Sunday, February 29, 2004

For those of you who haven't seen it, here's the NRA letter sent out in response to allegations that a deal was cut to get the Lawful Commerce in Arms act passed.

"February 26, 2004

Recent internet alerts from some 'pro-Second Amendment' groups have suggested that the National Rifle Association has either accepted a compromise that would include reenactment of the 1994 Clinton Gun ban and/or the McCain-Reed gun show restrictions, or will not actively fight against their passage in the Senate. Not only are these claims completely false and ridiculous but they are also extremely counterproductive to our legislative strategy and agenda. Gun control groups are spreading the same rumors in hopes of confusing pro-gun senators as to our position in hopes of gaining their support."

Actually it's not ridiculous considering their behavior over the last 70 years or so. & I think it's amusing that they use quotes when they describe the groups who published these allegations as pro-second amendment.

As to gun control groups using it to confuse our position to the Senators I simply don't agree. By getting people to call & tell their Senators that they want a clean Lawful Commerce in Arms Act without any gun control amendments this helps, not hinders the position the NRA claims to have. But there's a matter of distinction that I'll touch on in a bit.

Nevertheless it's good, for whatever reason, to see the NRA responding to the allegations & stating that they will fight against gun control amendments.

"The National Rifle Association led the fight in opposition to this ill-conceived ban in 1994, led the efforts to repeal the ban two years later, and is leading the fight to ensure the Clinton gun ban expires on time on September 13. From public speeches, articles in NRA publications, communications to lawmakers and the development of a website (, the National Rifle Association has been vocal and unambiguous about our position on this issue."

That's misleading. The NRA said it opposed the AWB but it did not act on that statement. They had the opportunity to get their Senators to initiate a filibuster, but they chose to not actively oppose the AWB so they could get it out of the way & get the Brady Bill (which they wrote a part of & supported) passed. They may have talked a good game, but when it came down to doing something they were more anxious to get the Brady Bill voted on than to actively oppose the AWB. So while technically they may have been vocal in opposing the AWB before & since I wouldn't say they led the fight when they put up little if any fight at all.

Further Rep. Dingell at the time of the vote for the AWB was an NRA director. He voted for the AWB. He resigned from the NRA position the following day, but a few years later the NRA gave Rep. Dingell an award for being a supporter of the 2nd amendment.

"It is our hope that supposed 'friends of the Second Amendment' will cease to provide ammunition to the enemy by disseminating this false information. Unfortunately, some of these groups seem intent on finding or creating any excuse to defeat S. 1805, perhaps because its passage has been a priority of the NRA for four years. The anti-gunners are seeking to undermine the Second Amendment and the legislative process by seeking to bankrupt firearms and ammunition manufacturers or get gun control restrictions through the courts through dozens of pending municipal lawsuits -- blaming the gun industry for the acts of criminals -- initiated by anti-gun big city mayors and greedy trial lawyers. A single judgment by a rogue judge or jury could wipe out the entire firearms industry making our gun rights worthless. Passage of S. 1805 is critical -- but not worth allowing legislation going to the President including either an extension of the Clinton gun ban or restrictions at gun shows. There will be no compromise. The only choice is a 'clean' bill or no bill."

Again they have the nerve to use quotes considering their track record.
Ammunition to the enemy? I still fail to see how encouraging your Senators & even the NRA to do the right thing is helping the enemy.

Now what is of an immediate concern is the emphasis they place on getting the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed. They make it sound as if the entire firearms industry will shut their doors permanently if one lawsuit is lost. Now depending on the size of the award it could most definitely hurt a company or several companies & the aftershocks would seriously damage the industry as far as civilian sales are concerned. & don't get me wrong - I don't want to see that happen. My concern is over the way they paint a very dramatic picture (which may or may not be an accurate assessment of things) but then turn around & say it's not worth an extension of the assault weapons ban with no elaboration on why.

In a practical sense I could actually understand an argument that the Lawful Commerce in Arms act would be more important than letting the AWB sunset. I wouldn't agree with it at all for a number of reasons but I could understand how some would think that it was more critical to keep the industry from going under than repealing a law that we've lived with for the last ten years or so. & of course if I was a gun company I could easily come to the conclusion that preventing baseless lawsuits is more important than being able to throw a bayonet lug on a barrel.

But to then turn around & say that it's not worth extending the AWB after the build up on the critical nature of preventing these lawsuits leaves me a little cold. It could just be that the NRA didn't feel they had to elaborate, or that the person writing this letter for them overlooked the explanation.

One thing I did get a kick out of was seeing the words "no compromise" in an NRA letter. Now that's funny.

"The legislative process in Congress is complex and far from perfect. Fortunately, Congress is a bicameral (two house) legislative body and both the House and Senate must agree on the same bill before enactment. While we are uncertain of the outcome of several pending anti-gun amendments in the Senate, the House is strongly pro-gun and it (or a conference committee) will not accept any anti-gun Senate-passed amendment as part of the final product to be sent to the President."

Now this is BS. In effect they seem to be saying that the ways in which laws are made are real tricky & implying that we can't or don't understand it & they?re asking us to blindly trust their judgment.

But the main thing is that they seem to be relying on the House to get rid of any gun control attachments & that is either foolish or intentionally deceptive. Hastert is no friend of gun owners & he, not Delay is the one who decides what gets voted on & what doesn't. Add to that the high number of "F" & "D? & "Not Rated" Representatives & we're looking at being shy of 13 or so votes to pass an AWB extension. & there's over 50 "C" rated Representatives to choose from. That's based on GOA's rating system as I have found them much more accurate than the NRA's system of grading congress critters.

What it seems the NRA is counting on is that they can clean up a bill in the House & that is just not the case. It's possible but not very likely considering the nature of the House & the rules that must be followed to clean up such a bill.

"Pro-gun grassroots activists who want to advance our cause should not be distracted by misinformation and disinformation by our 'friends.' Instead, gun owners and sportsmen must keep our focus on the real action and contact -- by calls, e-mails, and faxes -- their two U.S. Senators urging them to vote for S. 1805 and against any and all anti-gun 'poison pill' killer amendments including, but not limited to, the Clinton gun ban and gun shows. Use the 'Write Your Representatives' ( tool at to contact your Senators and call them at 202-224-3121. We appreciate your active support in our cause to defend the Second Amendment and freedom itself."

I can't speak for any of the major groups but I for one have never implied that I was a "friend" of the NRA. They've screwed me over too much to even feign friendship. Now if they repented & changed their evil ways I would be, but as it stands now they're the gun owners? equivalent of having France as an ally in a war.

But it was not "misinformation" or "disinformation"; it was an allegation.

Also I would have liked it if instead of referring to "poison pill" amendments they would have said gun control amendments. But seeing as how they didn't & how they did say that other gun control besides the AWB extension & the McCain gun show amendment wouldn't be acceptable I'm wondering exactly where they'll draw the line.

Also they should have stressed that calling as opposed to writing is the best & possibly only way to get a message to your Senators in time. Odds are by the time a Senator's staff gets around to reading your e-mail it'll be a week after the vote has happened. Much better to call as the message is delivered to the Senator's staff immediately.

Now about that fine distinction I mentioned earlier: the NRA implies that it will be counterproductive to call your Senator &/or the NRA & express your concerns on the alleged deal that was cut. The claim is that it will hurt their legislative strategy.

But how can you hurt a legislative strategy that opposes gun control attachments to a pro-gun bill by telling your Senators that you don't want any gun control attachments added on & you'd rather see the bill fail than be passed with such attachments?

So that leads me to believe that there is a distinction between what they say & what they want you to believe they say. That distinction is between actively fighting against gun control attachments & stopping gun control attachments.

The NRA carries a lot of influence in Congress & if it chose it could ask the Senators who introduced the bill to withdraw it. The Senators would more likely than not do as the NRA asked.

What I think the NRA is doing is it's planning on actively (& more important publicly) fighting against passage of most gun control amendments. Some gun control they find acceptable as will bear out by amendments offered by Craig & Frist over the next few days - but that's another discussion. However their plan is not to stop the gun control amendments in the Senate but to attempt to strip them off in the House.

So they're going to play a very risky game with amendments that if passed will violate the Constitution & your Rights. They imply that they will fight for it, but they never directly state how hard. Now you can chalk this up to a risky strategy or malicious intent or anything else, but for our purposes the motive doesn't matter right now. What matters is their actions & while I have no doubt that they will publicly & openly oppose any gun control amendments on the scale of continuing the AWB or shutting down gun shows across the nation, I doubt seriously if they will withdraw the underlying bill to keep gun control from passing.

The distinction is between trying & doing. They're saying they'll try but not saying that they'll do.

Now on the whole I'm glad the NRA has answered the allegations. I'm not inclined to trust them but them stating something publicly obviously means they're aware of our concerns for a change.

But the proof will be whether or not they withdraw the bill if any major gun control provisions are attached. I'm thinking they'll claim they can clean it up in the House, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong & see them withdraw the bill if it's amended with gun control provisions.

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