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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Friday, July 13, 2012

NRA blackmail?

What gives? The NRA is at it again. When our U.S. Senators take a vote on the Disclose Act which would require that we know who is contributing to campaigns, the NRA will score the vote. This new threat by the NRA is just another example of the extreme nature of the group and the lengths to which they will go to threaten our elected leaders. Shame on them. From the article:
"In a letter opposing the DISCLOSE Act of 2012 — a bill to allow citizens to know what corporations and wealthy donors are paying for the “independent expenditure” attack ads enabled by the 5-4 Citizens United ruling — the National Rifle Association (NRA) is warning Senators it will score the issue in its legislative scorecard for this Congress.
The NRA opposes the measure — arguing that its “provisions require organizations to turn membership and donor lists over to the government” and would unconstitutionally abridge the right of citizens “to speak and associate privately and anonymously.” The legislation would merely require groups that opt to run outside political ads to tell voters which donors funded those efforts. By setting up a separate bank account for independent political spending, a group like the NRA would be able to keep its membership list private and would need only disclose the large money donors paying for the group’s campaign ads. Far from being unconstitutional, this sort of disclosure was explicitly endorsed in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Citizens United majority opinion as “the less-restrictive alternative to more comprehensive speech regulations.”
In 2010, after supporters of the DISCLOSE Act agreed to exempt just the NRA from the bill, the group dropped its opposition. Now, without those special protections in the 2012 version, the group is taking no chances and is issuing a strong message to any Senator who might support political transparency. The NRA letter warns:
Due to the importance of the fundamental speech and associational rights of the National Rifle Association’s four million members, and considering the blatant attack on those rights that S. 3369 represents, we strongly oppose the DISCLOSE Act and will consider votes on this legislation in future candidate evaluations.
In other words, vulnerable Senators facing re-election may face secret-money attack ads should they back transparency for secret money attack ads."
This, ladies and gentlemen, should not be acceptable in American politics. This exemplifies the very problem the Disclose Act would prevent. There should be no corporation or organization that can extort promises from elected officials that would go against the public good. Do we live in a Democracy or what? Or do we now live in a Plutocracy where the rich and influential can buy elections? Raise your hand if you think this is a good idea. I am hoping that this is a step too far. Actually, the NRA has gone too far many times before. But this overreach of power should be a strong and loud message to our elected leaders that the NRA is run by extremists who care not a whit for public good, and public health and safety. Where is common sense?

Remember again, "the guys with the guns make the rules."




UPDATE:

I guess the word is out. I am not the only one to be writing about the overreach and extremism of the NRA to push its' agenda. This article by Juan Williams agrees with what I have written:
The NRA’s power to punish politicians who defy them was evident earlier this year when the group threw its money against six-term GOP Sen. Richard Lugar. In the Indiana primary, the NRA supported a Tea Party favorite, Richard Mourdock, because Lugar had voted to ban assault weapons.
The NRA put maximum political power into the Holder contempt vote in large part because it is feeling pressure from a smaller, but vocal gun rights group “Gun Owners of America.” 
GOA is picking off NRA members by charging that the NRA has become too moderate and too close to the political establishment in Washington. The group reports only 300,000 members compared to the NRA’s massive membership of 4.3 million. 
But the fear of losing members has made the NRA push the political limits in the name of self-preservation.
The line keeps getting pushed further and further into bizarre, nonsensical conspiracy theories — because that is what excites their base.
The leadership of the NRA needs members to be riled up about something so that they will continue to pay their dues. And in the post-Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, interest groups like the NRA are becoming even more powerful, with the ability to spend virtually unlimited amounts of money to support or defeat the candidates of their choice.  
So for the politicians who need the NRA’s support, the facts of the Holder case are less important than the anger and zeal the gun group displayed in showing its political muscle.
The same dynamic has been on display in recent years as the NRA lobbied in state capitols to make it legal for gun owners to shoot anyone they felt was a threat to their safety. The “Stand Your Ground Law” is now at the center of the national uproar over the shooting of an unarmed 17 year old, Trayvon Martin. 
Similarly, the NRA has used its political muscle to blind politicians to concern over the sale of extended magazine clips for handguns of the kind used in the attempted assassination of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).   
This month, the group is lobbying to defeat a modest small arms trafficking treaty at the United Nations over concern that it is part of an elaborate Obama-U.N. conspiracy to take away guns from Americans. 
U.N. and U.S. officials have repeatedly said the treaty would in no way affect domestic gun ownership. Rather, it is designed to slow the international transfer of firearms to human rights abusers such as those in Sudan. 
A FactCheck.org report shows the NRA openly misleading voters on President Obama’s positions. In the 2008 campaign, the NRA said the Obama administration planned to “ban the use of firearms for home self-defense.” It claimed Obama would ban “ammunition commonly used for hunting.” President Obama has not proposed any such bans. 
But in total disregard of those facts, Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the NRA, promoted fear among gun owners earlier this year by saying the president is hiding “his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term.”
The NRA’s heavy grip on the Democrats who voted against the Attorney General is just a hint of their much broader power over the House GOP.
As the power of the NRA and other special interest groups continues to rise on Capitol Hill, the public interest — good government — seems to be fading away. 
The NRA doesn't deal in facts. Nor does it care about good government or the public interest.

15 comments:

  1. The NRA is not about freedom; it is a lobby, and should be registered and regulated like one.

    They are effectively nothing more than political thugs. Too many politicians don't recognize that they are not as powerful as they like to represent themselves.

    We would all be more free if the NRA had less money - and fewer low-information members.

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  2. "When our U.S. Senators take a vote on the Disclose Act which would require that we know who is contributing to campaigns, the NRA will score the vote..."

    I am confused. How is the NRA scoring politicians by their voting record for gun rights different from the Brady Campaign endorsing politicians? According to your side your endorsement is more powerful than ours. http://www.cagv.org/inthenews_NRA-losers.htm

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    1. There is a myth about the NRA influence that those of us working in the GVP movement understand. Our politicians don't believe it yet so they are easily intimidated by the NRA bullies who score votes. The Brady Campaign does not threaten elected officials nor score votes. It does not give large sums of money to elected leaders. The Brady Campaign does not believe in bullying the people who make our laws. The same can not be said about the NRA. The Brady Campaign endorses very few politicians but those it does endorse often win. That shows that there is no need to be afraid of the NRA. Nonetheless, elected leaders are. My job and that of others in the GVP movement is to convince elected leaders that they have nothing to fear. We are working hard on that. The Brady Campaign is certainly not more powerful than the NRA.

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    2. Are you completel ignorant of the workings of ALEC, in which the NRA plays a significant role, Robin? The Brady Campaign does NOTHING like that.

      The difference is that the Brady campaign attempts to persuade with reason. The NRA threatens and spends a lot of money and does a lot of secret, dirty, exclusively right wing, special interest dealings.

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    3. Oddly enough the last numbers I looked at the NRA donated more money to democrats than the Brady campaign did.

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    4. It's not odd at all Anthony. The Brady Campaign does not have money to contribute to candidates. It's pretty simple. One organization has millions to donate and buys a lot of votes. The other does not. It's David vs. Goliath. What's your point?

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    5. I guess it was more a comment on the "exclusively right wing" comment from Dog Gone.

      The other interesting thing is that the Brady campaign could not find one Republican to give money to. It seems like the NRA is far less exclusive than the Brady campaign.

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    6. Anthony- what the heck are you talking about? Sometimes your comments elude me. Have a nice evening. I think we've had enough of this don't you. You know perfectly well that the NRA has more money than it knows what to do with. You also know that the Brady Campaign doesn't. Why bring it up? Just to annoy me? If you already know this and you know that I know it, why keep writing comments? We're done with this now. Good night. You spend way too much time on my blog. Don't you have a life?

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  3. "Dog Gone" writes: "The NRA is not about freedom; it is a lobby, and should be registered and regulated like one."

    The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is a lobby and is registered as such - and follows the appropriate federanl/state/local regulations... http://www.nraila.org/about-nra-ila.aspx

    This is the group that represents the NRA in all of the issues that you're referencing politically.

    Bryan

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    1. Baloney Bryan. You are factually inaccurate, and fail to acknowledge the unregistered special interest lobbying that the NRA does as part of ALEC.

      That official lobbying is NOT the only NRA group that does so, it is only a tiny fraction of the lobbying done by the NRA, which has become a bunch of nut-job extremists.

      Ted Nugent - I rest my case - a NOT particularly law abiding gun owner, and thug, who gives lip service to the military, but let other people in the military do his fighting and in some cases dying in his place.

      In other words, scum.

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  4. japete writes: "The Brady Campaign does not threaten elected officials nor score votes. " "The Brady Campaign endorses very few politicians but those it does endorse often win. "

    The Brady Campaign, in the 2010 elections, endorsed well over a hundred candidates for federal office. The number was comparable in 2008.

    The Brady Campaign also scores and rates nearly all incumbents for federal office - along with their challengers in the general election. The most recent results for 2008 and 2010 are both still available.

    These scoring/ratings include how an incumbent candidate votes in or out of line with the Brady Campaign's expressed positions on issues.

    This is no different than how the NRA outlines which votes they will be scoring as a part of their candidate rating & endorsement process.

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    1. Are you kidding, Bryan? There is no comparison and you know it.

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    2. People like Bryan are cherry-pickers; or sometimes lemon pickers, who are selectively intellectually dishonest.

      I wonder what kind of intellectual pick-and-choose Strawser would do in response to this post, highly critical of the stupidity and extremism of the NRA's legislative agenda:

      http://penigma.blogspot.com/2012/07/unsafe-guns-minnesota-child-care.html

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  5. dog gone writes: "People like Bryan are cherry-pickers; or sometimes lemon pickers, who are selectively intellectually dishonest.

    I wonder what kind of intellectual pick-and-choose Strawser would do in response to this post, highly critical of the stupidity and extremism of the NRA's legislative agenda:"

    I've never been intellectually dishonest.

    What's your question about that post? I read it - I'm not quite sure what policy / statute / regulation is being questioned there?

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    1. Clueless in Minnesota. What the heck Bryan? Do you think it's O.K. for home day care providers to have loaded guns around the house? Please say no. Otherwise we will know why you are so clueless.

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