The NRA Protects Incumbents, not Second Amendment

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 and is filed under Blog

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Many conservatives have expressed shock at the NRA political action committee for endorsing two liberal Republican incumbents – Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-2) and Senator Thad Cochran (MS-Senate).  But to those who have followed the NRA over the years, this is just par for the course.

In 2010, I wrote a column at Red State exposing the fact that the NRA tried to keep Nancy Pelosi in power.  At the time, Republicans needed to pick up 26 seats to flip the House, yet the NRA endorsed 53 Democrat incumbents, most of whom resided in the very seats Republicans needed to win back the chamber.  Hence, if they had their way (and luckily, they were unsuccessful), Nancy Pelosi would still be speaker.

That’s some record of fighting for the Second Amendment.

This is not to say that the NRA as a broad organization doesn’t do any good work on a local level.  It’s just that their federal government relations team and their political action committee are dedicated to growing their power before defending gun rights.  If that means supporting bad legislation, obfuscating good legislation, or endorsing fake “pro-gun” Democrat and Republican incumbents, they won’t think twice before pulling the trigger.  In fact, they will specifically gravitate to races where liberal Republicans are being challenged by conservatives who will be stronger on the Second Amendment.

In Cochran’s case, he voted for then-Senator Joe Biden’s massive gun control bill, which banned numerous firearms and created undue  burdens and waiting periods on purchasers [Roll Call #125, July 11. 1991].  He also supported Barbara Boxer’s bill to prohibit the sale of all guns without Washington-approved safety devices [Roll Call #17, February 26, 2004].

Mike Simpson is the same sort of fair-weather friend to gun owners.  In 1999, he supported mandatory trigger locks for new handgun purchases despite the protests of his constituents. He also voted for mandatory background checks imposed on Idaho gun shows. [RC #244, June 18, 1999].  Take a look at this article from The Hill on June 2, 1999 after Simpson’s constituents protested his vote:

When word got out last week that Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) supports the sale of trigger locks with handguns, fuming constituents deluged his four Idaho and Washington offices. “Well, they’re a little upset,” said Simpson, who spent much of his Memorial Day weekend explaining himself to constituents who grow fearful of anyone — particularly the federal government — coming near their guns. “They think it’s gun control,” he said. “They saw it as the camel’s nose under the tent. They expressed their concern that I’ve swallowed the line of the gun control advocates — that I’ve left the reservation, if you will… Simpson, who first voiced his views on the subject on a Boise radio show two weeks ago, said what he supports is not gun control, as people might think, but rather gun safety. His stance strays from the rest of the Idaho congressional delegation which vehemently opposes the mandatory sale of trigger locks with handguns. “I think it’s a commonsense move,” said Simpson. “I can separate the issue of gun control . . . from the issue of gun safety.”

Unfortunately, there have been very few votes on gun legislation in recent years, so these politicians have been able to use the element of time to heal the past wounds and create political amnesia.

Clearly, the NRA has its own agenda – one that is divorced from the community of gun owners in this country.  Conservatives will have to look elsewhere for guidance on issues pertaining to the Second Amendment.