Whether motivated by safety concerns or responding to opposition voiced by its friends in Washington, The National Rifle Association (NRA) has opted out of the Second Amendment March gathering in Washington, D.C. today. The organization is also adopting a policy of non-engagement in the firearms freedom act sweeping the state’s rights community. The NRA’s non-strategy hasn’t escaped the Salt Lake Tribune’s attention: “The nation’s most influential gun-rights group is conspicuously absent — and nearly silent — in a growing battle between states and the federal government over gun control. The National Rifle Association has been taking a low profile when it comes to the firearms freedom acts that have been passed by seven state legislatures and spawned a growing legal fight between those states, some gun advocates and the U.S. Justice Department . . . Gun enthusiasts who launched the fight said they would like the NRA to be more assertive.”
“Historically, the NRA has been very uncomfortable being too close to the edge of the envelope philosophically. They did support the bill in Montana at first, but they did not support it in others states,” said Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association that is leading the legal battle with the federal government. “I expect they will eventually warm up to the idea and become supporters.”
David Codrea, an NRA member and active gun rights columnist, said the NRA likely believes the legal fight is a losing one, and understands the high-profile group doesn’t want to give its anti-gun opponents ammunition by taking on a high-profile loss.
“That said, I would like to see stronger statements of support,” Codrea said. “I understand the perceived negatives, but sometimes it is important to fight on principles.”
A quotee in today’s Wall Street Journal is even more . . . pointed.
The NRA is “no longer the 800-pound gorilla” in the pro-gun movement, said Gary Marbut, a life member of the NRA and president of teh Montana Shooting Sports Association, an NRA affiliate. “The NRA is running the risk of becoming insignificant, of fading into the background.”