L. Neil Smith's
Number 235, August 24, 2003

The Dominoes Fell

Who's the NRA?
by Jim Duenisng

Special to TLE

Who's the NRA?

George Bush, whose office the NRA was to be working out of, is in favor of more gun control than Bill Clinton. Emperor Bush favors the "reauthorization" of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

Under the guise of reauthorizing the 1994 Clinton gun ban, H.R. 2038 'The Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003' proposes additional restrictions on American firearm freedom including; the banning of the future manufacture and importation of ALL semi-automatic shotguns, banning those weapons made to conform to the 1994 ban, increasing those weapons banned by name from 19 to 65, and giving the Attorney General the discretion to ban any other mechanism which he or she determines "is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes." "A firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event."

Further, the bill bans the private transfer of "assault weapons".

The moderate sycophantic leadership of the NRA, a closet caucus of the Republican Party, is to blame that this infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is expected to pass.

The NRA supported candidate Bush - they campaigned for him -- they spent lots of their members' money in key districts. The NRA is responsible for Bush winning Michigan, and arguably other states, by converting union Democrats to Bush's camp to protect their gun rights. There were many people who voted for Bush simply because the 1994 ban will sunset on September 13th, 2004.

Now, the group which was supposed to be "working out of the White House" is turning a blind eye to the Neo Assault Weapons Ban. Go to the NRA's website. Look for information on it. You'll find it, but you'll have to wade through pro-Republican propaganda and relatively minor firearms legislation news.

I understand the thinking. Historically, the Republican Party has trampled on the Second Amendment less than the Democratic Party has. So, supporting the Republicans makes superficial sense. But, for a one issue political action group like the NRA to continue to support a party which does not support its agenda is foolish at best.

Instead of supporting a party and a President which is at odds with the NRA's political positions, the NRA should find a candidate which vehemently supports individual private possession of militia grade weaponry at home and abroad. Once found, the NRA should throw its mighty clout behind that candidate before its ability to speak for American gun owners is destroyed by a lack of support from private firearms owners - a group whose numbers are sure to dwindle if this bill becomes a law.

If an alternative candidate in the Democratic Party cannot be found,—and yes there are staunchly pro-gun democrats—the NRA should put their support behind a candidate in one of the "third parties". The Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party both support the individual right to keep and bear arms.

Only two outcomes now seem likely. First, H.R. 2038 will continue to engender little resistance from the NRA. Second, the NRA will mount an offensive against 2038 and the assault weapons ban will be reauthorized in its 1994 configuration. The NRA will claim victory and send out solicitation letters to Life Members like myself informing us how lucky we are that the NRA kept those radical Democratic alternatives from becoming law.

It is time for the NRA to put up or be put out of its misery. If it does not defeat this bill in all its forms it has outlived its usefulness and needs to be abandoned by its membership in favor of a principled non-partisan group.

Author Bio: Jim is a columnist and radio talk show host. You can find an archive of his articles and a link to a webcast of his radio show at http://www.JimDuensing.com/


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