford to take positions that annoy the left, is that they made a conscious decision to purge themselves of any remaining non-leftist supporters. I used to get those "no enemy to the left" recruiting letters at one time. Their recruitment literature was designed to only appeal to leftists.

      Frankly, if way back when they'd decided to be principled about the whole Bill of Rights, they'd be the 800 lb gorilla of civil rights lobbying, not the NRA. But, start out Commie, stay Commie.

      They only set out to protect civil liberties because the other side had the power to violate them. As soon as their own side was the one with the power, it became a less attractive gig.

      1. All of which begs the question: do you surrender to the political pop psychological claptrap that if you stand by your principles, you die?

        To the contrary, the more you soft peddle your principles to be mainstream friendly, the quicker you perish.

        1. The basic pessimism of the NRA leadership, with some temporary exceptions back before Knox was purged, views the fight to defend the 2nd amendment as a losing fight, and their job being to lose it as slowly as possible. Which sometimes involves sacrificing what's viewed as too difficult to defend ground.

          Rather than attempt to win every fight, and lose it all immediately.

          All the real victories, the gains, have come from outside the NRA.

          1. This exactly Brett. The NRA only pushes gun freedoms when its a fairly easy fight while simultaneously asking for donations because the gun grabbers "are coming for your guns."

            The NRA is fine with background checks, some limits on weapons and ammo, and some other unconstitutional infringements on the rights of the People to keep and bear Arms.

            The NRA is already considered an enemy of the left, so the NRA might as well fight for complete repeal of every gun control law.

          2. Do you think the NRA leadership views itself as the only thing separating gun owning Americans from confiscation?

            Do you think that any of the leaders ever consider that it might be better that the institution's membership shrink in service to a principled and zealous defense of the 2A?

            Do you think that the leadership is sure that if they adopted a no prisoner's modus operandi that more folks would cancel their memberships and contributions than folks who would be inspired to join and support the organization?

            How many members would the NRA lose if it adopted the position that there should be no background checks? No licensing? No registration? No LEO involvement in the acquisition and ownership of firearms? No restrictions on felons?

            1. The Constitution provides no exceptions for background checks, licensing, registration, etc. All these schemes are predicted examples of tyrannical incrementalism which the Founding Fathers sought to stop.

              Either you are pro-2nd Amendment or you are not. Just like you are either for free speech or you are not. There is no middle ground.

              I personally think this strategy by the NRA to pick and choose which battles to win will fail and the NRA will die off. A new pro-2nd Amendments group will emerge and hopefully be good at lobbying to protect those fundamental constitutional limitations on government.

              1. I personally think this strategy by the NRA to pick and choose which battles to win will fail and the NRA will die off. A new pro-2nd Amendments group will emerge and hopefully be good at lobbying to protect those fundamental constitutional limitations on government.

                One already exists:

                Gun Owners of America:


                1. Thanks Alcibiades. I had not heard of them.

                  1. Thanks Alcibiades. I had not heard of them.

                    GOA are hardcore 2A.
                    I'm a member, only costs 20 bucks to join and they deliver a lot of political clout per dollar expended.

                    Also a member of the NRA, they have an important part to play in the scheme of things too.

                    1. GOA are hardcore 2A.
                      I'm a member, only costs 20 bucks to join and they deliver a lot of political clout per dollar expended.

                      Also a member of the NRA, they have an important part to play in the scheme of things too.

                      Agreed. Gun owners need 2A supporters on both principled, pragmatic, and even purely conjectural terms. The entirety of the 2A defense can't be Sovereign Citizens and Oath Keepers. They certainly have their part and frequently do a decent job of standing on principles, but an abject devotion to principles one way or the other can still be exceedingly Statist.

              2. No, there's middle ground on everything. Look around, you'll find plenty of it.

                1. Robert|5.8.18 @ 10:27AM|#
                  No, there's middle ground on everything. Look around, you'll find plenty of it.

                  That does not make it constitutional.

                  If you give these traitors to the constitution an inch, they take a mile.

                  1. That does not make it constitutional.

                    You'd think that a guy with the handle loveconstitution1789, you'd know that the NRA isn't bound by The Constitution and that the middle ground is allowing a powerful private organization that you don't like to continue to petition the government on behalf of it's members because they allow you to do the same. The NRA isn't the Oath Keepers who are composed almost entirely of soldiers and LEOs. They aren't the Sovereign Citizens who seem to have a habit of shooting innocent people and LEOs. But there is a lot of overlap between the three groups (and others) and, in contrast to even the Libertarian Party and people running around writing under libertarian nom de plumes, they manage not to call a significant chunk of their support base (or potential base) deplorables at every opportunity.

                2. "No, there's middle ground on everything. Look around, you'll find plenty of it."

                  Robert said it and he said it on the interwebs. Move along.

                3. Who was it said, "There's nothing in the middle of the road except yellow lines and dead armadillos" Oh, yeah, Jim Hightower.

                  On a lot of issues, he's right about that.

                  1. Brett Bellmore|5.8.18 @ 11:51AM|#
                    Who was it said, "There's nothing in the middle of the road except yellow lines and dead armadillos" Oh, yeah, Jim Hightower.
                    On a lot of issues, he's right about that.

                    Sounds good. Some people want to complicate everything. Life is complicated enough, so why makes things complicated when you don't have to.

                    The 2nd Amendment prohibits any infringement of the right to keep and bear Arms.

                    The correct solution to wanting gun control is to amend the constitution not use incrementalism to slip in changes to what "Arms" mean in the 21st Century and "reasonable" gun control. None of that is allowed [period]

                    1. The correct solution to wanting gun control is to amend the constitution not use incrementalism to slip in changes to what "Arms" mean in the 21st Century and "reasonable" gun control. None of that is allowed [period]

                      What do you think popular support for banning (or continuing to ban) fully automatic rifles as well as incendiary and explosive devices is at? 90%? 95%? I think they should be legal and am pretty sure I'm being optimistic when I give you those numbers. If the Constitutional Convention were held tomorrow and you got up there without the NRA and said, all arms or no arms, you're going to walk away exceedingly disappointed. As someone who wants it to end the same way you do: this does not end the way you want it to end.

              3. I personally think this strategy by the NRA to pick and choose which battles to win will fail and the NRA will die off.

                Not even close. It may shed a bunch of leadership, but the education and safety programs would never go away. Now, the leadership *may* take the larger organization with it, but even if that happened, national level shooting sports and firearm education would never be the same. People would just abandon the NRA and not join GOA or the Appleseed Project or whatever.

                There will never be a National GOA convention where an urban, centrist POTUS uses it to both support gun control *and* indirectly slant other nation's gun policies.

            2. "Do you think that any of the leaders ever consider that it might be better that the institution's membership shrink in service to a principled and zealous defense of the 2A?"

              Got that backwards: They grow when they show spine, and lose members when they compromise.

              I've said it before: The only thing saving the NRA leadership from the members is the media portraying them as the extremists the membership actually want, instead of the compromising squishes they really are.

              1. We agree.

        2. Like the political party that decided backing a candidate that can win, despite his positions that weren't aligned with the principles the party espoused, instead of a candidate that actually forthrightly and staunchly shared their principles because that candidate couldn't win?

          And yet, when Trump went ahead and won, exposing in an undeniable manner that the GOP really had no principles other than winning (which some of us have known for years) there were plenty here who cheered for Trump. And plenty of them were the same ones jeering the LP's proffer of the Johnson/Weld ticket.

          1. That's unfair: The GOP obviously has principles other than winning, they routinely abandon seats where a challenger defeats the establishment pick in the primaries, and refuse to do things which they know are popular with their base.

            The problem is that they're not the principles they pretend to have.

          2. I had been looking at the LP until it chose Johnson. I was pretty familiar with Johnson in NM when he was a Progressive Republican.

        3. No, actually the fastest way to perish is to succeed. Achieve your goals, what's left? Better to keep the pot boiling by winning some, losing some; then you've still got a job & reason to exist.

  9. When the Democrats are so staunchly anti-gun that they have negative credibility with gun owners, then of course gun rights groups are going to find themselves pushed into the arms of the Republicans.

    1. Not so much 'pushed,'as left there by default.

  10. "Your Second Amendment rights are under siege," Trump told the supportive crowd just moments later, "but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president."

    But, you're the President. Are they under siege or never, ever under siege?

    1. Currently they are under Serge.

  11. It wasn't the NRA who chose to self isolate. It has been an expressed campaign of the left to isolate and ostracize any organization they could not otherwise control.

    Tell that to your 'friends' JD, the next time they pester you about the icky NRA.

    1. Exactly! #Occupy, #BLM, etc. started with valid premises until control was taken over by Progressives and they were turned into just another useful tool.

  12. Let's make sure we're not putting the cart before the horse, here. Is the NRA in jeopardy of losing the Democrats, or have the Democrats completely abandoned the NRA?

    The Democrats have effectively lost the middle of the country--even Wisconsin and Michigan went for Trump. The change we're seeing in the NRA's endorsements are probably just a reflection of that.

    If any money the NRA spends helping pro-gun Democrats in California, Massachusetts, or New York is wasted, then isn't it safe to say the NRA's endorsement is wasted on Democrats candidates in those states, as well?

    1. What's amazing to me is that I know hunters, sportsmen, gun enthusiasts who are also union members who vote solidly Democrat. While the Democrats, have abandoned the NRA, their playing up of class warfare mentality seems to keep much of their core constituency in place, especially among blue collar workers.

      1. 2016 sure proved that.

  13. Wow, someone needs to pay attention more.

    "The organization chimed in only belatedly and weakly to the killing of Philando Castile"

    The NRA has a longstanding policy of staying out of political firestorms. They delay any response to a hot-topic until well after it peaks in the media, and they then respond with a very tepid comment. This is in no small part why they have survived without becoming hyper-partisan. They focus intensely on their core mission.

    And, the NRA was forced to align with the Republicans because the Democrats turned 'anti-gun' into an urban identity-group, and has used the NRA as a whipping-post during every election. I'm old enough to remember Al Gore running as a pro 2nd Democrat. If the Dems stop the rabid identity politics, perhaps groups like the NRA wouldn't be forced to adapt to partisan politics. You'd have a better article pointing out how the ACLU went partisan without widespread identity politics from the Republicans.

    1. Tuccile wants the NRA to be less partisan, except in those hot button issues where he wants them to be more partisan.

      He's giving the NRA the Full MIlo.

    2. They focus intensely on their core mission.

      Their core mission being to protect and defend and strengthen the NRA. That's the core mission of any organization, to perpetuate itself, despite whatever hogwash they may claim is their mission. They're not all as blatant about it as, say, the SPLC or the Clinton Foundation, but it's true just the same.

      1. "Their core mission being to protect and defend and strengthen the NRA"

        And thus you prove you know almost nothing about the NRA

    3. " I'm old enough to remember Al Gore running as a pro 2nd Democrat."

      And lost his home state on that issue anyway, because nobody in their right mind believed him. The Democratic party has been generally anti-gun for as long as I can remember. It's just that they used to bother lying about it.

      The real change is that they're now sufficiently fanatical about it that they'll come right out and tell you what they've got planned.

      The big problem here is that, even if the odd pro-gun Democrat does get elected, they're not allowed to BE pro-gun if it makes a difference. Remember the '94 AWB? They needed every vote they could get to pass it. They somehow managed to force John Dingle, NRA board member, to vote for it. He lost his board seat over it.

      I don't know what kind of threat they used to accomplish it, but whatever it was, it was so dire that the NRA leadership didn't hold it against him. Maybe they threatened to his family, or something like that.

      The point is, a Democrat can be genuinely pro-gun, and it doesn't matter. As soon as the Democratic party actually needs their vote, they'll cave.

      1. Al Gore used to be one of the Moral Majority's men in the Democratic Party.

        That was before and during the Reagan Coalition bringing the South into the Republican party. The Republican party changed with the constituents that came into it.

        Barry Goldwater didn't want anything to do with the Moral Majority, and Reagan never threw them so much as a bone. Still, the South changed under Al Gore's feet.

        There was a time when people used to complain that there was more of a difference between conservatives and liberals in the same party than there were between Republicans and Democrats. Al Gore was a conservative Democrat back then. It wasn't until he became a serious consideration for president that he morphed into something that would appeal to Democrat liberals so he could win the nomination.

        1. Do you mean the Al Gore who did battle with Michael Dukakis in the 1988 Democrat presidential primaries? I remember him positioning himself to the right of the Duke.

        2. Bill Clinton chose Al Gore because of Al Gore's conservative bona fides.

          Bill Clinton executed a retard just to prove that he was tough on crime.

          It's hard for people to remember what it was like back then, but some of the liberal figures of today were not always this way. Politicians are like that--they go with whatever sells.

          The same politician that said, "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" became a leading voice in the cause of desegregation. It isn't ironic. It's democracy. Politicians are supposed to change with the constituents they represent.

      2. "The Democratic party has been generally anti-gun for as long as I can remember."

        The Progressive Dem party was mainly anti-gun for POC until the Civil Rights Act was passed then they switched to anti-gun for everyone except for the rich and Elitists.

  14. The NRA needs to protect the 2nd Amendment and the absolute right to Arms.

    Target unconstitutional laws like background checks, Commifornia's gun confiscation programs, limits on weapons and ammo, limits on machine guns, limits on everything that relates to Arms.

  15. I don't see how the NRA jumping into a specific case where a cop killed a conceal and carry holder really furthers the cause of gun rights in general. Even if the cop was wrong, it is just one case and about law enforcement accountability, not gun rights. The case at best has a tertiary relationship to gun rights. Worse, jumping into the case would have done nothing but alienate a lot of the NRA's members and supporters. The dumbest thing the NRA could do would be to jump into the middle of the fight over police shootings. It would accomplish nothing towards protecting gun rights and likely split the organization.

    The fact is the NRA is partisan for the same reason planned parenthood is partisan; because only one party supports its position. The Democrats have completely walked away from the 2nd Amendment and have made clear they desire to write it out of the Constitution. Yet, somehow it is the NRA's fault they seem to only support Republicans.

    What a stupid article.

    1. "What a stupid article."

      This bears repeating.

    2. As Brett pointed out above, the NRA considers the 2nd Amendment protected rights a lost cause.

      That mentality guides the group to only pick battles it thinks it can win rather than defend every major issue of gun rights. Police shooting a permitted concealed weapons holder is a big deal and can affect every concealed weapons holder in the USA.

      As you said, it was a single incident and maybe the NRA should not jump into that specific incident. The NRA can attack the police image that CCW holders should be feared.

      The worse thing the NRA can do is publicly look like they are only protecting some of the gun rights of some of the people.

      1. "That mentality guides the group to only pick battles it thinks it can win" - exactly. When Heller asked NRA to support his case, NRA said no. They didn't want to take that battle, because they weren't sure if Justice Kennedy would give them a win.

    3. All true.

      Actually, I respect the Democrats who advocate for repeal of 2A. That is honest at least, and the proper way to deal with a civil right that they perceive as a problem. For a constitution embracing person such as myself, of course, it would take more than a repeal, it would take a repeal and rewrite that specifically makes it illegal to own a firearm.

      The gun-grabbers that I abhor are the ones who just take the "fuck the constitution" stance. That has happened over the years and has resulted in terrible, intractable problems in the US such as the drug war.

      To me, it boils down to freedom in general. Either we are a nation of laws or not.

      1. Repealing the 2nd Amendment is the only way to permit the federal government to institute any gun control measure.

        The 14th Amendment could be repealed and then states would probably not have to use the 2nd Amendment as a minimum limitation on their state protection of keeping and bearing Arms.

        All gun control needs to be fought and fought 100%. Otherwise, the gun grabbers continue to incrementally take a part of the 2nd Amendment protection here and there.

        1. While we are amending the constitution, I would like to see the birth-right citizenship clause deleted from the 14th. It made sense when dealing with abolishing slavery. Now, it is just an invitation to circumvent immigration laws.

          1. I would be against repealing the 2nd Amendment.

            I would for ending birth-right citizenship and require natural born citizens to only be born to at least one American citizen.

            Term limits, balanced budget requirement, limit on raising taxes to less than 1% per decade, and add a punishment for purposely trying to usurp the constitution would be some other good ones.

    4. I'm a few days late to the party. No one will ever see this. But...

      You don't see how the NRA jumping into a specific case furthers the cause of gun rights in general? 2A guarantees our right to keep and bear arms. A person is carrying a weapon in a legal manner. The person informs a cop who freaks out so much that he kills the guy. And you don't think that the NRA should come out and definitively support the fact that we have a right to bear arms and it is absolutely unacceptable for an agent of the state to react as he did?

    5. "The fact is the NRA is partisan for the reason planned parenthood is partisan; because only one party supports its positions"

      True... that's great and all. It's fine if the membership and supporters are split in a partisan way. That doesn't mean that the organization and its message and priorities should be partisan. If 99% of politicians NRA support are Republican, that's fine. If NRA fails to advocate gun rights because it is focused on advocating politicians or wary of pissing on sacred cows of the GOP, that's not fine

      That said, they can do whatever the fuck they want. But, if they are abandoning their purpose in favor of supporting GOP, then it makes sense to consider alternatives. Thankfully, 2-chilli provided a list.

    6. But, the real reason I came to the comments section is this: ""Five thousand people to every one officer of the law," an FBI agent comments in Paramount's powerful Waco docudrama miniseries. "You know how we keep order with those odds? Because they believe we are more powerful than we are.""

      Are we really just walking right past that one and not saying anything? Hey, Mr. FBI-Guy, did ever occur to you that you don't actually keep order? In fact, all that law enforcement does is sweep up the mess after disorder happens. Your fucking mentality that we are all a bunch of stupid sheep and you're the heroic sheepdog that protects us from the wolves couldn't possibly be further from reality. And (relating to this topic), 2A guarantees my right to arm myself and I consider that vital to protecting myself from both the wolves and the sheepdogs. They're basically the same thing.

    7. NRA is still skittish about reaction to 1994 its Jack Booted Thug ad in USA Today that criticized federal actions at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

      Castille had to have lied on both his carry permit application and his 4473 gun transaction form about being a current user of marijuana. I suspect NRA critics were prepared to portray NRA as defending an illegal drug using gun owner if NRA had took a strong position on the Castille case.

  16. So what can you do, never work together w anyone else? Make sure you never agree w anyone about anything, for that would signal agreement w them about everything?

    1. Get the government back to a state of sever limitation and repeal most laws.

      Then as the majority Libertarian Party, never agree to any law that violates the constitution. Never.

      Too much "compromise" has been used to shred the Constitution. It wasn't a negotiation on good faith by authoritarians. They just knew that they had to gradually get Americans to give up their rights.

      1. I agree; we've "compromised" enough already, without getting anything in return which makes it concession. Big difference.

  17. "[W]e should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) wrote in a USA Today op-ed published the day before Trump addressed the NRA gathering. Seriously? Does Swalwell really propose to double-down on the failures of Prohibition by throwing law enforcement officers at millions of defiant Americans who, by definition, have the means to resist?

    The thought of all those "bitter clingers" being blown away by Heroic Agents of the State probably gives Stallwell and others like him a massive chubby. This way they get to eliminate thousands if not millions of their political enemies without even having to open up any death camps. As for the cops who will inevitably be killed, what better way to turn public sentiment against the "clingers" than by having some dead Heroes to posthumously fellate? Any otherwise progressive people who happen to also like guns that get swept up, well... omelettes... eggs... etc.

    1. The lefties don't understand that any mass gun seizure scheme would lead to leaders of the state being targets by patriots. Its much easier to cut off the head of the beast than fight every claw coming at you.

      1. Yes, they imagine gun owners forming up regular military formations, and being strafed by the Air Force. What they don't imagine is themselves having to live in fortified compounds for the rest of their lives to avoid being assassinated even if they win the civil war.

        They don't even think about the urban centers their party depends on becoming charnel pits within weeks due to power lines being cut, and the food shipments blockaded.

        It's a war they dream of, but they have the details all wrong.

        1. Someone mentioned that blockade of cities fact during some discussion on this topic and the lefties commenting just could not comprehend that patriots might choose strategies that provide multiple rates of effectiveness per patriot.

          A few hundred patriots blockading a city with 500k people by cutting road access completely seems like a great way to force multiply. This stuff goes way over the heads of lefties.

          They expect patriots to sit idly by while their neighbors are murdered by government traitors.

          Lefties just live in fantasyland.

          1. Kurt Schlichter [Peoples Republic, Indian Country] is the future? Sounds like it could well be.

          2. They also do not recognize that the battle hardened pointy end of the governmental spear requires a huge soft and largely defenseless logistical tail.

            Although, I too shudder at the prospect, because as power dissolved and devolved the results would be very uneven and while the progressives would surely lose I think that in many localities the net results would not be anything approximating libertopia. You'd have authoritopia clusters floating in a sea of no-mans-landia for an extended period of time.

            ...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed...

            These people new what they were talking about.

  18. "Picking tribes over principles""

    in this case it seems the Tribes picked the sides forcing the NRA to stick with the one tribe

  19. I eagerly await an article exploring if the ACLU is too Democratic to be an advocate for civil liberties.

    Heck, let's keep it rolling.
    I eagerly await an article exploring if public university leadership is too Democratic to provide a quality educational environment.

    I eagerly await an article exploring if major organs of the Federal Government are filled with too many Democrats to enable fair administration of government duties.

    I eagerly...etc etc ad infinitum...

    1. My knee-jerk was to wonder if Reason's editorial staff was to partisan to effectively advocate for libertarianism.

  20. Simply put: we shouldn't blame the GOP for democrats throwing JFK's legacy under the bus, no matter how stupid the GOP may be.

  21. For 2018, the Democrats are running on Gun Control/Safety/Reform and repeal of the 2nd amendment.

    Is Planned Parenthood too Democrat to Effectively Advocate for Reproductive/Abortion Rights?

  22. " NRA's long alliance with police and law-enforcement organizations"

    THIS is a huge problem. The NRA's default position is cop sucking and badge-licking.

    Every single cop-NRA member is lying through their teeth when they say they'd never partake in gathering up the guns: They'd do it willingly and sleep well at night.

    1. "It doesn't matter to them that the semi-auto ban gives jack-booted government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us," LaPierre wrote in an NRA fundraising letter, according to the April 28, 1995 Washington Post. "Not too long ago, it was unthinkable for federal agents wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms to attack law-abiding citizens... In Clinton's administration, if you have a badge, you have the government's go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens," he wrote. "Even murder" was underlined. A rival, more radical NRA official suggested LaPierre respond, "If the jackboot fits, wear it." He later tried and failed to oust LaPierre, according to the May 1997 American Spectator.

    2. The NRA has cops as members. It also has members who think getting drunk or stoned and using firearms is irresponsible or reflective of poor morals. If you're worried about the cops in the NRA, why does it stop there? Why not the Oath Keepers and the cops who are members of your local shooting range? If a bunch of cops form a football team, do we take down the NFL? Do you think the solution to militarized and zealous policing is a blanket social ostracizing at all corners? Seems exceedingly weird that, as a libertarian, you'd think police officers, as private citizens, couldn't voluntarily choose to be a part of a private organization like the NRA (or GOA or whatever).

  23. Have we forgotten Webb at the dem debate when he said he supported 2A? And Gillibrand from NYS, a darling of Columbia County who slept with a shotgun under the bed, until she was offered up as a NYS Senator and went anti-gun right away. I quit the democratic party after due to their abandoning middle class working families and going progressive, anti male, anti family, and socialistic.

    1. Yeah, we mostly forget prominent Democrats saying they support the 2nd amendment, because it's usually just a rhetorical trick.

      The Democratic party's position is that the 2nd amendment means that you have the right to bear arms in the military as ordered. This enables them to say they "support the 2nd amendment", while meaning to enact maximum gun control.

      Until a Democrat states in detail what they understand the 2nd amendment to MEAN, their saying they support it is worthless.

  24. I think the NRA does its members a disservice by not taking the lead on even small measures to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. Right now they are in a strong position and can obstruct all reforms. But the political environment will eventually change and when it does they will lament the lost opportunity to have built up good will with the vast majority of Americans who are neither staunch gun rights people nor staunch gun control people.

    1. I think the NRA does its members a disservice by not taking the lead on even small measures to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them

      Yes, they should lead the charge to disarm all government actors!

    2. This passes over the question of what measures would keep guns out of the hands of "people who shouldn't have them" without also keeping them out of the hands of people who are perfectly fine to have them.

      At some point you've done enough to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. Unless you privately think that's everybody

      But, actually, the NRA has advocated doing more to disarm criminals, and the genuinely mentally ill. They just won't go along with programs which claim to have such a goal, while actually being designed to disarm large numbers of innocent people.

      1. Is the NRA "too GOP" because they are alright with felons losing their right to possess firearms?

        Would the NRA be "less GOP" if they decided that anyone who has completed their full sentence should have those rights restored? Would that sort of position curry them favor with the Democrats and the ACLU?

    3. I have a stock answer to that:

      US Department of Justice
      National Institute of Justice
      Bureau of Justice Statistics
      Firearms Use by Offenders
      (Sample: nationwide sample of prison inmates who possessed a firearm during the offense for which they were imprisoned)

      2004 Source of firearms possessed by state prison inmates at time of offense

      11.3% Retail Purchase or trade
      7.3 - Retail store
      2.6 - Pawnshop
      0.6 - Flea market
      0.8 - Gun show

      37.4% Family or friend
      12.2 - Purchased or traded
      14.1 - Rented or borrowed
      11.1 - Other

      40.0% Street/illegal source
      7.5 - Theft or burglary
      25.2 - Drug dealer/off street
      7.4 - Fence/black market

      11.2% Other source

      I would point out that family or friend supplying guns to criminals are often criminals themselves. It will be really hard to get them and the thieves, burglars, fences, black marketeers, drug dealers, street dealers to run background checks on criminals before supplying them with guns.

      These BJS FUO surveys are run every 6 or 7 years. Before the NICS check system was in effect, the percent of guns from retail purchase was over 21%, grey or black market, 79%; in 2004, less than 12% from retail purchase, 88% from grey or black market.

  25. The NRA is too something, all right, to advocate for gun owners' rights. It's too STUPID, craven, cowardly, and gutless.... You pointed all of this out It's why organizations like Gun Owners of America and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership were founded.

    The Republican Party is no more principled, and shows even less respect for the Constitution. At least the NRA didn't swear an oath to "uphold, protect, and defend" that law before working every day to undermine it. I doubt there is a single one of them takes that oath seriously. They forswear it with their every political move. That makes them guilty of perjury (look it up) and they should all be removed from office and jailed on that account alone.

    No section of the Constitution that forbids the government to do something ("Congress shall make no law...") contains anything that could be interpreted to mean "except if we feel like it". Not for "bump stocks", not for "high-capacity" magazines, not for "military-style" weapons. Not for "false news". THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. And politicians who want to pretend that there are - exceptions only they can see - deserve contempt; followed by jail.

    And as for you, Jerry, what kind of strategy is it to abandon, indeed hide our principles because those who oppose us will know that we have them, and thus "target" them? Yeah; why let your enemies destroy your principles when you can do it yourself. I hope that's not what you're advocating, but it looks like it.

    1. And at the same time, GOA can score the odd own-goal by trying too hard with the wrong cases, eh?

      NRA's never been enough to satisfy the molon labe purists (and I respect that dissatisfaction, note).

      But you imply they're simply ineffective, which they ... aren't, not always or generally.

      Remember Doe vs. SFHA*? McDonald v. Chicago [consolidated with NRA v. Chicago]?

      (They were cowards over Heller - but if Heller had gone the other way, people would be lambasting them for overreach and undermining The Cause.)

      1. This.

        I get that 'extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.'

        But 'not vice' and 'politically achievable' are not remotely the same thing. The former is a moral position, the latter is about accomplishing the possible.

        Do I wish the NRA was more absolutist? Sometimes. But only to the extent that that position would lead them to accomplish more that I deem positive; to the extent that an absolutist position would be counterproductive then no, reality dictates they behave otherwise.

        That is the nature and essence of all politics.

        Tuccile has not given me any inkling of how the NRA might have accomplished more than they have by being any less of what they are right now.

        1. Tuccile has not given me any inkling of how the NRA might have accomplished more than they have by being any less of what they are right now.

          Well said.

    2. There are natural law exceptions to every right. Having said that, the exceptions extended to the Second do not comport with the natural law exception. You are correct. But it needs to be explained how there can be exceptions to free speech, search and seizure and all the unenumerated rights and even in some heretofore unidentifiable cases with the RTKaBA and then argued why the exceptions currently in place miss that mark. The NRA is woefully lacking an ability or willingness to do that.

  26. I see Tuccille did a fantastic outlining all the pro 2A democrats and everything they've done to resist the onslaught of infringements on our natural and constitutional rights under the 2A.

    What was the thesis again?

  27. I recall lots of democrats in the past getting A+ ratings from the NRA.

    1. I remember Libertarians getting question marks. That's why I quit the NRA.

      1. A question mark means the candidate has no legislative record AND failed to fill out and return the questionaire.

      2. I quit the NRA in the 1980's when they refused to even acknowledge Libertarian candidates were 2A supporters.

  28. Arguably, yes.

    I watched the NRA go from non-partisan* to Hey Isn't The President Great Even Not About Guns over the past two years, and it disgusts me.

    And I'm a Life Member precisely for their civil rights work.

    (* Yes, they rated a lot more Rs better than Ds. But they'd A-rate any D who, well, did the same stuff that deserved an A rating, and they'd F-rate an R who did the converse. They cared always and only about the Second Amendment.

    The farther they get from that, politically, the less effective they are, and the less likely they are to get a cent from me.

    They're drifting off their point and thus losing relevance. Stop it, guys.)

  29. While the NRA is ready to sell out the rights of gun owners on this issue, as they have in the past, Gun Owners of America has pledged to fight it, calling it a "gross infringement of Second Amendment rights." What's most amazing is that the ATF and the DOJ believe they are the ones to propose these regulations. Take a look at the summary at the Federal Register where comments are being taken.

    The motions that the Trump administration are going through are things that even the Obama administration didn't do. In fact, under Obama, bump stocks were made available. though-atf-no-authority-ban-bump- stocks-seek-comments-banning/

  30. Not only was this bill?which makes it easier for the federal government to disarm the citizens?voted for by the alleged pro-2nd Amendment Republicans but it was also supported by the NRA.
    The disconnect happens here. People who dislike Donald Trump and who, rightfully so, call out the problem of police brutality in America, want to give all the guns in the country to Donald Trump and the police.
    So, as you hear the president and other citizens call for gun control, or even if you feel the same urge, remember who benefits from it ? the 1 percent ? who are the most violent humans left on the planet.


  31. Simple answer, Yes.
    Since they backed McCain, who wanted to make organizations like that illegal and ban guns they've been out of the closet as the National Republican Association.

  32. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre's demand for "an active national database of the mentally ill" after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, is woefully misbegotten, casting an unmanageably wide net into the wrong ocean.
    Both laws leave a lot of leeway to unjustifiably deprive people of their constitutional rights, whether out of MALICE or out of sincere but mistaken concern. Someone can lose his right to keep and bear arms indefinitely based on little more than the misplaced fears of people close to him or the false testimony of a vengeful ex-girlfriend, brother, or third cousin.
    Neither California nor Washington requires a psychiatric diagnosis for a gun confiscation order, which suggests that the focus on mental illness may be misplaced. The real issue, according to these laws, is dangerousness. But it is asking a lot of judges to predict who will use guns to commit crimes when the vast majority of people whose cases they consider will not. Psychiatrists are terrible at that sort of prophecy, and it's doubtful that judges are any better.

    1. NRA, Emily Miller, Ben Carson - The Truth About Mental Illness and Guns

  33. The NRA has been selling out the American gun owner for over 100 years. They actively supported the NFA in 1934, the Gun Control Act in 1968 and the oppositely named Firearm Owners' Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) which removed the right of Americans to purchase new automatic or AOW weapons, a clear violation of the Second Amendment.

    All of this was done with the cooperation of the sellout Progressive owned and run Republican Party as well.

  34. The NRA completely snubbed Rand Paul when it endorsed Trump, and Paul has a better record of understanding and defending 2A rights. Had they actually picked the best man or not endorsed any of the candidates until the primary was over I'd probably still be a member.
    Also the people they hire to call me for money are complete morons who have trouble reading from a script that tries really hard to paint me as a loyal republican. Fuckers.

    1. Exactly. The year McCain ran they could've ignored both of the major anti-gun candidate and backed the Libertarian. They may have lost but they lost anyway. It would've sent a very strong message to future Republicans that the NRA wasn't going to back them if they have a history of being anti-gun but are willing to give lip service when they're running. I think I even told their callers that year there was no way I was going to vote for McCain when in previous years they were against him and his policies.

  35. The NRA in California has, thus far, been uninterested in Libertarian Candidates. Even Libertarians in races with no Republican opponent, or paper ballot Republicans.

    Short answer to the headline question: Yes - they only care about Republicans.

    1. This is no secret, nor a mystery to anyone who actually reads the NRA's own voting guides.

      They are very clear about how they go about selecting who to endorse, and it is always about backing the candidate who is better on the issue while also being most likely to win. IOW they expressly value political viability higher than hard core principle; always have and (probably) always will.

      Sadly this does make them appear less than ideal, especially to anyone who wants maximum liberty, yet - strangely enough - it has also led them to be the pre-eminent 2nd Amendment organization with massive political clout. This neither concidence nor accident. It is the way you win any game - by playing to keep the odds in your favor.

      1. This neither concidence nor accident. It is the way you win any game - by playing to keep the odds in your favor.

        It also very much deserves to be noted that it's not just not a coincidence, it's very forthright and upstanding, especially in contrast to their opposition. The NRA has never killed anyone. It may be annoying as hell that they call all the time asking for more donations but the alternative, in this day and age, is spying on you. They provide you the criteria for the selection of candidates before they do so and if they select a candidate you don't like, you're free to cancel your membership. It's easily possible to find out who they'll support even before you join. Little-to-no 'you have to approve the membership to find out what's in the membership'. If you want to build marksmanship in your community, the NRA generally wants to help you, is fine if you do it without the help, and is pretty generally OK with you saying 'I built this.' even if you accept their help.

  36. To answer this question, read the title of the other article, "The Liberal Media's Answer to Ideological Diversity Concerns: Ban Conservatives, Hire Socialists".

    Liberals are gun grabbers. Any gun rights organization is going to be "too Republican".

  37. Do you own any guns? Would you like to legally purchase another? Do you pay cash for ammo at a chain discount department store without having to undergo a background check or even show ID?

    Thank the NRA

    1. Did you want "assault weapons" in the late 90s, early 2000s? Do you want to be able to purchase things guaranteed by the Constitution without governmental interference? Would you like them shipped to your door? Would you like to own ACTUAL militia weapons? Would you like gun mufflers so you won't have hearing damage? Would you like to be able to carry openly?

      Blame the NRA!

  38. One strength of the NRA is its focus. As soon as it goes wandering off into other rights and issues it'll divide itself. That's why they're silent. This article is just a goading set up. Don't take the bait, NRA.

  39. The snapback against gun nuts' abolutism is going to be good. I hope it does not overwhelm a right to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home, but gun extremists are just asking for a strident backlash, so I make it 50-50.

    1. The snapback against gun nuts' abolutism

      Whoa, whoa, whoa, gun nuts are absolutist? In London they want to ban KNIVES! And let's not forget the lie "we don't want your guns":

      I hope it does not overwhelm a right to possess a reasonable firearm

      I think a "reasonable" car can't do more than 80mph. Who needs a car that goes faster than that?

      Molon Labe, tyrant!

    2. The anti-gun extremists are the ones begging for a strident backlash.

      Like Hillary Clinton who said that Heller 2008 ("Held: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.") and MacDonald 2010 ("...that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right, recognized in Heller, to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense.") were wrongfully decided and that she would support a re-instatement of the 1994-2004 Assault Weapon Ban without grandfathering (and with an Australian style turn'em in or else).

  40. Nobody in the NRA has ever asked me whether I was a Republican/Democrat/Independent/Nazi/whatever;
    They do ask me: What kind of guns do you like?

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