By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- With the Ohio primary tomorrow, it’s evident Gun Owners of America Chairman Tim Macy has not kept a pledge made by Director Emeritus Larry Pratt last year on national radio about factoring a candidate’s position on immigration in the group’s political ratings.
That’s despite GOA warning its members “You Could Lose all your Guns before 2035 under the Amnesty Bill before the Senate,” and explaining why:
[I]f the amnesty bill is passed, within 20 years, Washington could be as anti-gun as Albany, Hartford, and Sacramento. This is because the bill will create at least 11,500,000 new citizens — but probably closer to 20,000,000 — and, if history is any guide, they will vote 71% of the time for far Left Democrats like Barack Obama.
This is exactly what happened to California — which was once a Red State. Because of the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty bill of 1986, the state lurched violently to the left and now can’t pass gun control restrictions fast enough. If this were to happen at the national level, we would lose the ability to stop massive gun bans and gun registration schemes.
Pratt pledged to Armed American Radio listeners last March — in direct response to my question — that GOA would begin including amnesty for illegal aliens as a factor in scores it assigns politicians (segment begins @46 min. in):
Well the answer you’re going to get from us at Gun Owners of America is ‘Absolutely should be part of the scoring,’ and it’s something that we plan on including in our rating of Congress this and next year, because, as we’ve already discussed, if we don’t block this amnesty move — now — before we get 5 … 8 million previously illegal aliens now voting, 85% of whom are, they tell pollsters, gonna vote for anti-gun Democrats, that’s the ball game. That’s it. We lose our Second Amendment, doesn’t matter whether it’s still in the Constitution in writing or not, the National Archives can’t protect it from this kind of assault. Seems pretty unequivocal. Seems pretty correct.
So why, when I check GOA’s Congressional ratings, do I see Steve Chabot rated “A,” while immigration watchdog site Numbers USA scores him at “F-” ? Brad Renstrup gets a “D” on immigration issues and an”A” from GOA. William Johnson gets an “A” from GOA and a “C-” from Numbers USA. Pat Tiberi gets a GOA “B” and an immigration group “F.” James Renacci gets an “A-” from Gun Owners and a “D-” from Numbers.
That GOA link is on their main page under the “Resources” tab. It’s where members go to see how their representatives are rated by “The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.” And I only checked my state. I’d expect the same results for all. And it’s too late to do anything about it.
In this case, damage is somewhat mitigated by the fact that many of the candidates aren’t facing same-party primary opponents, but the fact remains, the changes were supposed to begin last year. And in the Wenstrup race, challenger Jim Lewis is labeled a “true reformer” by Numbers USA, and who knows how many other primary races have been, are and will be affected?
Aside from giving an errant pol a pass and letting him go into the general election thinking he’s doing everything right, we’re supposed to also be playing a long game here. We’re expecting record turnouts, meaning if one of the squishes gets record votes, why should he think his constituency doesn’t approve of his actions? Why not advise gun owners to leave his ballot bubble blank, and let him see that despite record votes, his draw was mediocre? Why not make sure he understands the reason for that?
I’ve long defended GOA’s ratings over NRA’s because they’ve been more stringent on holding politicians accountable to RKBA fidelity, and have been good about factoring in relevant tangential impacts like bait and switch backdoor threats buried in international agreements, and VA threats to veterans.
Those are real and need to be vigorously defended against, but they pale in comparison to the one threat NRA will not admit exists, and that former GOA leadership correctly and courageously stood alone in assessing as “the ball game.”
There’s another grading concern that appears contradictory, for Marco Rubio: A new alert by GOA says the reason he was not endorsed is because he has “a Second Amendment problem,” and that it “reaffirms Gun Owners of America in our decision to endorse Ted Cruz.” They were referring to a video of a vote Rubio cast while on the West Miami City Commission, and how he “lied” about his vote FOR a city parks gun ban.
Back in December, GOA cited Rubio’s position on immigration as what cost him GOA’s endorsement:
“Most immigrants are Democrats,” Pratt says. “That’s not good for gun rights…”
Just moments ago, while getting ready to publish this article, a pro-Ted Cruz GOA email signed by Macy came over the transom addressing this concern, claiming:
Marco Rubio is a good-hearted articulate young man who, as he gains more experience, could have a great future in the Republican Party. But his inexperience in negotiating with Senator Chuck Schumer over the Gang of Eight amnesty bill almost cost us EVERYTHING. Had Marco succeeded in giving a path to citizenship for 11,000,000 anti-gun voters, we would have been on a glide-path that ultimately would have made our battle for gun rights hopeless.
While it’s true their grade for Rubio dropped from an “A” the last time they rated him to a current “B,” that hardly seems to reflect the seriousness of a gun ban vote, lying about it, and supporting what GOA itself says would make further political efforts “hopeless.”
It’s not easy for me to make this report, as I have always considered GOA to be the superior national gun rights organization, especially as far as being “no compromise” is concerned. Reliance on that reputation by its supporters means they have a special responsibility to live up to it and to address any questions that challenge that assessment.
I have a couple: Why do the grades not reflect the pledge? And what will be the policy going forward?
Out of respect and in the interest of fairness, I sent an advance draft of this report to Mr. Pratt last night and invited comments from GOA. Because key primary elections start first thing tomorrow morning, there’s no more time to wait for a response. If I receive one in time to make a difference, I’ll add an update.
UPDATE (from Larry Pratt):
David, I just saw your email about our rating. GOA included the amnesty measure in our 2014 rating which only had a vote in the Senate. We only update our ratings every election biennium. We will not be using every immigration measure in our ratings because we are not an immigration group. We did use amnesty because of the nexus to tilting the voting balance in the Congress. I hope you will publish a correction. Larry
I posted the explanation, but I don’t view it as a “correction.” I see guys with “A” grades followed by “F” grades, and no apparent crossover between the two. That’s the bottom line, is it not? And you’re going to ignore all the undermining and on-the-record positions and what went on before 2014 until such time as a new vote? According to that rationale, a guy could run on an anti-gun platform and take money from Bloomberg, but until he votes, he’s clean.
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.