April 28, 2004

Yet more on the NRA & Bush

Greg of The Hobbesian Conservative took issue with my take on the Chris Cox speech at the NRA convention. He did so in the comments to that post & in a post of his own. Clayton Cramer weighed in in part over at his place. I'll attempt to cover their objections in the extended entry.

First, from the comments to my post on Cox's speech:

"I'll probably regret asking this, but what is the problem with the NRA?
Sure, they're not a 'no compromise' group like GOA, but we are talking about Washington DC here-- if you don't compromise a little, you don't get any of what you want. The NRA is willing to settle for some of the pie, while groups like the GOA make desperate lunges for the whole pie, and end up without crumbs-- that's why I let my GOA membership lapse."

This is inaccurate. The NRA doesn't just compromise a little in order to protect the rest of our Rights; they compromise quite a bit in order to protect their own interests. They support candidates when a more pro-gun candidate is running against them in order to serve their interests - not those of gun owners. They support gun control legislation despite said legislation being unconstitutional. They call for the strict enforcement of these unconstitutional laws & all too often they oppose truly pro-gun legislation.

So it's not a case of the NRA compromising a little because it's necessary in D.C. & elsewhere - it's that their interests are too often contrary to the interests of gun owners.

The no compromise groups such as the GOA & local & regional groups often lose not because their position is so extreme that it lacks any support, but that the NRA &/or its state affiliates actively oppose them. Fights in various states for Vermont/Alaska style concealed carry are the most obvious examples, but there are others.

"They don't advocate for the immediate repeal of all firearms laws, mainly because there's no way it will ever happen. And if the NRA took up that position, they'd end up as marginalized as the GOA is, and then there'd be nothing standing in the way of future laws but a ragtag group of organizations boasting of how well they lose on principle."

Nope. The reason the NRA doesn't advocate the repeal of all gun laws is that they like some of the gun laws (if not most) that are on the books. Hell, they helped write a good portion of them. It has nothing to do with it being a fruitless move - it's that they like some gun control laws & therefore wouldn't want them repealed. But if they did take that position (repealing all unconstitutional gun control laws) they wouldn't be as marginalized as the GOA seems to be mainly because they wouldn't have to fight the gun control lobby as well as the largest "pro" gun lobby at the same time.

"Like it or not, the NRA is your standard bearer as well as mine. They have more members, more money and more juice than any other organization out there. By weakening them, you're hurting all of us."

& whether you like it or not, the NRA is not my standard bearer. I don't approve of prior restraint based gun control laws that conflict with the constitution. They do. It'd be akin to stating as fact that PETA is the standard bearer of vegetarians (which is absurd because many people have no problem with hunting or the use of fur but they prefer not to eat meat) because both seem opposed to the cruel treatment of animals.

The NRA is bigger & more influential than the other groups out there, but it's their direction, not their size, that I take issue with. As far as hurting the NRA equates to hurting all gun owners I couldn't disagree more.

First of all I would like to see the NRA change & actually become pro-gun in more than reputation amongst the anti-gunners. But barring that I would prefer them to go back to being a hunting & shooting sports oriented organization. That is something they're good at & have been good at for some time. But calling the NRA on their bullshit does not hurt gun owners - unless you're of the opinion that gun owners as a whole would rather see gun control laws that violate their Rights continue to be passed & strictly enforced. But then it's an argument over what is best for gun owners in terms of ideology as opposed to strategy.

"And why? Because they won't waste money to take a case they have no chance of winning before the supreme court? Because they killed the Protection of Lawful Commerce act to prevent the Clinton 'Assault weapons' ban from being renewed? Because they endorse G.W. Bush's imperfect gun rights record over John Kerry's gun-grab record?"

The reason they don't back cases that they think will lose isn't because they fear it will hurt our cause; it's because they like to have good stats. They back candidates with less than stellar gun records over truly pro-gun candidates simply so they can say that their record is in the high 80's when it comes to winning elections for their candidates. Ditto with court cases, albeit with a twist: the NRA would love to be able to say they have a very high success rate in court cases, but the thing that complicates things is that they don't want to win some court cases. They approve of most federal gun control laws, remember? It wouldn't be in the NRA's interests to have those laws, some of which they wrote, overturned now would it?

& I have no doubt in my mind that the no-compromise orgs & disgruntled NRA members were the deciding factor in the NRA pushing to kill the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act at the last minute. If it'd been ten years ago & the no-compromise groups weren't as well known, or the internet wasn't chock full of pro-gun message boards, news sites & blogs, then we'd have been listening to the NRA tell us they were sure they could have stripped off the nasty provisions in committee but they were betrayed which is why we have a renewed AWB & a heinous gun show law to deal with.

As far as Bush being "imperfect" to Kerry's active "gun-grabbing" I think you have fallen for the PR as opposed to the reality of their respective positions.

Kerry is by no means pro-gun or gun owners friendly. Neither is Bush. They just have different ways of achieving the same goals. Where Kerry might contend that the 2nd Amendment does not protect an individual Right, Bush will contend that it protects an individual Right subject to reasonable restrictions. Both are flawed interpretations & lead to the exact same place. & if you wish to counter that Bush isn't as hostile to gun owners as Kerry may I remind you that they both support the AWB. I could be mistaken but I seem to remember Bush not being opposed to the gun show bill that McCain pushed through the Senate. Bush went a bit further & he was opposed to arming pilots. He begrudgingly went along with congress on the pilots’ thing, but instead of arming civilians he (as well as Congress) turned them into "Federal Flight Deck Officers" in order to justify their being able to exercise their Right to Arms.

& Bush signing CCW in Texas? I'll get into the problems with CCW in a bit, but it was a political rather than an ideological move on Bush's part. He saw it as a chance to get a jump on his opponent & he took it.

"There's a fine line between being a hard-liner and being hard-headed. Maybe you're willing to back a losing horse so you can reserve the right to say 'I told you so!' to Wayne LaPierre, but I'm not. I'd rather take what I can get, when I can get it and hope to fight another day.
'Selling us down the river.' Pfui! They're too busy trying to keep the boat from leaking to sell us down the river. Meanwhile, 'hard liner, no compromise' groups want to drill holes in the boat to let the water out."

There's nothing wrong with taking what you can get while positioning yourself to take the rest. But that's not what the NRA is doing. They are far from a bunch of noble sailors who are bailing the boat as fast as they can to keep it afloat - rather they're happy with the amount of leakage & they're trying to maintain it at its current level. If the boat becomes water tight again we wouldn't be sending money to those "noble sailors" who claim to be pumping the water out while they patch up the leaks now would we?

The no compromise groups don't want to drill holes in the boat - they want to switch from a boat filled with so many holes of those "noble sailors" own creation to one that is seaworthy. Oddly enough it bears a striking resemblance to the boat that the founders left to us.

Now on to Greg's post on the subject at The Hobbesian Conservative.

After an excerpt where I question Cox's bragging about CCW law activity, Greg responds with the following:

Look, if I could work my will I'd make it so that the entire country had a Vermont style system.
But this is not the world we live in. And the fact of the matter is that there is no group on the face of the earth that could make the politicians change that all at once. Sure, GOA can boast about being a 'No Compromise lobby,' but that and a five dollar bill will get you a small hot chocolate at Starbucks."

& I don't think the GOA or any other no compromise group is talking about some magic wand to be waved & force all politicians to do the right thing. But the no-compromise groups have faced opposition from not only politicians & anti-gun orgs, but from the NRA itself in almost every instance (except Alaska) where a no permit required law has been brought up. I don't ever recall the GOA or any other no compromise group actively opposing an actual pro-gun law that the NRA supported. See the difference?

Yes, it's an imperfect world, but that's no excuse to sit on your ass & not try to change it.

"Plus, I don't really see that big a problem with the "Shall Issue" model, whereby the authorities must issue you a permit if you meet certain objective criteria. I think the criteria for what a "responsible" applicant looks like is too strict in some cases, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. We are not going to regain the ground lost since the 1920's in one fell swoop.
And I have never objected to mandatory safety training for new permit applicants-- that just makes sense to me. Why should we object to someone being instructed in the proper handling and use of a firearm? Seeing as how it's not something that everyone learns at childhood anymore, this strikes me as a practical solution."

A lot of people don't. But recall that the main gist of my rant was the NRA claims to support the Right to Arms while supporting gun control. Any law that demands you submit a fee & wait for permission to exercise a Right treats that Right as a privilege & negates its status as a Right in so doing. Cox spent some words on denouncing the idea of gun registration yet supports a system which registers guns & gun owners.

You don't see a problem with gun owner registration & licensing? Unfortunately you're not in the minority. The problem with it is strategic as opposed to tactical: when you grant the authority to license an activity to the government, then it gives you less firm ground to stand on when they tighten the criteria. I assume despite your acceptance of shall issue CCW laws that you'd object if a non moving violation from a traffic court would disqualify you from ownership or possession right? But since you've acquiesced to the government having that authority in the first place your position is reduced to that of a beggar pleading with the government to be nicer.

Mandatory safety training is a bad thing & I'll tell ya why: because of the cost & time involved it discourages some people from exercising what should be treated as a Right. If you wanted to advocate an Eddie Eagle-type program that taught basic gun safety & marksmanship to everyone (say as a condition of graduating High School) at no cost to the student then I'd agree it was a good thing (strictly on Right to Arms grounds as I have a big problem with any socialized program) but requiring it as a condition to exercise what should be treated as a Right is more harmful in the long run than you seem to realize.

Next he quotes my ranting about the difference between the NRA's "reasonable" modifier as opposed to the anti-gun groups "common sense" gun laws. I also talk about Project Exile & the NICS system before comparing the NRA with Americans for Gun Saftey - they only difference being what constitutes "reasonable".

"This is asinine! The difference in the respective definitions of 'reasonable' is the difference between a speed bump and the Rocky Mountains!
It's like saying 'Person X and Person Y both have pets. The only difference is that Person X has a hamster and Person Y has an elephant."

In principle there is no difference. Both are saying that some restrictions are permissible. The quality & quantity of restrictions differ, but not that much.

As of right now the NRA wants every gun control law on the federal books to be enforced. They want the AWB to sunset as scheduled but that's the only one they wish to be rid of. Most anti-gun groups for now want every law on the federal books enforced as well as extending the AWB & passing a law to eliminate private sales. That's a one law difference out of 8 major federal gun control laws in effect, & a 1 law difference on proposed legislation. Not quite like the "speedbump v. the Rocky Mountains" is it?

"*Project Exile is a plan by which the NRA encourages the government to enforce the laws that it has before it implements new ones. One must determine the effectiveness of the laws on the books before one can make a compelling case to repeal them, and the only way the effectiveness of such laws can be judged is if they are actually enforced. Say it with me now-- 'STRATEGY."

Ya know, I've been hearing about this NRA "strategy" thing for a while now. Would anyone care to tell me when they'll act on it? We should have enough data from the NFA of '34 & possibly the GCA of '68 to determine that they're worthless as far as reducing crime right? So when will the NRA use this "strategy" & start pushing for their repeal?

Like I said - the NRA likes the gun laws on the books with the possible exception of the AWB. That's why they push for their enforcement - not because it's part of some grand plan of theirs to repeal any of the gun control laws on the books currently. But the "strategy" excuse is one that suckers more people than it should.

"*I have my problems with the NICS check, but it is designed to keep convicted felons-- who are barred from owning firearms-- from getting firearms. This may strike some people as undesirable, but not me. Convicted felons have proven by their actions that they are not responsible members of society, and there is an attendant loss of liberty associated with that. There are more ways to deter crime than prison."

Um, it's not just convicted felons. It's anyone with a sentence that could have been imposed of more than two years (or in some cases more than one year). Thanks to the Lautenburg Amendment it also includes those convicted (& accused) of domestic violence misdemeanors.

But even felons should not have their Rights suspended after their release. It requires a multi-part solution, but ideally a person should not be released until or unless he/she is trustworthy to be a member of society. If a person commits some violent crime the solution is not to release him after 16 months but tell him not to touch guns or try to vote, but to keep him in jail until he can be trusted enough with both the bullet & the ballot.

That being said, non-violent felons pose no threat to society (hence the non-violent thing, right?) so denying them their Rights seems to me to be just another "tool" to use in an effort to disarm the populace.

Think about this: if a person in the hills of Appalachia is arrested & convicted (wrongfully) because he cut the stock on his shotgun to fit his grandson & it measures 1/4" below the limits imposed by the NFA for overall length, do you really think it's a benefit to society to take away his firearms? Yet even if the judge didn't thin he deserved to spend one day in jail because he was convicted of a crime punishable by more than 2 years he would lose his Rights in the eyes of the government.

"*As for whether the laws are constitutional or not, some probably aren't. But we delude ourselves if we think we can convince a panel of judges of that in high court. The fact that the NRA doesn't spend scant resources to wage a battle it will most assuredly lose is not a negative in my book. Precedent is against us, and the makeup of the court is against us."

Oh, that's a winning strategy: "Yep, some laws ain't legal but since we can't get the government to agree let's just pretend they are"?

Yes, circuit court precedent is against us, but not necessarily Supreme Court precedent. The make-up of the court may be against us, but I strongly disagree with he myth that the NRA is just waiting to have a more favorable court. SCOTUS has been dodging direct 2nd amendment question since '34 & the NRA has been an accessory to this. Scant resources? The NRA's president makes more than the U.S.A's president - I'd hardly say they were scraping the bottom of the donation barrel.

Again, the NRA doesn't back the direct 2nd amendment cases because it supports most of the gun control laws these cases seek to overturn.

"I wonder if Publicola has read the NRA publication 'First Freedom.' FF is full of the arguments that Publicola says the NRA never makes."

Actually I have - years ago & I truthfully don't recall anything from it. It could very well be that the NRA publications make the arguments that I claim the NRA doesn't. But if they do then I wonder how you can look at their actions & not see the hypocrisy. "Strategy" excuses can only take you so far.

"I suppose it's admirable-- to a point-- that Publicola advocates for all the utopian 'no compromise' groups out there. But there comes a point where somebody's gotta be the grownup. You can't get everything you want as soon as you want it."

Excuse me, but who says that because a person has a much more principled centered view that he is being adolescent? From the usage it could be perceived that by "someone's gotta be the grownup" what you're really saying is that someone has to be the parent & tell the unruly children what to do. That's the attitude we detest in government so it's curious that it would come up in an argument against that type of attitude in government as a rebuff.

I don't think anyone in the upper echelons of any no-compromise group has the idea that tomorrow we'll wake up to no gun control laws whatsoever. But that is what we're working for. It's a long term goal & one that has many short terms goals that lead us in the right direction. But it seems to me that you're equating a lack of instant gratification with altering our goals to something more "reasonable".

Is it that you'd be fine with the no compromise groups if they compromised? Hey- I'd be fine with gun control laws if they didn't involve guns or control.

"The NRA knows that-- that's why we have programs like Project Exile. Project Exile is a great way of testing how effective gun laws are-- if you enforce the law, you can tell if it has any impact on crime. If it has none, then you have a stronger case for repealing it or letting it sunset (like the "Assault Weapons" ban)."

Exile is a great way of throwing people in jail for violating laws that shouldn't be on the books in the first place. It doesn't test how effective gun control laws are. Look, we have NYC, DC & Chicago. They have the strictest gun control laws in the nation, yet their murder rate & rate of violent crime is typically on the top of the list. Show me how the NRA is using stats from those cities to prove the ineffectiveness of gun control? Again, the NRA supports Exile & similar programs because they support the laws they enforce. How much sense would it make for a group that claimed a law was unconstitutional to support a program that enforced said law?

Exile is merely an attempt at appeasement. Ask Neville Chamberlain how well appeasement works.

"It's like in chess. By castling with Exile, we are in a stronger position to stop the advance of additional pieces on the board. Groups like GOA seem to think the best way to place the king in the middle of the board and dare the opposing player to take him-- like the movement to take certain gun laws before the supreme court when anybody with an ounce of sense knows they'll lose. It's wrong that they'd lose-- they should win, but in life there is often a disconnect between the "should be" and the 'is."

This is a new one. Maybe I'm just used to Clayton Cramer comparing the NRA to a master card sharp. But the chess analogy is refreshing. Still wrong as hell but refreshing nonetheless.

Exile would more correctly be compared to sacrificing most of your pawns as well as a bishop & a knight while not calling your opponent on breaking the rules in order to keep from being checkmated. The NRA is playing a defensive game at best.

The GOA & other no compromise groups are actively going after their opponents queen so they can check their opponents king, despite the NRA's protests that a bold move may cost them their financial support the game.

There is a disconnect between what "should be" & "what is". Where we differ is that you accept that whereas I am trying to change that.

"He closes with this:
'Mr. Cox gave it a nice try, but for me it falls far short of the image he wishes to project. It's a shame though: it'd be nice if the NRA were on our side.'
Jumping jehosaphat! Did he just say the NRA is, in effect, an anti-gun organization?"

No, I didn't just say it - I've been saying it for a few years now. More accurately the NRA is an organization that favors some gun control. For me that makes them anti-gun most of the time. For others (those who don't mind gun control) that seems like an inaccurate statement. It's perceptual I admit, but if you go by a strict definition of "pro-gun" & anti-gun" then I think the NRA falls more firmly into the anti-gun camp based on their past & present record of supporting gun control.

"How insulated a life is Publicola leading? Doesn't he realize that there is a substantial chunk of America that doesn't agree with him on this issue?"

I wish my life were insulated. Greg, I really don't give a damn if I have a majority or minority in agreement with me. I don't value group think or a consensus when it comes to matters of principle & despite your reasoning to the contrary, the Right to Arms is a matter of principle.

"This is what happens when you don't travel outside your own circle. You start to believe everyone thinks like you, because you never meet anyone who doesn't. You forget that the people on your side are not necessarily going to be perfect in your eyes. You forget that compromise is an unpleasant necessity, especially in a place like Washington DC."

I'm disappointed that a resort to psychological analysis of a blog post was made.

Again, I simply do not care if anyone else agrees with me. I say what I say because I believe it to be truthful & necessary. If it's an unpopular view that makes me unpopular then so be it. Contrary to common thinking I didn't start this blog to win any popularity contests (If I did there'd be a helluva lot more nudity - though not of me).

But I disagree that my absolutist view is as unpopular as is apparently thought. I'd say a lot of people - including a lot of NRA members - are closer to my ideology than they are the NRA's.

That being said I meet people everyday who don't agree with my point of view. From friends to family to co-workers to strangers I meet & converse with about the subject, I have no illusions that most people think the way I do. Nor would it matter if they did as far as what I write goes.

I fear the psycho-analysis is more than a little off. But it was a nice try.

"You think I'm going to argue that the NRA is perfect? Of course not! But they're the best we got! GOA has 300,000 members, the NRA has 4 million. That's a lot of clout to wield in Washington, and they do what they can-- but four million is not a majority. Not by a long shot."

I know many, many women who will disagree with me, but I think there is a confusion between "biggest" & "best".

If we have the biggest army in the world, would that be any consolation if Mexico invaded us while they sat on their collective ass?
Conversely, don't we have a practice of admiring small groups who fight a battle even if they lose if they do so valiantly?

The NRA is the biggest org we have - no arguments there. But name one victory for the Right to Arms they've won in the last 30 years? I can damn sure name you several times when they've betrayed us.

& if you wish to bring up CCW, keep in mind that a gun owner registration program that transforms what should be a Right into a privilege is not as victory - unless you want the government to win.

"They are the standard bearer for the gun-rights crowd, and the "no compromise" lobby will never supplant them. Indeed, if the NRA ever made the mistake of saying 'Either do what I want, or I'm taking my votes and going home!' then we'd have a lot more anti-gun laws on the books, and a lot more anti-gun politicians, and a lot more anti-gun judges."

I'm just wondering how we could have more anti-gun judges & politicians. There is little trouble in passing gun control laws of varying degrees as there is little trouble in finding judges to uphold those laws.

But if the NRA ever made a hard line stand, they'd do us much more good than you'd think. Hell, it might even turn the Republican Party "pro-gun" again.

The ideal thing for the NRA to do would be to back whatever candidate is most supportive of the Right to Arms - including third party candidates. & actively opposing any & all gun control laws that are proposed would be much preferable to their current strategy of helping them being written. & again if they started actively lobbying for the repeal of the unconstitutional laws then that'd be a plus.

People who support most gun control laws might be turned off, but I guaran-damn-teeya that the NRA would see an increase in membership.

"But better that than we have an organization that makes practical arguments against further gun control, right? I mean, when you get the knock on your door demanding you turn over your weapons, at least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you didn't compromise."

Would that be any better than having the satisfaction of knowing you compromised & appeased as much as you could before the knock comes on your door? & aside from the AWB what practical arguments have the NRA made against gun control? Again I'll point to D.C., Chicago & NYC as well as the NFA of '34. There should be more than enough data to support practical arguments that those cities & that one gun control laws are neffective, yet they're still on the books aren't they?

Now on to Clayton Cramer:

"The Hobbesian Conservative says what I have said before: "no compromise" gun rights activists who talk about "sitting out the election" because Bush isn't 100% on our side are fools. This isn't a race between a mildly pro-gun candidate and mildly anti-gun candidate. It's a race between a candidate who got himself elected Governor of Texas by promising to sign a non-discretionary concealed weapon license bill--and signed it--and a Senator who showed up for one of the few votes he's made during this campaign to vote against the rights of gun owners."

Clayton is one of the best historians we have & I respect his work in that field greatly. His current take on things is a different case.

Bush is just as anti-gun as Kerry is. Bush simply has better PR. Neither one of them has any strong ideological attachments to the issue - it's all political for them. In Bush's case favoring some gun control is consistent with his apparent love of big, powerful government. The reason he doesn't advocate more gun control is he is somewhat aware that it would be a bad political move for him to do so.

As a politician Bush is clever - no doubt about it. But in principle he is no better than Kerry.

Yes, Kerry would be bad on many fronts for the country, but I see Bush being bad for the country on an almost equal number of fronts. Here though we mainly focus on the gun thing & in that regard Bush's "reasonable restrictions" are in principle no different than whatever excuse Kerry would use to implement gun control.

& I'm hoping that if Kerry does win that it'll slow down the legislative process. Sure a budget will be passed that'll be just as bad as anything Bush has approved, but Congress, not the president, still wields the power to legislate. With a republican controlled congress & a democrat in the white house I don't think things will be as bad as some fear.

Also if Bush loses & it can be chalked up to a lack of gun owner support then hopefully that'll cause a change in the Republican Party which'll make gun control an issue to be avoided, much less voted for.

& though it wasn't mentioned there are a lot of people who think that now is simply not the time to let Kerry get control of the Oval Office. Look, there's always gonna be some crisis & if we wait till everything’s hunky-dory to stick by our principles then we'll die in the same state we're in now - if not a worse one. I won't argue that Kerry would be bad for us in the short term. I will argue that Bush's loss based on his gun control advocacy would be good for us in the long term. It all depends on whether you place greater emphasis on tactics or strategy.

Now if you buy the "lesser of two evils" argument then I could see a case being made for Bush. I however still think the lesser of two evils is still evil so I don't need to compare Kerry against Bush to determine who'll get my vote.

Clayton obviously feels otherwise. & we're gonna disagree strongly on that as well as other things. I still read his blog (despite the cringes I get when I read him gloating about yet another state that recognizes his privilege to carry license) & again I really respect the work he has done in the historical field.

Here's one other argument that is seldom brought up concerning the NRA approach to the no compromise approach:

Imagine a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being no gun control & 10 being a complete prohibition. Let's say we're at 4.5 on the scale currently. The no compromise groups would be at 1 & the most rabid anti-gun groups would be at 10. A compromise between the two would result in a 5 on the scale - which is close to where we are now but still a relatively long way from the prohibition end of things.

Now imagine the NRA being at 4 on that scale (again close to where we are now). A compromise would land us at 7.5 on the scale. Much closer to a complete prohibition than we were when we started.

Now I'm not advocating compromise as I don't see it as an effective strategy when you start off with something & the other side has nothing. But I do feel it's much better to start off from an absolutist view because it not as close to a prohibitionist view as the moderate view would be.

If you're trying to convince someone of the importance of the Right to Arms & you start off as a moderate then you pretty much have to convince them to believe exactly as you do. When you start off as an absolutist you can measure success not by them mirroring your views exactly, but by being swayed closer to your views than they were before. Or more precisely, if you start off as a moderate (4 or our scale) & convince the person to move halfway (from say an almost prohibitionist 9 to a semi-prohibitionist 7) you've made some progress but not much. If you start off as an absolutist (1 on our scale) & get them to meet you halfway you end up with someone who is a 4.5 - firmly in the moderate camp. No it's not as good as having a 2nd amendment activist, but it's better than having them still support new gun control laws.

But what it all comes down to is whether or not you can live with the NRA's advocacy of gun control. I can't & I'll raise hell at them when I can over it. Greg & Clayton are comfortable with it from what it seems. Which probably explains why we don't have a group blog.

I hold an absolutist view because I not only think it's correct ideologically, but because I think it's the best pragmatic approach to gaining ground we've lost. & I don't agree with those who justify the NRA's actions as "strategy". At least not a strategy for the benefit of gun owners or the Right to Arms. I'm sure it has benefited the gun prohibitionists crowd more than any no compromise strategy ever could. After all, we started off with the Right to Arms & through compromise on our parts we now have an unacceptable level of gun control. If that's the best the NRA's pro-gun strategy has to offer I'd say it's time for a new "pro-gun banner holder", wouldn't you?

Posted by Publicola at April 28, 2004 04:17 PM

Some excellent comments, and I thank you for posting.

I too have pondered the absolutist vs. pragmatic approach, and nothing I'd like better than to have our right to keep & bear arms to be just that-- a right. But how best to achieve that goal?

For my part, I'm a Life Member of both the NRA and GOA. I didn't want to spend the money to get life membership, but in the NRA that means I have a vote. Which means I can at least try to influence the leadership towards the "no compromise" end of the spectrum.

I agree with you that all too often the NRA proposes laws that are not in keeping with the 2nd Amendment, and I'm particularly concerned with legislation that is "sensible" such as registering guns that people buy. I've spent much of the last 30 years in Australia and watched helplessly as "sensible" laws such as these resulted in long lists of guns to be handed over to the gov't by means of "buybacks." The end result is a completely disarmed public and a tremendous rise in crime, esp. hot burglaries and assaults.

Now the gov't there is banning swords.

Australians have a saying, "The thin edge of the wedge." Means that once you start compromising, you compromise a bit more, then a bit more yet, until finally you have lost the lot.

Much better to not start compromising at all.

But as you point out, our "thin edge of the wedge" was way back in 1934 (or maybe even earlier, but that's a date to remember) and since then we've lost a lot of ground. And much of our population is now urban and have lost the acceptance of gun use that their grandparents probably had. People are scared of what they don't understand, and media depends on selling their wares by frightening people; an easy step from there to "ban guns, then no one gets shot."

Just not true, but we can't depend on the media to tell the truth, can we. Not about guns, nor about politics.

I hope it doesn't come to this-- but the only thing that I can see happening, which MAY get us back to public acceptance of RKBA, is for another terrorist attack on our home soil to occur. That just might jolt the bliss-ninnys into awareness that defending themselves is THEIR responsibility, not gov't or police.

But even that may not do it. Remember the LA riots, where the only shops that weren't looted & burned were the ones defended by their owners, who carried rifles? What response did that get from the duly elected California State Gov't? Well, they passed laws banning the 'assault' rifles, didn't they. After all, can't have We the People defending themselves and their property, can we.

So I try not to be discouraged, and will continue to fight for the restoration of our rights, but it's going to be a long, hard fight with very little light showing at the end of the long dark tunnel. And I'll continue to keep trying to get more people involved with both the NRA and GOA; maybe once we get to a "tipping point" things will start going the other way.

Molon labe

Posted by: R. Denis Wauchope at April 29, 2004 10:20 PM

This is in re. to the hobbeson or whatever guy's response to the above, on the compromising NRA. I didn't see an easy way to respond to him on his site so here it is. Someone please make sure he sees this. I'm happily awaiting his excuses.

I'm one of those "absolutists" I suppose since few of the sheeple have the balls to regularly visit my website.

from his comments:

"but still a relatively long way from the prohibition end of things."

That would be the end? No. Not by a long shot, in fact not by several long shots.

That's what's wrong with the NRA and the Republicrats, they are too cowardly to say publicly what needs to happen to the lowlife pieces of shit who espouse disarming the civilian population.

And don't give me the whine that the sheeple would be "turned off" by such a message. If they allow themselves to be disarmed they deserve what follows.

We are at war in this country, have been for 150 years since the German socialists came over. Everything, that's the 'everything' in the dictionary, not the "Liberal" 'everything' that might leave a few inconvenient things out, they do and say is propaganda to further their goals. End of discussion. The ones at the top are not misled idiots. They are highly intelligent and evil. One does not have to be a "conspiracy theorist" of some sort to understand this. That includes the Sarah Bradys of the world.

If only a minority fights prohibition, then they eventually die. If there is no fight at prohibition and someday the scumbags decide they've got too many sheeple and start shooting them into ditches then there will be even a tinier minority with the means and guts to fight.

What the sheeple tolerate they deserve. That is the bottom line.

For more on what I think of the NRA, which I quit in 94 when I heard Tanya Metaska or whatever say at a meeting that they give money to the politician they think is best, (or usually think can win from what I can tell as I’ve heard many instances of them ignoring people in various states who tried to point out to them who the real 'best' candidate was) and if their choice loses they go and offer money to the piece of shit who did lie his way in - that's all I needed to hear - go to my FAQ page: http://www.freekentucky.com/columns00/faq.htm

If another generation is lost to the govt. school indoctrination system, there won't be enough voters left to keep the Demoncrats and Republicrats out of office. Of course I won't be here by then anyway.

I'd rather be the lone nut who realizes he's on a sinking ship than on the bail squad the captain created to keep people busy.


Posted by: Barry Bright at May 1, 2004 01:48 PM
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