Readers of this blog know about my attempts to end my 43-year long Life Membership with the National Rifle Association. I became totally disillusioned with the strategy of the NRA to endorse and support 53 Democrats in the 2008 elections. 52 of those Democrats enabled Nancy Pelosi to become Speaker of the House because the Democrats had won the majority of the seats with NRA help. Thankfully, the Tea Party movement enabled a tidal wave of real conservatives to regain the House in 2010 but only after another attempt by the NRA to assist 56 Democrats to get elected. This time the NRA failed miserably and only 23 Democrats won.
Now I have found someone who knows more about the NRA than I do (although I never doubted there were many who did). That person is Jeff Knox, son of the late Neal Knox - past member of the Board of Directors of the NRA, who writes a column in The Firearms Coalition and WorldNet Daily News.
Just for openers, here is a juicy comment by Jeff Knox in his latest column on WND.com.
WorldNet Daily News
National organization fumbles ball in 2nd Amendment battleJeff Knox
One thing that is important for everyone concerned about Second Amendment rights to understand is that it's a bad idea to ever put all our eggs in one basket – especially a basket that has proven to be as unreliable as the NRA. We must always be vigilant and personally involved to keep the politicians – and the NRA – in line and on point.
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His writing can regularly be seen in Shotgun News and Front Sight magazines as well as here on WorldNetDaily.
Jeff Knox knows what goes on inside the NRA. He reports these tidbits about the leaderships perks that come from the millions of dollars that NRA members contribute.
Randy Kozuch, long-time head of NRA-ILA State & Local, moved to new duties with the NRA Foundation – the education/charity wing of NRA. To fill the vacancy, State & Local was taken over by Chuck Cunningham, who has been heading up Federal Affairs for the past several years. Former NRA-ILA Executive Director James J. Baker was then installed as Director of Federal Affairs.
Baker has been pulling down a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year as a consultant for NRA-ILA for the past several years, but that has probably at least doubled with his return to the official family. Chris Cox remains at the top of the ILA food chain as executive director – overseeing all ILA operations for about three quarters of a million dollars per year (roughly half what his boss, Wayne LaPierre, takes home).
Here are some additional comments on the inner workings of the NRA from two past columns written by Jeff Knox. The subject matter is dated but the implications are still relevant today.
NRA Making Deals Again
Written by Jeff Knox, on 07-31-2008 09:35
Acording to The Hill newspaper, the NRA has made a deal with House Democrats on a "compromise" DC gun law bill.
The burning question now is, "Why?".
If the report is accurate, NRA has agreed to support a compromise bill that would force DC to minimally comply with the Supreme Court's June ruling in the Heller case. The city has so far enacted emergency legislation which makes it very difficult for a DC resident to legally own a handgun or have it available for self-defense in the home. Republicans have introduced a sweeping firearms reform bill for the District, but it has been bottled up by the Democrat leadership. Republicans were trying to get pro-gun Democrats to join them in a petition to force the bill onto the House floor for a vote. Democrats don't want to debate and vote on anything as contentious as a serious DC gun bill so pro-gun Democrats led by John Dingell (D-Michigan), Mike Ross (D-Arkansas), and Mike Tanner (D-Tennessee) reached out to NRA for a deal.
Republicans are rightously furious over the deal which they were hoping to use as a wedge issue in the coming elections.
Again, the burning question is "Why?". Why would NRA make this deal at this time? What advantage does such a deal give them or the gun rights movement?
We are heading into an election in which many experts are predicting major Democrat gains. The Presidential candidates are both unappealing to GunVoters and have been somewhat lulled into a sense of security by the Heller victory. And there have been no contentious, gun-related bills debated in Congress to fire voters up and separate the sheep from the goats in a long, long time. Now would be an excellent time to have a loud debate about gun control and DC's outrageous response to the Heller decision is an excellent topic for such a debate. GunVoters are all very aware of the Heller decision and DC's continuing refusal to comply with the clear intent of that decision. Pro-gun members of Congress are pushing a discharge petition that would force the fight to the floor. Even without this NRA deal, it is very unlikely that the 218 signatures needed on the discharge petition could be garnered, but the petition itself would be a good barometer for judging a politician's commitment to gun rights. The fight and the grading would be over the discharge petition rather than the actual bill. With Heller and others having filed lawsuits to force DC to comply with the ruling, action by Congress is not really desirable as it would nullify those lawsuits, but that shouldn't really be a concern as long as the core bill is strong enought in its support of gun rights to be thoroughly unpalatable to the Democrat leadership. Nancy Pelosi is never going to allow a sweeping gun rights statement to come out of "her House."
So that brings us back to this agreement and the question, "Why?". With this agreement a compromise bill which very narrowly addresses the DC issues wuold be brought forward with NRA support. This bill (which should be introduced later today) is expected to be narrow and limited enough to be acceptable to Pelosi and company. That means it can easily pass through the House - where pro-gun members would have little choice but to vote for it - and into the Senate where, again, it ahould face little opposition. This strategy kills the lawsuits while shielding the anti-gun and faux-pro-gun mambers of Congress thereby effectively removing the only issue around which GunVoters could have been effectively rallied...
I recently wrote a piece for The Knox Report that described how a future "assault weapons" ban might be passed with NRA support. The article was intended to be a warning to NRA members to keep a close eye on their organization because there is a history of the group making seriously bad compromises that they call victories. While not as dramatic as an assault weapons ban, this appears to be another one of those mistakes.
NRA Pushing Bad Bill in Iowa
Monday, 14 December 2009 04:23 Jeff Knox
Last year two state organizations, Iowa Carry and Iowa Gun Owners, banged heads with competing legislation and competing strategies. Iowa Carry was backing a “shall issue” bill which included mandatory training requirements and several other concessions. Iowa Gun Owners was pushing an Alaska-style bill which removed restrictions on concealed carry and offered an optional permit system for the sake of reciprocity.
The Alaska bill had 25 cosponsors among the 100 members of the Iowa House and failed to pass by just one vote ending in a 49 – 49 tie in the final minutes of the legislative session.
After such an impressive showing, one would expect advocates to unite around the Alaska-style bill for this legislative session with an eye towards either passing a very good bill, or forcing a clear record vote on such a bill and using that vote against opponents in the next General Election. Instead, after ignoring the state for decades, NRA has decided to ride their white horse into Iowa to save the day by amending the already weak Iowa Carry bill to make it not only weaker, but to actually include some provisions which are worse than existing law – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Under the NRA proposal, not only would anyone ever convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor be barred from concealed carry, anyone ever arrested on such a charge would be barred. The proposal also bars anyone with “a written finding by any agency of a state or the United States sustaining an allegation of abuse against another person,” leaving the door open for a ban on concealed carry for a parent who spanks their child or a person victimized by false accusations from a former spouse or intimate. The NRA says that a “paper trail” demonstrating a history of violence or abuse is enough. A judge and jury – due process – are just superfluous. This portion is supposed to improve on the current laws provision that bars a permit from anyone with a “history of violence.” The language about violent misdemeanors addresses this, but even that raises questions. Many people have been cited at some point for involvement in a fist-fight or some such petty up-scuttle. Is it reasonable to bar anyone so cited from the ability to defend themselves? (Note: This provision was retained unchanged in the newer version of the proposal.)
Last year I became a Life Member of Gun Owners of America, and strongly suggest that anyone who wants to protect their right to own guns should join this group. The GOA doesn't play games with the politicians. We can no longer afford the luxury of helping Democrats get elected and hope they do the right thing. I won't give one damn dime to any organization that endorses a Democrat for anything.