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Old July 14, 2010, 10:44 AM   #1
oboe
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NRA - What should be its role or mission?

Before stating my own opinions on the subject, I'd like to invite you all to discussion of this article - here's the link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/201...politico/39591
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Old July 14, 2010, 10:48 AM   #2
Mike Irwin
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NRA is, always has been, and always should be a one subject organization.

If a conservative politician is no friend of gun owners, but the liberal politician is, NRA should endorse and cultivate the liberal.

Conservatives as a movement don't like it? Tough. NRA isn't about the conservative movement, NRA is about preservation of Second Amendment rights.


"A lot of conservatives think the NRA has become much more interested in wooing the bipartisan label than in being really effective Second Amendment fighters."

That's a load of crap from that blogger. You don't be really effective Second Amendment fighter's by slavishly toeing someone else's line. NRA sets its own line. Pity these people can't see that.
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Old July 14, 2010, 11:33 AM   #3
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
NRA is, always has been, and always should be a one subject organization....
I completely agree.
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Old July 14, 2010, 11:37 AM   #4
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Ditto. I've said this many times before. Why repeat ourselves.
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Old July 14, 2010, 12:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
NRA is, always has been, and always should be a one subject organization.

If a conservative politician is no friend of gun owners, but the liberal politician is, NRA should endorse and cultivate the liberal.

Conservatives as a movement don't like it? Tough. NRA isn't about the conservative movement, NRA is about preservation of Second Amendment rights.
Great post.

Personally, I could care less that the pro-gunner is a conservative Baptist preacher or a liberal lesbian Wiccan. The pro-gunner will get my vote every time.
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Old July 14, 2010, 01:31 PM   #6
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Of course the NRA should be focused on the Second Amendment.

Quote:
"A lot of conservatives think the NRA has become much more interested in wooing the bipartisan label than in being really effective Second Amendment fighters."
They seem pretty effective to me. They are facing a President who is a former board member of the Joyce Foundation and Daleyite. Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House and the party of the President currently enjoys large majorities in both the House and Senate - heck, they were filibuster-proof in the Senate until Scott Brown happened.

And yet despite that, not a single piece of gun control passed on the national level and several pro-RKBA bills did manage to get passed. If that isn't the definition of "a really effective Second Amendment fighter", then I don't know what is.

Anybody who thinks that being a "really effective Second Amendment fighter" is about having good conservative credentials doesn't understand American politics. Interest groups that end up aligning themselves too closely with one party end up getting used like old tissue by that party.

Edited to add:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/mas...rights/?page=2

I saw this link via Instapundit and it is a great example of exactly why people like the guy at Redstate are complaining so loudly - because they now have to compete with some Democrats on RKBA instead of getting those votes by default.

Last edited by Bartholomew Roberts; July 14, 2010 at 01:51 PM.
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Old July 14, 2010, 02:12 PM   #7
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Another week, another attempt at NRA bashing. I'm sure there's no shortage of blog posts and Examiner articles falling all over themselves over Erickson's article.

Most of this is done by people who don't understand political reality. Much of it is done by people who excoriate an organization to whom they've contributed absolutely nothing to it but expect it to be everything they want.

Someone else said it better: these people don't realize how fortunate they are that the NRA has such long coat-tails for them to ride on.
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Old July 14, 2010, 02:14 PM   #8
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Tying Gun Rights to conservatism is a death knell for gun owners. IMHO equating gun ownership with a myriad of conservative policies has severely hampered our cause. The NRA is single issue and so should it be always. By throwing us all under the same tent makes us unbeatable!
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Old July 14, 2010, 02:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
NRA is, always has been, and always should be a one subject organization.

If a conservative politician is no friend of gun owners, but the liberal politician is, NRA should endorse and cultivate the liberal.

Conservatives as a movement don't like it? Tough. NRA isn't about the conservative movement, NRA is about preservation of Second Amendment rights.
Quoted for truth.
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Old July 14, 2010, 04:08 PM   #10
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Tying Gun Rights to conservatism is a death knell for gun owners. IMHO equating gun ownership with a myriad of conservative policies has severely hampered our cause.
I've spoken to people who want nothing to do with the gun culture because they've been given the impression that they have to accept the whole package of political ideas that are often associated with it.

Don't like a conservative political figure? Need not apply. Don't support the death penalty, oppose gay marriage, or agree with certain news commentators? Need not apply.

That's how a lot of people see the situation, and we're worse off for it. I'd rather have the nation's oldest, most powerful pro-2A organization reaching out to the widest audience possible than getting mired down in pleasing one political group.
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Old July 14, 2010, 05:02 PM   #11
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Interest groups that end up aligning themselves too closely with one party end up getting used like old tissue by that party.
+1, and IMHO gun-control groups are an ironic example of this problem. Many of these groups are so closely aligned with the Democratic Party that party leaders can give them lip service while taking no real action and still expect their vote. This is the keystone in the Democratic administration's decision to maintain a hands-off policy towards most 2A-related issues.

There's some signs that these groups are getting really upset at the administration's inaction, but they've spent so much time antagonizing and villifying the GOP that they've painted themselves into a proverbial corner.
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Old July 14, 2010, 05:02 PM   #12
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I'd rather have the nation's oldest, most powerful pro-2A organization reaching out to the widest audience possible than getting mired down in pleasing one political group.
I don't think they go all out to please one group. If you look at their politician grades, they have democrats with A's and republicans with F's. That is exactly what I want from them. Support for those that support gun rights, regardless of party. Don't forget, it took votes from both sides to pass the '94 AW ban.
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Old July 14, 2010, 06:23 PM   #13
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The N.R.A. states that it's role is to preserve our Second Amendment, but sometimes their actions give me pause.

They have been on record as opposing some "pro" gun legislation or court cases until the political winds shifted and forced them to take sides. I quit the N.R.A. years ago over a compromise they made. I didn't rejoin until many years later, after visiting a foriegn country that bans guns.

Now I find myself in the quandry of what to do over the actions of the N.R.A. yet again. I am a one issue voter, and I'll let you guess what that one issue is. It is said that the N.R.A. is the voice of it's members, but somehow they seem to not be saying what I am on some gun issues.

I've come to the conclusion that the N.R.A., while I'm still a member, is more interested in it's own self interest and "power" as opposed to the true protection of the Second Amendment. I'll continue to be a member, but my support will go elsewhere on most issues until they seem to be speaking the language I think they should be in regards to the Second.

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Old July 14, 2010, 06:55 PM   #14
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Don't forget, it took votes from both sides to pass the '94 AW ban.
Yes, it did. The house vote was 216-214. At the last minute, Michels, the minority leader, voted for the AWB. A total of 38 minority representatives voted for the ban. 77 majority representatives voted against the AWB.

In September of 2004 an extension of the AWB passed the US senate by a vote of 52-47.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2004Mar2.html

Quote:
Ten Republicans broke party ranks: Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Olympia Snowe of Maine, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Warner of Virginia.

Six Democrats voted against extending the ban: Max Baucus of Montana, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Zell Miller of Georgia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Harry Reid of Nevada.
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Old July 14, 2010, 08:44 PM   #15
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Howard Dean Was Right.

He was the first democrat I ever heard (maybe there were others before him whom I didn't hear) say that the democratic party had to quit ignoring the Nascar fans who sport NRA stickers on their pickup trucks. The NRA, or any pro gun rights group, should support candidates who are pro gun first and foremost. Secondly, they can oppose candidates from any party who would silence the pro gun rights voices, or any other political voices for that matter. The McCain-Feingold bill was an attrocious piece of legislation which I believe struck at the 1st ammendment. Having our first amendment rights stifled was affecting the NRA's ability to support and promote our Second Amendment rights, so they "rightfully" opposed McCain Feingold. In that case, I was very supportive of the NRA as they were fighting indirectly to protect our rights on both of the first amendments.
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Old July 15, 2010, 08:26 AM   #16
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I think their role should be obvious just going by their name. It's the National Rifle Association, not the National Right-to-Life Association, or the National Tea Party Association. I'm a member, but that doesn't mean I will always like the candidates they endorse. I don't think that makes their decision wrong, their focus is confined to just the one issue. I consider other issues as well when voting.
Many groups are like that, I would expect that Pro-Life groups endorse Pro-Life Dems over Pro-Choice Repubs. That's how these groups function best, single issue at the grass roots level, not some esoteric "what's best for the whole country regardless of the principle I'm tasked with defending" ideal. That's the voter's job to look at everything else.
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Old July 15, 2010, 10:08 PM   #17
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NRA is, always has been, and always should be a one subject organization.
That gets my vote.

Also, nonmembers get no say in the mission, so I don't care what the Republicans want from the NRA, nor the participants in a Yahoo discussion.
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Old July 15, 2010, 10:25 PM   #18
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Also, nonmembers get no say in the mission, so I don't care what the Republicans want from the NRA, nor the participants in a Yahoo discussion.
You'd be surprised how many people who claim they're quitting the NRA over one recent thing or other aren't even members.

One guy told me he was sick of contributing, and when I asked him what his level of commitment was, he said he'd been a member for a year, and that it was a free membership he'd gotten. Most of the others have been bare-minimum dues payers since, oh, November 2008.

I hate to sound glib, but they're no loss. Fair weather friends aren't what get us through--people who are in for the long haul are.
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Old July 16, 2010, 12:04 AM   #19
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Here are some general statements concerning the past:
There was a time when there weren't any groups set up to defend the Second Amendment and one was suddenly and desperately needed(at least from the viewpoint of NRA members who had really not been targets of gun control previous to the ?sixties?). It wasn't what the NRA had traditionally focused on and it probably wasn't what they were best at, but lets say they stuck their thumb in the dike and saved our bacon.
Starting in the 90s some other groups start to surface that are specialized and totally dedicated to direct involvement in politics for the sake of gun rights. Much smaller memberships, not as well known, lots less money, etc etc.

At present:
These other specialized organizations are coming into their own. SAF gave us a big win and I would guess their money and membership has greatly increased. I am sure more will follow. GOA is growing whether you like their brand or not, especially after NRA's compromise which no matter the intent looked like betrayal to many people heavily involved in the state firearms groups. Wouldn't it be great for the NRA's finances if they were the only ones who got to play in Washington?

I would like the NRA to go back to focusing on high power matches, safety, training, etc. Indirect contributions. They never will even if they realize it is best for gun owners to have a dedicated lobby because so much of their marketing and growth is based on defending 2A. Probably 90% of their membership joins for that reason, at least the members I personally interact with, and that money funds their other programs(none of the membership fee goes directly to political/court battles).

Quote:
One guy told me he was sick of contributing, and when I asked him what his level of commitment was, he said he'd been a member for a year, and that it was a free membership he'd gotten. Most of the others have been bare-minimum dues payers since, oh, November 2008.

I hate to sound glib, but they're no loss. Fair weather friends aren't what get us through--people who are in for the long haul are.
And there lies a BIG problem. You seem to think that PAYING for an NRA membership is giving money directly to the political fight. That membership just doesn't do that. You have to donate to the side organizations(NRA-ILA) to do that. That FREE membership gets you on their list of members they can show to congresspeople then you can give your money to the NRA-ILA/SAF to fund a court case, or you can get a regular membership and mount the high horse when all you really did was fund a high power match. I have never payed for an NRA membership and I seriously doubt I ever will although my financial contribution to the 2A fight has far exceeded $35 a year since I have owned firearms.

Can you imagine what SAF could do with all the NRA membership dues people think are going to political activism? It would be insane.

Before this thread gets closed. I have always wondered if there are any financial ties between SWAT magazine (the mods employer) and the NRA?
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Old July 16, 2010, 01:44 AM   #20
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You seem to think that PAYING for an NRA membership is giving money directly to the political fight.
No. Actually, I seem to remember that I was the person who pointed that out to you.

You are correct in that general dues do not cover political lobbying. By law, the NRA cannot dip into membership dues for that purpose. Hence the phone calls everyone hangs up on and the mailings everyone throws out.

This thread isn't about the SAF or other organizations. As valuable as they might be, we're talking about whether or not the NRA should branch out into general "conservative" causes.

If you're suggesting that we may be better served by forking various aspects of the 2A fight into several groups, you have a valid point. My only worry is that the cause may become too splintered and lose coherence. One only has to look at the backbiting a few groups do to prove that they're somehow more "hard core" than the NRA.

So far, the SAF has been the only other group to show that they're competent and effective on the national level (and boy have they!). Trust me, I've gladly supported them, but I also recognize the clout and influence of the NRA.
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Old July 16, 2010, 02:39 AM   #21
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You'd be surprised how many people who claim they're quitting the NRA over one recent thing or other aren't even members.
No, I wouldn’t !

Quote:
So far, the SAF has been the only other group to show that they're competent and effective on the national level (and boy have they!). Trust me, I've gladly supported them, but I also recognize the clout and influence of the NRA.
I agree on both counts.

I like the way you qualified your statement with “on the national level”, because I have a lot of respect for certain state organizations as well.
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Old July 16, 2010, 02:43 AM   #22
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NRA should stay single issue. No doubt in my mind there.

How they operate sometimes troubles me. I can see the merits of a cherry picking cases in the judicial fight and "living to fight another day", so most of my gripes and grumbles are a matter of a differing opinion of how to skin the same cat there.

The only real gripe I have is when they endorse one pro gun candidate over another because of seniority in congress. When the old boy that votes pro gun 90% is endorsed over the newbie pledging 100% … it causes me to make a phone call and stop contributing for awhile … and use my/their grassroots manual against their candidate if it’s a local thing.
I can understand the reasoning, but can’t quite stomach the compromise. To me, the endorsed candidate should be greater than or equal to the other, to get an endorsement. I can see rating the unknown 100 percenter as an "A" while the proven 95 percenter rates an "A+", but an endorsement should be withheld in that case … The NRA should just say they gave X number of bonus points for the incumbent’s record, give the number scores for both, and leave it at that.

Sometimes their strategy sucks when they hedge in the primary by supporting a weak pro gun in one party and simultaneously a strong pro gunner in the other. When they win both, it can set up a "no big loss" attitude among RKBA voters in the election where the weak one doesn’t look so bad. It’s very hard to fire up voter turn-out when there isn’t a lot of difference between the two and there have been several close elections where RKBA voters were lost to other issues or stayed home. This usually only matters in close elections, and could be avoided by NRA paying attention to other issues from a tactical standpoint, but without direct support of other issues. ... imo
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Old July 16, 2010, 03:07 AM   #23
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When the old boy that votes pro gun 90% is endorsed over the newbie pledging 100% … it causes me to make a phone call and stop contributing for awhile
The newbie pledging ? You mean, as in talking the talk ?

An actual voting record trumps all.
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Old July 16, 2010, 03:20 AM   #24
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Specifically, when I typed that, I had in mind an actual guy that had a long traceable pro RKBA record but no experience in politics. You have a great point about the politician that just pops up out of nowhere and starts talking the talk.

I still say lay out the method of grading openly.
A perfect voting record would indeed trump all and warrant a full endorsement, imo.

90 doesn’t make the grade for me and 95 becomes a close call against a untried 100 with a pro-RKBA resume and no political experience.
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Old July 16, 2010, 06:30 AM   #25
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I started to write the obvious answer, muslim outreach, but then I realized that you said NRA and not NASA.

As proven by the NRA's work with Harry Reid, their mission is lobbying for health insurance regulations.
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