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NRA failing members by ignoring immigration threat to gun rights

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Immigration reform prospects brighten” the headline for Jennifer Rubin’s Tuesday “Right Turn” column in The Washington Post declares. “Thankfully, more and more Republican lawmakers and substantial interest groups are uniting behind an overhaul effort.”

“Thankfully”?

Rubin offers what WaPo calls “a conservative perspective.” Her views on the whole are more properly labeled “neoconservative,” but billing her as a benchmark for the right allows the “progressives” to disparage anyone who wanders too far outside the Carroll Quigley paradigm as an “extremist.”

The thing is, Rubin has been pretty good in understanding and articulating the gun issue. That’s why seeing her totally ignore the impact so called “immigration reform” will have on gun laws raises flags as to how much of her commitment is purely academic, with no real world resolve attached to them.

Because the potential for disaster at the polls over the coming years is real.

“Immigration reform will add over 8,000,000 anti-gun voters to the voting rolls,” Gun Owners of America warned its members and supporters in a January 24 alert. “There may be as many as 11.5 million persons illegally in the United States. And, a Pew poll from last year indicated that if illegal immigrants were given citizenship, they would vote for liberal, anti-gun candidates by an 8-to-1 margin.

“This is exactly what happened to California -- which was once a Red State,” GOA explained. “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.”

While the Democrat Party, the GOP establishment, the Chamber of Commerce, unions, tech companies, Hollywood, “sanctuary” cities and the media are clouding the issue and tugging at heartstrings with anecdotes about “DREAMers,” the true goal, the one GOA’s critics dismiss as xenophobia, paranoia and racist hysteria, was just admitted to for all the world to see by no less than the voice of the administration.

“Speaking at the United States Conference of Mayors on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the approximately 11 million people who are in the country illegally have ‘earned the right to be citizens,’” CNS News reported.

They’ve “earned” it, he maintains. All of them. Simply by being here.

Johnson is the man behind the curtain, the humbug running the “homeland security” illusion machine. And no small number of ostensibly “pro-gun” Republicans dropped the ball on his confirmation.

“A highly-regarded lawyer for the Pentagon, Johnson, 56, is essentially an unknown quantity when it comes to immigration policy,” About.com reported in December. “He has virtually no record to suggest how he might lead the department's enforcement efforts.”

“Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said he opposed Johnson’s nomination because he didn’t answer GOP questions about immigration laws,” The Hill Reported.

Yet in spite of that, Johnson was confirmed with a 78 -16 vote scheduled “as part of a deal to prevent Saturday work.”

Topping the list for Johnson’s “Aye” votes was Lamar Alexander, A-rated by NRA, and confident he could vote for confirmation without any worries that would jeopardize his Association endorsement. Next giving Johnson her approval was Kelly Ayotte, someone NRA ran ads for. Also giving a thumbs ups were NRA A-raters John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Saxby Chambliss, Tom Coburn, Thad Cochran, Bob Corker, Mike Enzi, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John Isakson, Mike Johanns, Ron Johnson, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Roberts, John Thune, Patrick Toomey, and Roger Wicker.

And, of course, so-called “pro-gun Democrats” like Max Baucus were in lockstep with “true champion of the Second Amendment” Harry Reid, who spearheaded the filibuster change rule that allowed for nominees like Johnson to be considered based on a simple majority -- a move NRA also sat on its hands for.

The excuse given is that NRA is “a single issue organization.” What that evidently means is tangential effects on gun rights are never considered. It’s not a very good excuse, especially when the results of such deliberate indifference are so obvious.

“Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote,” President Obama declared in last night’s State of the Union address. “It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.”

How that would apply to guns became immediately clear.

“Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day,” the president continued.

“I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” he elaborated, counting on no one noticing the inherent contradiction of lauding citizenship and voting, and then threatening to bypass the people’s representatives through executive actions.

The Republican establishment is being egged on by those counting on their being dumb enough to blow what should be a Congressional shoo-in year by alienating its conservative base, and it looks like the opportunists are justified. It’s doing its best to ignore the true “mavericks” -- those John McCain dismisses as “wacko birds” -- by ceding a beachhead to those whose end goal Secretary Johnson could not have made any clearer. Anyone thinking GOP concessions won’t then be used to launch the next prong of the invasion is simply in denial about the incremental way “progressives” advance when they can’t get it all now.

And anyone who thinks politically-savvy gun-grabbers aren’t well aware of the electoral power they stand to gain through surrendering on this issue needs only look at the latest maneuvering by Michael Bloomberg. Say what you will about him, he’s crafty enough to temporarily support some “pro-gun” politicians if that means they can help give him the constituencies he needs for his long-term agenda.

NRA silence is more than just not wanting to expand on their “single issue,” and besides, it’s not like they haven’t wandered from that in the past, taking stances on so-called “campaign finance reform” and the DISCLOSE Act. They can and do take positions on tangential issues affecting the Second Amendment when they choose to.

Continuing to reward politicians with high grades, contributions and endorsements without taking such tangential issues into consideration will not serve that single issue in the long run. That's because it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, immune to the effects of other laws. Likewise, NRA directors like Grover Norquist, whose conflicting organizational interests resulted in his endorsing award-winning anti-gunners and championing passage of an amnesty bill, relegates the right to keep and bear arms to a secondary issue among like-minded NRA Board members who may also have competing loyalties.

While director Ted Nugent has weighed in on the immigration issue in a non-official capacity, his “indentured servitude path to citizenship” is unlikely to do more than alienate people on both sides of the debate. But his speaking out shows that directors can be conduits for influencing NRA management into acknowledging the dangers GOA has identified and that Johnson has unintentionally confirmed. And there are also things all gun owners who agree this should be NRA’s fight can do.

First, contact NRA. It helps if you’re a member. Their political arm can be reached via their website, plus they can be sent a message via Facebook and Twitter.

Next, make it an issue in this year’s NRA director elections. Voting members (five years continuous membership or Life Member or higher) who believe this is an important issue should demand a commitment from board candidates to hold NRA management accountable for making this a factor in how politicians will be scored.

Unfortunately, contacting many of the current Board candidates is not made easy. Members are given Nominating Committee recommendations for loyalist candidates paid staff can count on, and brief biographical/qualification overviews for the entire ballot. If voting members have specific questions or want to find out more, it’s up to them to find out how to contact candidates and there’s no guarantee of a reply.

At this point, only one candidate from the crop of 31 running for 25 open seats has made his views on the immigration threat to gun rights known, and that’s Anthony P. Colandro, endorsed by Gun Rights Examiner after he gave unequivocal (and good) answers to this column’s NRA Directors Questionnaire.

“While it is acceptable to hide behind the veil of being a ‘single issue’ organization, any threat to our civil rights MUST be addressed and any politician that does not toe the line should be made accountable,” Colandro replied when asked his opinion in a follow-up to the questionnaire.

This column will make an effort to contact other director candidates and will report back on whatever responses it can obtain.

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When your turn to be tested comes, how will you fare? Wouldn’t it be better to stop the antis before they get that far? How can we, if most gun owners let a relative handful of activists do all the work? The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "The Unconstitutional State.”

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