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By John Kornegay

Let me say this very clearly – I owe Wayne LaPierre an apology. Prior to 2011, I thought he was a paranoid loose cannon who was talking through his tin-foil hat. I have come to see the error of my own ways, and the correctness of his beliefs. Let me share how I came to this epiphany . . .

Up until 2011, you would have called me a Fudd at best. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in the south and midwest, guns and hunting were just part of life. If you wanted to hunt, you bought a hunting license, went down to Sears and bought a shotgun or rifle, got a landowner’s permission, and went hunting (in season, of course).

No permission needed to buy a gun or own a gun required, at least for rifles and shotguns. I didn’t know much about handguns because my father (rightly) recognized that my two brothers and I weren’t responsible enough, plus he just didn’t like them. He wasn’t wild about rifles, either, so we only had BB guns and pellet rifles. But he loved to bird hunt, and taught my brothers and me to love it as well.

However, as I graduated from college, joined the Navy, moved to the east coast, and married a Rhode Islander, guns and hunting just fell off my radar. I still loved fishing and the outdoors, but other than buying a single shot Stevens shotgun in the mid-70’s (I’ll save that story for another time) guns just weren’t a part of my life. I was too busy making a living and all that goes with that to be part of the gun culture at that time.

As a result, if you had asked me about the Assault Weapon Ban or other gun control efforts during that time, I probably would not have even been aware of them. I had no idea how much the world of guns had changed since I left college. Owning a gun for self-defense was not something I even thought about, blessed as I have been in my life.

Fast forward to 2011. When I retired I decided I needed a new hobby and that handgun target shooting would be it. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

I had seen some of Mr. LaPierre’s quotes as delivered (without bias, of course) by the Hartford Courant and CBS, and considered him part of the lunatic fringe. Even though I had to jump through ridiculous hoops to “earn my right” to own and carry a handgun (yet another story for another time), I did it, got my gun, and joined the NRA, a local gun club and the family of Gun Culture 2.0. However, I still considered Mr. LaPierre crazy for believing that there could really be any serious attempt to shut down gun ownership, particularly by our President. Boy, was I wrong.

I was in Connecticut for Sandy Hook and shared in the grief, but quickly saw through the false messaging that arose in the media and politics. Even after watching New York pass its SAFE Act in the dead of night, I expected Connecticut to be better, but I was wrong again.

I watched the kangaroo hearings, filed written comments with the legislative committee, participated in several public events, wrote to and talked to my state senator and state representative (both supportive). Then I watched in dismay as the governor and Democratic legislative “leadership” bypassed all legislative controls and passed “emergency legislation” in the dead of night that none of our legislators had a chance to read.

The resulting law was just a bad as you might imagine, and like Obamacare they are still arguing over just what the law actually says (and means). All the while, our friends Manchin and Toomey at the national level were trying to pass a new assault weapon ban under cover of a universal background check bill.

So yes, Mr. LaPierre, you were right and I was wrong, and I apologize. They were going to try to take away our civil rights, and they made some serious inroads in at least a few states such as mine.

Do I believe some of your latest pronouncements about what they have in mind now? As an American, as a veteran, and as a liberal (not progressive, damn it!) I don’t want to believe them. But recent history has proven me wrong more often than you, so yes, I believe what you say and will work as hard as I can to block those efforts to further erode our civil rights.

That means, among other things, getting out the vote to replace the politicians who have brought us to this sad point in our history. If we don’t change things in 2016, everything you envision, and more, will be attempted. Thank you for continuing to speak up for all of us.

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67 Responses to Contest Entry: I Owe Wayne LaPierre an Apology

  1. AMEN BROTHER! I too felt the message from the NRA was a little over the top for a while, then Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Cuomo, and the “mad mothers for action” appeared and I too saw the light.

    • I thought LaPierre’s speech after SandyHook was cringeworthy. It might have played well to an NRA convention, but for the general public and media it was a misfire destined to bring scorn. I still went from lapsed annual member to NRA Life Member shortly afterwards, because I knew what the stakes were and the legislative shenanigans that were probably coming from the antis.

      To be honest, I also got caught up in the buying frenzy/panic and bought an AR I didn’t really need or want that much, just because it was ‘endangered’. Now that the novelty has worn off, I am thinking of selling it or trading for a new CZ pistol.

      • My advice. . Own at least 1 modern sporting rifle. Keep the AR and try some ” action rifle shooting ” competition. Fun beyond belief! Keeps old guys young!

      • “It might have played well to an NRA convention, but for the general public and media it was a misfire destined to bring scorn.”

        Look up the gains in NRA membership, firearms sales, positive outcome court battles and political gains since then….get back to me please.

        Been a NRA member for over 30 years [currently Endowment] and vote in every election and have supported LaPierre at every turn.

        • I don’t have to look any further than my own reasons for becoming an active NRA member again or some of the gun buys I have made since Sandyhook. They were not because of LaPierre. In case of membership, it was rather in spite of him. I think a lot of people are less likely to admit they are NRA members to the others outside the community because of Lapierre, and that probably hurts recruiting. Five million members isn’t all that impressive when you consider we have at least seventy million gun owners in the country.

  2. Its a crazy place right now, that is the USA. I saw gun legislation coming after Sandy Hook but I was shocked at how crazy it undermined everything this country stands for (I live in NYS). Nobody supports the SAFE Act and I mean nobody with brains supports it!

    • As much as I try to avoid New York (as a Jersey resident…) I did go to the Watkins Glen area for a few days this past weekend. It was a birthday gift for my dad who used to camp/watch races there all the time when he was younger…

      Anyway, it was nice to still see quite a few anti-SAFE act signs on people’s lawns. I hate that any of the money I spent will eventually make it’s way to the anti-gun government coffers, but I can’t hold that against any of the local businesses we supported.

      • As much as you ‘try to avoid New York (as a Jersey resident)’? Really? You can tell the difference? From PA, both places look very much the same.

        • That’s why I’m moving to SC in three weeks.

          But yes, in the meantime, I avoid patronizing any state with such asinine laws like the SAFE act as much as possible.

  3. As a liberal, you vote for big government yet bellow when you feel it’s boot upon your neck.

    Instead of apologizing, maybe you need to do some soul searching about who you are helping to be elected.

    • I’m not exactly sure what he means by “liberal”, but he is right in saying that the real problem is the “progressives”.

      Classical liberalism is not what people call liberalism today. Classical liberals favor freedom and liberty.

      The problem we face today, is that both political parties are controlled by progressives. Progressives think the solution to every problem is more government. They also hold tenaciously to utopian fantasies.

      • The million dollar question is…..

        Did he vote for Obama once (meaning that he is gullible/uninformed/idealistic) or did he vote for him twice (meaning that he’s a leftist F**ktard).

        • Not necessarily. I have a friend who is aware of the pitfalls of socialized medicine (he came from Slovakia), has no issues with gun ownership (although doesn’t own one) and generally agrees with my political viewpoints. But he voted for Obama, twice. To his credit, he regrets his choices now, and flat out said he would not vote for Hillary. He just didn’t feel Romney represented him. I asked him why he didn’t vote third party or Libertarian than, and he said that thought never occurred to him.

    • I’m assuming by the unqualified use of the word liberal, that he means someone who favors government welfare programs (like social security, medicare, and WIC) paid for by taxes on the upper and middle classes.
      If that’s the case, we just need to get him to read the warnings of the Austrian school of economics over the past few decades, realize they were right about everything, and become a libertarian.

  4. The difficulty comes in the fact that they are ALWAYS screaming that the sky is falling Right Fricking Now, even when, at that particular moment, it isn’t.

    Right this instant there’s no particular “push” to increase restrictions, certainly nothing like the push that came after Newtown. Yet the rheteoric is exactly as alarmist. There’s one volume level, and it happens to be 11, so it becomes meaningless after a while. Then they wonder why we blow them off when there really is an immediate crisis.

    In other words, I agree, WLP is not crazy. Instead, I have an issue with SOME of his “markeiting” tactics and think they’re probably counterproductive in the long run.

    • Meh. That’s how everyone markets everything these days. The Dems say children will starve and workers will become slaves if they don’t win elections.
      The news says the cereal you ate for breakfast could kill you, tune in at 11.

      Fabricated scarcity is another “end times” tactic. While supplies last! Limited edition! Sale only good through Saturday!
      It’s all the same doomsayer shit. Has been this way for decades. Can’t really hold up the NRA as an exceptional example. No more than any other charity, org, politician, retailer, etc…
      Don’t forget to support raising taxes to hire more cops and firefighters or your children will get raped in burning homes.

    • I’m not too sure La Pierre even makes his own decisions any more — I think the PR firm he brought in tells him what to say. The trouble with that is after a while people see it as just PR and ignore it.

      I’ve complained repeatedly to the NRA that they don’t document their assertions. There should be a place on the website where every claim is backed up with citations, as heavy as for a doctoral dissertation. There are lots of people online who ignore folks without documentation, so we’re losing numerous chances to be heard when it’s just PR.

      That said, my complaint about Wayne is that he’s a politician more than he is principled. I’m tired of the never-relenting rhetoric, but I an disgusted at the way he’ll shuffle and jive instead of just saying the plain truth.

      • I believe part of Wayne’s approach is to reach out to the current gun-control advocates when he preaches his rhetoric! We have to remember, those of us who agree with Wayne and his assertions that the Left is proceeding full-throttle to deny our gun rights don’t need convincing. It’s the idiot’s on the Left that ignore facts and react to sound-bites to support their beliefs.

        I do believe there’s plenty of substantive supporting evidence in the magazines that are sent out by the NRA. However, knowing that pro-gun voices don’t get any airtime on the mainstream media venues I have to support him spouting the right rhetoric and then allowing knowledgeable people like us to dispel the naysayers on the online forums and such.

        Our greatest obstacle is that the idiots control the education system and the media so they can continue to ‘shotgun-blast’ anti-gun lies to the wary public and most of them will never hear any credible feedback because every staunch Leftist/Liberal stifles dissent and blatantly ignore those who don’t agree with them, especially those who can dismantle their lies piece by piece!

      • I’m not too sure La Pierre even makes his own decisions any more“…

        Wayne LaPierre never “made his own decisions” about general NRA policy. They have boards and committees and so forth that develop these policies based on the principles of their charter. The NRA has never been some kind of dictatorship run by Wayne Lapierre. As executive VP he has a lot of say in all areas, but it’s certainly a far more democratic organization than, for example, Bloomberg LP.

        There wouldn’t even be a functioning 2nd Amendment without the NRA, and Wayne Lapierre’s forceful and effective leadership has been key to its continuance. He is a courageous and patriotic man and a national hero. I don’t see how any informed gun person could doubt that.

        We can do without all this trashing of him and the NRA, which is mostly based on issues of style, if I can put it that way. Remember, extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. But maybe you didn’t like that guy, either.

        • Slab, Many good points, but NRA salaries do give me heartburn. Over $200K for a secretary – er, administrative assistant? Tough to imagine a board of directors in a public company sanctioning something like this.

  5. There IS a Universal background check in effect, IMHO, they call it NICS.

    It is as failed a program as most anything Federally related, sans the military, which is only partially so.

    As a multi-decade NRA member, I have seen some seriously stern warnings, and outright fear mongering, but on the whole, the man has been pretty close to the way it is…

    • I think you are using Universal in a different sense than intended (it’s not a wrong sense, I’m not quoting Inigo Montoya)

      Universal generally means “everywhere” as in “everywhere in the US” and NICS is indeed everywhere in the US.

      But when someone speaks of Universal background checks, they mean something else, they mean making them mandatory for all firearm transfers, not just purchases from an FFL. Only in some parts of the country is that the case.

    • You are correct Spectre, NICS was established for that very reason.

      The Left doesn’t care about people getting background checks just like they don’t want people to have to show an ID to vote!!!

      What they want is what the Left always wants, to dig into your pocket and tax you to oblivion for your right to own a gun. The new Universal background talk is just a backdoor approach to legalize the unjust taxing gun owners. That’s why they’re attacking the gun manufacturer’s, the ammunition maker’s, and law-abiding gun owners on all fronts. They want to make it cost prohibitive for us to own a gun.

      What they don’t realize is they tried this same approach with cigerattes and smokers are still smoking and paying the excessively high prices for cigerattes. Then they have the nerve to legalize marijuana and proclaim it’s harmless!!! Their hypocrisy is stunning.

  6. My dad “lost all respect” for the NRA when they talked about “jack-booted thugs.” Now, the raids by jack-booted thugs has increased considerably. SWAT teams have flash-banged a toddler sleeping in a crib, taken down a no-kill animal shelter harboring a baby deer, and shot countless dogs. While raiding the wrong address. My dad still isn’t on board with the NRA, but I sure am (as well as the FPC, SAF, and Calguns).

    Without the passion of the NRA, our gun rights would be much more infringed.

    I’m still not sure what jack boots are.

    • Here’s the original quote, which preceded Wayne’s by more than a decade:

      “If I were to select a jack-booted group of fascists who are perhaps as large a danger to American society as I could pick today, I would pick the BATF.”

      — Rep. John Dingell (D-MI)

      Yes, a Michigan Democrat.

        • My dad went from a hardcore traditional / FUDD type to allowing cool AR-15s and AR-10s – even AR pistols – on his hunting land. He still uses a classic Marlin 336 .30-30, but with the newfangled LeverEvolution ammo.

          He might not even be a hardcore gun rights advocate, but we love and respect each other. I’ve got to be tactful with my approach on my passion for gun rights. For now, that’s enough.

  7. I can understand LaPierre’s words may be interpreted by some as fringe, and sometimes it feels like that’s who he’s pandering to (Ted Nugent’s ramblings aren’t helping either.)

  8. It’s funny. Until he said those “crazy” things I wrote off the NRA as being wholly complicit in the restriction of my liberty through the power of Fuddom and “compromise.”
    I bet the difference is the author being from a different place and time took his liberty for granted. Maybe even thought he had too much liberty for his own good.

    See, I grew up in 80’s CT. Born in chains and told every day for the decades I lived there that I was a disease and my liberty was killing babies. Growing up under all that venom and oppression meant there wasn’t a liberty defending organization strong enough for me. Not unless I could find one hell-bent on carpet bombing every tyrant stronghold in the US.
    Since I’ve left the land of dictators I’ve become much more even tempered and no longer rage for the total annihilation of every little Eichmann in office (though I wouldn’t oppose it either) but the scars left in me from CT and the anti’s hostility mean I’ll never take what little liberty any of us have left for granted, never be satisfied with any win we may get and I still resent Fudds for all their “compromise.”

  9. I see the NRA leadership as a bunch that are far too willing to make compromises with those who would strip us of our natural rights as long as they can continue to line their pockets. They tried to get Heller tossed out of court. I believe Harry Reid still has an “A” rating. La Pierre is a douche bag.

    G.O.A.

    • The NRA is for the NRA Period. Whatever benefits their bank account is what they’ll sell. Texas could have had constitutional carry this year, but Charles Cotton (board member NRA from Texas) & Alicia Tripp (Texas State Rifle Association President) did everything they could to cull the vote to keep permitted carry and they damn near killed open carry (both are elitists who only favor permitted concealed carry).

      These people are NOT to be trusted and shouldn’t be given any funds to support either group. If you do, know that they’ll be using that money to support candidates to keep permitted carry in place.

      In Liberty

      • ” . . .did everything they could to cull the vote to keep permitted carry and they damn near killed open carry (both are elitists who only favor permitted concealed carry). ”

        Uhmm. I rather thank Shannon and the Moms, Tarrant County Open Carry, and the Chipotle Ninjas had something to do with the way the recent gun-rights issues went down in the legislature.

      • If NRA contract lobbyist for IL Todd Vandermyde is an example who “works” for NRA, then it is a totally compromised traitorous organization.

        Vandermyde put Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties in ILs carry bill, not Chicago Mayor Daley. When Chicago black democrats opposed DTI knowing it would lead to stop and frisk police abuse, the hick from Harrisburg Rep. Brandon Phelps and his pet rat Vandermyde opposed taking DTI out of his “good” “NRA backed” HB183 carry bill.

        Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA-ILA employ this scum and let him run amok, because dead gun owners are good for business. NRA made $1.3 MILLION on the Otis McDonald case.

    • You believe wrong. Reid does not. he lost any positive rating when he backed Obama’s supreme court justices. They (NRA) did an article on a very large public range that opened in Nevada that Harry Ried was involved with. Somehow folks lost their mind. NRA did not endorse Reid in his last election. However…if Ried were to have lost…Chuck Schumer would have been president of the Senate…

      • I stand corrected. They dropped him to a “B”.

        GOA has him as an “F”, which is a much more accurate reflection of his position on fire arms.

  10. John it’s 18__ there is not such thing as a liberal not damn progressive.

    If you’re a dem party tool then know that the progressive took control of that party in the 1880s (they also controlled much of the Rep party until the late 1950s and there is still a war going).

    A “classical” liberal? Unicorns and flying pigs.

      • Yes. Adam Smith, “The Wealth Of Nations”, was a classic 19th century liberal. He was nothing like today’s progressives.

      • Classical liberals still exist — they’re mostly called libertarians now.

        Yep, but that doesn’t stop the MFM from propagating the myth that it’s conservatives that keeps getting more radical.

        I still challenge leftists to name me one, just one, social issue of importance where 2015 conservative are more conservative now then they were 50 years ago. Never get an answer to that.

        Now in contrast, lets compare how far the left has gone left in the last 50 years.

        But the conservatives are the radicals…uhhh Huh.

  11. So the progressive loons hate LaPierre because he’s soooooo extreme, and the right-wing loons hate LaPierre because he isn’t extreme enough.

    I’d say that makes him just about perfect.

    And if it wasn’t for the NRA, all of Obama’s anti-American “gun safety” proposals would have passed. Every. Fvcking. One. Even the SAF backed Manchin-Toomey, but the NRA held the line.

  12. It only takes listening to a progressive left rant against the 2A to understand why LaPierre et al must be stalwart.

  13. Thank you.
    Similar background. I joined the NRA because they’re the only game in town for advocacy at a national level. But continue to be astounded at the NRA’s ‘foot in mouth’ response to every tragedy. In the most recent Charleston one, an NRA director’s ‘blame the victims’ comment was extensively quoted.

    While perhaps accurate, the response was virtually guaranteed to reinforce the view that the NRA is comprised of tin foil hat extremists – a view that gun control advocates promote.

    There’s little to show in the battle for public opinion. The NRA is almost a text book case of marketing failures. My primary concern is that the NRA’s advocacy is becoming as relevant as Sara Palin. It’s time for new leadership and new approaches if our gun rights are to be maintained.

  14. I’m 59 years old and recently became an NRA member after “rediscovering” an interest in guns just a couple of years ago. I’d be for replacing Wayne with Colion Noir as the public face of the NRA.

    • OMG! A black man as the face of the NRA. Heads will explode, the sky will fall and Uncle Tom will be the new battle cry of the left. But David, I totally agree. I have the greatest respect for Wayne, but change, every now and then, is a good thing.

    • Collins Idehen is great for us, and he is one of the NRA’s “faces,” but I doubt that he could raise the same amount of money as Wayne. And don’t kid yourself, the money is critical.

      With the Little Prince (Bloomberg) pledged to spend $50 million to crush us, George Soros spending more than that and the Joyce Foundation bankrolling every anti-gun nut in the US, we need every dollar.

      Bloomberg bought New York City — three times. He bought New York State (MAIG wrote the SAFE Act). He bought Washington. He’s buying Oregon. He tried to buy NV. Without the NRA as the counter-bidder, we’re done.

      • Bingo…nothing says you can’t join multiple groups. All have their worth (can’t figure out NAGR’s though). Join them all as the only way to change things is to become a member and vote…here…this is a link for a discounted membership I got with my last purchase… http://www.nra.org/ruger

  15. I would support the NRA, if it were more similar (in some ways) to the Teamsters, and less similar in the way it IS similar to the Teamsters.

    We don’t need AARP, much less need another one. We don’t need touchy-feely, we don’t need Obama’s NASA be good to Muslim approach to making things more open and universal.

    We don’t need acceptance, we don’t need A+ ratings, we DO need the minute man (where’s he been lately?). We need people like LaPierre to tell people to STFU, and if it causes a fist-fight, we need them to bring a knife and a gun to it. We need to b_tch-slap “sporting purposes” at every evil incarnation, and butt-stroke anybody selling that cr_p. We need to push back 102% against the ATF, and all its purposes, its bloat its mission creep, its militarization, and its infringement. We need to push back against all gun-grabbing states. They are all ‘Part-of-America.’ They don’t get to sh_t on my right to be a free American there just because they allowed foreigners and dead people to vote them into power.
    We need to promote ARMS, we need to PERMANENTLY abolish in the American psyche the notion that they are unnecessary to everyday life, or that they will be readily available to the uninitiated should an immediate need become evident.
    The NRA can claim that all or most of that is “not their job” or “not what they’re about,” that’s fine, but they then better not be caught acting against an organization that does. Go GOA.

  16. In the Sandy Hook debate, LaPierre was a bit deaf, so to speak, when on Meet the Press and presented with an illegal magazine (per DC law) by David Gregory.

    A sharper spokesman would have immediately questioned how such an item got brought into the District, who broke the law, etc. But he didn’t and squandered the opportunity to get a reporter prosecuted (or “Hoisted with his own petard”).

    I want an aggressive leader who thinks on his feet. He’s just okay.

    • The D.C. police wanted to arrest and prosecute David Gregory.

      The D.C. district attorney made it clear that they wouldn’t press charges, so the matter was dropped.

  17. I think wayne is right on point. The only thing I don’t like about the nra is we always play defence and never offence. We need to push back against the NFA and gun control act of 1968. We need to work to repeal these onerous laws

  18. You lost me at “liberal”. No insurmountable problems with the NRA or old Wayne…and +1000000 Ralph. Colion is ok but yeah I think a whole lot of OFWG(not me) prefer someone like themselves to lead. I don’t care who it is( how about Dirk?)…

  19. I think now is the perfect time to give WLP a silver parachute and a nice congratulations farewell event.
    I wouldn’t even mind if he stayed in the background, out of public speaking roles, to help with money raising.

    We must get somebody a little quicker on their feet and silver tongued for the next big assault that is sure to come. And yeah, female and of color would help. It’s a PR war and image counts for a lot.

  20. Gun owners complaining about the NRA reminds me of conservatives nit-picking Republican candidates…while Rome burns. I don’t agree with everything the NRA does, but in sum they are the only powerful and effective organization that can fight our battles in DC.
    Wonder what we’d be complaining about today if they weren’t around?

  21. I actually thought the NRA was comprised of FUDDS and I am to their right when it comes to gun ownership and rights. But the NRA could be worse. I grew up around guns and they are sort of like lawn mowers or a power tool.
    Guns around the children! Yawn.

  22. The NRA is the best we have. So is the Gun Owners of American group. And the Second Amendment Foundation. All three are a combined force that helps keep freedom in America. If you are not a member of at least one of them, you as a gun owner are part of the problem and will be asking how did my gun rights get taken away.

    In the 90s Wayne Lapierre said president Clinton was willing to accept a certain level of violence in America to achieve his goal of disarming the USA. Wayne was right back then. The progressive democrats prefer a high level of violence in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Baltimore and other cities. It’s easier to control people with fear of violence from strangers.

    • Amen.

      Also, California Rifle and Pistol Association has been at the forefront of challenging the restrictive gun control climate in CA. Important to keep in mind for those that hope we slide into the Pacific, that CA often leads the nation in such legislation. Stopping inane legislation here will often thwart it in other states. See http://www.crpa.org

  23. By ‘liberal, not progressive’ can we assume that means classical liberal, which is really libertarian or “little ‘r’ republican” as Mike Church uses?
    “Liberal” was stolen by regressives to fool the masses the same way the Nazi’s used the swastika, a pagan symbol to ward off evil, was used to fool the masses.
    (‘Progressives’ don’t want progress. They fear progress more than anything)

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