What John C. Sigler of the Fifty Caliber Institute has to say is worthwhile reading. Particularily since his organization is one of those that the NRA “threw under the bus”.
To those who are claiming H.R. 5175 as an “NRA sell out”: Simply put, there was no sell out. And to suggest that there was a “sell out” is to either deny the facts or not be aware of the facts.
On the contrary, NRA does not and will not actively support H.R. 5175, in any form. “But that’s just more political semantics”, you say? Well, if you are a checker player maybe it is. But, if you are a “Spock-level” chess player, it is far from simple semantics.
Chris Cox and his staff have but one loyalty and that is to protect and defend the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, and to position NRA so as to be an effective advocate for firearms freedom in America. Neither they nor NRA are allowed to be partisans or to tie NRA’s ability to successfully execute its mission to any other group, organization or cause. NRA is and remains a single issue organization – its Bylaws require absolute fealty to that principle.
Before you criticize NRA for understanding that this isn’t your grandpa’s checker game or even your college dean’s chess game, you need to thank them for treating this as an extremely complex exercise more akin to Mister Spock’s three dimensional chess. A chess game demanding a very sophisticated and highly intellectual approach to the very serious problem at hand. We ask you to examine the facts and watch what happens in Congress over the next several weeks and months. Don’t be fooled or misled. Wait until all of the facts are in; watch how NRA’s “Mister Spock” (Chris Cox) moves the various pieces on the political game board we call Congress; and understand that if NRA wins, all gun owners and all those who believe in the entire Bill of Rights – including the First Amendment, will ultimately win.
The stakes are high – nothing less than the ultimate survival of American freedom is at stake.
Update: In the comments Boyd points out something I had totally forgotten about. Sigler was president of the NRA from 2007 through 2009.
A source with less potential for bias but in a near identical situation would be Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:
This week’s highly-publicized effort to exempt the National Rifle Association from the effects of the “Disclose Act,” H.R. 5175 shows how fundamentally bankrupt the legislation and its underlying philosophy is, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.
“The attempt by Democrats to essentially buy off the NRA with a tailor-made exemption should be proof enough that the entire measure is morally, if not legally, repugnant and should be rejected by Congress,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “The exemption clause, if it were to be formally adopted as an amendment to the bill, is probably unconstitutional. We think that is reason enough for Congress to stop H.R. 5175 in its tracks.”
The proposed exemption would only apply to the NRA, while essentially sascrificing the First Amendment rights of other effective grassroots gun rights organizations due to their smaller membership numbers.
“This proposed exemption is unconscionable,” Gottlieb said, “but it reveals the desperation of its sponsors to pass legislation that would still silence organizations critical of how the Democrat leadership has mismanaged things on Capitol Hill. We are today urging our 650,000 members and supporters to tell their congressional representatives to derail the Disclose Act altogether.
“Congressional anti-gunners like nothing better than to drive wedges between effective gun rights organizations,” he continued, “and this week’s events prove they can still accomplish that. We are astonished that anybody on Capitol Hill would imagine for a heartbeat that they could buy off one gun rights group at the expense of all the others. To think they could actually get away with such smarmy Chicago-style politics suggests that the Democrat leadership in Congress has not only lost its moral compass, they’ve lost their minds.
“While it is disappointing that the NRA might have accepted the exemption,” Gottlieb said, “it is despicable that the offer was ever made in the first place. If pro-gun Democrats want to shield the NRA from the effects of H.R. 5175, they should simply vote against the entire bill instead of trying to carve out a special exemption. They have insulted and infuriated millions of gun owners who are represented by smaller grassroots organizations, and they need to hear that loud and clear.”
Tuesday, June 17, 2010
“[T]he NRA — on whose board of directors I serve — rather than holding steadfastly to its historic principles of defending the Constitution and continuing its noble fight against government regulation of political speech instead opted for a political deal borne of self-interest in exchange for ‘neutrality’ from the legislation’s requirements.”
— NRA Director Cleta Mitchell, June 17, 2010
The above quote — part of an editorial authored by NRA Director Cleta Mitchell — ran in The Washington Post today.
Like Mitchell, bloggers and editorial writers around the country have lit up the Internet with the story that we have been alerting you to over the past 48 hours. Here are just some of the headlines:
* “The NRA sells out to Democrats on the First Amendment,” The Wall Street Journal
* “Conservatives take on the NRA over deal on disclosure bill,” The Washington Post
* “The National Rifle Association’s Excuse Holds No Water,” RedState.org
The conservative movement (and to be honest, many liberal organizations as well) are coming together to loudly protest the DISCLOSE Act — legislation that threatens to gag our ability to effectively hold individual congressmen accountable in the days and weeks leading up to an election.
It is imperative that we continue hammering the Congress. But rather than cry “uncle,” liberal Democrats are now trying to buy off more groups with an exemption for those that have at least 500,000 members (rather than the higher threshold of one million, which would have applied to few groups other than the NRA).
Of course, how is the government going to know how many members an organization has? According to the legislation, each organization will have to certify to a government commission how many members they have. But what if the commission wants documentation; will the organization have to “disclose” the names of their members?
GOA, of course, will never do this. Furthermore, you should know that your Gun Owners of America can NOT be bought off. We will continue opposing this bill on principle, urging all gun groups to stick together in this fight. As we stated yesterday, we realize that: “We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.”
GOAapplauds NRA Director Cleta Mitchell for the courageous stand she took today. (You can read her editorial here.) We hope that the NRA leadership will heed her wisdom and take a stand against this bill. If they don’t, we wouldn’t be surprised if NRA members start demanding a change in their leadership. After all, the NRA has engaged in many good fights over the years, and it would be a shame to lose this VERY IMPORTANT battle because high-ranking staff led the NRA down the wrong path.