The NRA Needs to Grow a Pair
Let’s start with how long I’ve been involved with the NRA.
I got my first NRA shooting certificate when I was 12-years-old and my NRA pistol certification when I was 38.
I’ve been an NRA member for a couple of decades, and I’m currently a Life Member. When I lived in Southern California I was President of the NRA Members Council of West Side Los Angeles.
J. Neil Schulman wearing NRA Cap at 1994 rally
My father, concert violinist Julius Schulman, was also an NRA member — at least as far back as the 1960′s to his passing in 2000 — and I remember American Rifleman mailed to our house in Natick, Mass., and reading the digest of newspaper stories highlighting gun-owner defenses in the “Armed Citizen” column every month. That — and my father’s own personal accounts of how on several occasions he used his CCW-licensed handgun to save his own and others’ lives from criminal attacks — is one of the reasons I eventually wrote my 1994 Charlton-Heston-endorsed book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns.
Most of what you hear about guns on TV and radio, and most of what you read about guns in prominent magazines and newspapers, is distorted to the point of lying, by writers who have a prejudice against private ownership of guns by the American public.
Most journalists today write as if the NRA–usually lumped in with the Tobacco Institute–represents only the commercial interests of “merchants of death” who don’t care how many lives are lost–particularly the lives of our young people–just so long as they get to keep selling their product.
So let’s get that myth out of the way right now.
The National Rifle Association of America is a 124-year-old organization almost entirely financed by the dues and small contributions of its 3.2 million members, not by money from the gun manufacturers. In addition to the NRA’s other programs, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action lobbies for the right to keep and bear arms not only of 70 million current American gun owners, but of anyone who might want to exercise that right in the future.
This media hostility to the NRA permeates the entire debate about guns and violence in this country, and allows lie to be piled upon lie. When NRA held a news conference to tell the media that a new Luntz-Weber poll showed that most Americans don’t think gun control will reduce crime or violence, the room was empty. When Handgun Control, Inc., called a news conference around the same time to discuss the results of a Louis Harris poll, the room was jammed with reporters and TV cameras, and the media reported Handgun Control’s interpretation of the poll results as if it were a papal encyclical.
At some point, you just have to ask yourself the following question: who knows more about guns–the millions of NRA members who own them, handle them on a regular basis, and have taken NRA’s safety courses…or journalists who talk and write about guns for television networks and national magazines, but are often afraid even to be in the same room with one?
As a comparison, would you believe a writer who spent his life railing about how dangerous automobiles were, but who had never sat behind the steering wheel of a car? Why on earth would you believe a critic who spent his life telling you how to improve automotive safety but who had never bothered to get an engineering degree–and who dismissed the opinions of real automotive experts who pointed out the critic’s incompetence and bias, sneering that the experts were “just mouthpieces for the automobile manufacturers’ lobby”?
So if I’m now telling the NRA’s political strategists that they’re acting like cowards — acting out of fear of what their enemies might do — understand that it’s said out of love.
The NRA is considering endorsing the solidly anti-gun-owner Nevada Senator Harry Reid — the current Senate Majority Leader — in his run against the solidly pro-gun-owner Sharron Angle.
Now, I’m not a big fan of Sharron Angle, even though the list of areas where we agree is formidable. She believes in the absolute right to keep and bear arms; so do I. She wants to phase out the Department of Education — a massive bureaucracy that doesn’t educate anybody — and Social Security — which given its bankruptcy guarantees the young workers being taxed for it no security whatsoever.
But Sharron Angle also is so opposed to legalizing marijuana that she’d bring back alcohol prohibition if necessary to prevent it; is opposed to legal gambling in her state whose entire economy is based on legal gambling; and is more anti-abortion than the Pope, who isn’t as opposed to saving the life of a mother as Mrs. Angle is.
I just don’t trust anyone who picks and chooses which of the Bill of Rights she likes and which she doesn’t like, and Sharron Angle’s devotion to the State using its police power to enforce her ideas on Christian morality makes me think that if push ever came to shove, she’d sell out the Second Amendment to keep something that offends her church illegal in a Las Vegas minute.
The 2012 election is coming up, and for you Heinlein fans out there, keep a sharp eye out for the crop of Nehemiah Scudders currently infecting the Tea Party movement. Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin give me the willies. But if Sharron Angle is elected, as a first-time senator she’ll be a back-bencher — no seniority, little power. No immediate threat.
There is just no excuse for the NRA considering endorsing Harry Reid to keep his U.S. Senate seat and his position as Senate Majority Leader simply because some election tout at 11250 Waples Mill Road is pissing his pants that if Nevada voters fire Reid New York Senator Charles Schumer might replace him.
So what? Even if the Republicans don’t take back one house or the other, are we so afraid of the outcome of one lousy election that we have to give our sanction of the victim to Harry Reid who is just as opposed to gun-owner rights as Schumer, but has the slight tactical advantage that he’s more retarded?
We’ve got the facts of gun-owner defenses on our side. We’ve got the Constitution on our side. At this fleeting moment in time we even have the Supreme Court on our side. Now’s no time to show the white feather.
The NRA is made up of people who are willing to shoot back when attacked. It’s intolerable that the world’s biggest organization defending the political immunities of gun owners should put up with lobbyists and political tacticians who are afraid of their own shadows.
As I wrote in a song I put on the soundtrack of my movie, Lady Magdalene’s, “I’d rather be tried by twelve than carried by six.”
My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!