This is a discussion on NRA on the side of Democrats?!?! within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Mods, I'm posting this here because it seemed the most appropriate and I wanted people to be aware of what the NRA is doing. I, ...
Mods, I'm posting this here because it seemed the most appropriate and I wanted people to be aware of what the NRA is doing. I, for one, am opposed to this and will be calling them to tell them so.
The following is from a piece in the Wall Street Journal:
Guns and Free Speech
The NRA sells out to Democrats on the First Amendment.
The National Rifle Association is suffering a sudden onset of amnesia this week, as the gun lobby cuts a deal to exempt itself from the latest Congressional attempt to repeal the First Amendment. NRA members may soon regret the organization's bid to ingratiate itself with Democrats at the expense of its longtime free-speech allies.
The campaign finance bill, sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen, is the Democratic response to the Supreme Court's January decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which restored the First Amendment right of corporations, unions and nonprofits to make independent campaign expenditures. At the time, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre called Citizens United "a defeat for arrogant elitists who wanted to carve out free speech as a privilege for themselves and deny it to the rest of us."
Look who's arrogant and elitist now. Under the Schumer-Van Hollen bill, political speech would be bound up with new restrictions, including special burdens on government contractors and corporations that have a certain level of foreign ownership or received TARP funds. The bill also includes disclosure rules designed to hit corporations, requiring CEOs to appear to "approve this message" the way politicians do, and for groups to identify their donors. Except for the NRA.
Under the NRA carve-out in the House bill, the new rules won't apply to any organizations that have been around for more than 10 years, have more than a million members and receive less than 15% of their funding from corporate donors. That fits the NRA nicely, though as best we can figure, everyone else, from the Sierra Club to Planned Parenthood, fails to qualify. So much for defending the little guy against the fat cats.
This backroom deal came at the behest of Democrats from conservative states, for whom the NRA's scorecard of their legislative record can be a major boost or obstacle to election. Creating a special exception for the NRA, and thereby assuring the Democrats "good grades" on Second Amendment rights, eases the way for the bill to be passed. A failing grade on First Amendment rights is somebody else's problem.
By erecting what amounts to a grandfather clause of First Amendment rights, the bill creates a sort of interest-group incumbency, concentrating the power to speak freely among a handful of large and longstanding groups. Established organizations like the NRA provide important representation for their members, but their lobbying cause is specific and limited.
Left vulnerable by the special treatment are the smaller grassroots outfits that often pop up in response to new and immediate policy challenges. The ability of these groups to count on the full protection of the First Amendment is critical to diverse and responsive political debate.
The NRA may swing a big lobbying stick by virtue of the breadth and voting power of its members, but it draws its legitimacy from the Constitution and it has drawn support on gun rights from those who care about the entire Bill of Rights. Cutting a special deal at the expense of the First Amendment with lawmakers who have decided for now to stop gutting the Second Amendment reveals an NRA that is unprincipled and will be weaker for it in the long run.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset