The National Rifle Association Has Marginalized Themselves

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago


When Missouri Senate Bill 656 was introduced in 2016, it was relatively modest legislation that proposed capping the amount county sheriffs could charge for a concealed handgun permit.

By the time it passed, with both houses of the state legislature overturning the governor’s veto, it had become one of the most expansive gun-rights laws in the country.

The gun lobby fought hard to pass the bill. The group some lawmakers credited with providing crucial momentum was not so much the National Rifle Association, the powerful national lobbying organization, but rather the Missouri Firearms Coalition, an aggressive grassroots operation founded in 2015.

With major gun-rights legislation stalled in Washington, much of the action has shifted to the states, where self-described “no compromise” groups such as the Missouri Firearms Coalition have mobilized activists in favor of pro-gun laws, according to Reuters interviews with gun-rights groups in more than a dozen states, lawmakers and NRA supporters.

These groups have become increasingly active in promoting a pro-gun agenda in many states, unafraid of alienating lawmakers who waver on gun rights. In many cases, they say they would rather lose a legislative fight on principle than compromise and support a watered-down bill.

At times, this can put local groups at odds with the NRA, which some see as too willing to give ground on the most aggressive pro-gun laws in state legislatures, said Greg Pruett, president of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, which formed in 2012.

“It’s always kind of interesting when you see a lot of people in the gun control community talk about how radical the NRA is,” said Pruett, whose group organized an email and telephone campaign to pass a 2016 Idaho law allowing people to carry concealed handguns without a permit, also known as “constitutional carry.”

“There’s an entire movement on the other side of the NRA … We’re done compromising,” he said.

Missouri Firearms Coalition political advisor Aaron Dorr says the NRA fought against constitutional carry for years, considering it too much of a longshot, and only came on board once passage was certain. The Missouri law not only authorized constitutional carry, it made Missouri a “stand your ground” state, extending the right to lethal self-defense outside the home, even when retreating is an option.

“It was the Missouri Firearms Coalition that was on the ground first with this,” said Jered Taylor, a Missouri state representative. “Eventually the NRA came on board, but the Missouri Firearms Coalition was the one that pushed it.”The NRA contended that it supported Senate Bill 656 from start to finish. The NRA assesses legislation across the states and sometimes opts for incremental victories, spokesman Lars Dalseide said.

“While the all or nothing approach may sound noble, the fact is you usually end up with nothing,” Dalseide said. “The other groups may have called for the passage of these bills in the past but they are largely fundraising organizations … None of these legislative initiatives moved an inch until the NRA got involved.”

[ … ]

The most uncompromising among them say the NRA has become too timid and too willing to back measures such as removing firearms from people deemed dangerous.

“I call it pre-emptive concession,” said Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, which has helped expand concealed carry rights and a “stand your ground” law.

That the NRA would trot out a spokesman who would say something like that, making them sound like crying little girls, says more than anything the spokesman could ever do or say to harm the NRA.

The NRA has harmed not only gun rights in America (with its support for the GCA, the NFA, the connection of mental health to crime, and the bump stock ban), but they have marginalized themselves in the process, becoming nothing more than a money grabbing organization.  It’s a shame, really, as it could have been different.

But it’s nice to see people waking to this reality and working at the state and local level.  As they do that, it can always be expected that the NRA will claim the credit for it.  As I’ve said before, I consider the NRA to be the largest, most well funded and well connected gun control organization on earth.


  1. On October 9, 2018 at 11:13 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “As I’ve said before, I consider the NRA to be the largest, most well funded and well connected gun control organization on earth.”

    Your analysis is spot-on. The National Rifle Association exemplifies, in almost textbook fashion, the principle of controlled opposition. It is the same principle which has rendered the Republican Party an echo chamber of the left since the 1950s.

    Controlled opposition, as a method of undermining a political, ideological or other opponent, relies upon the same basic method an intelligence agency or case officer uses in a false-flag operation. If one can’t get rid of the opposition, the next-best outcome is to control who or whatever opposes you, and steer it, as much as possible, to your own ends. If your opponent won’t do what you want, when you want it -do it for him, suitably disguised of course to hide your intentions and identity.

    A classic example would be the FBI investigating the anti-war/peace movement of the 1960s. Agents could be infiltrated into existing groups – which was done, despite being difficult and dangerous to do – or one might take the proactive approach of forming an anti-war group and using it as a means to subvert the opposition agenda, as well as infiltrate it at the same time.

    The deep-state used similar methods to infiltrate and eventually destroy the Tea Party movement as a political force, during the Obama years.

    The NRA is a legitimate non-profit whose history dates back to 1871 and its founding, by two Union officers – Colonel William C. Church and General George Wingate – veterans of the Civil War dismayed by poor marksmanship in the ranks. For the first few decades of its existence, the NRA functioned to promote firearms skills and Second Amendment rights – more or less what its founders intended.

    All the better as a disguise and proof of their legitimacy for when the anti-gun statists began to take over the organization, which in the case of the NRA began to happen around the time of the Great War and accelerated into the FDR years of the 1930s.

    The great philosopher Eric Hoffer once observed, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” His observation could have been made with any number of dozens of non-profits in Washington in mind, from the NAACP to the NRA.

    As a firearms owner and perhaps even as an NRA member, maybe you have asked yourself, “Why is it that firearms regulations are never rolled back when Republican administrations are in power?” Or, “Why doesn’t the NRA push for the repeal of the Hughes Amendment, GCA 1968 or the NFA 1934?”

    The answer lies in a variation of what political scientists and economists call “regulatory capture,” i.e., “Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating” (Wiki). In this case, it isn’t a government agency which fails, but a non-profit.

    Hoffer was correct – causes to movements to rackets.

    Another reason the NRA doesn’t want to roll back FA regulation is that they have figured out that their business model is most-profitable when gun rights are under threat. Moreover, the top people at the NRA fear that there would be no (or much less) need for them and their organization if the various firearms regulations accumulated over the last eighty-five years or so were rolled back.

    Paradoxically, as cynical as the NRA can be – and let no one doubt that they are! – they can pivot on a dime and actually do yeoman work in preserving the Second Amendment and the RTKBAs, when their rice bowel is threatened. All of those “moderates” running the NRA suddenly become pro-gun zealots when it is their gravy train which is threatened with derailment!

    It can be seen, then, by careful analysis – that the interests of the typical firearm owner sometimes coincide with those of the NRA, but just as often do not.

    Gun Owners of America and a number of other smaller, more-agile organizations do better work on a per dollar basis, and have far-greater integrity than the old fuddy-duddies at the NRA.

  2. On October 10, 2018 at 12:21 am, BRVTVS said:

    “Why doesn’t the NRA push for the repeal of the Hughes Amendment, GCA 1968 or the NFA 1934?”

    For a brief time, it’s my understanding that the NRA did fight to repeal the 1968 GCA. When Neal Knox was ousted, that fight came to an end.

  3. On October 10, 2018 at 6:39 am, ragman said:

    All federal gun laws are unconstitutional. The intent of our Founding Fathers was that the Citizens would have the same small arms as the military. To fight tyranny, not to hunt deer. Today that means a select fire rifle. Nothing less.

  4. On October 10, 2018 at 10:39 am, Fred said:

    Apparently the job of ‘Spokesman’ is held by several people or something as there seems to be several of them at the NRA for some weird reason. A jobs program for good ol’ boys Fudd network? Anyway, this particular spokesman is a liar. He said “…the fact is you usually end up with nothing.” This, factually is incorrect, or should I say it is a dodge. What we usually end with from the NRA is our rights sold down the river.

    The fact that the NRA endorses the ongoing Gun Confiscations in FL and CA because of ‘mental health’ is outrageous. Regulating a stupid accessory such as a Bump Stock is one thing, regulating and disarming people is quite another. It won’t be long before a member of the NRA will be standing outside your home pointing at the door when SWAT arrives. Spiritually, this is what they’ve done. God looks upon the heart.

    “If one can’t get rid of the opposition, the next-best outcome is to control who or whatever opposes you, and steer it, as much as possible, to your own ends.”

    In the micro, very often, a method called the Delphi Technique is used. This ‘steering’ is how the GOP got a hold of the small and independent Tea Parties. All of them here are run by GOP operatives. Not coincidentally the operatives don’t like me much because I ask pointed questions outside of the approved narrative and get in Republican politician’s faces. It’s easy to find these operatives, they will always tell you that you are doing it wrong or some other attempt to moderate your aggression…just like the NRA spokesman has done here in the macro.

    And, I’ve said it before and I will say again. This will help anybody in their career if it’s applied to all that you do. The NRA leadership must have poor critical thinking skills. This alone concerns me about their actual abilities, aside from their obvious treason. Anyway here is the deal; If you work so hard and do such a good job that your job, or even better your entire organization, is no longer needed then you will NEVER WANT FOR WORK AGAIN. People, smart, well run, agile and nimble companies will be clamoring all over themselves to hire you. Duh!

  5. On October 10, 2018 at 2:33 pm, Henry said:

    Arizona — just recently named (by Guns & Ammo) the best state for gun owners for the sixth year in a row — got there by using the same tactic: a “radical” (read, principled) statewide organization entirely divorced from and independent of the NRA, and willing to tell the NRA to STFU and take the next plane home when they try to swoop in and corrupt an incipient victory into a foul compromise. Arizona is the best proof that the biggest victories come from cutting the NRA out of the process entirely.

    The NRA tried to torpedo the Heller (then Parker) case before it could be heard by the courts. HELLER, for God’s sake. Who needs idiots like that any longer?

  6. On October 10, 2018 at 3:00 pm, billrla said:

    It’s a shame, because education about firearms safety and teaching good marksmanship are honorable and worthy causes in their own right. Leave the politics to the politicians. They’re gonna screw-it up, anyway.

  7. On October 10, 2018 at 5:50 pm, Nutty Old Geezer said:

    I once belonged to NRA. Now I belong to GOA. NRA just sent me a prepaid membership/donation envelope. Wrote “You lost me” in marker and mailed it back. I would not support NRA until ALL the head office are fired. My Walter Mitty dream is to eat at Taco Bell, find that POS former Texas Ranger/ NRA board member Joaquin Jackson’s grave and leave a fitting tribute.

  8. On October 10, 2018 at 7:18 pm, Gryphon said:

    Whenever the NRA comes up in conversation now, I always, Directly Point Out that IF they were a “Second-Amendment Advocacy Group” they would have Long Ago declared Loudly and Directly that ANY AND ALL ‘GUN CONTROL’ LAWS
    are Non-Constitutional and therefor Null and Void.

    That they WON”T GO THERE is some pretty good Proof that they exist as a “Controlled Opposition” sort of political entity.

    Twice, over the past 15 Years, I have encountered (in a casual manner) persons on the NRA Board of Directors (one later became President) and I had Asked of Both Men, “What will be the NRA’s Policy be WHEN (not if) the feral government issues a Ban on the Ownership of Guns? Will the NRA openly and Publicly tell their Membership to IGNORE the ‘law’? ”

    Both of them were literally Sputtering in Confusion; neither Man could Contemplate a situation where the Second Amendment would have to be “Applied” as he Founders intended.

  9. On October 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm, Ned said:

    In Arizona, AZCDL has gotten more done than NRA. But when “constitutional carry” passed, guess who rode in on the coattails and claimed victory.

    Meanwhile, the few (AZCDL) and other state grass roots organizations do so much for so many. People can’t seem to spend the money it would cost for a box of premium pistol ammo to join and support these organizations.

    Locally, more people will attend “Friends of NRA” dinners to try to win free stuff than even belong to AZCDL. And probably 90 + percent of our local rifle range members are NRA members.

    Pretty sad actual participation rates on anything relevant to expanding gun rights by gun owners.

  10. On October 11, 2018 at 8:17 am, Frank Clarke said:

    “None of these legislative initiatives moved an inch until the NRA got involved.”

    Every true thing was first believed by one person, then by hundreds, then by everybody except that red-headed moron who married your sister.

    Truth has to start somewhere, and claiming it started just when YOU got on board is somewhat self-serving. But that’s the NRA for ya’…

  11. On October 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm, John said:

    Certainly some deserved criticism but it is still the terror on election day to politicians who want to grab our guns.

  12. On October 12, 2018 at 4:48 pm, =TW= said:

    The NRA is a large organization with plenty of clout, hated and feared by gun grabbers. As a Patron member I would like to see that influence wielded more effectively, rather than wasted on compromise and “common sense” regulations.

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You are currently reading "The National Rifle Association Has Marginalized Themselves", entry #20106 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) National Rifle Association,Second Amendment and was published October 9th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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