Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who runs the NRA?

This post is cross-posted at Media Matters Gun Facts




Here's a list of people who ran for the 2010 election to the Board of Directors of the NRA. There's a more current list on a new website sponsored by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. This new site provides information about the NRA Board and some of its' extremist Board members. Check it out for yourself. As you can see by my first link, only 7% of members even vote for their Board. They can vote for up to 25 people in just one election year !! Really? That is one large and unwieldy Board- 76 members who serve in some Board capacity for the NRA. Some of these board members are current or former members of Congress. Some members are also visible in the entertainment industry. One well known Board member, actor Tom Selleck, has donated some guns he used on movie sets to the NRA. Great. You may also remember Oliver North, who also serves on the Board of the NRA. It's always good to have a former member of President Reagan's National Security Council involved in the Iran-Contra scandal on your Board. At one point, North was charged and convicted of felonies but the charges were vacated, not because he didn't do that for which he was indicted, but because he was granted immunity. Does that mean he can own guns?  And sometimes Board members are just folks who have worked hard to defend their second amemdment rights against the fallacy that those rights are going to be taken away. Linda Walker from Ohio is an example of how hard work in the organization can lead to being elected to the NRA Board, which she was in the recent 2011 election.

Many NRA Board members are just folks like you and me who are working for a cause in which they believe. But I find myself curious as to how such a huge Board works together to get anything done. I am familiar with how boards work and take my various board member roles seriously. Are these Board members in name only or do they actually meet together in a room to make decisions about the organization? Are they figure heads as opposed to working Board members? Do they approve of a budget and personnel decisions? I know one thing for sure. These Board members often represent extreme positions on the gun issue and other issues. I wrote a post about NRA Board member Ted Nugent a while ago. Now there's a profile in weirdness. When he opens his mouth, one never knows what will come out next. Does Nugent represent the entire NRA Board? If so, are they all this extreme? If not, why is he still on the Board? Sometimes a Board member goes way off message and hurts the organization. I wonder if the NRA thinks that Ted Nugent speaks for them and approves of his violent and strange rhetoric?

Here is NRA Board member Ken Blackwell interviewed by Cam Edwards from NRA radio on a YouTube video. As you can see, the NRA is interested in all sorts of conservative issues other than gun issues. Does Blackwell speak for the NRA organization and its' members? You can read here about the controversy surrounding Ken Blackwell during his stint as the Ohio Secretary of State, his run for Ohio Governor and other issues. I have a particular interest in NRA Board member Larry Craig because of his ties to a scandalous incident at the Minneapolis St. Paul airport. You should remember that when Craig served in the U.S. Senate, he was charged with lewd conduct in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis airport, leading to his arrest. I have spent a fair amount of time at that airport and recognize where it is by the photo on the link above. This is, of course, apart from Craig's role as an NRA Board member but remember that when Craig served as a U.S. Senator, he promoted many pro gun laws. Was there a conflict of interest in these votes by Craig?

So what happens when important legislative initiatives come before NRA Board members? Do they discuss strategy with their appointed directors? Are they involved in any decision-making regarding legislation? Are their conflicts of interest among Board members when making these decisions? This article points out that a number of NRA Board members are in management at gun and/or ammunition manufacturing companies. So how does that work? If the NRA is powerful enough to block legislation regarding bans on high capacity magazines, do their Board members profit? Keep those sales of ammunition coming. Those magazines are being used regularly in mass shootings all over the country. From the linked article, " In other words, what the NRA does has nothing to do with its members. They have created ever more lethal gun designs, laughably argue that one needs high-capacity clips for "defencive situations", (you never know when Genghis Khan and a platoon of Mongol soldiers might be right around the corner) and have supported concealed carry laws, according to Diaz, all in an attempt to keep selling ever more guns and gun paraphernalia." Does this represent the members of the organization or the Board of Directors? I'm just asking.

And speaking of conceal and carry laws, I am assuming that NRA Board members believe that H.R. 822 is a good idea. One prominent NRA member in the Minnesota legislature wanted to make sure that those of us opposed to this bill knew what the NRA is saying about it to Congress members. So, he sent along this OpEd from the NRA's lobbyist, Chris Cox to the Protect Minnesota organization just in case it was somewhow missed. This was in response to an action alert that Protect Minnesota sent out to supporters urging them to sign a petition against the bill. This piece explains why the bill is such a bad idea. Again, the NRA wants to have it both ways. I have written about their extremist positions in many other posts and how they try to argue from 2 sides to get their point across. But you can't argue, as Cox does, that H.R. 822, which would provide for reciprocity of gun permits between states, would allow states to pass their own laws. The total hypocrisy of that viewpoint is quite obvious but maybe not so much to the followers of the gun lobby who go along merrily without thinking it through. How can a state make its' own laws regarding gun permit holders if it now has to accept permits from states whose laws are vastly different and maybe much less strict? How about if we just enforce the laws already on the books, as the NRA so infamously says? Will any of the NRA Board members ask this question? Common sense should make it clear that the hypocrisy of the NRA's paid administrators and, by association, its' Board members concerning gun laws is making us all less safe.


This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.




27 comments:

  1. "How can a state make its' own laws regarding gun permit holders if it now has to accept permits from states whose laws are vastly different and maybe much less strict?"

    It's pretty clear in HR 822 how this is possible. It's the same approach that was taken under the Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act, which allows law enforcement officers (active or retired) to carry a firearm in any state - but also allows each state to regulate the manner in which they carry - and provide some limitations around that activity.

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  2. It seems like Law Enforcement doesn't agree with you Bryan. The state Chiefs have written in opposition as has my own Chief. They don't like this bill at all. It could be more dangerous to their own officers. Minnesota has provisions that are different from many other states. Many officers will not know who is who. How can an officer tell who comes from another state. That info. is not on a national data base.

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  3. Hold on to your hat. Joan and I agree on something.

    As much as I would love HR 822 to be in effect, I have a simple constitutional problem with it. It is a states rights issue and I'm not sure the Federal government has a compelling interest in interfering.

    I've gone through the several hoops to have carry permits that, in combination, are pretty widely accepted. I'd love to have my carry permit valid in every state BUT..

    I think the states should work that out, not the feds.

    There is an undeniable disparity in training requirements and the states themselves established them for their own citizens. I like the idea of the states finding solutions that fit them best, and I'm not fond of the Feds claiming this power. It would imply that they could remove it just as easily and establish "national" standards.

    We know where that could lead..

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  4. "The state Chiefs have written in opposition as has my own Chief."

    Chiefs generally are opposed to most laws related to permit to carry systems. As I recall, they were opposed to it here as well.

    "It could be more dangerous to their own officers. Minnesota has provisions that are different from many other states. "

    This law is needed because states like Minnesota do not fulfill their statutory requirements around permit reciprocity as called for in the statute. Not to mention the fact that there's that whole full faith and credit clause to the constitution...

    "Many officers will not know who is who. How can an officer tell who comes from another state. That info. is not on a national data base."

    I'm not sure what you mean here. I can carry in a state like Indiana on my Minnesota permit (and have done so) - if asked I would produce my Minnesota permit. What's the issue you're trying to get at?

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  5. The example used was that Mn. has open carry and Wisconsin, in their new law does not. Does an officer ask first when seeing someone openly carrying when confronted with someone with a loaded gun in a holster? Officers are necessarily concerned about with whom they are dealing when it comes to people with guns. Another example is that Wisconsin allows people to own sawed off shotguns. So if an officer sees someone openly carrying a sawed off shotgun, what should the officer do? The other concern is the general overall increase in armed assaults against officers. The fact that there is no national data base for permit holders, as there would be for drivers' licenses, it would be difficult, if not impossible to determine the validity of a permit. This is a solution looking for a problem. We should listen to our law enforcement officers but you guys never do. You seem to have littel respect for their understandable and well thought out views. They are the ones who will have to deal with this law. Why should their views not be consdered to be valid by the gun guys?

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  6. We can in Minnesota own a Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS)or sawed off shotgun if you prefer if it is a C&R and if you jump through the hoops to register it. Just because you have a permit to carry it does not allow you to carry a modern SBS in MN. To answer your question the cop would need to act just like he would today. I am not sure why you think it would change

    I too am in the camp that believes in states rights Even though I would like to be able to carry in most states.

    Also I am surprised that you missed a Very important date for Gun Banning (9-13-89). I was looking forward to your thoughts on it :(

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  7. "Just because you have a permit to carry it does not allow you to carry a modern SBS in MN."

    If you legally own a short barreled shotgun and have a permit to carry, you can carry that firearm openly in Minnesota.

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  8. "The example used was that Mn. has open carry and Wisconsin, in their new law does not. Does an officer ask first when seeing someone openly carrying when confronted with someone with a loaded gun in a holster? "

    Open carry is legal right now in Wisconsin and it will remain legal after November 1st with the new carry law goes into affect.

    "Another example is that Wisconsin allows people to own sawed off shotguns."

    As do many other states. The correct term, according to ATF, is a short barreled shotgun. They require a special tax stamp and registration.

    "The fact that there is no national data base for permit holders, as there would be for drivers' licenses, it would be difficult, if not impossible to determine the validity of a permit"

    Many states deal with this issue successfully today where reciprocity comes into play with states that honor each other's permits.

    "The other concern is the general overall increase in armed assaults against officers."

    There's absolutely no evidence that allowing reciprocity causes an increase in armed assaults. Source?

    "This is a solution looking for a problem. We should listen to our law enforcement officers but you guys never do. You seem to have littel respect for their understandable and well thought out views."

    I have an enormous amount of respect for law enforcement officers - I just don't always agree with the viewpoints of their leaders.

    There is a problem here - as a citizen of a state issued a permit to carry, I should expect other states to honor that permit the same way they honor my driver's license, my marriage license, my car insurance, and other areas where standards vary from state to state to state.

    That's the problem. This is one possible solution.

    B

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  9. "The example used was that Mn. has open carry and Wisconsin, in their new law does not. Does an officer ask first when seeing someone openly carrying when confronted with someone with a loaded gun in a holster? "

    No! The law is about concealed carry, not open carry. If open carry is illegal, it is illegal. This bill is only about concealed carry.

    "(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof, related to the carrying or transportation of firearms, a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm, may carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any State, other than the State of residence of the person, that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

    ‘(1) has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms; orCommentsClose CommentsPermalink

    ‘(2) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

    ‘(b) A person carrying a concealed handgun under this section shall be permitted to carry a handgun subject to the same conditions or limitations that apply to residents of the State who have permits issued by the State or are otherwise lawfully allowed to do so by the State.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

    ‘(c) In a State that allows the issuing authority for licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms to impose restrictions on the carrying of firearms by individual holders of such licenses or permits, a firearm shall be carried according to the same terms authorized by an unrestricted license or permit issued to a resident of the State.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

    ‘(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt any provision of State law with respect to the issuance of licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms."

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  10. Bryan- then you wouldn't be opposed to licensing for gun ownership like you have to do with a driver's license?

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  11. "Bryan- then you wouldn't be opposed to licensing for gun ownership like you have to do with a driver's license? "

    I'm completely opposed to licensing for gun ownership. Constitutional rights should not require a license.

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  12. So then, by that logic, permits to carry guns are not just like driver's licenses and you shouldn't be using that argument.

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  13. "The example used was that Mn. has open carry and Wisconsin, in their new law does not. Does an officer ask first when seeing someone openly carrying when confronted with someone with a loaded gun in a holster?"

    Minnesota requires a permit to carry, whether open or concealed. Wisconsin requires a permit to carry concealed, but open carry is legal without a permit.

    So in Minnesota, an officer who sees someone carrying openly would be justified in asking to see a permit.

    In town, anyway. A permit is not required in Minnesota's "woods or fields or upon the waters of the state".

    In Wisconsin, an officer would not be justified in asking for a permit of someone seen open carrying, because no permit is required.

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  14. "Bryan- then you wouldn't be opposed to licensing for gun ownership like you have to do with a driver's license?"

    How would requiring a license for gun ownership be anything like a driver's license?

    You don't need a license to own a car. You only need it if you want to drive it on the public streets.

    The equivalent of a driver's license is a license to carry in public, not a license to own.

    I think it's clear that the gun rights community as a whole will accept carry permit laws, if they are objectively enforced and not subject to arbitrary denial without grounds. Like drivers' licenses.

    Requiring licensing for ownership is entirely beyond the pale. It is absolutely essential that the government not be allowed to know who has what guns.

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  15. "So then, by that logic, permits to carry guns are not just like driver's licenses and you shouldn't be using that argument. "

    Absolutely correct! No permit should be required to carry a firearm.

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  16. "Bryan- then you wouldn't be opposed to licensing for gun ownership like you have to do with a driver's license? "

    "So then, by that logic, permits to carry guns are not just like driver's licenses and you shouldn't be using that argument. "

    You are arguing two different things. A license to own is different than a license to carry. Both should be allowed without a license but all the free states allow ownership without a license. Only four states allow carry without a permit. Of the four three allow for a voluntary permit to carry to gain the permit holder reciprocity with other states.

    As you can see, license is the antithesis of right. The government should not be able to give me permission to exercise a right.

    li·cense
       [lahy-suhns] Show IPA noun, verb, -censed, -cens·ing.
    noun
    1.
    formal permission from a governmental or other constituted authority to do something, as to carry on some business or profession.
    2.
    a certificate, tag, plate, etc., giving proof of such permission; official permit: a driver's license.
    3.
    permission to do or not to do something.
    4.
    intentional deviation from rule, convention, or fact, as for the sake of literary or artistic effect: poetic license.
    5.
    exceptional freedom allowed in a special situation.

    verb (used with object)
    9.
    to grant authoritative permission or license to.


    RIGHT
    noun
    18.
    a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral: You have a right to say what you please.
    19.
    Sometimes, rights. that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.: women's rights; Freedom of speech is a right of all Americans.
    20.
    adherence or obedience to moral and legal principles and authority.
    21.
    that which is morally, legally, or ethically proper: to know right from wrong.
    22.
    a moral, ethical, or legal principle considered as an underlying cause of truth, justice, morality, or ethics.

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  17. My point here, jdege, as you know, is that you guys can't use the argumenet that this nationalized gun permit reciprocity would be no different from driver's licenses. It is a disengenous argument. Driver's licenses are in a national data base so police officers know with whom they are dealing when they pull someone over, etc. We use driver's licenses for photo IDs at airports and for purchasing items or for many other things. If you want permits to carry around leathal weapons wherever you go, and want people to think it's no different than a driver's license, then you need to recognize that there is indeed a difference. If you want it to be the same, then we can license gun owners so it will be the same. Otherwise your argument just doesn't work.

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  18. So Leftcoast.... then you must also think that people shouldn't have to get permits and licenses to drive cars. You are the guys who are always telling me that guns are no different than cars. This argument is just not working and I think you know it but you can't admit it.

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  19. Thanks for that, Robin- so under this part of the definition " adherence or obedience to moral and legal principles and authority." then you guys are not willing to adhere to or obey legal principals and authority? No, I am not arguing two different things. You guys are the guilty ones of that.

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  20. I consider a permit or license to own a firearm to be in the same class as a license to own a printer, laptop or pen, and a license to own a bible, go to church or pray before dinner.......All are banned by the Constitution.

    When you get your license to go to church, we can talk about if I will get a license for my guns.


    Thats the issue, plain and simple, the Constitution, the law of the Land, expressly banned Government involvement in those areas.



    as to Chiefs of police and their position on law enforcement and guns. Every Chief is a political appointee, they will, by nature, suck up to what ever political wind is blowing to keep their job.

    WHy do you think MPLS keeps going through Chiefs? because the City Council does everything it can to make the job impossible, and then wonders why crime goes up. Chiefs are stuck between trying to remember what it was like to be a street cop, and being a lackey to political whims of the Council.

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  21. so under this part of the definition " adherence or obedience to moral and legal principles and authority." then you guys are not willing to adhere to or obey legal principals and authority?

    "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."

    -- Thomas Jefferson to I. Tiffany, 1819.

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  22. Peter- your arguments just don't work. As long as your side is saying that a permit to carry is the same as a driver's license, you have a problem. You can make all the excuses you want but unless you guys want to change your rhetoric, you are stuck with the comparison and the obvious answer, which is to make sure that permit holders are licensed. I don't see any other way out of the faulty comparison made by your side. Remember, I didn't start it. Your very own NRA leadership is saying it. As to your comments about Police Chiefs, I find them to be irrelevant. I have met Chief Dolan and find him to be a man of great integrity. I have met 2 St. Paul Chiefs, one of whom now serves in the Minnesota Senate- a good man. I have known 3 Chiefs in Duluth well and have found them all to be kind, intelligent and thoughtful men who think through issues and are fine representatives of the best in their profession. The Sheriffs as well. They are, in general, more highly educated than their officers and so see things from a broader perspective. This may not be true of all Chiefs in the country. But I have known a few of them in the time I have been doing this work, and have found the ones I have met to fit that description. Chief Scott Knight of Chaska is of the same qualities and has served as the Chair of the International Chiefs. He is a great Chief and a very good representative of Chiefs. It appears that you may not like the Chiefs because they tend to agree with my position rather than yours. That does not mean they are wrong and you are right, however.

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  23. Spoken like a true libertarian, jdege. What point are you trying to make? Because Thomas Jefferson said it, we all have to do it? He was but one of the founding fathers with whom others agree. It's 2011. How does it apply? You must think people should be able to do anything they want unfettered? That just doesn't work.

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  24. "As long as your side is saying that a permit to carry is the same as a driver's license, you have a problem. You can make all the excuses you want but unless you guys want to change your rhetoric, you are stuck with the comparison and the obvious answer, which is to make sure that permit holders are licensed. "

    Permit holders are license to carry a concealed handgun. CHL = concealed handgun license. Just like a driver's license. We are willing to accept a license to carry and chls are in the database of the state that issued them just like drivers licenses. Most states link them to the drivers license so the policeman knows you have a permit when he runs your license plate.

    Where we disagree with you is over a license to own a firearm and a database of owners. These are two entirely different things. You can pretend that they aren't to futilely bolster your objection but they are.

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  25. It's not the same as a driver's license. For officers, if there was a national data base, it would be safer and more efficient for them, just as it is for driver's licenses. They are not the same thing if officers can't use a database to check for validity and other problems. I am not pretending anything here. Your side is trying to equate them. They are not equal.

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  26. "Spoken like a true libertarian, jdege. What point are you trying to make? Because Thomas Jefferson said it, we all have to do it? He was but one of the founding fathers with whom others agree. It's 2011. How does it apply? You must think people should be able to do anything they want unfettered? That just doesn't work."

    It's not that Jefferson said it, it's that it is true, regardless of who said it.

    People should be able to do as the will, fettered only by the equal rights of others. When the law imposes restrictions beyond this, it is the law that is wrong.

    And yes, it does work. It is the only thing that does, in the long run.

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  27. ". I am not pretending anything here. Your side is trying to equate them. They are not equal."

    ", just as it is for driver's licenses."

    Wait.. There is no national database of drivers.

    The "National Driver Database" is NOT a listing of all drivers.

    That database only contains drivers who have been convicted, or had their licenses revoked or suspended.

    I guess the gun analog would be the NICS check.

    If you are NOT in the database you are ok. Same for drivers.

    What the policeman gets back in not information on you. They get back the answer that you are NOT in the database and your license is presumed valid. They would not, for instance, get a report that you owe parking tickets in podunk Ohio, when you are pulled over in Georgia.

    No real reason why they couldn't have a database of REVOKED permits, so the same would apply. If your name is NOT in there you are presumed good.

    I think that would satisfy both sides and all the Feds do is to maintain a database of people that should not have guns..

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