I want to start this blog post by saying this…
The current issues that may have with the NRA are more directed to the ILA, the legislative arm, then the education, training, competition, charitable arms, etc. I pay may dues to stay current with certifications so that I may use said certifications to effect change from the ground up. So that said, I do not have a problem with those that pay their NRA dues. Instead, my focus here is to educate those that are NRA members and may not be aware of the shady past the organization has had, this pas cannot be overlooked. Just as we must stay vigilant with politicians that we trust to “take care of business” so must we be vigilant in watching what the NRA or rather ILA does and call them out on it.
So, without further ado, here is a little NRA history for you…
In the 1920s, the arm of the NRA responsible for handgun training, proposed regulations later adopted by nine states, requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon, five years additional prison time if the gun was used in a crime, a ban on gun sales to non-citizens, a one day waiting period between the purchase and receipt of a gun, and that records of gun sales be made available to police.
The NRA assisted Roosevelt in drafting the 1934 National Firearms Act and the 1938 Gun Control Act, the first federal gun control laws. These laws placed heavy taxes and regulation requirements on firearms that were associated with crime, such as machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and silencers. Gun sellers and owners were required to register with the federal government and felons were banned from owning weapons. Not only was the legislation unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court in 1939, but Karl T. Frederick, the president of the NRA, testified before Congress stating, “I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.”
NRA Executive Vice-President Franklin Orth agreed at a congressional hearing that mail-order sales should be banned stating, “We do think that any sane American, who calls himself an American, can object to placing into this bill the instrument which killed the president of the United States.” The NRA also supported California’s Mulford Act of 1967, which had banned carrying loaded weapons in public.
In 1968 prompted Congress to reenact a version of the FDR-era gun control laws as the Gun Control Act of 1968. The act updated the law to include minimum age and serial number requirements, and extended the gun ban to include the mentally ill and drug addicts. In addition, it restricted the shipping of guns across state lines to collectors and federally licensed dealers and certain types of bullets could only be purchased with a show of ID. The NRA, however, blocked the most stringent part of the legislation, which mandated a national registry of all guns and a license for all gun carriers. In an interview in American Rifleman, Franklin Orth stated that despite portions of the law appearing “unduly restrictive, the measure as a whole appears to be one that the sportsmen of America can live with.” In other words, we worked a compromise.
The NRA-ILA successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986 and worked to reduce the powers of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). This is where the Hughes Amendment eliminated an entire sector of the firearm industry. Reagan sign FOPA into law at the request of the NRA who told him they would fight it in court because it would never stand… they never fought it.
The NRA brokered a “compromise” with the Brady Bill that passed the Senate with but one dissenting vote [former Senator Steve Symms (R-ID)] and the House by 400-21. Many pro firearm advocates and organizatons took particular issue with compromising with hardened Democrats such as Ted Kennedy and the like. They were told that “voting for gun control bills was A-OK, so long as the NRA was allowed to write part of those bills.”
The NRA-ILA, during the supposed fight against the 1994 Clinton AWB, appeared to opose the legislation on the surface but worked behind the scenes through “legislative compromise”.
The NRA-ILA said in a statement in 2017 that the bump stock device the Las Vegas shooter used to convert his semi-automatic weapons to fire automatic should be subject to additional regulations. Though no proof has been offered to confirm this accusation, the NRA had no problem quickly issuing a statement of compromise right out of the gate.
Most recently the NRA-ILA met with Florida governor Scott just before he signed a bill containing some very broad and generalized language in regards to the banning of “rate increasing devices”, seemingly hindering a Florida residents rights to due process and restricted an 18 year old citizen, a person of legal age, from the ability to purchase a rifle or shotgun, which could easily be seen as an infringement on the right to bear arms. After all, it is hard to bear and arm you cannot first purchase.
Hopefully this blog post will shed some light on the really murky history of the NRA and cause a few of the hardened supporters out there to realize that they are not a no compromise organization and never really have been. Their priorities when it comes to our second amendment are skewed according to the politics of the day. And,, that we should be very careful with trusting them to handle our pro firearm business without be vigilant in knowing exactly what they are doing. Knowledge is power my friends.