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Who is the NRA? By: Tanya Metaksa
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, January 14, 2002


MANY WRITE vituperatively about the National Rifle Association (NRA), but when an editorial appears that is so blatantly ignorant about the organization and its 4 million members, it’s time to respond. The latest anti-NRA diatribe was composed by Terry Bass of Prescott, Arizona and published in the Prescott, Arizona Daily Courier and on its website.

Terry begins by saying that he and his best friend Jeff are both ardent Second Amendment supporters, but Jeff is an NRA member and Terry isn’t. He is not an NRA member because:

I find, in trying to reconcile my other strongly held beliefs with the NRA, and their brand of Second Amendment supporters … that I can’t. I am not willing to sacrifice the environment, ally myself with those that would build a Wal-Mart in my favorite hiking spot, allow special interests to raid our treasury and control our government, mine the Grand Canyon, and trash the rest of our Constitution, just so I can own a gun.

What irresponsible hate mongering. NRA is not an organization that supports sacrificing the environment, mining the Grand Canyon, or building a Wal-Mart in anyone’s favorite hiking spot. It is an organization that has supported conservation both legislatively and financially long before today’s liberals and Terry were in diapers.

Just recently the NRA supported the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), which was opposed by many conservatives among its members. In support of CARA, the NRA chief lobbyist, James Jay Baker, wrote, "NRA has supported CARA since it was first introduced in 1998 by Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska). All national conservation and hunting organizations are on record in support of CARA." Where did Terry get his information?

Terry’s problem is that most politicians who agree with him on liberal issues disagree with him on gun rights; so he blames the NRA. "NRA-approved political candidates…are virtually all right-wing conservatives (often radically so…The NRA says they support these people based solely on their advocacy of the Second Amendment. Is it necessary, then to elect these right-wing ideologues, all in the name of protecting the Second Amendment? I think not."

Yes, Terry it is. For NRA to support politicians that try to destroy Second Amendment rights is foolhardy. NRA works with and supports those politicians that support firearms’ freedom no matter what their political or other affiliations.

Their support of any candidate is based only on his or her Second Amendment principles. They have over the past several decades worked with NRA Life Member Representative John Dingell of Michigan, a very liberal Democrat, as well as others whom Terry might support. Unfortunately, over the past several decades, the number of Democrats who support the Second Amendment has dwindled.

On the other hand, NRA has formed coalitions with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other liberal groups when laws and government action threaten civil liberties. NRA is dedicated to the entire Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment that guarantees everyone freedom to publish their thoughts.

Lily M Sieu, 1996 NSCA Ladies National Sporting Clays Champion, responded to Terry’s rant with a letter to the editor. She summarizes the views of many NRA members that we both know.

As a 3rd generation female American born of Chinese descent in my late thirties, I have had personal experience of being stereotyped throughout my life. But I've never been put in the strip-mining-religion-spouting-old-boy's politician club until now!

I am NOT atypical of the women that I meet every year that belong to the NRA…Although not all NRA members share all of my beliefs, the people that I have met through shooting have been more responsible, caring, and safety conscious people in all facets of their lives than those I have met who do not shoot.

Find me a politician that supports all of my views, including a women's right to choose, responsible natural resource harvesting and ALL of the Bill of Rights, and I'll vote for them. Until then I am forced to pick and choose candidates as best as I can."


Tanya K. Metaksa is the former executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action. She is the author of Safe, Not Sorry a self-protection manual, published in 1997. She has appeared on numerous talk and interview shows such as "Crossfire," the "Today" show, "Nightline," "This Week with David Brinkley" and the "McNeil-Lehrer Hour," among others.


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