2 years, 8 months ago
So I renewed my NRA membership today. Regular readers know that I had struggled with this issue, and in fact had begun asking salient questions around four months ago. Brave warriors of the NRA did yeoman’s work trying to defend the NRA’s unofficial endorsement of Harry Reid, but in the end there was no excuse worthy of the argument. To have sold out the honorable reputation of the NRA for Harry Reid’s having thrown a few dollars at the Clark County Shooting Park while ignoring the fact that he gave us SCOTUS justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor is petty and embarrassing.
So what changed my mind? Well, there are good winds blowing, at least for the moment.
President Barack Obama’s op-ed column in the March 13 Arizona Daily Star invited all sides of the gun-control debate to a series of meetings in Washington.
Two problems: The President invited the NRA to the summits — which declined to attend — but neglected to extend invitations to other influential Second Amendment advocacy groups, such as the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said it was odd that the CCRKBA, nor its sister organization, the SAF, were invited to the meetings — especially since it was the SAF’s Supreme Court challenged that resulted last summer’s McDonald v. City of Chicago ruling that solidified the Second Amendment’s protection of an individual civil right.
The NRA declined the invitation but responded to Obama’s op-ed with an open letter on March 15 by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legal Action Chris Cox. The letter said Obama says one thing (i.e. the Second Amendment guarantees a person to bear arms) and acts another way (i.e. setting in place regulations restricting gun rights), and ripped his administration for being “under a cloud for allegedly encouraging violations of federal law.”
“We suggest that you bring an immediate stop to BATFE’s ‘Fast and Furious’ operation, in which an unknown number of illegal firearm transactions were detected – and then encouraged to fruition by your BATFE, which allegedly decided to let thousands of firearms ‘walk’ across the border and into the hands of murderous drug cartels,” the letter alleges. “One federal officer has recently been killed and no one can predict what mayhem will still ensue. Despite the protests of gun dealers who wished to terminate these transactions, your Administration reportedly encouraged violations of federal firearms laws…”
Gottlieb, on the other hand, said he would love to speak with Obama during the meetings, which began on March 15 at the White House and will continue through the end of the month. He “would be eager to talk with the White House, especially about the ‘Project Gunrunner’ and ‘Fast and Furious’ scandals, where federal agents helped facilitate gun sales to suspected gunrunners,” he wrote in CCRKBA’s response to the President’s op-ed.
As Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea noted in his March 15 column on examiner.com, the ways the NRA, SAF, and CCRKBA — and other Second Amendment advocacy groups — reacted demonstrates “that the ‘gun lobby’ is not the monolith the media often portrays it to be.”
But Blogosphere Buzz Examiner Bill Belew in his March 16 column asks if the NRA, SAF, and CCRKBA aren’t going to the President’s gun summits, what pro-Second Amendment groups are?
Analysis & Commentary
This is a strong statement by the NRA against Obama’s “summit,” and Chris Cox made an equally strong statement against the proposed recapitulation of the ban on high capacity magazines. In seventh grade I had a teacher who posed the following dilemma to us. Six of us are on a life boat, and there is no hope of immediate rescue. Five can be kept alive if they vote and decide on who gets to be the one who is killed as food for others. Then there were five who were starving, and the five turned into four, and so on. You get the picture.
All manner of compromise, argumentation and judgment of worth occurred over the next hour. When it came my turn to talk (after I was called upon), I refused to play and said that “It’s the devil’s game, and I won’t play the devil’s game. God is sovereign, and if He decides that today is a good day for me to die, then I die. There are worse things than dying, such as dying and then facing your maker having just been guilty of murder. So I won’t play your dumb-ass game.”
It was a hard year for me, and the teacher and I had many run-ins, but I didn’t compromise. Compromise is usually thought of in today’s culture, with it’s lack of moral foundation, as the “art of politics,” or some such inanity. Rather than being artful, it’s what gave us the massive debt our country now faces. Compromise gave us a country addicted to social programs and redistribution of wealth, and compromise gave us an out-of-control ATF (who also wants to ban the import of things such as Saiga shotguns, something I’ll be weighing in on shortly).
But compromise is the devil’s game, and he wants more than anything for us to play it. Compromise is even more effective than a frontal assault, because it masks true intentions and buries real circumstances in a subterfuge of details, codes, argument and hand-shaking.
Wayne LaPierre held strong on Obama’s compromise summit, and since there is no reason to trust that Obama wants anything more than to solicit the NRA’s support on stricter gun control and thus undermine any objections to his nefarious plans, there was no reason to go at all.
But what about Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms? The NRA is the most powerful lobby on earth, and there is no reason that it should kowtow to anyone who is aiming for the dissolution of gun ownership rights. The temptation is always there, but the NRA shouldn’t succumb to it. Similarly, it’s a dastardly road, this quest to be important, significant or big.
I understand the desire of the SAF and the CCRKBA to be involved and even invoked when firearms rights are discussed. But when the desire for significance overwhelms good judgment and causes a pro-second amendment foundation to want to meet with an enemy of the second amendment, that foundation has lost its focus as much as the foundation that stands firm now against Obama but abdicates its responsibilities later when enough money is floated, or in other words, when Harry Reid starts another shooting park to get the NRA endorsement. I love my RRA Elite Car A4 and my Springfield Armory XDm .45, and I use them for personal and family defense (and recently put 400 rounds down range to practice for the day I hope will never come). But I’ll find another place to shoot rather than take a handout from someone who eventually wants to take the guns away. It’s called having values.
Compromise is the devil’s game. It’s for people who have no values. I have renewed by NRA membership for another year, and I’ll be watching them to see if we have any more compromises. I can always terminate my membership in a year.
UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link!