February 27, 2006

NRA Election Coverage

Something I bet you never thought you’d see on Publicola’s blog! While he knows that we generally agree on what the gun laws of this country should be, I tend to be much more of a work within the system type of person. In the case of NRA Board of Director nominations, I can’t work within the system as much as I’d like. I’m not yet a voting member of the organization.* However, as a serious activist, I’ve had the opportunity to a) learn what NRA directors really can do (remember that they aren’t the staff that drive the everyday decisions and lobby formally on behalf of the organization) b) meet many of the personalities involved in the movement and c) understand what’s realistic to expect of Board members at an organization like NRA since my background is in non-profit.

So to start with, my attempt to change the system within without having a vote comes through discussion of the candidates who stand out to me – good or bad.

First up is my endorsed candidate, Scott Bach. His summary of achievements:

o Won a lawsuit punishing schools for banning pro-Second Amendment free speech;
o Sued the NY/NJ Port Authority for jailing honest gun owners;
o Successfully lobbied to reinstate the NJ bear hunt;
o Helped expand NH non-resident right to carry law;
o Helped reinstate MN right to carry law;
o Became Founding Chair of NRA’s new Concealed Carry Committee
o Became Vice Chair of NRA’s Public Affairs Committee
o Was elected President of NJ’s NRA State Affiliate
o Publicly debated numerous anti-gun extremists on live national TV, radio, at universities, and in print.
He’s got a website up that goes over more details. I think even those of you who hate NRA could get behind his suit against a New Jersey public school that was sending home anti-2A materials and refused to allow pro-2A materials to counter that argument. They won the case and made at least a small dent in the overwhelmingly anti-gun state by at least ensuring that pro-gun arguments can still be made. Also, the fact that he’s sticking around New Jersey to fight is admirable.

Other nominees I would consider voting for if I could vote: Bill Bachenberg, David Keene, Wayne Anthony Ross, Amy Heath and Herb Lanford. I know there are others who seem pretty good out there, but I don’t know enough about them to really make a call.

One person of note on that list is Amy Heath. I have to say, from what I’ve seen of her bio, I’m very disappointed. She opens with the fact that she’s Jeff Cooper’s granddaughter. So what? I know Cooper’s got a lot of dedicated fans, but genetics shouldn’t be the leading line of the bio. She’s either capable of stepping out as a leader on her own or she’s not. I don’t know why she’s focusing on this when it really doesn’t make any kind of positive statement about women in the gun issue. She follows with “Singer/actress/model.” Again, so freaking what. It’s just not relevant. I like the way that Susan Howard throws it in there at the beginning, but that’s not actually the meat of her first real line. She talks about her acting work more in the bio, but it’s not until nearly halfway through. Anyway, back to Heath. As for her own gun accomplishments, she doesn’t even mention them until the 5th sentence! And then there’s the fact that some of her stand out 2A work (“Organized first ever Women on Target program and Women’s Shooting League in New York City.”) isn’t even mentioned until more than halfway through the bio. That’s an accomplishment to be proud of and that’s relevant to voters. Not producing something for A&E.

So with the big disappointment in her bio, why am I suggesting her? Because she’s young, she does have some gun creds (even if she doesn’t talk about them until the very end of the bio) and she seems to have accomplished things beyond her grandfather. It’s just too bad she doesn’t embrace it more. Plus, the most important thing is that it would really piss off some older women on the board who are not really supportive of other up and coming women from what I’ve observed. Women in the gun issue have enough obstacles to overcome, we don’t need the older generations holding on to control for dear life by holding others back. Besides, someone under 40 should be on the BoD.

I reserve the right to expand on this already long post.

*(FYI – I’m not going to engage in debates about whether or not one should be a member. They aren’t perfect. I disagree with many of their decisions. However, I view it the same way I view politics, I choose them because in general I agree with them on the core issues. You may choose others and that’s okay. Just choose to do something other than just bitch.)

Posted by Bitter at February 27, 2006 08:06 PM | TrackBack

Amy Heath's disappointing resume counterposed against her inspiring youthfulness, ought not to be astonishing to any of us: "we were them" once.

As Vice President of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. Inc., and ostensibly the overseer of our shooting discipline programs, I have seen the results of Amy Heath's vigor in New York State --- especially the City." Yes, I agree -- genetics have little to do with performance; and yet, having been reared in a family that shoots, hunts, and teaches firearms use and safety, to the masses and the few, does often have the inevitable advantage of turning out those young folks we are always talking about who are the future of our traditions. That is how I see young people like Amy Heath and who I understand her to be.

Moreover, a friend of NYSRPA Pres. Tom King since 1964, and having had adequate time and proximity to see his mature and experienced talents, skills, and efforts in action, both the energetic, inspiring, and visionary King, and the youthful and enterprising Heath get my vote -- genetics aside: we are not building an empire by voting for Amy, but a promising future.

Best wishes to us all.

Posted by: Dr. Russ Williams at April 5, 2006 11:23 AM

"we were them" once

What the heck does that mean? I am not as old as Amy and I have written better bios on similar topics for myself and others. I was able to do so when I was still in college and just getting involved in the issue.

And I'm not saying that she doesn't do good things. I just think that it's a disappointment for her to rely on her grandfather and "acting" "career" to get elected instead of her gun credentials. I'm not saying she doesn't have them, either. She does. I just don't understand why she doesn't use them.

Hell, based on what she did write, I could put down a more thorough gun bio about myself and I didn't even touch a gun until college, muchless grow up in a gun family. I'm not in any way calling her a bad person, and I would possibly vote for her just to piss off certain people on the Board. I would also expect her to learn her lessons real fast if she wants to seriously do anything on that Board because there are people on it who wouldn't mind pushing her back to the corner. And promoting her "acting" credits isn't the way to do that.

Posted by: Bitter at April 6, 2006 03:59 PM

If you know of a candidate for the board who has a record of fighting legislative battles (and winning!), then why even consider someone like Heath who lists being born as her first accomplishment. That's a pretty low bar. Sure, her grandfather is a well-known figure in firearm culture, but he's also been accused numerous times of being racist. Which, according to Heath, merely means "that you have arrived." I've read Jeff Cooper's blog (from which that is quoted), and to the racist comment I'll say this: You can call anyone anything you want, sir, but if you categorically reserve the only terms of respect for you and yours while choosing derogatory epithets for all those different, you are racist. It's not the mere words that are important, it's the attitudes which produce them.

I've seen Heath in action, and was unimpressed to say the least. I can't help but think that such a grandparental environment, claimed as first among her qualifications, would have trickled down. Her shooting group of ladies-who-lunch is clearly unusual in NYC. Firearm ownership IS a women's lib issue (all minorities' too), but I'm more concerned with those who have neither lib nor privilege with which to buy lib. The last thing the NRA (or any broad lobbying group) needs is elitist exclusivity across the board(room). Getting women to shoot in NYC is easy - just invite them. That's my experience.

I've been appalled by the quality of my NRA magazines, and only now realize that I threw out my ballot. After reading Scott Bach's bio I will dig it out of the trash and vote.

Posted by: E at April 22, 2006 06:52 PM
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