So the last piece related to the NRA had two distinct responses. There was a third type but that was largely only done by a single individual and he was the exception more than the rule.
The other, largely the source of this blog post was blindly defensive of the NRA without actually discussing any of the issues why, there was one exception as noted above. Which brings me around to the post title.
What was I really focused on?
It appears that the crux of my complaint was missed or oblivious to people so let me lay it out here:
Why should I donate money to an organization who is not working to defend my rights in the fight with is going to have the largest impact on ME?
Think about that for a second, they called asking for money but are no where to be seen in the 591/594 fight. End result I am spending my personal time and effort doing what they aren’t.
The response from others:
There were people who left comments to the effect of:
Or the ever entertaining:
The gun culture will be destroyed when your last neuron stops firing from blood loss. Apparently, people like Barron, are cowards who will obey gun laws, gun confiscation,etc. If you have and love guns, you need to understand and be prepared to do the unthinkable if it comes down to it. I would hope that the gun culture in Washington will only be destroyed when there is physical death and destruction of every gun loving resident in that great state and not before that point. I guess people in New York and CT have harder balls than people i Washington.
That last comment is by someone who obviously is not familiar with the legislation and what it’s actually doing. Not to mention this seems like the rantings of someone perpetuating the “deranged knuckle-dragging stereotype.” I’d also like to point out that the goal of combat and war is not to die for your cause or principles, it’s to make the other poor bastard die for his. I-594, while certainly creating a system of backdoor gun registration, does much worse. I-594 makes felons from those who engage in instruction, sport, and education with its overly broad definitions. You’re right, the gun culture will die with my last breath because I was effectively prevented from bringing new people into the sport.
Where it all comes together:
The biggest gold mine was Facebook:
The NRA is working to elect pro gun candidates in every state. That’s a very bold statement, that would mean they’re working to elect pro gun candidates right here in Washington since it’s every state. Let’s look at the PDC shall we?
The reason that the I-676 numbers are specifically called out is because the argument is the NRA is supporting candidates right? We quickly discover that by far the biggest contributor to elections in Washington since 1998 isn’t the NRA but WAGOAL. By a ratio of ~1.5 to 1. But lets see exactly where the NRA is spending our donations.
So it seems the NRA has a solid covering, but what is interesting is some of those candidates aren’t in serious battle areas. They are already very “red” and quite pro-gun as it’s the more rural parts of the state. Interestingly though Pam Roach, who is quite honestly one of the most gun friendly people up for reelection, is in a heated showdown to retain her seat has only a single contribution from the NRA this year. Know what’s interesting about that? She is quite literally in the middle of some of the most gun unfriendly territory in the state. So explain how the NRA is going to be helping pro gun candidates, when it seems their philosophy is to fire a shotgun at the wall and hope that something sticks. If you have limited funds, one should make sure to maximize the effect from what you do spend. Same goes for residents, comparing the NRA to say WAGOAL in terms of supporting candidates, I’m sending my money to WAGOAL.*
WAGOAL may look light on this years donations to political candidates, however they have contributed heavily to the 591/594, where normally they would be focused on candidates not an initiative battle; which when taken into account easily moves them to twice what NRA has contributed this election cycle, even with the NRA’s shell campaign.
In 1997 the NRA committed, quite heavily I might add, to defeating I-676. As you can see above the NRA brought over $2 million into the fight. This time we get crickets.
We get a lack of commitment on an opposing initiative that would help secure a legal challenge in the even I-594 passes. We get a battlefield of restraints our local representatives are constrained by. Ultimately I see the process of engineering for failure.
So how do I view this overall?
When you criticize the NRA or question the notion that the NRA is the “gun owners best friend and can do no wrong” mentality, you get excuses. Sort of like the battered spouse crying “Sure he beats and rapes me but he protects me from all these other things! He’s a good provider!”
Others see that parallel with the NRA’s relationship to gun owners. They claim that the NRA is fundamentally opposed to any idea that didn’t originate in Virginia, that the NRA is unwilling to work with other pro-gun organizations and that the NRA is the first to claim credit when things go well – and shift the blame with equal vigor.
These same people who then tell us that the NRA response to I-594 and I-591 is precisely what we should expect – a token effort or a shell campaign opposing I-594 so that NRA “leaders” in Virginia can claim victory if I-594 is defeated, and that “well, we tried” should it win. That we should be unsurprised when the NRA dismisses I-591 as irrelevant – as, after all, not only was I-591 not born in the depths of the NRA halls of Virginia, it was homegrown. After all, nothing good EVER happens when gun owners think for themselves and take the lead. That is the modern NRA – not the NRA of 1997, still equipped with a spine and marching into the fight with $2,000,000 in their pocket.
Objectively it almost seems as if there’s actually two different NRA’s. There is local NRA and field reps trying to find ways to be effective locally — whether that is testifying to the legislature or standing behind a booth at the fair, working a gun show, or any other task an activist must do.
Then we have the second NRA, sitting on the pocketbook – dismissive and uninvolved, a bureaucratic multi-headed monster in Virginia that works against those local representatives. The body that coughed up a total of $25,000 late in the game, in a seeming act of self-serving symbolism.
Representing that NRA we have Brian Judy, an NRA Senior State Liaison, has worked tirelessly within the dysfunctional ball field the Medusa of Virginia created in the Washington initiative battle and was fantastically effective during the Legislative Hearings in Olympia. Judy literally crushed the opposition without blinking an eye and did it effectively, without reserve, with an educational tone that nailed the subject at hand.
The NRA serves a purpose – but I seriously wonder how much they are really self-serving versus actually serving gun owners. They were helpful during the national fight January 2013, but at the same time they stabbed Washington State in the back – was that two NRA’s working to cross purposes?
Maybe it’s time to start working on solid local leadership we can depend on – if we cannot depend on the NRA of Virginia.
*Note I do not represent or claim to represent WAGOAL and could care less where you send your money. I am merely providing the information as an educational service. Do with it as you please.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.