The NRA, The GOPe, all sorts of other ostensibly “conservative” outfits, like the Heritage Foundation among too many others—for many decades, Real Americans thought they could count on these organizations as at least lukewarm allies, if occasionally unreliable or even treacherous ones.
Well, guess what.
NRA was the first National Gun Control Organization
There are many in the gun community that are angry with Trump for the bump stock ban. I have never blamed Trump for the travesty that was the bump stock ban, because I don’t think that he is the one who sold out gun owners. Let’s be honest here- the NRA greenlighted the bump stock ban. This is nothing new, the NRA was pro gun control for most of its history.
In the 1920s, the National Revolver Association, 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. Florida becoming the 26th state to get rid of concealed weapons carry as a crime meant getting rid of that NRA proposal after 100 years.
During the 1930’s, the NRA helped shape the National Firearms Act of 1934. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to make gun control a feature of the New Deal. The NRA assisted Roosevelt in drafting 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.”
After the assasination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald with an Italian military surplus rifle purchased from a NRA mail-order advertisement, 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 response to the Black Panther Party’s impromptu march on the State Capitol to protest gun control legislation on May 2, 1967.
Then came 1968. The assassinations of JFK, jr and Martin Luther King prompted Congress to enact the Gun Control Act of 1968. The act brought back some proposed laws from 1934, 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. The only part of the proposed law that was opposed by the NRA was a national gun registry. 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.”
It wasn’t until a mini-revolt was staged at the 1977 NRA convention that there was a change in direction. A group of gun owners pushed back and deposed the old leaders in a move called the “Cincinnati Revolt.” Led by former NRA President Harlon Carter and Neal Knox, the revolt ended the tenure of Maxwell Rich as NRA executive vice president and introduced new bylaws. The Revolt at Cincinnati marked a huge change in direction for the NRA. The organization thereafter changed from “hunting, conservation, and marksmanship” and towards the defense of the right to keep and bear arms. The catalyst for this movement was that the NRA wanted to move its headquarters from Washington, DC to Colorado. The new headquarters in Colorado was to be an “Outdoors center” that was more about hunting and recreational shooting than it was the RKBA.
I became a member of the NRA about a decade later and remained an annual member, until I became a life member about 15 years later. I believed for years that the NRA was fighting the good fight for gun owners. It wasn’t.
The NRA was always influenced by a group of Fudds who supported hunting, but hated guns that weren’t for hunting. The bureaucrats who were a part of the NRA’s organization always tried to steer towards hunting, eventually caused the organization to morph into an organization that used the threat of Democrat gun bans for fundraising.
It’s taken quite a long time for Real Americans to awaken to the sad, sorry reality that they are in fact beset on all sides, to emphatically include the one they had thought of for years as their own. One hates to plummet all the way down into unleavened, constant cynicism about absolutely everything and everyone. But in times such as these, when all that was once considered reasonable has been redefined—intentionally, and with malice aforethought—as unreasonable, even intolerable, what else can one sensibly do?