The NRA is to the 2nd Amendment as H & R Block is to the 16th.
by Gary Clark
The NRA is to the 2nd Amendment
as H & R Block is to the 16th.
March 29, 2002
KeepAndBearArms.com — A March
12, 2002 news item got me thinking. It was titled "Gun Violence Prevention
Groups Claim Victory as H&R Block Severs Ties with National Rifle
Association." It wasn't the article itself, or what the article was about
that was significant. It was the title that used the names "NRA" and
"H & R Block" in the same sentence. Seeing those two names
together reminded me of something too many people in the pro 2nd Amendment
movement either don't see or refuse to recognize, the effect of self-interest.
We live in a time characterized
by far broader concerns over issues
of liberty and unconstitutional encroachment upon liberty by government than
just those centered on the Second Amendment. Over the last quarter century or so
(a period concurrent with the gun control vs. 2nd Amendment battle) we have also
seen the rise of an ever-growing anti-income tax movement. And, just as the gun
control battle orbits a Constitutional amendment so too does the battle over the
income tax. We've all seen serious and well-researched assertions that the 16th
Amendment that created the income tax was never legally ratified. We're also
seeing the government refusing to address the issue.
So, what's all this got to do
with the NRA and H & R Block? Plenty! Why? Because of a fact of life far too
many of us in the pro 2nd Amendment movement either fail to see or refuse to
acknowledge. That fact of life centers on the economic self-interest of an
organization and its leadership.
Expecting the NRA to support
the position that "shall not be infringed" means just that -- no
permits can be required if it's a "right" and not a
"privilege" -- is a lot like expecting H & R Block to support the
position that the 16th Amendment was never legally ratified.
If the 16th Amendment and the
income tax are thrown out, H & R Block is out of business. That much is
pretty obvious, but Block does not hold itself out to be opposed to the income
tax. The situation is very different where the NRA is concerned, and this is
what gives rise to the dichotomy of opinion about the NRA within the pro 2nd
We all need to become more
aware of what the NRA is and has been historically. We then need to take a
really hard look at what the strongest supporters and members of the NRA do for
a living. Looking at it this way reveals one likely reason why the NRA refuses
to support the position that no permits or registrations should be required if
firearms ownership is a "right" that "shall not be
The NRA is, and has
historically been, the single strongest advocate (and provider) of firearms use
and safety training. Think about this for a minute. How many firearm use and
safety course instructors do you know of who are NOT NRA certified? According
the the NRA's own website, there are currently some 38,000 NRA Certified
Instructors throughout the United States. The NRA may not be the only
organization that certifies gun use and safety instructors, but it is certainly
the single biggest one. 38,000 NRA Certified Instructors averages 760 per state.
The numbers alone prove the NRA virtually owns the firearms instruction
certification market in this country. Now there's nothing wrong with this. The
NRA does a wonderful job teaching gun safety and certifying instructors. It's
what they're really good at and I fully approve of what they do in this regard.
Personally, I think every gun owner should take at least one gun use and safety
course from an NRA certified instructor. I don't think any governmental body
should require it though.
Now take a look around the
country. Most states have now become "shall issue" states and in every
one of them (that I know of) the "issue" of the "permit"
requires two things:
1. A clean criminal record
2. Attending and passing some
form of firearms use and safety course
Where do you think the
instructors for these courses come from? Wouldn't you have to assume that with
38,000 NRA certified firearm safety instructors in the U.S. that most (if not
nearly all) of the people who teach the courses required for CCW permits are
among those 38,000? I would. Now ask yourself this: How
many of these NRA certified instructors, whose economic life depends upon a
steady stream of course attendees, are likely to support the position that it is
illegal and unconstitutional for any level of government to REQUIRE gun permits
and gun safety courses? While you're at it, take a look at the
NRA as a national organization. What do they sell and profit from? It is the
sponsorship of gun training and gun safety courses and teaching materials.
Furthermore, this is what the NRA has been doing for over a hundred years. It is
their core business. Do you REALLY expect them to
support the position that gun permits (and the training required by them) are
unconstitutional? If you do, I've got a bridge between Manhattan and
Brooklyn I'll sell you cheap.
Gun control isn't like being
pregnant. Being pregnant is a binary state. Someone either IS or ISN'T pregnant.
But gun control exists on a continuum. You can have total gun control, such as
outright bans, or only a little gun control, such as permits.
The mistake too many in the pro
2nd Amendment movement make is the assumption that the NRA is opposed to gun
control. This assumption is false. The NRA is, always
has been, and will continue to be a PRO GUN CONTROL ORGANIZATION!
They will always support requirements for permits and attendance at gun safety
and training classes because teaching these classes is what the economic life of
so many of the NRA's strongest supporters, depends upon. Any assertion that the
NRA does not virtually "own" the firearms and gun safety instructor
training and certification market in this country is like making the assertion
that Microsoft does not virtually "own" the computer operating system
market. Both are obvious on their face.
It is because of this that I do
not belong to, nor support the NRA in any way. Supporting the NRA is supporting
(a form of) gun control and I am opposed to ALL forms of gun control... unless
you define "gun control" as being capable of putting a .30 round
through an enemy of the Constitution's left eye at 300 yards.
Gary Clark is a writer,
small business owner and staunch defender of the right of every individual to
own, bear and use ANY type of weapon that can be carried on the person. He lives
in Las Vegas and can be reached by e-mail at Liberty@wtw.org.