Thursday, January 04, 2007

L. Neil Smith and the NRA

Say Uncle has a link to an article by L. Neil Smith about the NRA and its policies. He is critical of what he perceives to be the compromises that the NRA has taken in its defense of the 2nd Amendment. He thinks the NRA should adopt a no compromise strategy and that the compromises of the past have severely harmed the cause of freedom.

I understand the appeal of adopting a no compromise strategy. It seems that we freedom advocates are suffering the death of a thousand cuts. We seem to be endlessly compromising while the forces of gun bigotry chisel away our freedoms until we are left with empty words and promises and then have to beg for rights that are supposed to be guaranteed.

It is certainly well past time to start pushing back.

I think the NRA recognizes this and that is part of its preemptive strike against any possible Democratic Party inspired gun control laws.

But, I also recognize that there are times when we have no choice but to compromise. In the 60’s and 70’s, gun control was in the air and it was going to pass. If the NRA had adopted a no compromise strategy, gun control still would have passed. The NRA would have been sidelined and the laws would have been much more restrictive.

Whether you are an incrementalist or someone who brooks no compromise, I think it is a mistake to quit the NRA in a huff over their policies. At the annual meeting in 2005, only a small perecentage of the total membership was present. If more no compromise members were active and voted in NRA elections, the organization would move more towards that attitude.

The NRA is the largest and most influential gun rights organization in the United States. But their membership is a fraction of that of the AARP. Congress doesn’t dare push any laws that might alienate the AARP or their members. They are deathly afraid of a voting block that huge. If every active gun owner was a member of the NRA, Congress would take notice and I think that we would have a much better chance of rolling back these noisome gun control laws.

Most anti-gun types have never heard of JPFO or GOA, but they know and hate the NRA. The NRA with its multi-million dollar headquarters in suburban Virginia projects power and the Washington establishment may hate them, but they do respect that power.

L. Neil Smith also has 12 points that he thinks the NRA should adopt in order to best defend the 2nd Amendment.

I think point 4 is particularly important.

FOURTH, in the same context, I'd want the NRA to disconnect all future discussion of the Second Amendment from the totally unrelated topic of crime. My rights have nothing whatever to do with anything anybody else does, right or wrong. If the crime rate were only 1/10 that of today, my rights would be unaffected. Likewise, if the rate were TEN TIMES what it is, it would have nothing whatever to do with my individual right to own and carry weapons.”

I think gun rights advocates have made a big mistake in trying to tie crime to the Right to Bear Arms. We often argue that after passage of a concealed carry law that crime goes down or doesn’t change. I feel that this line of reasoning is a trap. What will happen if crime goes up if we get rid of a bit of gun control? Then the anti-gun zealots can yell, ah ha, you argued that guns lower crime, now we have a situation where crime is going up because of the repeal of a gun control law.

Let’s not argue from the gun banners paradigm. We have a Human Right to defend ourselves and to own and bear arms to best protect our persons and property. It could easily be argued that crime could be reduced if we had more restrictions on speech and the press. This should not be tolerated and our disarmament should not be tolerated, regardless of the crime rate.

As they say, RTWT.

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