The NRA claims to be the defender of gun rights in the United States. But the evidence doesn’t support that assertion, and it’s time for Americans who want to preserve the ability of ordinary people to own and carry firearms to express our dissatisfaction — no, our outrage — at the failure of the NRA to live up to their own propaganda.
The group is certainly influential. And with regard to our political system, their influence is a part of the problem. The NRA is a large “contributor” to parties, political action committees, and candidates. And by contributor, I mean payer of bribes. And even when we agree with what the bribe is buying, we have to recognize that such a system only works for us as long as our bribes are bigger than the ones that our opponents offer.
And the NRA is strangely missing from significant court cases. Heller and McDonald were led by attorneys from the Cato Institute and the Second Amendment Foundation. The group is involved in the Peruta case, the challenge to California’s carry licensing law. But the heavy lifting again and again is done by others.
That’s as may be, and the argument can be made that we need a multi-pronged approach to protecting gun rights, one that works at all levels and branches of government and with many groups that are cooperating for the overall goal.
The inescapable reality, though, is that the NRA is the organization that people know about, and as such, they have an obligation to stand for all gun owners, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, or other factors that do not reasonably disqualify a person from owning a gun.
Of course I’m talking about the Philando Castile case. The NRA has been silent. This was a perfect opportunity for them to support one of our group — law-abiding gun owners with carry licenses — who had his rights violated by the police. He was killed for doing exactly what the NRA advocates. The group should have a Philando Castile Memorial Fund for helping minorities get carry licenses or should provide legal aid to Castile’s family for a civil suit or should push the legislators that they’ve bribed to write laws that rein in police power.
Or they could just post a message on Twitter saying that Castile’s death was an outrage.
But they’ve done none of that. And so a chance to prove that the group is more than just a lobbying group for old white men goes drifting by into the land of memory, and the NRA once again solidifies the impression that if you’re not white, Christian, and Republican, they don’t see gun rights as applying to you.
Hiring Colion Noir to make some videos isn’t enough. A few advertising campaigns aimed at gays or women aren’t enough. If the NRA can’t show that they will work for the gun rights of all Americans in every state, county, and city, they should return to being a club for Fudds and stop getting in the way of the promotion of gun rights.
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