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DISCLOSE Act sellout: NRA says you just don't understand

‘DISCLOSE Act’ maelstrom leads Speaker Pelosi to stall vote on bill: Redouble your efforts to kill HR 5175.

Responding to the maelstrom it created by selling out gun rights supporters on the misnamed “DISCLOSE Act,” the NRA is now sending forth a propaganda brigade of NRA board members and other apologists to convince you that you just don’t understand.

Given the NRA’s probable bleed of hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in cancelled memberships, statements issued by NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox to the effect that it doesn’t “support” HR 5175 are not surprising.

But unfortunately, his is a game of semantics: Nobody has accused the NRA of supporting attempts to muzzle gun groups during elections. What Politico, The Washington Post and others are reporting is that the NRA is removing opposition to the bill. And the fact is that the NRA is the big gorilla of lobbying; if it removes its opposition, passage of a law to muzzle other pro-gun and conservative organizations is all but assured. They have neatly thrown you under the bus.

Then we have the indignant (if somewhat addled) statement from NRA First Vice President David Keene which adds little to the debate:

“I can assure you that I would never countenance a ‘deal’ of the sort you think the NRA made with Congress to further Democratic attempts to restrict political speech. I consider such restrictions to be not only repugnant, but blatantly unconstitutional, an opinion shared by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris Cox.”

Meanwhile, NRA board members on various gun rights forums are running a propaganda campaign that sticks very closely to the official talking points.


But none can top the rationalization offered by the NRA’s immediate past president John C. Sigler in a statement to the “Fifty Caliber Institute,” of which he is president. Being forwarded to gun lists by at least some NRA board members, it is entitled “Checkers, Chess or Politics a la Mister Spock? EXAMINING NRA’s RESPONSE to DISCLOSE ACT” and covers the usual NRA semantics about not “supporting” HR 5175.

To Sigler’s credit, he accurately relays the many free speech perils of the DISCLOSE Act – albeit expressing them as hazards to the NRA, when in reality they are hazards to all political organizations. But the crux of Sigler’s rationalization seems to be that this is an “ three dimensional chess” game that you just couldn’t be expected to understand:

“Before you criticize NRA for understanding that this isn’t your grandpa’s checker game or even your college dean’s chess game, you need to thank them for treating this as an extremely complex exercise more akin to Mister Spock’s three dimensional chess. A chess game [sic] demanding a very sophisticated and highly intellectual approach to the very serious problem at hand.”

That would be a “sophisticated and highly intellectual approach” utterly beyond your capabilities, of course.


The “you don’t have the big picture” argument has been a staple of NRA responses to its membership for many years. Recognize it for what it is: A weapon to shut you up.

The crux of the “three dimensional chess” argument is that the NRA is executing a “poison pill” amendment to kill the bill, as it presumably did in adding language to the DC Voting Rights Act which would have gutted the District of Columbia’s draconian gun laws.

But this is not a similarly “no risk” strategy: Only idiots would have failed to anticipate the response of pro-gun conservatives to the NRA carve-out from HR 5175. LaPierre and Cox aren’t stupid enough to fail to recognize the damage it would cause the NRA.


Nor do NRA leaders want you to remember their long history of compromising their principles. Chief among them was S. 1805, the first incarnation of the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.”

Introduced in 2003, S. 1805 was intended to stop cities and counties from suing gun makers out of business. First, a consent agreement by Senator (and NRA Board member) Larry Craig enabled debate of a slate of gun control amendments to the bill, including a Boxer amendment for gun locks, a Kennedy amendment for “cop killer” bullets, and a McCain-Reed amendment for gun show restrictions.

Yet even as a variety of anti-gun amendments were hung on the bill, the NRA continued its support. Only under withering fire from a large coalition of state and national organizations – a situation very much like today – did NRA LaPierre finally withdraw support from the bill.

State activists report many such ideological compromises. In North Carolina, NRA lobbyist Nicole Palya allowed an entire gun show bill to be appended onto the NRA’s own gun litigation bill, SB 680, touting the bill to members while carefully neglecting to mention it would shut down most gun shows in the state. (For full details, see my Charlotte Observer column, “Strange Bedfellows and Guns.”

Why the NRA would accept gun control and mislead its members in order to pass laws prohibiting gun suits already being thrown out of court  I will leave to your imagination, noting only the NRA’s 2003 “William B. Ruger Endowment,” and Ruger’s rather significant contributions to the NRA National Firearms Museum…


Says Sigler:

“Chris Cox and his staff have but one loyalty and that is to protect and defend the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, and to position NRA so as to be an effective advocate for firearms freedom in America.”

Alas, not all would agree. My good friend and former NRA-ILA Executive Director Neal Knox – who made the NRA the political juggernaut it is today – told me many times about NRA consultants Ackerman-McQueen and the Mercury Group, about how he feared they and Wayne LaPierre would bankrupt the organization.

When the NRA starting going awry, Neal spent many years trying to reform it. For his trouble, NRA leadership ran a campaign – including “don’t vote for” ads in NRA magazines – to remove him from the board of directors.

What Neal identified is that unlike most organizations, where boards of directors command corporate officers, at the NRA it is the corporate officers who command the board, making the NRA a large organization run, paradoxically, for the benefit of a small number of employees. As a perfect example, Fox News today reported that NRA board members were only minimally informed of the organization’s deal-making on HR 5175.

Before he died, I often told Neal he was wasting his time trying to reform the NRA – that his efforts would be better spent forming a new group to replace it. Unfortunately, LaPierre, Cox & Co. seem bent on proving me right.


In postponing the vote, Democrats and the NRA just blinked. Keep the pressure on. Rather than calling general membership numbers, here are some numbers that go directly to NRA officers. Let them know how you feel about having the world’s biggest gun rights organization betray the interests not only of its members, but of gun owners everywhere. North Carolina residents should also call the politician who brokered the deal, Congressman Heath Shuler, at 

Congressman Heath Shuler: 202- 225-6401. If possible, call on Monday, June 21 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM – but if you miss that time, call regardless.

Ronald L. Schmeits, NRA President:
Home: 18 Private Rd #2001ST, Raton NM 87740, (575) 445-5836, (575) 445-2080 fax
Office: International Bank,200 S 2nd Street, Raton NM 87740-3908, (575) 445-2321

Charles L. Cunningham, Director, NRA-ILA Federal Affairs:
4864 Oakcrest Drive, Fairfax VA 22030
703-352-3245, 202-651-2570

David A. Keene, NRA 1st Vice President:
5602 Dawes Ave, Alexandria VA 22311-1102, 703-671-5602

James W. Porter II, NRA 2nd Vice President:
215 21st St N # 1000, Birmingham AL 35203-3710, (205) 322-1744, Fax: 205.322.1750


 Copyright © F. Paul Valone All rights reserved
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  • Robert 5 years ago

    You have said it about as well as anyone could Paul. We need to keep the heat on and turn it up as much as possible. The NRA needs to die and a new organization born from the grassroots gun organizations needs to replace it. This bill won't die because of NRA opposition but because gun owners rose up and answered the call to defeat it individually. When a gun owner gets his next phone bill and it shows those numbers listed above he can go to his friends and say, "I chose to oppose and fight and this proves it." That phone bill will be his badge of honor. The NRA sold us out, about 76 million gun owners, and we need to let them know this will not go unanswered and it will be the last time we tolerate it. We are the 1776er's of the 21st and this time instead of invading British we are taking on our own invaders from Washignton D.C. People we elected and need to get rid of especially Pelosi. The NRA needs to leave with them. Starve it for money by ceasing your memberships/donations.

  • Robert 5 years ago

    We do understand what you have done NRA. Boy do we understand and you have not see the full size of the maelstrom yet or know how long it can last. This is the last betrayal and the last time you get your thirty pieces of silver for selling out the individual gun owners whether they belong to your ogrganization or not. Individual men came together to win our freedom in 1776 with whatever guns they could muster and it will happen once again. it will be the much maligned veterans, recreational hunters, collectors, etc who will rise up against you and Washington using first the vote and then whatever otehr means to maintain our second amendment rights as intended by our forefathers in order to preserve the rest of those rights. The second amendemnt was intended to be the trigger that told us we were in trouble and we would know that because someone tried to take it from us. Tyanny is a foot when someone tries to deny you the second amendment and they would be the tyrants to enslave you!

  • MamaLiberty 5 years ago

    I'm done with the NRA. I will not be renewing my membership or instructor certificates. Really, REALLY tired of being run over by the bus.

    Just wish another organization had a nationwide, affordable training program. Perhaps, when the dust settles, something can be done about that.

  • JeffKnox 5 years ago

    Paul is absolutely right when he advises against resigning memberships. Do not quit! Only Life Members and Annual Members who have been members for 5 consecutive years are eligible to vote in NRA elections. If the "Hard Corps" drops out, who is left to guide it back to the straight and narrow? Your $35 a year (or less if you shop around) barely pays for your magazine. It is the extra money - responding to those obnoxious mailings, buying NRA merchandise and logo items, affinity programs like NRA credit cards, insurance, the NRA Wine Club, etc. - that really pays the bills. If you are a Life Member dropping out is like giving them free money. You paid those dues and they get to keep the money, but don't have to spend anything on servicing your membership. Stay in the NRA and help push it back in the right direction. Don't quit!
    As to a new organization, Dad never did it because he didn't believe it was feasible. He was right. Reform is our only hope and that requires Members.

  • CharlesP 5 years ago

    You seem to have your organizations mixed up.
    IT is the ANTI-GUN GROUPS, such as the Brady Campaign, that are RUN FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FEW PEOPLE WHO ARE OFFICERS OF THE ORGANIZATION! These anti-gun groups have their initial funding from the CIA, to help the CIA with their plan (announced in 1968,Chicago Illinois) to get rid of private gun ownership, after which, they will obtain the long term goal to turn America into a Nazi Dictatorship (and crooked Illinois/Wisconsin JOINED THE CIA IN THIS PLAN- that is why they are anti-gun)!!!!
    Meanwhile, The NRA has done everything that is necessary to see that elections of Board members is FAIR AND HONEST!!!
    You do not have the guts to tell the truth, SO YOU CRITICIZE THE HONEST, DECENT NRA!!!
    Otherwise you would WRITE AGAINST those RESPONSIBLE-CONGRESS!

  • Paul V. 5 years ago

    Charles P. is apparently among the "NRA do or die" crowd, among whom criticism of the organization is considered blasphemy. The CIA conspiracy theory isn't worthy of comment. As for writing "against Congress," if you have ever read anything I have written you should know that I identify those responsible for attacks on individual liberty quite often.

    As for the NRA, I doubt you run gun rights organizations, because if you did, you would have experienced the sort of problems with the NRA that true activists experience every day. For every anti-Constitutional action from Congress, there is an enabler at the NRA. For example, watch what happens in November when the NRA endorses Harry Reid.

    But then, I've put out the facts for you to read (you did read the "Strange Bedfellows" column, right?) and you refuse to see the truth. Any effort to show you reality is wasted.


  • Armed Geek 5 years ago

    I sent the following to the NRA this morning:
    You fell for rule 13 right out of the Dem's handbook, "Rules for Radicals". You have been isolated from the other 2nd Amendment Groups.

    Chris Cox's and Wayne Lapierre's response on this has been completely unacceptable. I will support any candidate in the next Board election who runs on a platform of firing Cox and Lapierre, and removing any Executive Committee member who supported them in this matter.

    Worse than the initial kowtowing to the Dems has been Cox's and Lapierre's disingenuous defense of their actions.


  • Armed Geek 5 years ago

    Finally, if, as presented as a defense, the bill was going to pass anyway, the ILA's policy of supporting whoever is stronger/incumbent from either party is no longer effective. While it may have worked in the past, there is now no such thing as a pro-gun Democrat in the House or Senate. It MAY still work on the state and local level, It is obvious that the Dem leadership will break as many "blue-dogs" as necessary to pass any law they wish while allowing as many as possible to retain the cover of a NO vote.

    Another act of sheer stupidity has been endorsing John McCain, the idiot that started this whole campaign finance reform mess, over a FAR more conservative and reliably pro-gun J.D. Hayworth.

    Fix it now, guys, or start touching up your resumes.

  • Armed Geek 5 years ago

    Sorry for the error in my previous post. I should have said "back-stabbing idiot McCain".

    It's a durned shame that this broke after the convention instead of before it. ;^)

  • Dennis III 5 years ago

    It´s time for Wayne LaPierre to step down just like to many of the jerks in Washington. Wayne Ya sold out step down with grace while there is still a N.R.A.

  • Dennis III 5 years ago

    Another question for Wayne, Why doe´s John McCain still have a A raiting from the N.R.A.

  • Ross Wolf 5 years ago

    Disclose Act Will Choke First Amendment.

    The Neomarxist behind the Obama/FTC intend to drown out the voice of America with Obama/Marxist propaganda, enforcing new regulations that will cripple bloggers and other alternative media from disseminating information, free speech that grass-roots among other organizations depend on to make informed decisions. Obama’s support of the DISCLOSE Act confirmed what many Americans already believed; that Obama and certain Democrats in Congress intend to strangle the flow of information. If Obama and his leftists associations get their way, our Children will be brainwashed by Obama’s one-sided propaganda at school, through Obama controlled Radio, TV and Obama media policies that restrict the free flow of information. Historically when communists attempted or took over a country, one of their first steps was to control the media and all forms of public communications to control Civilian populations. When Russia took over Hungary, it immediately took

  • David Nelson 5 years ago

    As part of its current circus of distraction, NRA claims it is merely a "single-issue group" which fights for the Second Amendment. This week alone, has spent its time discussing illegal aliens. During the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in May, NRA board of directors member and admitted government-documents shredder Oliver North lectured gay military-service members about honor and integrity. As just two examples, these aren't matters which are expressions of the NRA mission to support the Second Amendment. So, obviously the NRA grants itself the luxury of playing the field of politics. Now comes the NRA deal in the federal DISCLOSE Act. NRA is openly saying that its own members and board members are too stupid to know the reality of the bill. It says that only LaPierre and Cox are smart enough to protect our rights. After years of coming close to offending its supporters with several other matters, NRA has finally made itself infamous and its open secret very public.

  • straightarrow 5 years ago

    Oh yes! We understand. And that understanding is NRA's worst nightmare.

    I have been saying for years that the NRA is a gun control organization in disguise and nobody listens. Hell, we even individually compromise our opinions so we won't feel bad about our previous support for these traitorous bastards.

    Press release, my ass. There isn't anything they can say that a sane person can accept as justification for what they did.

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