Gunleaders Blog

The dangers of disinvolvement

by on Aug.05, 2011, under Uncategorized

David Codrea is right on the money about wasting political capital.  I think a better way to say it would be squandering political capital because I think the NRA effort David is talking about has more than one goal.

What would the NRA(-ILA?) benefit by you filling out the survey?  The survey at  (deliberately not hyperlinked) For starters, if you are a new RKBA activist, you will probably want to help and you will feel good that others feel the way you do.  You may be inclined to fill out your personal details and sign your ‘name’ – such as it is electronically to the effort.  You might even contribute money.  What happens when you do these things?

You give up your privacy, you add your name to numerous marketing lists, including the NRA, NRA-ILA, PVF, and other acronym soup, and they get access to you.  Will their “survey” help oust a cabinet appointee?  There’s always a chance but to call this a “Hail Mary” would be to insult the likes of Doug Flutie who has far more “Hail Mary” street cred.   So if you fill out the survey, join the mail list & contribute your money the NRA has a resource they can go back to for money, more surveys, money and oh yeah… Money.

However, what else might happen?  Well, for starters it keeps people talking about the Gunwalker scandal.  This is good because most RKBA activists know the mainstream media is actively trying to ignore, bury or spin Gunwalker into a need for more gun restrictions and more BATFE funding.  While Congressional inquiries into Gunwalker have exposed criminal wrongdoing on BATFE’s part, it is extremely unlikely that anyone will be punished.  We’ve already seen promotions for Gunwalker alumni.  The Congressional inquiries, as much as we want more dirt uncovered; they are not doing this out of the kindness of their hearts folks.  They sense political “blood in the water” and they’re circling the partisan sharks so they can score points in polls, surveys and ultimately elections.  It’s in the best interested of the US House to keep Gunwalker in the news with sensational headlines and scandalous accusations for as long as they can get mileage out of it.  Let’s not forget who we are dealing with (in Congress).  So not all of the NRA communication on ‘Fire Eric Holder’ is wasted effort.

That being said, doesn’t the NRA(-ILA) have more pressing issues that better aligns with what the organization is best at?  Let’s take a look at the Congressional landscape-
February NRA-ILA alert for HR822

HR 822 has 242 co-sponsors and has been mentioned more than once by NRA-ILA alerts this year.  Only 218 votes are needed to pass a bill in the House and this bill has 242 co-sponsors.  This is only a few dozen short of veto proof, and it’s more than enough to pass.  Undoubtedly because gun owners OVERWHELMINGLY want all the states to recognize their CCW permits.   So how does a bill with so many co-sponsors languish in committee, particularly when the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, an overwhelming majority of it’s 4 million members and other powerful groups want this bill passed?

Let’s take a look at previous efforts like the “protection of lawful commerce in arms act”.  This was a very good example of the NRA-ILA working to get a bill passed at the federal level.  For months on end it was front and center of NRA-ILA alerts and ultimately it passed–

to the exclusion of other very good gun bills which if given equal opportunity would have passed also.

HR 822 has gotten only mild support from NRA-ILA alerts.  Why?  Surely it is not a lack of available political capital.

Is it the lack of political will?  At least part of it is the membership who have hired NRA-ILA to do their bidding professionally in Congress.  Just as you you check up on the work for mechanics you hire, or yard workers, maids, contractors, you have a duty to follow up with organizations you send membership dues to for any kind of advocacy.  If you don’t, how do you know know what they’re doing with your money?

Is HR 822 a bill intended to just create political cover?  Surely the Co-sponsors have a nice game going here because they can honestly report back to their pro-RKBA constituents that they “co-sponsored HR822″ but that doesn’t tell the whole story, does it?  Putting your name on the list of co-sponsors does nothing much to get it out of committee, on the floor and passed now does it?  But it sure looks good to pro-RKBA folks.  Congress is very good at saying a lot and doing nothing or very little but so are we, the constituents.  We say we support these pro-RKBA bills, but how many times have we called, faxed & emailed support for them?  How many times have we called the NRA-ILA and told them to get off their duffs with our money and get this bill passed?

We sort of disregarded our oversight responsibility to Congress for generations and we can see how that turned out.  We need to pay better attention to our hired help in the private sector too.  Used car salesmen aren’t the exclusive users of “bait and switch”.  Many variations on this theme exist legislatively and one that exists in all legislative bodies in one form or another is the “submitted at constituent request” offering.  It’s phrase some legislators use to tell other legislators – ‘hey, I’m getting political heat to introduce this so that’s what I’m doing.  You guys please kill this for me so I don’t have to vote on it’.  We have to stay on top of these people we hire, setting measurable goals for them and when they’re not met, we need to fire them.  That’s our job and if we let them run roughshod over us, we’re not doing our job.


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