Myths of the NRA
Re: “The steel behind American freedom” in the Culture section of the May 9 edition, NRA President David A. Keene serves up Kool-Aid by the bucket in his piece concerning the political clout of his organization.
I have been a strong gun rights proponent for decades, but I am not, nor will I probably ever be, an NRA member.
Contrary to what Mr. Keene states the NRA is not a formidable gun rights organization. Instead it has two overriding goals, garnering cash donations and supporting the “rights” of the shrinking number of sport trophy hunters nationwide.
When it comes to gun rights in general it actually opposed the Heller case reaching the Supreme Court, by which it was eventually ruled that private gun ownership is a right protected (not granted) by the Second Amendment. The NRA only jumped on board when it saw its opposition failing and the likelihood that the case would be a gun rights win.
As for the touted four million members, that is smoke and mirrors as many of those memberships are via gift mem- berships which was part of a fundraising campaign. Many of the people who are “members” would never have joined short of someone paying the dues for them.
During last year’s elections the NRA blindly endorsed incumbents despite their record on gun issues and their challengers pro-gun rights stances. I stood next to a friend as he personally challenged NRA Board member and spokesman Wayne LaPierre on this issue. We were told, in a roundabout fashion, that it’s policy to endorse incumbents. My friend, a longtime NRA member, and his wife canceled their memberships soon after that encounter.
Even at the four million member the NRA holds a single-digit percentage of the over 100 million (and expanding) legitimate gun owners nationwide.
If the NRA had a tenth of the political clout it claims the “assault weapons” ban would never have made it out of committee, let alone passed, and we would have nationwide reciprocity for concealed cary handgun permits. David Kveragas Newton Township, Pennsylvania