The New York Attorney General has expanded her charges against the NRA, in an Amended Complaint.
Here’s the document in PDF format.
The New York Attorney General has expanded her charges against the NRA, in an Amended Complaint.
Here’s the document in PDF format.
I am taking a moment to look back at a couple of relevant excerpts from Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War. One is a piece written written in in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, which raked the East Coast in 1989. The piece became what Dad used to call an “evergreen” piece that is always current.
The second was written in the middle of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. This one became especially relevant when Philadelphia announced that arrests for certain low-level crimes would be “delayed” during the current virus outbreak, and in almost the same breath, that firearms purchase checks would not be acted on by police.
It was in the Los Angeles madness that police gave rare acknowledgement to the fact that you, Dear Citizen, own your own security, defense, and survival. It is not the police department’s job to protect you personally. It was in those riots that the “Roof Korean” meme embedded itself in gun lore.
I included both pieces in Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War because they both bring such a simple, yet apparently hard-to-learn lesson: The Second Amendment exists to protect the security of a free state. To accomplish that end, the individuals who make up that state must be able to individually bear arms in defense of themselves, their family, and ultimately, their nation. To infringe on the right to arms — especially in a time of imminent threat — infringes on a human’s right to exist.
As I post this, we face a pandemic. At the moment, we are in a surreal calm before … something. No one knows how it will turn out. Our contingency playbooks are mostly geared toward localized, or at most, regional disasters. The only ones who had really thought about a global pandemic were those crazy preppers. You can tell them by their smug smiles as they watch the panic buying.
No one knows how this will play out because no one has been through it. We are fortunate to have power and communications, and the stores that are open with only spot shortages — for now. No one I know has gotten sick — yet. And, while I am doing my part to make sure I don’t get sick, I am less concerned about being sick than I am about people being stupid.
The really big concern for me is what stupid people may do when faced with a serious problem — such as store shelves that stay empty for a couple of weeks.
And that’s why, along with the modest inventory of extra groceries my wife and I have laid in against a contingency, I have also set aside a few extra boxes of ammo and keep a piece of hardware accessible. I hope you’re doing the same, and I especially hope that if you’ve made the decision to keep and bear arms, that you have also gotten the training to do it safely and effectively.
God bless us all, our nation, and the rest of the world. We will get through this. Let’s learn from the experience.
It’s been ten years since Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War found its way to print. We’re pleased to announce the release of an updated and expanded Electronic Edition. The link will take you to a list of stores where it is currently available.
By Jeff Knox
(November 28, 2017) Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States once again refused to stand up to protect the Second Amendment, by turning down two cases challenging infringing state gun laws, both of which had been decided wrongly in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. One was a Florida case, where the state courts have, on the one hand, declared that there is a constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense outside the home, but on the other hand has declared that carrying concealed is a privilege, not a right. That means that the right may only be exercised if you have been granted the privilege of doing so by the state… So Floridians have a right to carry firearms for personal defense, they just can’t exercise that right unless they jump through hoops, pay a fee, and are granted the privilege to carry concealed by the state.
The specific case, Norman v. Florida, is particularly troubling because Mr. Norman jumped through the hoops, paid the fee, and was granted the privilege to exercise his right. Unfortunately the first time he exercised that privilege, he failed to conceal the firearm to the satisfaction of local police, who swarmed him and put him face-down on the sidewalk in handcuffs. He was subsequently found guilty of openly carrying a firearm, and fined $300 plus court costs.
It’s difficult to avoid speculation that, had Mr. Norman been white and wearing a suit, the stop and the results might have been significantly different than they were. A polite conversation with a stern warning about not allowing the gun to be easily observed would likely have been as far as things would have gone. But Mr. Norman is not a white man, and he wasn’t dressed nicely that day. He is a black man, and was peacefully going about his business in a tank top and cargo shorts.
By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court allows the decision of the Circuit court of Appeals to stand. Leaving the right to carry in Florida subject to gaining the privilege to do so from the state, and requiring that the exercise of that right be in accordance with the terms of the privilege.
As troubling as that case is, the other case turned away by SCOTUS is even more troubling. The case of Kolbe v. Hogan was a challenge to Maryland’s draconian ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines. In this case, while the 4th Circuit deciding that the ban is not unconstitutional is a serious concern, the Circuit Court’s rationale for that decision is an even bigger problem.
I wrote about this case earlier this year, and was convinced that SCOTUS would have no choice but to address the Circuit’s decision, because it took the SCOTUS decision in Heller, and stood it on its head.
The guns of the 4th Circuit actually claimed that the Supreme Court ruled in Heller that guns like the AR15 are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are of a type that would be particularly useful in a military application.
To reach this conclusion, the 4th Circuit judges took a minor comment from Justice Scalia’s decision in Heller, and completely changed the very obvious meaning and intent of the comment and the Heller decision itself.
In reaching the Heller decision, it is clear that there were some on the court who were worried that the decision would open up the possibility of challenges to the National Firearms Act and the Hughes Amendment which banned the sale of full-auto firearms manufactured after 1986. Justice Scalia provided some groundwork for defense of the NFA and Hughes, by focusing on the idea that the protected arms of the Second Amendment are those that are “in common use” among the people at a given time. Scalia posited; “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M-16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause.”
He was suggesting that the argument should boil down to the issue of whether the particular arms in question are of a type that is currently “in common use.” The idea being that since full-auto, military arms like the M-16 are not in common use among the people, they would not be protected by the Second Amendment.
That’s a pretty thin argument, since the only reason M-16s and other true military-style arms are not in common use, is that they have been tightly restricted and prohibitively expensive for the past 80 years. But that is the argument Scalia was making. It should be noted that this argument was made as part of a larger discussion of the rationale surrounding the Court’s decision in Heller, and was not part of the official holding in the case.
So what the 4th Circuit did, was take this commentary, known as “dicta” in the courts, and claim that what it means is that guns that are “like M-16s,” are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are useful in military service.
That is clearly not at all what Scalia was suggesting.
Usually the Supreme Court is very protective of their past decisions, and they are quick to slap down a lower court that tries to distort and abuse them – especially in a landmark case like Heller. So for the Court to let such a flagrant assault on such a recent decision, is just astonishing.
We’ve been saying for a long time that the Second Amendment will not be safe until we get at least one, but preferably two more, solid, pro-Constitution justices on the Court. The loss of Justice Scalia was a serious blow, but even before that, the Second Amendment wasn’t safe, and there was little chance of seeing rights advance.
Justice Kennedy has hinted that he might retire next year, and expectations of Justice Ginsburg’s long-awaited departure have begun to feel like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch, but Justice Thomas isn’t getting any younger – or fitter – either, and precedents are piling up in the lower courts. Replacing Ginsburg and Kennedy, while Thomas is still on the Court, could pull us back from the brink, but it’s all just guessing and wishful thinking at this point. One thing is pretty certain, Justice Ginsburg would keep serving after her death to avoid having Donald Trump name her replacement. If Democrats gain control of the Senate, all of this could be moot though, because Schumer and the Democrats will block any and all Trump appointments to the Court, even if he is reelected for another four years.
The strongest argument for a Donald Trump presidency was the judges he would appoint to the Court. Unless the Senate will confirm those judges, last year’s victory will be moot. If there is a competitive Senate race in your state, you need to be involved.
By Jeff Knox
(November 23, 2017) The periodical Scientific American, touts itself as “the most trusted source of science news,” but that claim of trustworthiness should generate skepticism in light of recent articles by Melinda Wenner Moyer. From titles to conclusions, these articles represent nothing like reputable science worthy of trust. Instead, they are agenda-driven, emotionally based arguments that depend on the “expert opinions” and “research” of radical gun control extremists, and glaringly omit any semblance of balance or healthy skepticism.
In October Moyer penned a piece which was originally published under the title, Journey to Gunland. I guess that was too ambiguous, so it was re-titled; More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows, and subtitle; More firearms do not keep people safe, hard numbers show. Why do so many Americans believe the opposite?
This convoluted and presumptuous title fits the biased nonsense that follows it. The long and repetitive article primarily dwells on three key points:
The problem is that, while she makes a pretense of offering a fair and balanced examination of the facts, she treats her preferred “experts” as being unquestionable and above reproach, and offers only token mention of any conflicting opinions, dismissing them as being unreliable or biased. She also relies heavily on setting up and knocking down straw man arguments, making unsubstantiated claims about what gun owners believe, and then debunking those supposed beliefs with statistics from her preferred, anti-gun researchers.
The 1993 survey by Dr. Gary Kleck and Dr. Marc Gertz, both professors of criminology at Florida State University, asked some 5000 Americans about crime and defensive gun use. Kleck and Gertz made all of their data and methods available to other researchers, and their findings were reviewed by their peers and found to be compelling. Even many highly respected criminologists and researchers who support gun control grudgingly admitted that Kleck and Gertz had been very thorough in accounting for factors that might have skewed their results.
Several years later, Dr. David Hemenway, an outspoken advocate of gun control who has produced a number of controversial reports of his own, published an examination of the Kleck/Gertz study, and raised a number of questions about their methodology and their conclusions. Dr. Kleck responded to Hemenway’s criticisms point by point, answering all of his questions, and demonstrating that they had indeed considered and accounted for all of the factors raised by Dr. Hemenway. But Ms. Moyer ignored this and other research that supports the Kleck/Gertz study, as well as ignoring a large body of criticism of Dr. Hemenway’s own “research.” Dr. Hemenway was one of the “experts” Moyer relied on for this article.
The Kennesaw issue appears to be included simply as a way for the author to insert cultural and regional bias into the article. She traveled around Georgia and Alabama talking with gun owners and law enforcement officers. Originally from Georgia herself, Moyer presents the folks she left behind as backward science-deniers, but the only evidence she presents regarding the impact of Kennesaw’s law mandating gun ownership – which was symbolic, as it exempts anyone with a moral, religious, or personal belief against owning a gun – was to point out that the reductions in violent crime in Kennesaw appears to have been primarily a result of an unusually high violent crime rate in the year before the law went into effect. She neglects to note that even if violent crime didn’t go down as much as it might have appeared, it most certainly didn’t go up as a result of the law and its presumptive increase in gun ownership.
As to the Congressional restrictions on the CDC, Moyer gets some credit for making clear that Congress did not outright ban gun research by the CDC, but rather prohibited the agency from spending funds for the purpose of supporting gun control laws. But she then suggests that the effect was the same since CDC officials are now too scared to get anywhere close to gun research. What she fails to mention is the clear, unvarnished fact that CDC bosses were in an open and acknowledged campaign to reduce gun ownership, and their funding projects were geared toward proving the need for the federal government to take steps to accomplish that stated goal. In fact, one of Moyer’s other “reliable experts” for this article was Dr. Arthur Kellerman whose blatantly biased and seriously flawed “research” played a significant role in the debate over CDC funding. Kellerman received hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for “research” which was so deeply flawed that even many of his fellow gun control supporting academics felt compelled to disavow it.
In a November 2017 article in Scientific American which relied on the same “gun violence experts,” Moyer claimed that four specific gun control laws could prevent mass murders like the recent ones in Las Vegas and Texas. Though she quietly admitted deep in the body of the article that none of the four laws would have been likely to have actually prevented those two heinous crimes, she and her experts offered “research” to “prove” that they would work in other cases….
Again, her research failed to include any experts with differing opinions or examine research that has come to different conclusions.
It looks like Scientific American is following the old CDC model of picking a side and advocating for it, manipulating data to support the foregone conclusion. That doesn’t sound very scientific to us.
By Jeff Knox
(November 1, 2017) Once again, Mike Bloomberg is dumping money into a state with the hope of buying seats for his anti-rights cronies. Virginia is one of the few states that holds their elections for governor and the State Legislature in off-years, and this year’s election is a biggie, with very clear lines drawn in the sand, where rights are concerned.
The big race is for Governor, where Democrat, Ralph Northam is running against Republican, Ed Gillespie, and Libertarian, Cliff Hyra. The commonwealth of Virginia has term limits for the governor’s office, so the current governor, Terry McAuliffe cannot run again.
Bloomberg and his various anti-rights front groups have dumped over $1.1 million into the campaign in support of Northam, and another $600,000 in support of Attorney General Mark Herring’s reelection bid.
Northam is advocating a radical, anti-rights agenda with extreme measures. He calls for reinstating the failed “one handgun a month” rule. He also calls for a law mandating all firearm transfers go through licensed dealers. That would include not only sales, but, but long-term loans between friends, neighbors, and family members, or leaving guns with a friend through an extended absence. Northam also supports a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and wants to mandate “smaller clips.”
In 2013, when Terry McAuliffe was the Democrat candidate, Bloomberg almost cost him the election by his massive spending on the campaign. McAuliffe’s poll numbers perversely started falling like a rock as Bloomberg pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race to support him. We’re convinced that the reason McAuliffe’s numbers started falling was that Virginia voters didn’t appreciate Bloomberg trying to buy their election, and they really didn’t like McAuliffe’s support for stricter gun control laws. Unfortunately, Bloomberg stepped in too late to change the outcome, and McAuliffe managed to hang on for the win.
This year, Bloomberg’s involvement has been prominent throughout the campaign, and all Virginia voters should be aware of Northam’s radical gun control agenda – though he masks it with focus group terms like “gun violence prevention” and “gun safety.”
The fact is that none of his proposals will prevent gun violence. But they will impact responsible gun owners, restricting what we can own, costing us time and money to jump through useless bureaucratic hoops in order to legally transfer a firearm to a friend, and making us wait a month to buy more than one handgun, regardless of how many we might already own.
Northam plays up his service in the U.S. Army, as a doctor, and his concern for children as a pediatric neurologist, but his claims of support for veterans and children ring hollow in light of his opposition to gun owner rights and his active support for “women’s health care,” aka abortion on demand.
Mike Bloomberg is the worst sort of nanny-state tyrant, and Virginians should look closely at anyone who Bloomberg would support.
Attorney General Mark Herring’s anti-rights extremism is so radical that it was too much even for McAuliffe, who blocked Herring’s attempts to cancel concealed carry reciprocity agreements between Virginia and several other states. Now Herring is actively opposing efforts to make Virginians’ concealed carry licenses valid in all 50 states, even though years of evidence proves that concealed carry reciprocity does not negatively impact public safety, and suggests that it actually makes people safer. As the old saw goes, in a life or death crisis, when seconds count, police are just minutes away. But a personal sidearm can be right there when you need it.
Both Northam and Herring served in the Virginia legislature, and both have long records demonstrating their lack of trust for their fellow Virginians, and support for more powerful, more intrusive government, with higher taxes, tighter regulations, and greater reliance on, and subservience to, the federal government.
Ralph Northam and Mark Herring might be native Virginians, but their views more closely reflect those of native New Yorker, Mike Bloomberg. That’s why he’s willing to spend millions to get them elected.
The Washington Post, New York Times, and other anti-rights media have been attacking Republican, Ed Gillespie on his opposition to gun control, especially in the wake of the October 1 attack in Las Vegas. Though most gun control advocates grudgingly admit that none of their proposed restrictions would have prevented the Las Vegas atrocity, still they use the tragedy as an emotional hook for pushing their agenda.
The wild-card in the governor’s race is Libertarian, Cliff Hyra. Though Hyra has virtually no chance of winning, most of his voters would likely support Gillespie over Northam, if it were a two-way race, and those votes could easily decide the matter.
In 2013, when McAuliffe was elected, he beat Republican Ken Ciccinelli by just over 2%, while the Libertarian candidate garnered 6.5% of the vote. If Libertarians again vote with an upraised middle finger, rather than casting a ballot for the best candidate with a chance of winning, they could again be the deciding factor in the election.
If Northam wins, you can be certain that the victory will be painted as a referendum against the policies of President Trump, and in favor of stricter gun control laws.
This is not an election that any gun owner or lover of liberty can afford to sit out. If you are a Virginia resident, or you know anyone who lives in Virginia, please be sure to vote and/or encourage your friends and family to go to the polls on November 7th. The results in Virginia could impact all of us, so do what you can to make sure rights win the day.
By Jeff Knox
(November 8, 2017) After the senseless slaughter of innocents at a Baptist church in Texas, coming on the heels of the attack on a country music concert in Las Vegas last month, the American people have been inundated with non-stop reporting, speculation, posturing, and finger-pointing from the media and politicians. In the hours and days right after an attack, news programs showed continuous loops of video from the scene, repeating estimates of the dead and wounded, and using phrases like “the deadliest mass shooting” or “the worst mass murder,” while ranking this latest horror against the number killed in previous horrors. They talk with witnesses or anyone else even remotely connected with the tragedy, and engage in endless, often inane speculation about motives and weapons. As soon as they get a hint as to who the perpetrator might have been, pictures of the killer, along with tidbits from his social media accounts are added to the crime scene video loops and pictures of victims. Invariably, within minutes of the attack, someone will say something about the need for stricter gun control laws to prevent these sorts of massacres, even though they have no idea whether the proposed laws might have made any difference – as if a bit of paperwork with felony penalties would make a difference to a mind twisted enough to put gun sights on a child.
The “reporting” goes on for days or weeks, with timelines, diagrams, victim counts, news conferences from the scene, detailed coroner’s reports, and interviews with former law enforcement officials, all on a continuous loop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with other “news” slowly filtering into the cycle as the “reporting” moves from the actual crime to detailed examination of the perpetrator, the victims, the environment, the motive, and the failures of the system that allowed a lunatic the means to carry out such a heinous act. And of course they will talk with politicians who want to use the atrocity as a springboard to advance some restrictive firearm legislation, because we must “do something.”
Occasionally, the media talking heads interview an expert on mental health who points out that most of these violent lunatics are motivated by a desire to be famous. According to the occasional suicide expert, the vast majority of mass shootings are actually elaborate suicides in which the suicidal person has decided that he didn’t want to die a “nobody,” and hits on the idea of becoming famous in his death. Then the expert will explain that these suicidal lunatics invariably get the idea for writing themselves into the history books, directly from the media reports of previous murder-suicide events. Over and over again we have seen these experts explain that repeating the names of the murderers and tallying and comparing their body-counts, feeds the homicidal/suicidal ideation of other similarly disturbed individuals.
The first thing the program will do after the interview – or sometimes as part of the interview – will be to run down a list of the most prolific mass murderers, showing their pictures, and comparing their victims, as if they are reporting on athletes and their sports scores. In Silicon Valley they call it gamification.
It has long been recognized that mentally unstable people can be tipped over the edge by external factors, and in the case of suicides and rampage attacks, media attention has a significant impact on future events. When Marilyn Monroe overdosed on sleeping pills suicide rates spiked by twelve percent for the year. In fact, when anyone commits suicide, the heavier the media coverage, the higher the eventual death-toll will be. Suicide experts call this phenomenon “suicide contagion,” and they have developed reporting guidelines for minimizing the impact of suicide contagion. Here’s what the Department of Health and Human Services says about it:
The risk for suicide contagion as a result of media reporting can be minimized by factual and concise media reports of suicide. Reports of suicide should not be repetitive, as prolonged exposure can increase the likelihood of suicide contagion. Suicide is the result of many complex factors; therefore media coverage should not report oversimplified explanations such as recent negative life events or acute stressors. Reports should not divulge detailed descriptions of the method used to avoid possible duplication. Reports should not glorify the victim and should not imply that suicide was effective in achieving a personal goal such as gaining media attention. In addition, information such as hot-lines or emergency contacts should be provided for those at risk for suicide.
By focusing so much attention on mass murders, the media turn them into macabre celebrities. And weak-minded people are inspired to follow their example. Many of these murderers have collections of media reports from previous attacks, and engage in a sick game of one-upmanship, competing to go down in history as the “worst,” the “deadliest,” the “sickest,” etc., and the media plays right along with the sick score-keeping.
Sick people exist in every society, and there are aspects of our culture that serve to feed and encourage their dysphoria. We can’t completely eliminate the factors that promote severe antisocial behaviors, but there are steps that can be taken to identify and treat it, and to interrupt the obvious cycle that we see in mass murder atrocities.
The media has already widely adopted the recommended practices to reduce suicide contagion, and it has proven to be effective. A famous example is Seattle grunge-rocker Kurt Cobain who fronted the band Nirvana. His suicide received light coverage, and suicide rates actually dropped in 1994. They need to employ similar practices when dealing with mass murder events.
A resolution aimed at this issue, called the “Don’t Inspire Evil” initiative, has been offered several times at meetings of the Society of Professional Journalists, but has failed to secure enough support for its addition into their Code of Ethics.
Until the media reforms the way they report on these atrocities, we must expect that each one will be followed by others.
We can’t banish evil with new laws, but we can slow its propagation by not feeding it. As Margaret Thatcher said; “We must starve terrorists of the oxygen of publicity which they seek.”
Is that really possible in this age of the internet and the 24 hour news cycle?
If we must “Do something!” can’t we look at something that might actually work?
By Jeff Knox
(October 18, 2017) Whether you like it or not, the National Rifle Association is absolutely our most important defender of our constitutional right to arms, and you need to be a member. Many of us are angry with the NRA for the foolish statement put out by Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox in response to the atrocity in Las Vegas, and others are angry with me for publicly criticizing that foolish statement, and calling on the NRA Board of Directors to repudiate it.
Strategy disagreements aside, NRA is the 800 pound gorilla of the gun rights fight. Without them we cannot win, and people who are not members have very little influence with the organization.
I began purchasing a Life Membership in NRA with my first check out of Army Basic Training back in 1978. Even though my father was the Executive Director of NRA-ILA at the time, and even though I was only a couple of months too old to get in at the half-price, Junior rate, I got no discount or special pricing. I’ve never regretted that decision, and I certainly don’t regret it now.
For most of the past century the NRA has suffered from leadership that was too often out of touch with the members. Originally the organization’s leaders were former military officers, including General Ulysses S. Grant. That tradition continued through most of NRA’s history. NRA staff once wryly called the NRA Board the “Colonels’ Club.” Retired military officers, and more recently, retired law enforcement chiefs filled key positions at the head table, and among paid staff. While military officers and career bureaucrats often have a good grasp on how things work in the nation’s capitol, they are also conditioned to follow orders from politicians and higher-ups within the Executive Branch. That’s been an ongoing problem.
Many years ago, before the Annual Meeting became such a big deal, the meetings were always held in Washington, D.C. close to headquarters. It was not unusual for NRA members would turn the pilgrimage to the meeting into a family vacation, often taking the opportunity to do some sightseeing, and also to stop in and visit their congressional delegation. This casual grassroots lobbying became so popular among the members, that NRA leaders began hearing complaints from politicians about their active lobbying efforts. The NRA leaders, distraught that their organization was being accused of trying to influence politicians, decided it would be better to hold the Annual Meeting of Members in locations other than the nation’s capitol. So began the current tradition of moving the event around the country each year – and staying out of Washington.
By 1975, NRA leaders were so determined to avoid being called “the gun lobby,” that they made plans to sell their Washington headquarters and move the offices to Colorado Springs. That plan was quashed by members at the Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1977, where an empowered membership exercised its authority under the law to direct their Association. The assembled members provided new ways to govern the organization and put a new leadership team in place. Soon after that night, newly-elected Executive Vice President Harlon Carter told his protege Neal Knox that the losing side was already working to undo what was accomplished in 1977. In the 40 years since, most of the reforms of Cincinnati have disappeared, and the legal openings that allowed the membership revolt have been nailed shut.
The current NRA leadership now embraces the “gun lobby” label, but it does so because they are serving a market. Today’s NRA does not exist primarily to defend the Second Amendment. It is primarily a fundraising operation that has found it can monetize defense of the Second Amendment. Paid NRA staff members take home million-dollar paychecks, and key vendors, notably its advertising and public relations firms, walk away with even more.
If you are angry with something NRA or its executives have done, withholding funds that you might have contributed is very reasonable, and can make a difference. But canceling, or choosing not to renew your membership, is self-defeating. We need you in the NRA. We need your vote in NRA elections, and we need you to bolster the total membership numbers, to garner more influence with your elected politicians. If you are an Annual Member, and let your membership lapse, that means you won’t be eligible to vote in NRA elections for another 5 years, unless you pony up for a Life Membership. Realistically, $40 a year is not much, especially considering the magazine subscription and the insurance benefits, not to mention eligibility in NRA competitions. And you can easily cut that back to $35 by shopping around for discount deals, or buying multi-year packages.
If you want to influence the NRA’s actions, but want to minimize how much of your money goes into the pockets of NRA executives and vendors, the best deal is to purchase a discounted Life Membership at an NRA Annual Meeting. It’s not uncommon for them to offer Life Member packages with added perks at well below half-price at the Annual Meeting. And once you have your Life Membership, you don’t have to ever give the NRA another dime, but you have a voice for life.
The Annual Meeting and Exhibits will be held next year in Dallas, and the following year it is scheduled to be in Indianapolis, then Nashville, then Houston. Start planning now to attend the one closest to you, and start putting a couple of bucks a day in a jar so you’ll have the cash to become a permanent NRA Voting Member.
The only way we’ll ever get NRA on the right track – and keep it there – is by having a strong majority of dedicated rights supporters willing and able to vote in NRA elections, so we can get the best possible candidates elected as directors, and the best people leading the staff.
NRA absolutely has some serious flaws, and gun owners are facing some very serious challenges, but the answer is not to abandon our most powerful asset, but to take control and steer it in the right direction.
There are few people in the world with a more thorough knowledge of the NRA and its shortcomings than we Knoxes. We certainly don’t always agree with NRA leadership, and we’ve never been shy about confronting those disagreements when and where appropriate, but there are also few who have worked as hard as we have to build up the organization and move it toward a principled defense of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That’s why we urge all gun owners to join the NRA, renew your membership, and if you can, upgrade to Life Membership, then get active and involved in NRA politics. Elect directors who will stand up to the tests and move the organization forward, then lobby those directors to keep the staff in line and working for all of our rights.
Our friends over at the Gun Collective news site have developed a tool for NRA members to reach out to their directors. Just go to www.theguncollective.com/nra and enter your member information to send messages to your NRA Board of Directors. We’ve been asking the NRA to create a service like this for at least 10 years, and finally it’s being offered, not by NRA, but by a group of independent members. Take advantage of it. Stay in the fight, and lobby your elected NRA representatives, just as you would lobby Congress.
Your rights are under fire. Now more than ever, you need to be a member of the NRA.
By Jeff Knox
The Executive Vice President of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, and Chris Cox, the Executive Director of NRA-ILA, the association’s lobbying arm, issued a joint statement in response to the horrific atrocity perpetrated last week in Las Vegas. The bulk of the statement was practical and reasonable, sounding a balanced tone between concern for the victims and determination to not let the acts of a mad man be used to undercut the rights of Americans. It also showed a willingness to at least discuss whether some action related to guns might be warranted. There is nothing wrong with them being willing to talk, as long as they stick to core principles, and refuse to allow blame for the tragedy to be dumped on responsible gun owners. Unfortunately LaPierre and Cox didn’t stick to principles. Instead of just calling for regulatory review, they declared – in the name of NRA – an opinion on what that review should conclude, and it’s not an opinion that The Firearms Coalition can begin to agree with.
Here’s the part of what LaPierre and Cox said that we have a problem with:
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
“Concede principal” is a common political strategem. Unfortunately, it does not fit with the gun issue. The principle that gun laws will not — cannot — reduce crime needs to be etched in stone The theories from NRA supporters all suggest that the statement was part of a delay and diversion tactic to buy some time for the heated emotions arising from the Las Vegas attack to simmer down, so that the discussion can then proceed in a rational and logical manner, and keep that debate within regulatory channels, rather than Congress. The suggestion is, that by putting the ball in the court of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, NRA is trying to keep Congress out of it. A BATFE review will take some time, and if BATFE rules that they made a mistake when they concluded that bump-fire stocks were not restricted devices under the definitions of the National Firearms Act, and places them in one of the restricted categories, that would take the wind out of Feinstein (D-CA) and Schumer’s (D-NY) sails. If the review concluded that the BATFE doesn’t have the authority to regulate the simple devices, the hope would be that the focus would be pretty firmly shifted onto these novelty devices, rather than the guns they are attached to.
That might actually be the strategy, but unfortunately it falls flat with the inclusion of the above sentence.
By stating that NRA believes the devices “should be subject to additional regulations,” they are not only abandoning bump-fire stocks and trigger-cranks – which is a pretty stupid move in our opinion – but they are conceding the notion that these devices, and full-auto firearms, are too dangerous for average Americans to own. LaPierre and Cox have since doubled down on the statement, saying on Sunday talk shows that NRA supports the restrictions of the NFA, and thinks that rapid-fire devices should fall under the purview of that law.
This is really troubling, as it abandons the critical, core principle that you cannot control criminal behavior by regulating inanimate objects.
While it’s possible that pitching this issue to the BATFE might cause some delays, and give some politicians an excuse to sit on their hands while BATFE is conducting their review – if they conduct a review – Feinstein, Schumer, and their media pals are already calling out the NRA position as a political ploy, and are pushing all the harder for immediate congressional action. With NRA already conceding on the issue of bump-fire stocks, they have surrendered any reasonable grounds for objecting to quick congressional action. And since a ban on bump-stocks is now a given, the anti-rights zealots will set their sights on additional targets like limiting magazine capacity and expanding background checks, along with yet another run at an “assault weapon” ban, which they might use as a bargaining chip.
With NRA “leaders” having conceded that bump-stocks should be regulated, and with that concession, also abandoning the notion that restricting tools is never the answer to controlling crime, any arguments they offer against expanding background checks or restricting magazine capacity, will be pounced upon as specious and in contradiction to this stated position. After all, “if it saves just one life…”
The values expressed in that one sentence of LaPierre and Cox’s statement, represent a major shift in NRA policy, and we’re pretty sure that this shift was not approved by the NRA’s Board of Directors, which is supposed to be responsible for establishing all policies for the organization. At least we hope that the board would not have approved such a damaging policy shift.
And this is not the first time that LaPierre has shot the organization in the foot. In a speech shortly after the Columbine atrocity, LaPierre declared;
”We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools.”
A dozen years later, in response to the terror at Sandy Hook, LaPierre was singing a different tune, calling for police and armed citizens in schools, a much more sensible approach.
In 1999, testifying in a congressional hearing, LaPierre declared;
“We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone.”
Like his gun-free schools statement, LaPierre’s position on gun shows didn’t sit well with many NRA members and the official position was quietly shifted back to a harder line. Still, as late as 2005, candidate questionnaires were still stating that NRA supported mandatory background checks at gun shows. The questionnaires were only corrected to reflect NRA’s actual policy, opposing mandatory background checks for private transfers, after The Firearms Coalition pointed out the discrepancy and demanded the correction.
Now LaPierre has again shot a hole in his own foot – and the NRA’s boat he’s standing in – with his misguided statements about rapid-fire devices for semi-auto rifles. The difference is that this time the contrary statement has the potential to sink the whole boat. If full-auto is so dangerous that it must be tightly regulated, and devices that make it easier to make semi-auto’s “function like fully-automatic” firearms are so dangerous that they must also be tightly regulated, it is a very short step to demands that all semi-auto firearms be tightly regulated since any semi-auto can be made to “function like fully-automatic” firearms with a simple improvised device, or no device at all with a little practice. When anti-rights politicians and the media make that demand, what defense can LaPierre offer?
We at The Firearms Coalition feel that this was a serious faux pa on the part of LaPierre and Cox, and we see only one way for the mistake to be corrected. The NRA Board of Directors must immediately issue a statement declaring the true position of the National Rifle Association, and that the statement from LaPierre and Cox did not accurately reflect that position. They must make it clear that the NRA policy opposes any efforts to restrict or regulate any firearm, ammunition, or accessory under the false premise that such regulation will prevent the illegal acts of criminals and lunatics.
Political gamesmanship is one thing. Abandoning core principles as part of that gamesmanship is totally unacceptable.