Since I have previously made my opinion on the Vichy NRA pretty clear, I was reluctant to weigh in on the latest controversy. Two columns finally prompted me to speak up.
The starting point for all this — just in case you haven’t kept up — was Mike Spies’ report on the NRA’s financial woes. It appears to confirm many things people have warned of for decades.
Jeff Knox spoke up on the matter.
NRA’s Dirty Laundry Exposed as Pro-Gun Group Cleans House
While the NRA is a powerful communication tool between rights supporters and their elected servants and losing that central conduit would be a significant blow, it would only be a temporary setback.
Mr. Knox focuses on the apparent corruption. He’s overlooking a major point which Mark Walters touches on.
To NRA or Not to NRA
I have disagreed with the NRA many, many times over the years over many issues and no doubt I will in the future. In fact, I nearly tossed my membership a few years back when the NRA here in the state of GA refused to support the GeorgiaCarry.org effort to remove the 140-year-old ban on carrying firearms at a “public gathering.”
I’ve seen far too many posts on social media, which to me is a joke anyway, from chatroom warriors that are calling for the destruction of the NRA.
Both columns are worth reading in full, but the snippets I quoted are my point of contention.
If the VNRA BOD finally gets off its collective ass and cleans up the financial corruption, it is entirely possible to save the organization. They should not save it.
Yes, I am one of those calling for the end of the VNRA, because financial fraud is the least of the problems. That can be fixed by firing the appropriate people, suing to recover funds, and — I strongly suspect — criminally charging a few.
The real problem is how that “powerful communication tool” and money have been used.
Mr. Walters finally noticed the problem when the NRA wouldn’t help with Georgia SB308. For him, that wasn’t quite enough to make him quit, possibly because it was largely passive inaction by the organization. OK, sometimes one must pick and choose where to dedicate one’s resources. Judgement call; I’d be with Walters on this one. But what Walters didn’t notice until nine years ago is something I’ve been about for decades.
The real issue with the VNRA isn’t corruption or not doing enough to push rights. The problem is what the group actively does to violate rights. NFA ’34, GCA ’68, FOPA ’86. Everyone knows those. It shows how long the rot has existed.
They tried to keep HELLER from going to SCOTUS. They actively killed constitutional carry legislation in New Hampshire. They wrote an “assault weapon” ban in Ohio. They sabotaged an RKBA/free speech case in NH.
I could go on, but let’s skip ahead to 2017, when the VNRA called for the ATF to regulate bump-fire stocks as NFA items because they make semi-autos work like machineguns. (And despite their weasel-worded defense, I haven’t seen a single court challenge from them.)
Then there’s the VNRA’s support for no-due process ex parte protective orders.
Yes, the VNRA is politically powerful. But they aren’t using that power to advance rights. They push gun control. And then they fundraise for cash to “fight” what they imposed on us.
Arguably, the last thing the VNRA did for gun owners was sunsetting the national waiting period… by saddling us with an ineffective NICS which violates the rights of millions of innocent people while still passing thousands of prohibited persons. And making us pay for the “privilege.”
The Vichy National Rifle Association is inherently anti-gun. It sacrificed rights for political power and money a long time ago. That’s what it does. Forcing it to transparently and honestly spend gun owners’ money to violate their rights isn’t “fixing” anything.
For decades, I called on the group to change its ways, and really work for our rights. I made very specific suggestions (and never, ever once received any reply from anyone at any level). Quite a few election cycles later, it hasn’t improved. It got worse.
If reformers haven’t managed to “repair” the VNRA by now, after decades of trying, they aren’t going to succeed now. Many gun owners have an emotional attachment to the idea of the NRA, but it’s time to admit that ideal is gone.
It’s time to pull the plug.