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The NRA Has Lost Its Way

by Jack Harbinger

April 15, 2002

The gun control advocates say we are paranoid in our defense of our Second Amendment rights.

I think of the Bill Doss case in California and ask "Which side is really paranoid?"

The actions of the NRA in this case show that they are behind us -- waaay behind us.

I have realized that, just as politicians need a certain level of crime and violence for the public to accept more intrusive laws to control us, the NRA needs a certain amount of gun control in order to continue to exist and prosper. Before I learned about the Doss case, I emailed the NRA to say I was doubtful about renewing my membership, saying that I wanted to see no more compromise. I didn't want to slam them, just express my opinions about what I as a member would like to see done.

I realize that the NRA does not make the laws, I said, but the NRA endorses candidates who do. Sometimes candidates who are indifferent to or even hostile to gun rights get an NRA passing grade because they are the lesser of two evils. What a losing proposition.

A local politician was the guest of honor at a Friends of NRA dinner until a member pointed out that he had voted for one-gun-a-month purchase restrictions and registration. Suddenly the politician had to be elsewhere. Then it was back to the fun and fund-raising. I think the man was endorsed again for the next election.

Demanding enforcement of unconstitutional gun laws such as those promoted by NRA's Project Exile, instead of calling for the repeal of all gun laws, is agreeing with our enemies that guns, not criminals, are the problem, I wrote.

Supporting laws taking away more gun rights to prevent a worse law from being passed is merely delaying the gun control advocates' ultimate victory, I wrote. It's not a compromise if the other side doesn't give up anything, and they don't.

I'm still an NRA member because the gun club and range I belong to requires it, I said. I'm going to suggest to the club officers that other, no-compromise gun rights organizations such as Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) be accepted instead.

I long ago stopped donating to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action because they had strayed off the path, I said in conclusion. I received a canned email response thanking me for my support. They've gotten too big, too rich and too comfortable with the power brokers in Washington.

Imagine four million NRA members multiplied by $35 a year, minimum, in membership dues. Imagine even half of it going directly to educate the public about their rights. JPFO is working hard to raise a small fraction of that, $170,000, to make a documentary for television to promote gun rights. The NRA could sign a check and just do it. Why don't they? Sure is a nice office building, museum and member magazine they have, though. I do see lots of gun rights ads by the NRA, I have to admit. In the members-only magazines.

If the civil rights struggle had been run this way, black people would still have to sit in the back of the bus, but it would be a nice new bus, and it would have a bumper sticker reading "Jesse Jackson is MY President."

Charlton Heston said on the radio after the Oklahoma City bombing that he's sure that no NRA members are involved with "militias." Why was he not explaining that ALL the people ARE the militia according to the United States Code Title 10, Section 311? What a loss of an opportunity to educate the people. Again.

Someone, not a recognizable gun rights advocate celebrity, I forget who, when pressed by a member of Congress to produce a list of militia members, held up ... a phone book. Exactly.

Anyone who promotes the phrase "illegal gun," other than when describing a convicted violent felon, is NOT your friend, no matter how many times he swears his flintlock musket will only be taken from his cold dead hands.

Hold up a semi-auto or full-auto military-style rifle and say that after one of your inspiring speeches about defending freedom, Mr. Heston. Then we'll follow you.

Or are some NRA events held in localities that no longer allow civilians to possess those? Wouldn't want to be seen holding an "illegal gun" and be considered an extremist, would we?

Neal Knox and other Bill of Rights "purists" got evicted from the NRA because they refused to compromise with the gun grabbers and were "too radical." And many bad things they warned us about have arrived.

What a shame the NRA, the biggest kid on the block, is afraid to really fight, for fear of being mistaken for the bad kid.

The truth is that anyone who believes that the Constitution and Bill of Rights mean what they say is viewed as extremist these days.

Bill Clinton said those documents were radical and that when people abuse a freedom you have to limit it. And got elected twice.

Most people responding to a man-on-the-street survey didn't recognize the Bill of Rights and said they wouldn't vote in favor of making it law. The clueless people Jay Leno talks to on his Tonight Show "Jaywalking" segments are real, folks. And they vote. They are helping shape our future, and we aren't in it.

O-oh, Jay, can you see ... that the smiling celebrity Janet Reno you're pitching softball interview questions to still says she did nothing wrong as attorney general? There are people who want her for governor of Florida because she says she wants to help families and children.

Like she helped Elian Gonzalez and the families and children at Mt. Carmel in Waco?

Yet to the Jaywalkers, those who try to educate people about their rights and restore our constitutional republic are "hate radio" and "right-wing fanatics" and, yes, "terrorists."

Why? THEY don't ram houses and churches with military combat engineering vehicles, flood them with flammable tear gas and hold back fire and rescue trucks a mile away as women and children burn. THEY don't send armored paramilitary police to kick in doors, stick a submachine gun in a child's face and return him to a Communist dictatorship. THEY don't threaten a person's life if he doesn't give up an object our Constitution plainly says he has every right to own.

Reno did those things, gets to be a gubernatorial candidate, a guest on Jay Leno and "Saturday Night Live," and is pronounced "cool."

Thomas Jefferson might have foreseen our times when he wrote:

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Holocaust Remembrance Day was this past week, and Patriots Day (the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord) and the anniversary of the fiery conclusion of the Waco siege in 1993 are April 19th.

All of these events involved the efforts of tyrannical government against an idea represented by the allegorical figure that guards the dome of the U.S. Capitol: Armed Freedom.

Most have forgotten that not so long ago, hiding Jews and others consigned to the Nazi liquidation camps was punishable by death under the law of the land in much of Europe.

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership tells us that the council of Jewish leaders at that time thought it best to cooperate in the mass murder process. They hoped to buy time for some Jews by keeping the genocide orderly and on schedule, rather than provoke a massive Nazi onslaught against civilians by having anyone resist.

I'm sure those leaders were the last to board the cattle cars to the camps.

As your English teacher used to say, compare and contrast:

Recently, California officials promised Bill Doss that his SKS Sporter rifle would be legal to keep if he moved there.

Later they promised him a SWAT assault if he did not give up his gun.

He was not a criminal, but they were so afraid of his rifle that they offered him a choice between compliance with an unjust law or possible death.

What kind of people must these government officials be, and how about the people who elected them? What other outrages will they find perfectly reasonable?

Substitute "Jew" for "rifle" and "her" for "it" in the following sentence and think about how it makes you feel:

The NRA accepted the surrender of the rifle and turned it over to the police, saying that the man "did what any honest citizen would have done" by complying with the law.

I thought they were the "cold dead hands" people.

I guess they're saving that for when they tell us to turn in our flintlock muskets. If enough members demand change, they will change. Have they heard from you?



More info on concerns with NRA management:


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The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; With a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States before the Adoption of the Constitution [Boston, 1833].

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