Rathner Response Would Be More Respectful if It Didn’t Dismiss Objections to Norquist

By David Codrea

Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist’s amnesty efforts on behalf of the cheap labor Republican establishment are helping to pave a pathway to citizenship that will add millions of new voters that all credible polling shows favor anti-gun Democrats. That means unchallengeable majorities in the legislatures, with carte blanche for court appointments How is that not an issue for NRA to consider when assigning political grades and endorsements?
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)-  “I deeply respect Mr. Codrea and his work in exposing the BATFE’s misdeeds in the Fast and Furious scandal, and his other writings,” NRA director Todd Rathner writes in rebuttal to my recommendation to recall Grover Norquist from the board. “But I strongly disagree with his suggestion that the NRA should focus on issues other than the Second Amendment.”

“The NRA is powerful and can defend our gun rights against all comers because it focuses like a laser on strengthening the Second Amendment,” Rathner explains. “We [NRA] are not the Republican Party. The NRA wants the support of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We are not the pro-life movement. Or the pro-choice movement. We want Americans of all world views to defend the Second Amendment.”

First, let me say how delighted I am that an insider, and continual Nominating Committee favorite, acknowledges my work on Fast and Furious. At the time colleague Mike Vanderboegh and I were doing everything we could think of to capture the interest of the media and the House Oversight Committee to investigate facts we were uncovering, NRA was doing its best not to notice. Even after “Authorized Journalists” started picking up on the story, “NRA News” would studiously avoid any mention of the exclusive revelations Vanderboegh and I were continuously breaking – and there were many.

So thank you, Mr. Rathner. It’s nice to see NRA insiders have at least been aware that unique work outside of the mainstream narrative was being done, even if none of them lifted a finger to help make people aware of it.

But your contention that I have “suggest[ed] that the NRA should focus on issues other than the Second Amendment” is not an accurate representation of what I’m arguing. It’s not even an accurate description of NRA’s position.

Why did NRA get involved with ACLU in fighting so-called “campaign finance reform,” something I’ve always applauded them for? It’s because even though it did not directly involve a “gun” vote, it would have hampered the ability of NRA members and supporters to join political resources.

Why did NRA again support ACLU in challenging NSA’s “Patriot Act” telephone metadata collection practices? Indeed, and as a director, you must have approved of this, why did NRA produce a series of ads (to the tune of “a seven-figure cable buy”) addressing, among other things, “the IRS scandal, media elitism and security vulnerabilities, with a call to return ‘good guys’ to power”?

As an aside, be careful with that going after the support of Democrats tactic. Some politicians live in areas where an anti-gun vote would, at least until the electorate changes more, be political suicide. The party knows that and gives them a pass on gun votes as long as the rest of the platform is supported. And that results in the curious – and rather bipolar, self-defeating and inexcusable, if you think about it – situation where NRA endorses (and mobilizes members to support) candidates who in turn support and enable Obama, the guy NRA calls “the most anti-gun president in history.”

Here’s the thing, Mr. Rathner, and you have to know this, which makes your “response” appear more disingenuous than “respectful”:  “Amnesty” with a “pathway to citizenship” represents nothing less than an existential threat to the Second Amendment. If Grover Norquist and his apologists continue giving NRA a pass to ignore it under a phony “single issue” excuse (which I just demonstrated is one of convenience, not consistency), you’re not going to have anything to “focus like a laser” on. And that’s in a matter of a decade or two.

You may not believe this, Mr. Rathner, but I wish I could agree with you and with Norquist, that my concerns are much ado about an unrelated issue. I’ve been asking for some time for your friend to put my mind at ease about this, but he won’t respond — at least with anything of substance.  Perhaps, since you’ve shown a willingness to engage on the topic, you can be the one to put this to rest.  Here’s what it will take to get me to back off, to admit you’re right, and to apologize for stirring everybody up over an imaginary threat:

Produce credible data – something that can be independently validated – that “amnesty” and a “pathway to citizenship” for MILLIONS of foreign nationals in this country illegally (and even legally, with current culturally suicidal policies) WILL NOT overwhelmingly favor Democrats and anti-gunners. Show us your sources and methodologies for determining this WILL NOT result in supermajorities in state and federal legislatures that will be able to pass all kinds of anti-gun edicts.

Show us how this WILL NOT result in nominations and confirmations of judges to the Supreme and federal courts who will uphold those edicts, and reverse gains made to date. The sudden passing of Justice Scalia, and the precarious balances of the Heller and McDonald decisions, ought to drive home for all how dangerously critical that is.

Notice, Mr. Rathner, I didn’t ask you for platitudes, or for anecdotes about exceptions to the rule, or about who is turning up in increasing numbers at gun stores and ranges – that doesn’t matter if you can’t point to a corresponding overriding shift in voting trends. I didn’t ask for wishful speculation about how education and outreach programs MIGHT help bring more over to the NRA side.

I asked you to show how all credible estimates putting the disparity at over 70% Democrat and anti-gun are wrong. And if you think that can be changed, you’re going to need to be specific about how (assuming it can be done, which you’ll also need to spell out), and how by then the damage won’t be irreversible, beyond any kind of beltway insider political “solution.”

How about some verifiable numbers, Mr. Rathner, to refute my concerns, and show us all how, as you maintain, THE “SINGLE ISSUE” WON’T BE AFFECTED by Norquist’s “immigration” efforts?  And while you’re at it, how about some unequivocal answers to a few more respectful questions?

Please, Mr. Rathner: Prove to me I’m barking up the wrong tree, and that Grover Norquist allying himself with Michael Bloomberg on amnesty won’t reshape the political landscape, and how the whole thing is nothing to concern ourselves over.

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and also posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Again, please respect other cultures. The correct Arabic spelling is Grover al Nor’Qu’ist, may his pomp and glory continue! Peace be upon those who submit.


Tommy Hill,

Did you support the recall efforts in CO?


Outstanding response, Codrea. For those who say mass importation of millions upon millions of new anti gun voters is not an NRA issue, then one could just as easily make the same arguments about the nra opposing campaign finance laws or the NSA data collection that we all know will eventually be used against gun owners. The other comments about the NRA ignoring Fast and Furious are completely accurate – I remember wondering at the time why the nra was silent on the issue while the GOA was not. Of course, the nra was also silent on the CO recall… Read more »


Respectfully, Tommy, your smokescreen swipe at Mr. Codrea is full of sleazy, deceptive beltway M.O., ad hominem, strawmen, and hypocrisy. Norquist’s collaborators don’t get to tell the NRA membership to consider only certain issues and angles, and only with a certain spin that you deem convenient. This is not a jury trial. You are not a judge ordering a jury to disregard this and that fact or argument and threatening the prosecution with contempt if they bring them up. This is an election, and we the “outsiders” — i.e., concerned NRA voters who are not part of the vampire beltway… Read more »


Look at what NRA does, not what they say. When the U.S. Federal Appeals Court in Chicago struck down Illinois’ concealed weapons law in Dec. 2012, it was NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde who put Duty to Inform in Rep. Brandon Phelps HB183 “NRA backed” carry bill, NOT Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Chicago area black caucus Reps. debated Phelps on the IL House floor to take DTI OUT of the bill, and Phelps argued to keep DTI IN his “NRA” bill! Setting up armed citizens to be disarmed, abducted, raped and killed with legal cover by police criminals and police impersonators:… Read more »

Tommy Hill

Respectfully, David, you keep running farther and farther from the real issue, you request Mr Rathner prove something that no one has the facts on. While your issue with immigration may be a valid argument, you are completely missing the real story about what is at stake here. See AmmoLand’s NRA 2016 Recall Question Is An Attack on the Whole of the NRA Organization: https://www.ammoland.com/2016/02/nra-2016-recall-question-is-an-attack-on-the-whole-nra/ This reader’s letter explain how the real issue with this recall effort is an attack on the NRA board by a very few people manipulating the system to disrupt the NRA. Why are you not… Read more »