column By: Steve Garbe | August, 19
The recent revelations concerning the NRA, or more specifically, the controversy surrounding Wayne LaPierre, Lt. Col. Oliver North and Chris Cox, have certainly given many gun owners food for serious thought. Adding to the general confusion is the apparent obfuscation on the part of the NRA, who is attempting to say “All’s well…move along, nothing to see here.” Obviously, all is not well and their attempts to minimize the controversy are simply adding to many NRA members’ misgivings. Almost all NRA members that I have talked to recently are at the very least disenchanted, with many being extremely upset with an organization that they had strongly believed in and loyally supported.
Looking at the situation with an unemotional eye it would appear that there were some within the organization that fell prey to that most human of personal failings…greed. Being surrounded by money, and lots of it, they lost their direction and forgot that they were still accountable to the membership at some point in time. Arrogance, I believe, also played a part in the drama; fueled by the belief that their actions would never be questioned. This was a serious miscalculation.
Predictably, the enemies of the NRA smelled blood in the water and lost no time in attacking. How much damage they will be able to do remains to be seen, but it is not a good situation. One can only hope that it will serve as an important lesson to be learned by those remaining in leadership positions at the NRA as they move forward. The NRA will emerge stronger from these controversies if they deal with them in a positive, open manner. More often than not, negative situations come with a positive opportunity, if one is simply wise enough to see it.
However, I believe that the anti-Second Amendment crowd is also making a huge mistake. They believe that without an NRA, they will be able to run roughshod over the Constitution. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as the vast majority of gun owners are well aware of the “anti’s” tactics. Thanks largely to the past efforts of the same NRA so criticized now, gun people will stand together, vote in a block, and will not be swayed by leftist propaganda. They know the freedoms that are at stake and which are still protected by the Second Amendment. Many, like myself, are “single-issue” voters. I consider a political candidate’s stance on the Second Amendment to be a litmus test for all other issues. If we can’t agree on the importance and interpretation of the right to bear arms, then we most likely won’t see eye to eye on much else.
The Left is convinced that with a diminished NRA, gun owners will simply roll over and give up. Quite to the contrary, gun people are more aware than ever of the duplicity and hypocrisy of anti-gun politicians. If anything, there is a sense of heightened vigilance in the gun community. We are far from being in the dark about new threats to the Second Amendment, as organizations such as the Gun Owners of America, The Second Amendment Foundation and many others are keeping us abreast of current developments. Consider giving these organizations a measure of your support. No, they are not as large or powerful as the NRA, but we are all on the same team here and having many eyes on the ball is a good thing.
There have been “house-cleanings” at the NRA in the past and they are to be expected in any organization as large. I hope that this one will serve to re-focus the NRA on many issues that they have been neglecting for some time. If the NRA wants to survive as the premier organization for the firearms community then they will have to weed out the “bad apples”, provide transparency on their actions, listen to their membership and move forward, learning from their latest difficulties. The larger mistake that can be made is for you, and I, to become disengaged from the gun rights issue because of the poor behavior of a few individuals. – Gut Ziel