Discusses some NRA history, impact on today

To the editor:

Responding to Mr. Baker’s statement, “But somewhere in the late 60s or 70s its complexion and direction was radically changed and it became an organization less interested in hunting and responsible gun ownership and use but in promoting the complete and unchallenged ownership in virtually any type of firearm and financially supporting financially a conservative agenda that embraced philosophies completely outside the use and ownership of firearms.”

“I don’t know who specifically hijacked the organization, but many attribute this change to the very large U.S. firearms industry. There is supposedly some 279 million firearms owned by American citizens. This is a very large investment to protect. The NRA argues that it exists to protect the hunters’ and citizens’ right to have arms as guaranteed by our Constitutional Second Amendment. It is very apparent that this is no longer a priority. I completely believe this, but that said it is irrelevant to this discussion.”

I would ask, why is it, Mr. Baker that you so disparage the NRA? It would appear that they do not agree with your political views or your understanding of the Second Amendment and what is at stake. I offer this for consideration:

The NRA was founded shortly after the Civil War by Union officers disturbed by the poor gun skills of the troops they had commanded in battle. Fittingly, for its first fifty years, the NRA built rifle ranges, sponsored shooting competitions, and organized gun safety courses. Its techniques and standards were adopted by the United States Army and municipal police departments; the NRA was perceived as a mainstream and civic-minded organization working at common purposes with local and national governments. The two major gun control laws, the National Firearms Act and the Federal Firearms Act, were both endorsed by the NRA.

In the mid 1970s, this “old NRA” came under attack from a new generation of leaders within the organization. Led by Harlon Carter, this new group criticized the accommodationist attitudes of past leaders and pledged themselves to a more aggressive and uncompromising defense of an individualist interpretation of the Second Amendment-that is, they insisted that the Second Amendment protected an unqualified individual right to gun ownership, not just the right of states to maintain a militia, and they pledged to combat any government attempt to limit that right. In 1977, Carter and his supporters won control over the NRA at its national convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In a 1997 speech before the Free Congress Foundation, Charlton Heston offered one of his most elaborate analyses of the contemporary crisis facing traditional values and those who held them. A “cultural war” was “raging across our land … storming our values, assaulting our freedoms,” he argued. “There may not be a Gestapo officer on every street corner,” he conceded, but the effect on intellectual freedom was just as crushing. Defenders of traditional values had been “shamed into silence” by revisionist history and political correctness, “killing our self-confidence in who we are and what we believe.” Politicians pandered to racial militants and feminist and gay activists, Heston believed, but “Heaven help the God-fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle class, Protestant, or-even worse- admitted heterosexual, gun-owning or-even worse-NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff, or-even worse-male working stiff, because not only don’t you count, you’re a downright obstacle to social progress.”

What Heston described is continuing to happen today. With the election of Barrack Hussein Obama to the presidency, liberals and like minded politicians are in a “full court press” against traditional values and would like nothing better than to disarm those who resist.

Harlon Carter, Charlton Heston and others saw the writing on the wall and understood that further accommodation of the left’s efforts to infringe upon our rights under the Constitution must be resisted by all means possible. That is what patriots do.

Clyde Bailey