Examining NRA's Response To Disclose Act
By John C. Sigler, President, FCI
Editor's Note: (The Fifty Caliber Institute (FCI) and their Board of Directors are all strong supporters of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and for the good work they do. This article is an attempt to provide supporters with another view of the discussion.- John Burtt, CHMN – FCI)
Washington, DC –-(Ammoland.com)- Much has been written (and is still being written) about NRA's response to the so-called “DISCLOSE ACT”, H.R. 5175 that is being discussed in Washington, DC on Capital Hill.
Much of it has been false, misleading, inaccurate and in some cases insulting.
Much of it has been intentionally designed to damage NRA in a year when NRA's political clout will be sorely needed if sanity is to be restored to the halls of Congress.
On May 26, 2010, Chris Cox, the Executive Director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, sent a letter to Congress clearly expressing its opposition to HR. 5175 on both practical and First Amendment grounds.
That opposition was based in part upon the fact that H.R. 5175, as introduced, would:
- Prohibit any organization that has a $50,000 or higher, contract with the US government from engaging in political speech – remember NRA trains federal law enforcement and military members.
- Require NRA to list top donor and top five donors on all election mass mailings, including member mailings.
- Require NRA to put CEO and top donor on all “robocalls”, no exception for member calls
- Require NRA to put CEO and top five donors on all election TV ads
- Require NRA to put CEO and top two donors on all election radio ads
- Require NRA to put CEO and top donors on all internet election paid internet ads that appear on outside web sites
- Require NRA to disclose all donors of $600 or more to FEC for all independent expenditures
- Require NRA to disclose all donors of $1,000 or more to FEC for all electioneering communications
- Require NRA to engage in several other activities specifically designed to stifle electioneering activity and drive up the cost of engaging in political activity.
NRA has never said that it would support any version of H.R. 5175. However, now that NRA has been exempted there is no further need for NRA to actively oppose the bill – and therein lays the controversy, I suppose.
While that controversy has been widely criticized by others who consider themselves either partisan allies of NRA, sister organizations, or others who were hoping to use NRA's political influence and clout to their own ends, it has also begotten the ire and wrath of those in Congress whose hatred for NRA is such that they now say they will not vote for the bill if NRA is exempted – i.e., those loyal to the Brady Campaign and others. – Remember, the avowed purpose of the first campaign finance law (McCain-Feingold) was to “silence NRA”.
To those who are claiming H.R. 5175 as an “NRA sell out”: Simply put, there was no sell out. And to suggest that there was a “sell out” is to either deny the facts or not be aware of the facts.
On the contrary, NRA does not and will not actively support H.R. 5175, in any form. “But that's just more political semantics”, you say? Well, if you are a checker player maybe it is. But, if you are a “Spock-level” chess player, it is far from simple semantics.
Chris Cox and his staff have but one loyalty and that is to protect and defend the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, and to position NRA so as to be an effective advocate for firearms freedom in America. Neither they nor NRA are allowed to be partisans or to tie NRA's ability to successfully execute its mission to any other group, organization or cause. NRA is and remains a single issue organization – its Bylaws require absolute fealty to that principle.
Before you criticize NRA for understanding that this isn't your grandpa's checker game or even your college dean's chess game, you need to thank them for treating this as an extremely complex exercise more akin to Mister Spock's three dimensional chess game demanding a very sophisticated and highly intellectual approach to the very serious problem at hand.
We ask you to examine the facts and watch what happens in Congress over the next several weeks and months. Don't be fooled or misled. Wait until all of the facts are in; watch how NRA's “Mister Spock” (Chris Cox) moves the various pieces on the political game board we call Congress; and understand that if NRA wins, all gun owners and all those who believe in the entire Bill of Rights – including the First Amendment, will ultimately win.
The stakes are high – nothing less than the ultimate survival of American freedom is at stake.
The Fifty Caliber Institute is an national organization dedicated to the advancement of the .50 caliber shooting sports. FCI has a tradition of proud service to America's law enforcement and military services, helping to make our streets and nation safer. Drawing on top experts ranging from firearm manufacturers to aerospace engineers, FCI rebuts wild anti-gun claims with clear, documented facts. If you want the honest truth, look to FCI. Visit: www.fiftycal.org