View Full Version : Effectiveness & Unity: Maintaining our focus (revisited)

H Paul Payne
11-04-2007, 12:55 PM
The state legislative session is over for this year and it’s time to examine our options for next year. Remember that 2008 has no less than three election cycles in it, and those cycles factor into legislative strategy and tactics. Obviously, we have some choices that will have to be carefully considered.

Although we were successful in passing two of the items on our 2007 legislative agenda, it is quite obvious that the passage of AB1471 (microstamping) & AB821 (lead ammo ban) was a big disappointment. It is tempting to strike-out at those in the legislative and/or executive branches who let-us-down. And it is equally tempting to rail about those whose actions, we might feel, contributed to this disappointment.

But, we must ask ourselves: Is it really in our best interest to focus on the past? Or: Should we use the lessons we learned and concentrate on the rapidly approaching future --- complete with the challenges it will surely bring?

I’m reminded of my first post on Calguns.net. It was titled, Effectiveness & Unity: Maintaining our focus (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=38823) . In that message, I shared a number of my thoughts regarding an unfortunate divide that had developed within the pro-Second Amendment community towards the end of the 2006 legislative session. I also made a promise “…that I will try my hardest to maintain the level of trust that we have established so far.” I feel I have kept my promise, and I intend to continue keeping it. This is important to me because I believe that trust is hard to get, and keeping it must be continually earned. Others might take liberties with the trust that firearms owners place in them, but NRA cannot be one of them.

As an example: let’s look at the nationwide attack against NRA by critics of the progress made in the “NICS Improvement Amendments Act.” This bill, H.R. 2640, is probably not the everything-to-everybody/all-that-we-want bill that many of us would like to see, but neither is it a “Veterans Disarmament Act” that some people/groups might refer to it as. Instead, it’s a good bill that will make improvements in a flawed system. In politics you don’t always get everything you want at one time. Instead, you take what you can get and come back later for the rest, making progress at each step.

Detailed information, that debunks the false claims about H.R. 2640:
H.R. 2640, the "NICS Improvement Amendments Act" (http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=219&issue=018)

"Clearing the Air on the Instant Check Bill" (http://www.nraila.org/Issues/Articles/Read.aspx?id=246&issue=018)

"HR 2640: Sensible Solution or Trojan Horse?" (http://www.claytoncramer.com/PopularMagazines/HR%202640.htm)

"Gun Bill Not Anti-Veteran" (http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,151321_1,00.html?wh=wh)

“Enough NRA Bashing!” (http://www.pgnh.org/enough_nra_bashing)

“The NICS Improvement Bill: Myth and Reality” (http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=221&issue=018)

There are two reasons I won’t dwell on the motivations, real or perceived, why some people want to attack NRA instead of helping make improvements in a bad system. First: I don’t know why they do what they do. And second: In the long run, I don’t think it really matters. In other words, it’s not constructive to do so. And when time demonstrates that we (the NRA and the majority of gun owners) were right, and the others were “factually challenged,” I see no benefit in making them feel so bad that they are not comfortable in joining with us in our pro-Second Amendment efforts. To win in the long term, it will be much more effective for shooters, collectors, hunters, pro-2nd Amendment groups, sportsmen, clubs, and individuals, to stand together.

Another example, in California: the NRA was recently the subject of a mass media attack that was absolutely false. NRA was blamed for the production and/or circulation of a letter calling for the removal of a member of the California Fish and Game Commission. Even anti-gun/anti-NRA capitol insiders linked this letter to the Governor’s decision to sign NRA-opposed legislation. See: “Ham–Handed Pro-Gun Republicans Induce Anti-Gun Response From Governor Schwarzenegger” (http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/10/hamhanded_pro-g.html) . Anti-NRA/pro-lead ban writer Jim Matthews also makes the same blame the NRA linkage in his article (http://californiahuntingtoday.com/hogblog/?cat=12) .

Perhaps the most interesting of the anti-NRA rants has the most accepted-as-accurate explanations of the actual politics of entire Hanna-letter/bill-signing issue. Its title is, “ (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/10/14/195317/38)Why Scwarzenegger bucked the NRA, what it teaches us” (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/10/14/195317/38) . Excerpts from the article: Hanna's firing made the condor/lead story much bigger news…. Hanna said a bunch of quotable things about the NRA and implied a bunch of things about the Governor's lack of ability to buck them. The press coverage consistently pointed out ....that if Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, it would be because the NRA ordered him to do so. And a lot of that coverage, ....questioned not just Schwarzenegger's judgment, ….. but rather his leadership, his independence, his strength under pressure. In other words, his manhood. The issue was framed as a choice for Arnold. Keep on "caving" to pressure from the NRA, continue being their boy, or stand up, be strong and do what's right because he was a leader.

Now for the TRUTH! The NRA, didn’t do it!

That’s right, the NRA didn’t circulate the letter. We didn’t ask the Senator to do it for us. We didn’t plan it, and have someone else do it with a wink and a nod. Nope, it wasn’t us! But we sure got the blame for it. NRA’s official spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam said, "If we were to call for the ouster of anyone, we would let people know, and we would be open.”

But now that it has become somewhat common to read about a connection to Hanna Letter and the Governor’s actions in signing AB1471 & AB821, I would be pleasantly surprised to see that the group(s) involved, in urging the Senator to write the letter, step forward and accept the responsibility, thus clearing NRA’s reputation. But I won’t hold my breath.

Do these kinds of fallacious attacks bother me? You bet! And not just because I’m a loyal NRA employee. But I’m also an NRA Benefactor Life Member, and a long-time pro-Second Amendment activist who believes in NRA’s pro-freedom cause. And I see these kinds of attacks as counterproductive to our cause of restoring and protecting the individual rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

So, it is time to answer the first question: “Is it really in our best interest to focus on the past?” The answer is: NO! As we can see by the two examples of NRA coming under attack for things that are not even true, we all get burned. Sometimes, as in these examples, unjustly. But we must move on and not be overly distracted. Hopefully, by showing these examples, we all learned some valuable lessons and we can apply to our current and future efforts.

What about the second question: “Should we use the lessons we learned and concentrate on the rapidly approaching future --- complete with the challenges it will surely bring?" Of course, the answer is: YES! In fact, we must, if we are to continue to have a 2nd Amendment to defend.

We must learn from the experiences of the past. Especially the ones that we didn’t enjoy or weren’t fair to us. But we must concentrate on the challenges and opportunities that will come in the future. I was once told, “The most important vote is the NEXT vote!” Although it didn’t make me feel better about the defeat that we had just endured, by the time the initial sting wore off, the truthfulness of the statement did make sense. But I still didn’t like it. :mad:

I’m not sure how many anti-gun bills we will see in 2008, or what they will be, but I have some ideas. Possibilities are: ammo/gun owner registration, more anti-hunting schemes, lost gun reporting, taxes and fees increased, regulations, etc.

We have some pro-gun bills on our agenda. However, because of the public nature of the Internet, we are not willing to announce the details at this time. I can tell you that many of them are written and most of them have legislative “authors” to carry them. Details will be released via the NRA Members’ Councils network of meetings, web sites, email systems, etc. We also have an aggressive legal agenda that is progressing. Although still engaged, the timing of the courts cannot be rushed. And, as you certainly have witnessed, NRA will continue to be diligently on the alert for overbearing regulations that can endanger our rights.

If we are to be successful in 2008, we must remain focused and united. If others would like to join us in our efforts, they are welcome. But we cannot waste time, effort, and precious resources on distractions that are counterproductive. We are all in this together. I think we would be better off if we all acted that way.

I believe the equation for success is: Unity + Focus + Effort + Effectiveness = SUCCESS

Thank you for reading some of my thoughts, thanks for your continuing efforts and special thanks for your trust. I do not take it for granted and I feel honored.

11-04-2007, 1:10 PM
An excellent post and excellent points Paul.

One of the simplest truism of any contest is that a united front holds and advances and a divided front falls.

11-04-2007, 1:13 PM
An excellent post and excellent points Paul.

One of the simplest truism of any contest is that a united front holds and advances and a divided front falls.

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!! and for the levity.....



11-04-2007, 2:44 PM
YES Excellent Post. Thank You

11-04-2007, 3:06 PM
Very good. I hope everyone takes it to heart from all groups so we can power through.

11-07-2007, 2:33 PM
Paul's right and NOT just because he represents NRA's top brass in California. Unity is the only path to victory - how many ways has it been said and how can anyone argue otherwise?

Thanks to NRA for doing what THEY can to unify gun-owners in the Golden State. And calguns. The right goals seem to be jointly in FOCUS and the result is an organization that is extremely capable of providing true leadership and activists that are eager to take advantage of it. When (not if) the anti-gunners are seriously thrashed in this state, I'm sure that NRA and calguns will be at the core of it.

But the challenge seems to be - it's up to gun-owners to unify and FIGHT SMART.


11-08-2007, 11:11 AM
Excellent Post. I'm with you

11-08-2007, 5:59 PM
Many NRA members like myself agree and thats why we support the cause. Good Write!

Ron Paul for president '08