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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is NRA A Paper Tiger?

That's what Connecticut Democrat U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy told reporters in a telephone press conference covered by Roll Call earlier this week and he is not the first to make the claim.  Their reasoning is because the NRA spent so much money in 2012 and Obama won and several high profile U.S. Senate candidates lost, that the NRA's clout is overblown.
Murphy said his goal is to debunk “the continuing mythology about the power of the NRA” and to convince his colleagues on both sides of the aisle that “there is nothing to fear” from the NRA. He pointed to a Sunlight Foundation analysis showing that the NRA’s PAC spent more than $11 million in the 2012 elections but enjoyed a less than 1 percent return on its investment. Sunlight determined that many of the races in which the NRA spent the most money did not go its way.
I would assert that a number of factors played a role in Obama's victory, and we all know what sunk Todd Akin and Richard Murdock's campaigns.  The fact that Romney failed to turn out as many voters as McCain did in 2008 played a key role in his defeat.  And as Sebastian  over at Shall Not Be Questioned pointed out not long after the election, more than a few gun owners did not trust Romney and Obama largely ignored the gun issue with the exception of the one comment in a debate.

The most disgusting part is that people like Murphy and Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) view the Sandy Hook shooting in a political light, using it to advance a decade old agenda that has been gathering dust, waiting for just the right tragedy to be dusted off.  Murphy and Mark Glaze of MAIG said on the call that Newtown has spawned well financed new groups to counter the NRA and have changed the politics.  Really?  Look at all of the articles reporting on yesterday's Senate hearing and almost every single one notes that the only consensus seems to be focused on changes to background checks and that the chances for legislation targeting so-called "assault weapons" and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds appear to be dimming.  Even the White House seems to just be mouthing support for such legislation.

George Washington University law and history professor Robert Cottrel commenting to Roll Call that reports of the NRA's demise are greatly exagerated:
“I would be very cautious” about dismissing the NRA, Cottrol said, noting that Democrats leveled similar charges before enacting an assault weapons ban two decades ago, only to see Republicans seize House control in 1994. “Because essentially we heard the same drumbeat in ’92, ’93 and ’94, and it turned out to be totally false.”
One final note, in the same post by Sebastion referenced above, he suggested that if the NRA's power really is waning, it is because gun owners have become complacent and are going back to sleep.  He's right. The NRA is not Wayne LaPierre and that glass building on Rt. 50 in Fairfax.  It's millions of gun owners, including both those who choose to pay dues, and those who support the fundamental right to keep and bear arms but for whatever reason don't stroke a check for dues.  If we don't get out and vote and work against those who would take away our rights, we lose. 

I think we can say that gun owners have been awakened.  NRA membership has increased by 250,000 new members based on a number of reports. Closer to home, VSSA's membership has increased 10% since the talk of new gun control began. When gun owners see a serious threat, they respond.


MrApple said...

Don't count the NRA or its supporters out just yet.

MrApple said...

Don't count the NRA or its supporters out just yet. The 2nd Amendment will carry on.