Not Rational Anymore
Sarah Thompson, M.D.
A lot of people claim that NRA stands for "Not Relevant Anymore".
I wish it were true. Unfortunately, the NRA is about as irrelevant as Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein and Frank Lautenberg – and much more effective at promoting gun control. The NRA is relevant; but it’s Not Rational Anymore.
Thanks to the NRA, we have the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, Brady registration, and Project Exile. Now, in addition, we will likely have six more years of Orrin Hatch and four more of Mike Leavitt.
That’s right. The NRA spent a lot of money and went to a great deal of trouble to support and endorse Utah’s elite anti-gun duo. They helped Hatch get the Republican nomination for his re-election and helped keep Leavitt from losing his nomination.
Most of you are probably familiar with Senator Hatch, and his abominable S. 254, the Juvenile InJustice Bill. Now that the NRA has done everything possible to give Hatch cover for his gun-grabbing ways, I expect the bill will explode out of the conference committee and land right in the middle of Clinton’s desk. Hatch’s own version of the bill (not including amendments by other anti-gun senators) includes the following:
Mandatory trigger locks with each sale
Mandatory registration of all gun show and pawn shop transactions
Mandatory registration of all firearms repairs
Mandatory 5 year prison sentence for parents whose children responsibly use certain semiautomatic firearms without written permission.
Increasing BATF funding by $40 million
Mandatory lifetime ban on firearms ownership for anyone who commits certain crimes as a juvenile
Hatch’s excuse is that these are "pro-gun" provisions that will "protect" gun owners. Apparently he believes that if this bill is passed, the anti-gun forces will simply go away.
Other notable accomplishments of Utah’s senior senator include:
Overseeing the Waco cover-up and declaring that the government had done nothing wrong
Voting against a prohibition on US troops serving in combat under UN command
Voting to confirm notoriously anti-gun Surgeon General, David Satcher, an advocate of fraudulent anti-gun "junk" science.
Voting to confirm liberal, activist judges including Richard Paez, Marsha Berzon, and Margaret Morrow
Refusing to allow the Freedom from Union Violence Act to emerge from the Senate Judiciary committee, thus endorsing violence as legitimate political activity.
Supporting the Chemical Weapons Treaty
Supporting taxpayer funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
This no doubt explains why the NRA flew Wayne LaPierre out to Salt Lake City to defend Orrin Hatch against angry gun owners. It no doubt explains why Charlton Heston sent me a letter explaining that "Senator Hatch has been one of the most committed, principled and consistently effective advocates of your Second Amendment rights on Capitol Hill. He’s stood with the NRA and fought to protect your constitutional freedoms when others lacked the courage or the stamina to do so."
The last time I saw Sen. Hatch, he waggled his index finger at me and told me I was too stupid to understand how things are done in Washington and I should trust him to do the right thing. Maybe he’s right; I certainly don’t understand how registering my guns, rewarding the murderous BATF, and throwing me in prison for taking my son shooting with a 10-22 protects my rights.
Was Hatch at least better than his opponents? Absolutely not! Both (defeated) challengers Greg Hawkins and Frank Guliuzza are committed gun rights advocates who made their opposition to gun control a highlight of their campaigns. Hawkins failed to force a primary by only 53 votes out of 3500. By endorsing the only anti-gun candidate, and helping to eliminate the pro-gun candidates, the NRA made sure we’ll have a choice between an anti-gun Republican and an anti-gun Democrat in November.
While it’s not much of an excuse, it is true that Hatch was a supporter of gun rights twenty years ago when he was a freshman senator. This is more than can be said for Governor Mike Leavitt, who has never been an advocate of gun rights.
While Leavitt is best-known nationally for his support of an internet tax, here in Utah he’s leading the gun control charge. He has actively supported the following:
Banning concealed carry in schools and churches (regardless of the wishes of the school or church authorities)
Prohibiting firearms possession for anyone convicted of one of a long list of misdemeanors, including spanking a child
Increasing fees for carry permits, background checks, instructor permits, etc.
A lifetime ban on firearms possession for anyone committed to a mental institution, even if the commitment was wrongful or the person recovered fully
Allowing public schools to question children about their parents’ firearms ownership and use without parental notification or permission
Prohibiting firearms possession by juveniles adjudicated delinquent without a jury trial
Expanding prohibitions on handgun possession to include long gun possession
Calling a special session of the legislature specifically to enact gun control legislation
Yet, the NRA donated $10,000 to Leavitt’s reelection campaign, and then endorsed him, writing: "Your record of accomplishment reflects the priorities and beliefs of the NRA membership, and we believe you are uniquely suited to be the Republican nominee for Governor of Utah in 2000…We look forward to continuing our relationship with you in the years ahead to continue preserving and protecting Utah’s rich Second Amendment and hunting traditions."
Once again, all three of Leavitt’s opponents, including current challenger, Glen Davis, are committed gun rights advocates, who focused on gun rights in their campaigns, attacked Leavitt’s anti-gun record, and put their commitments in writing. Had the NRA chosen to support a pro-gun candidate, that person might now be Utah’s Republican gubernatorial candidate.
The bottom line is that in Utah’s two most critical contests, the NRA went out of its way to support and endorse the ONLY anti-gun candidate in each race! This is sickening beyond words.
What is going on here? I have no way of knowing for sure, although I hear those Potomac Swamp vapors are toxic to higher brain functions. But I have some ideas…
The NRA’s business is gun control. Without gun control, the NRA would be reduced to teaching firearms safety and use, hunter education, and sponsoring sporting events. These are important and necessary functions, and the NRA does a good job with these non-political tasks. But the big money, the media attention and the glamour are in gun control. No gun control means no million dollar contracts, no dinners with celebrities, no lavish expense accounts, and no TV appearances.
The NRA needs gun control. So the NRA perpetuates gun control. They support anti-gun politicians, and when those anti-gun politicians propose more gun control, the NRA sends out more letters screaming for help, and another few million dollars roll in. What a scam!
Of course in order for the scam to work for very long, the NRA also needs to appear to be doing something. They need to be able to claim that they helped to elect pro-gun politicians. This means that the NRA is necessarily more concerned with supporting a winner than with supporting pro-gun candidates. Thus the NRA supports whomever they think will win, rather than the most pro-gun candidate.
The Utah governor’s race is a perfect example. Mike Leavitt is solidly anti-gun, but the media insisted he was a "sure thing", with an 80% approval rating. So the NRA endorsed him, instead of any of the pro-gun candidates. They goofed. Gun owners hate "Slick Mikey", and booed him right off the stage. They forced Leavitt into a primary with pro-gun candidate Glen Davis. The NRA destroyed the best chance they had to elect a pro-gun governor of Utah, and may end up irreparably damaging the rights of Utah’s gun owners. Even the Utah Shooting Sports Council, the NRA’s usually docile ally, is furious at this betrayal.
These shameful shenanigans allow the NRA actually to support gun control by colluding with the media and the gun-grabbers. The anti-gun forces moan endlessly about the NRA and its "extremist" views, even though the NRA is neither "extreme" nor even very "pro-gun". The media then define the sides as NRA vs. Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), giving us a choice between NRA sponsored gun control and HCI sponsored gun control. This completely eliminates the possibility of NO gun control from the discussion, and thus from the minds of the public. If your choices are limited to NRA gun control and HCI gun control, you can bet you’ll end up with – you guessed it – gun control!
The problem here is not ordinary NRA members, many of whom are solid pro-gun, pro-liberty folks, many of whom I consider friends. These people don’t believe that Mike Leavitt is "uniquely suited to be the Republican nominee for Governor of Utah". They’re hard-working, responsible Americans who don’t deserve to have their hard-earned money spent on anti-gun politicians.
If you’re a Utah NRA member, you gave over $.50 to Leavitt this year! Meanwhile, all three of the pro-gun candidates combined spent less than the $10,000 the NRA gave this anti-gun zealot. What might have happened had the NRA decided to support one of the pro-gun challengers? (Consider that Glen Davis got 46% of the vote while spending only $3,000. It’s mind boggling!)
What happened in Utah must not be allowed to happen in other states. It’s time the NRA’s reprehensible support for gun control and anti-gun politicians is exposed to NRA members and to the public. It’s time people realize that the NRA is doing more harm than good. It’s time to send the NRA the same message we send to people like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy – NO MORE GUN CONTROL! Otherwise the NRA may end up endorsing Hillary Clinton this fall!
Please write to the following people to protest the NRA’s support for gun control:
Mr. Randy Kozuch
NRA/ILA Director of State and Local Affairs
National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
Mr. James Baker
National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
You can also call 1-800-392-8683.
Nearly three years ago, I wrote the following Letter to the NRA:
When you decide to stop selling our birthright,
When you decide to stop supporting permits,
When you proclaim that each and every one of us is innocent until proven
guilty; that we need not subject ourselves to "background checks",
registration or bureaucracy,
When you refuse to tolerate evil,
When you are willing to call evil by its rightful name,
When you are willing to call genocide by its rightful name,
When you stop distracting yourselves and others with peripheral issues,
When you learn that a compromise with the devil is no compromise at all,
Then, and only then, will you have my support.
Until that time, may your chains rest lightly.
I’m still waiting for a response.
And for Not Rational Anymore to come to its senses.
(C) 2000, Sarah Thompson, M.D., and The Righter
Dr. Thompson is Former Executive Director of the Utah Gun Owners Alliance.