Monday, August 23, 2010

Sheepdog on the Warpath - Part 1, The NRA

As I promised last week, I'm kicking of this week's series, Sheepdog on the Warpath, today. Today the target locked onto is The National Rifle Association (NRA). As a firearms enthusiast and a firm believer in The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, it was a tough post to write and one that I really did not want to do. However, it will become evident very quickly why I did it. The NRA has lost it's way and needs to be held accountable.

I have a number of bones to pick with the NRA. However, the last straw was their involvement in The Disclose Act. Back in January, The U.S. Supreme Court overturned The McCain-Feingold Act with it's decision in the Citizen United vs. Federal Election Commission case (see my February 5, 2010 post titled "Did Obama Make A Tactical Error ?"). Afterwards, the Congressional Democrats announced very quickly that they would begin composing new legislation to re-impose the ban on corporate political speech during elections. They did so with The Disclose Act. However, the new bill contained exemptions for large organizations such as the NRA. When the bill first began making it's way through the U.S. House of Representatives, the NRA fought vigorously against it because they were firmly in the bill's crosshairs. Suddenly in mid-June, it was announced that the NRA had been given a special exemption from the bill in exchange for not openly opposing and fighting against it. In press releases and other statements, the NRA has stated that no deal was struck between them and Congress. However, in an interview with Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President, on the Lars Larson radio show (click here and then scroll down to listen), LaPierre never directly answers Mr. Larson's question when asked whether or not a deal was struck. Furthermore, LaPierre basically says that the NRA will do whatever it takes to protect The Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Apparently, that includes sacrificing the First Amendment protection of free speech.

The NRA has taken a lot of heat over The Disclose Act from folks both on the right and the left (please see article on Reuters.comGroups oppose NRA exemption in campaign bill). Some have said there was a deal and others have said there was not (please see article by Timothy P. Carney on WashingtonExaminer.comNRA isn't the villain in free speech fight). However, LaPierre's refusal to directly answer Mr. Larson's questions settled the debate for me because it told me that a deal was made. So, on August 12, 2010, I prepared the following letter listing a number of grievances I have with the NRA and mailed it to Mr. LaPierre :

Dear Mr. LaPierre,

I've been around firearms all my life but did not join the NRA until the 1990s shortly after Bill Clinton won the White House. I resigned my NRA Membership after the passage of the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban because I felt the NRA had not worked hard enough to keep those bills from passing. Around late 2007 or early 2008, I rejoined the NRA to give it a second chance and because the Democrats were nominating an anti-gunner, either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, for the presidency. I believed re-joining the NRA was the best way to keep informed about future anti-gun legislation.

The NRA has blown its second chance as I'm upset with it again for several reasons. First, why does the NRA continue giving good grades and endorsements to my Congressman, Jim Cooper (TN-5) ?? The NRA-PVF website gave him a B- in 2002, a B and the endorsement in 2004, a B+ in 2006, and an A and with the endorsement in 2008. Cooper voted in favor of the Brady Bill and for the Assault Weapons Ban before he voted against it. He only voted against the Assault Weapons Ban after the funding to put additional police officers on the street was stripped from it. He was fine with stripping gun owners of their God-given rights as protected by The Second Amendment as long as additional cops were on the street. Apparently, he did not believe gun owners were capable of protecting themselves so he supported less freedom and a bigger nanny state. Tennessee's gun owners were so angry over these votes that we gave him an "F" and voted him out of office in 1994 as the NRA should have done. Unfortunately, Tennesseans voted him back into Congress in 2002. In 2008, Cooper's Republican challenger for re-election, Gerard Donovan, was a gun rights supporter and a Tennessee concealed carry permit holder, but the NRA backed Cooper. It's only a matter of time until Cooper WILL betray you and gun owners again. Since his 2008 re-election, he has voted in favor of ObamaCare, the bailouts, and the stimulus bills. He's part of the reason the country is falling apart. Thanks for nothing. Strike one NRA.

Secondly, I'm upset with the NRA over The Disclose Act. This law's purpose was to infringe on the political speech of various organizations. On June 15, 2010, I received an e-mail from the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) stating that the NRA had struck a deal with Pelosi, Reid, etc. to exempt it from the bill's provisions as long as the NRA did not publicly oppose the bill. Did they promise no future gun control bills, too ? If you believe there will not be any, I've got some ocean front property here in hills of Tennessee that I'll make you a great deal on. Maybe Congressman Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd can help you get a great, low rate on the mortgage, too. I've done my homework by reading all the NRA press releases and e-mails claiming that no such deal was struck. I've listened to your interview with Lars Larsen on his radio show and read your comments elsewhere which basically state that the NRA will do anything to protect The Second Amendment. I do not believe the NRA's denials no deal was made. Apparently, the NRA took notes from Sen. Ben Nelson and Sen. Mary Landrieu selling out the First Amendment thinking it would protect the Second. You've let down the American people and we expect better. One part of The Constitution and our freedom can NEVER be sacrificed in order to protect another. Such a deal will only result in us losing all of our freedoms. Strike two NRA.

Thirdly, I've got a big problem with your "Friendly to Incumbents Policy." The NRA endorsed Congressman Jim Cooper in 2008 (see above) in accordance with this policy. The same policy was applied this year in the Republican Primary for Tennessee Senate District 17. The NRA endorsed the incumbent Mae Beavers over State Representative Susan Lynn. Both of them have been rated A+ by the NRA on numerous occasions. Some would say they have an identical pro-gun record. However, that is not true. While a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Mae Beavers voted in favor of Rep. Jimmy Naifeh being Speaker of the House on four occasions. During his gun-hating career, Naifeh has single-handedly killed numerous pro-gun bills, including ones that would have expanded Tennessee's carry laws. Yet the NRA endorsed Beavers anyway. Rep. Lynn, on the other hand, has always supported gun owners. In fact, my first contact ever with Rep. Lynn was to ask her to oppose, which she did, an anti-gun bill working its way through the Tennessee Legislature. In regards to the "Friendly to Incumbents Policy," the argument could be made that both were incumbents in this race since both were holding seats in the Tennessee General Assembly at the time. In this race, the NRA should have given them both A's or A+'s and issued a statement to the effect that gun owners would have been safe voting for either. Beavers definitely should not have been given the endorsement and I would argue that her grade should have been lowered due to her support of Naifeh. Any vote(s) supporting an anti-gun colleague for Speaker of the House, as Beavers did, should earn you an F every time. Strike three. The NRA is out.

Lastly, you have been hypocritical in the letters I have received from you. For instance :
  • In a March 30, 2009 letter offering the membership in the Golden Eagles, you wrote, "And, the NRA's Golden Eagles are leaders who see the big picture - that, in the long run, the biggest danger we face is the gradual chipping away of our rights bit by bit in what our friend Charlton Heston long ago called a 'cultural war'.
  • In a December 4, 2009 renewal letter to me, you said, "And the one organization in America today that can defend not just the Second Amendment, but freedom itself is the NRA."
  • You also said in that December 4, 2009 that, "Your (membership) card says that you're part of one of the most powerful armies of freedom-fighters that the world has ever seen. An army that takes no prisoners ... An army that stands up for its friends and relentlessly attacks its enemies ... An army whose highest allegiance is not to any individual or any political party but only to the cause of freedom."
I have pointed out, above, how the NRA has contradicted the quoted passages above by not fighting for freedom (The Disclose Act Deal), not attacking its enemies (endorsements of Jim Cooper), and not stood up for its friends (withheld endorsement from Lynn and gave to Beavers). The NRA has also aided in "the chipping away of our rights" by not standing for and proclaiming it's 100% opposition to ANY infringement of free speech in regards to The Disclose Act. For these reasons, I am giving my resignation, effective immediately, in the NRA as a member and as a Golden Eagle. I have previously done so via telephone but felt it should be done in writing, too. I will also be encouraging all of my blog readers, Facebook friends, family, and others resign, too. There are other Second Amendment advocacy groups locally and nationally that fight for and support our rights fairly and without sacrificing any part of The Constitution. I am also requesting a full refund of my Golden Eagles dues for this year. The check can be mailed to my address above.

The NRA's policies, grades, endorsements, and backroom deals have betrayed mine and other Americans trust and damaged our Republic and Constitution. Please do NOT send me any more magazines, renewal notices, or other solicitations. If you do, they will be marked " REFUSED - RETURN TO SENDER" and returned to you. The NRA is as out of touch with everyday Americans, such as myself, as Congress. Charlton Heston has to be rolling over in his grave after The Disclose Act deal. Your failure to adamantly oppose that bill was a slap in the face to our military men and women. They sacrifice time with their families and often their very lives to protect and defend our freedoms and the very Constitution that the NRA shredded with The Disclose Act deal. Your organization is no better than Obama and the other Socialists, Marxists, and Communists in D.C. The NRA is a hypocritical joke.

Johnny Black,
Patriot and ex-NRA Member

Since mailing the letter to Mr. LaPierre, I have found a website by the name of which details even more "indiscretions" of the NRA. I have not had the time yet to go through and confirm the site's claims, but I plan to. I encourage everyone, especially gun owners, to do your own homework and research these issues for yourself.

In my opinion, the NRA is caught up in the same lust for power and money that is infecting others in D.C. I have given them two chances. They have failed both times. I will continue to advocate for The Right to Keep and Bear Arms. However, it will not be as a member of the NRA. I'm encouraging gun owners to get involved locally instead of giving your hard earned money to the NRA anymore. Most states have some sort of gun owners association and there are at least two other national associations that I'm aware - Gun Owners of America and National Association for Gun Rights. Do your research on them and then consider joining.

P.S. The Disclose Act was voted down and failed to become law. However, rumor has it that it will come back up and be snuck into law as an amendment on another bill. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. The NRA sold it's soul to the devil (Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, etc.) on this one. Scuttlebutt is that they are considering endorsing Harry Reid for re-election, also. Pathetic.
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1 comment:

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

I never received a response from the NRA. Guess I "offended" them in some way.