NRA a Model of Success in Advocacy and Electoral Activism

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October 21, 2012; Source: American Thinker

President Barack Obama didn’t make any robust statement on gun control during the presidential debates with his challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But the National Rifle Association appears to have somehow heard President Obama unveil, unbeknownst to himself and to most listeners, what the NRA calls “Obama’s Secret Plan To Destroy the Second Amendment By 2016.” Wow, we must have missed that.

During the second of the three presidential debates, one town hall questioner asked the president what he has done or plans to do to limit the availability of assault weapons. We heard the president affirm his belief in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, though it is unclear what interpretation of the Amendment the president was referring to. Although he said “weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets” and suggested that a ban on assault weapons should be re-enacted, he quickly shifted the conversation to “how do we reduce the violence generally.” He didn’t explain in the slightest his administration’s failure to take action on gun control, even in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. shootings, or the fact that while the administration hasn’t acted, state governments have rolled back 99 gun control laws since 2009.

While the Democrats have made no moves to do anything on gun control—based on a belief, some say, that Al Gore’s defeat in 2000 was due to his gun control stance—Romney’s debate answer essentially amounted to the idea that we have enough laws on the books already and the problem comes down to one of strengthening family values. He also managed to slip in (its connection to the questioner’s concern about gun control was a little tenuous) a criticism of the “Fast and Furious” program at the Department of Justice, which most people see as something of an Obama administration debacle.

Why the tepid Obama response on gun control, not only at the debate, but for the entire four years of his term? Because the Democrats fear the power of the NRA, including its more than four million members and its powerful political advocacy campaigns through its 501(c)(4) and PAC identities. Even though Obama never received the support of the NRA in 2008, his campaign reportedly believed his gun control silence on the stump neutralized some of the NRA’s opposition. He may have gotten into office quiet on gun control, but the AP says that his four years have been bountiful for the gun industry, with an increasing number of authorized gun dealers and an NRA “bursting with cash and political clout.”

Its influence even extended to the proposed DISCLOSE Act, which included a carve-out for the NRA, agreed to by House Democrats, exempting organizations from disclosing their donors if they “have more than 1 million members, have been in existence for more than 10 years, have members in all 50 states and raise 15 percent or less of their funds from corporations”—in other words, the NRA. Indeed, the NRA is a model of modern tax-exempt political advocacy and electoral activism.—Rick Cohen

  • Dean Weingarten

    Implilcit in the article is the assumption that more gun control laws would somehow be beneficial to society. There is no evidence asserted that this is true, it is simplly an assumption. It is assumed to be self evident. It is not. Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of gun control, both inside of the United States, and in comparison to other nations. The net result is that gun control laws have very little effect on the violence that occurs in a society. Violence levels are much more correlated with different cultures than they are with the availability of weapons.

    Gun control serves as a powerful icon about the level of governmental power and control. Those who want more governmental power and control tend to favor more gun control, those who think that there is too much governmental power and control desire less.

    The NRA is a powerful political force in the United States because it serves as a means for a large segment of the population, very likely a significant majority, to restrain governmental power and control.

  • Frank