David Keene, NRA First Vice-President On H.R. 5175

David Keene, NRA First Vice-President On H.R. 5175

National Rifle Association
ational Rifle Association

Washington, DC –-(Ammoland.com)- I have been an NRA Board member for some years and currently serve as NRA's First Vice-President — that you may know.

What you may not know is that I have been in the forefront of the fight against liberal attempts to tilt the political playing field their way for decades through what they like to call campaign finance reform.

This is a battle that began in the seventies when I put together the case that went to the United States Supreme Court known as Buckley v. Valeo. I was a vocal opponent of the so-called McCain-Feingold “reforms” that shackled groups like the NRA in recent years, and I have served as a First Amendment Fellow at Vanderbilt University's Freedom Forum.

I can assure you that I would never countenance a “deal” of the sort you think the NRA made with Congress to further Democratic attempts to restrict political speech. I consider such restrictions to be not only repugnant, but blatantly unconstitutional, an opinion shared by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris Cox.

The so-called “DISCLOSE ACT” is a horrible piece of legislation designed to do exactly what you suggest. It would require advocacy groups to run a regulatory gauntlet designed to make it very difficult for many of them to play the role for which they were formed and is both bad policy and flies in the face of recent Supreme Court decisions.

But I'm afraid there's more . particularly how it would affect the NRA. When you think of the NRA you no doubt think mostly about the NRA's advocacy on Second Amendment issues, but the NRA also provides training to its members, law enforcement and military personnel, works with states, counties and private organizations to build ranges and runs competitive events such as those at Camp Perry in Ohio. Since Camp Perry is a military base, public monies go into range development and federal funds go to training military and police personnel, the NRA would be classed with government contractors and TARP recipients under the DISCLOSE ACT as originally written and effectively prohibited from engaging in any meaningful political activity.

In other words, this act as originally written by anti-gun legislators like New York Senator Chuck Schumer would have silenced the NRA .which would have been the death knell for the Second Amendment.

NRA has one major mission . to defend the right of its members and all Americans to Keep & Bear Arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Therefore, the NRA served notice on Congress that since the act threatened our very existence, we were prepared to do anything and everything that might be required to defeat it unless it was changed so that we could continue to represent the views of our members in the public arena. The letter, sent on May 26, was public. The NRA did not engage in back room shenanigans, but told Congressional leaders quite clearly that we would do whatever we needed to do to protect the rights of our members and our ability to defend the Second Amendment.

Last week Democratic leadership in the House capitulated by agreeing to exempt the NRA from the act — not in return for NRA support, but to avoid a political war that might cost them even more seats this fall.

I have to tell you that I never thought the Democrats would agree to this — not because they have much regard for constitutional rights — because I didn't believe their left wing would allow it. The events since their capitulation convince me that their fear of NRA retaliation forced them to take steps that split their coalition and could easily doom the whole bill.

Consider this: on Thursday night, California Senator Diane Feinstein, one of the most anti-Second Amendment members of the Senate, announced that she wouldn't support the DISCLOSE ACT if it exempted the NRA. By Friday some two-dozen left wing activist groups that had previously been pressing Congress to pass the bill announced that now they wanted it defeated.

The bottom line is that in refusing to risk its members' rights and the very survival of the Second Amendment, the NRA has also made it less rather than more likely that support for this terrible legislation will collapse and the free speech rights of every one of us will benefit

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military. Visit: www.nra.org

  • 9 thoughts on “David Keene, NRA First Vice-President On H.R. 5175

    1. My NRA membership comes up for renewal in October. If Wayne LaPierre is on the NRA payroll at that time I will NOT renew.

      His sellout on the DISCLOSE ACT #5175 that just passed the U.S. House is inexcusable. He had the muscle to defeat the bill but carved out an exception for the NRA and saddled everyone else with onerous, unconstitutional provisions that may will protect the Democrat majorities in November.

      The best protection for the Second Amendment is a unencumbered First Amendment.

      I hope Pete Brownell, who is an NRA Director, is seeing these comments as the Directors should be approving major policy decisions, LaPierre is a loose cannon.

      Respectfully, Jack Sherman

    2. My husband is a member of the NRA, and every single week we get at least one piece of mail asking for money. It's usually some kind of legislative or political action funds request.

      You can bet that we won't be giving another dime now that we know that the NRA has waffled on what we believed was its commitment to the constitution, the rule of law, and to the protection of our contitutional rights.

      Passage of 5175 shredded the first amendment. How can the NRA claim to be unequivocally committed to the 2nd amendment (their SINGLE issue) if they don't stand on the bedrock principle of the 1st amendment. You either believe in ALL of the constitution or you believe in NONE of it. If you believe in and support the 2nd amendment, you can't speak about it and defend it if you have no 1st amendment rights. And, if we have no constitution, the 2nd amendment, or any other is a moot point.

      The NRA should not have sat silently by. They should have loudly opposed this. Reminds me of how the AARP let the senior citizens down during the health care debate.

      It's my opinion that the NRA needs watching……too big for their britches? Time will tell.



    3. I want gun control laws repealed not strengthened or upheld, when will the NRA start supporting that effort?

      In Illinois the NRA actually supported a bill that allows the Illinois State police to qualify for a federal grant to upgrade their background check system.

      Plus they played games by declaring a neutral position on HB5832 thus allowing HB5832 to pass strengthening of the FOID card law. Now if your caught with a loaded gun in Illinois without a valid FOID card its NOW a mandatory 1-3 years in prison.

      I think the NRA leadership should be arrested for treason.

    4. I agree with J. Ladds comment. You can rest assured that if HR 5175 passes, my membership in the NRA is history. I never thought it was possible, but the NRA has been bought off. This really sucks! It's a sure bet the Democraps cooked the whole thing up as a trap for the NRA, and they walked into it right down the primrose path. I hate compromise in any form and this whole thing positively reeks of it. "We'll exempt you from our provisions if you'll agree not to fight against them"…..

      Larry Ray Wyoming

    5. Sorry boys, but I have to side with Tom Davis (above). I, too heard the pathetic, bedwetting arguements put forth by our very own Wayne LaPierre on Laura Ingraham's radio show today. I was insulted that he thought he could blow smoke past me. Does this loose quote ring a bell with either of you? (La Pierre and Keene) "All that evil needs to prevail is for good men to be silent"….. Shame on you both.

      Perhaps you were still "thanking" Harry Reed for the firing range outside of Phoenix. Do you think you can trust Reed? I guess you'll find out soon enough. If HR 5175 passes the next time around….. you two deserve any and all the blame you get!

      NOT HAPPY!

      J Ladd, Missouri

    6. Those who think the NRA should have no political voice seem to be liberals who have no sense of value of the Constitution, especially the 2nd and 1st Amendments. Without the NRA's continued endeavor to protect our gun rights we would have, long ago been forced to surrender our firearms( just what liberals want). Silence the NRA and subsequently, as time goes on, you will also be silenced.

      The above article tells me that the liberals, realizing the NRA will, as always fight the Disclose Act, capitulated and elected to inform the NRA that they will be exempted, i.e., no back-room deals. Food for thought: Now that we know Feinstein and other anti-gunners will not support this act, IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THIS WAS NRA'S COVERT PLAN ALL ALONG, learning, perhaps, that, the anti's who hate the NRA so much, would exempt them and , subsequently not vote for this Act? Or did the NRA simply expect this to happen since They are well aware of how the gun haters operate? Think about it! What ever the reason;, we gun owners better stick together! Bickering and dividing ourselves is just what our arch enemy Obama, Chuck Schumer and Feinstein want. There is too much at stake for us to become divided! The NRA is our bulwark between the gun haters and our Second Amendment rights. Don't forget it!

    7. You must be nieve. Over the years the majority of politicians that have gone head to head in oposition to the NRA have been voted out. As for the Democrats being aganist the constitution. What hole or planet have you have been on. It has been obvious that the Obama circus has assumed power, he has done everything possible to trample on the constitution! He has stated the constitution is an out of date document. He has succeded in grabbing all the power he can. He has said often the only institutions who should owen arms are the police and military. Our right to the second admedment has been protected by the NRA! The left wing loon politicians fear the second admendment and they should, not only the guns but the people who own them! It is a threat to their ultamate agenda which is to turn our republic into a socio-marxist country. So wake UP!!!

    8. And another thing! Who do you think you are fooling? "I have to tell you that I never thought the Democrats would agree to this – not because they have much regard for constitutional rights – because I didn’t believe their left wing would allow it. The events since their capitulation convince me that their fear of NRA retaliation forced them to take steps that split their coalition and could easily doom the whole bill." Democrat office holders aren't afraid of the NRA or anything else short of a lynch mob. They don't want to see campaign finance reform or restrictions any more than Republican snake-charmers do. This whole thing is a sham that was planned to fail from the beginning. I don't particularly like California Senator Diane Feinstein but I'll tell you this. She stated a principle and refused to go against it. Where does the NRA stand? You'll refrain from resisting the "Disclose" act since they exempted the NRA? That's not principle, that's Quislingesque in it's selfishness. If NRA membership weren't required for membership at my shooting range, I would withdraw from the NRA. You make me puke with your self-righteous lies and breast-beating declarations. Do you really think that your "top donors" are worried about standing behind political ads? Do you think that restricting foreign influence in American elections is a bad thing? I think anybody who doesn't support campaign finance reforms is as two-faced as the elected jerks who propose it only to back away from it. And I think you, David Keene, and Wayne LaPierre are both unmitigated and self-aggrandizing liars.

    9. I am a NRA member and political conservative. More so than David Keene and Wayne LaPierre, it would seem. Rather than hide behind obfuscating rhetoric and double-talking, two-faced political spin, I will state plainly my position. Disclosure of the identity and political affiliation of purveyors of political commentary is perfectly reasonable. Only sneaks and thieves try to hide. Further, the first and fifth amendments, indeed all the amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights, express and detail individual rights, not the rights of corporations, unions, clubs or other associations. To attribute such rights to such entities would be to endow affiliated individuals with additional voice, making them more equal than others. Nobody should be denied the opportunity to express their political opinions, or any other opinions for that matter. But please don't bluster and whine about how disclosure will violate the NRA's "rights". Businesses, unions and private organizations like the NRA, the Sierra Club, PETA, et al, should have no political voice. They are artificial entities, not individuals, and represent special interests. Representative government should not pander to special interests. So shut the hell up!

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