This is the VCDL's position on the NRA's sellout of our freedoms. If you are a NRA member, contact them and let them know how you feel.
VCDL's meeting schedule: http://www.vcdl.org/meetings.html
Abbreviations used in VA-ALERT: http://www.vcdl.org/help/abbr.html
1. ACTION ITEM: NRA sells out grassroots to Congressional antis
1. ACTION ITEM: NRA sells out grassroots to Congressional anti-gunners
The NRA is fully prepared to sell out grassroots gun organizations across the nation, including VCDL, to the anti-gun Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives by not fighting a bill that will gag the free speech of those who criticize members of Congress.
The NRA, in a news release included below, has said it will turn a blind eye to H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, since it exempts the NRA. Bottom line: the NRA has been bought off.
Here is the criteria in the bill for an exemption:
* More than 1 million members
* Has been in existence for more than 10 years
* Has members in all 50 states
* Raises 15 percent or less of their income from corporations
It appears the ONLY gun organization to meet that set of criteria would be the NRA - not GOA or SAF or CCRKBA, much less VCDL.
VCDL rarely criticizes another gun organization, but on this issue we cannot, and must not, hold our tongues.
Let me not mince words - this appears to be an unholy alliance between Nancy Pelosi and the NRA, which would wipe out the NRA's competition.
If you snuggle up with a rattlesnake you are going to get bit. The NRA is playing a fool's game if they think they will survive this unscathed. Nancy Pelosi is not their friend now, nor will she ever be.
For their own self-interest, the NRA is apparently choosing to drive, or at least ride in, the bus that is going to run over the rest of us.
The NRA must NOT turn a blind eye to this scheme and MUST fight it to the bitter end. Either all gun-rights organizations are protected or none are protected. We hang together or we will surely hang separately.
The irony of the NRA's position is that if they anger enough gun owners, they could fall below the magic one million member mark and then they would lose their exemption and end up being crushed under the same bus that they threw us under.
1. Call the NRA at (800) 392-8683 and demand that they ACTIVELY OPPOSE HR 5175, S 3295, or any other bill that politically silences the voices of gun owners!
2. Contact your Congressperson and tell them to vote against HR 5175 (thanks to GOA for the prewritten message/delivery system):http://tinyurl.com/263j4rn
Here is the NRA's position on H.R. 5175:http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/NewsRel ... x?ID=13902
STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION ON H.R. 5175, THE DISCLOSE ACT
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The National Rifle Association believes that any restrictions on the political speech of Americans are unconstitutional.
In the past, through the courts and in Congress, the NRA has opposed any effort to restrict the rights of its four million members to speak and have their voices heard on behalf of gun owners nationwide.
The NRAâ€™s opposition to restrictions on political speech includes its May 26, 2010 letter to Members of Congress expressing strong concerns about H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act. As it stood at the time of that letter, the measure would have undermined or obliterated virtually all of the NRAâ€™s right to free political speech and, therefore, jeopardized the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding American.
The most potent defense of the Second Amendment requires the most adamant exercise of the First Amendment. The NRA stands absolutely obligated to its members to ensure maximum access to the First Amendment, in order to protect and preserve the freedom of the Second Amendment.
The NRA must preserve its ability to speak. It cannot risk a strategy that would deny its rights, for the Second Amendment cannot be defended without them.
Thus, the NRAâ€™s first obligation must be to its members and to its most ardent defense of firearms freedom for Americaâ€™s lawful gun owners.
On June 14, 2010, Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged that H.R. 5175 would be amended to exempt groups like the NRA, that meet certain criteria, from its onerous restrictions on political speech. As a result, and as long as that remains the case, the NRA will not be involved in final consideration of the House bill.
The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment from the attacks we face in the local, state, federal, international and judicial arenas without the ability to speak. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced while the national news media, politicians and others are allowed to attack us freely.
The NRA will continue to fight for its right to speak out in defense of the Second Amendment. Any efforts to silence the political speech of NRA members will, as has been the case in the past, be met with strong opposition.
Article in the Wall Street Journal:http://tinyurl.com/25kkbbf
Guns and Free Speech
16 June 2010
The Wall Street Journal
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.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin