View Full Version : The NRA is not automatically falling in lockstep behind McCain!

04-09-2008, 9:04 PM
Note how theHill.com refers to the NRA as "the anti-gun control group," not as "the pro-'Right to Keep and Bear Arms' group."


McCain has ‘work to do’ with gun owners: NRA
By Sam Youngman
Posted: 04/09/08 07:55 PM [ET]

If Sen. John McCain expects the support of gun owners in this year’s presidential race, the Arizona Republican must make an effort to overcome some decisions the National Rifle Association (NRA) has found troubling.

“John McCain still has some work to do to give them a comfort level,” Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA, said during an interview with The Hill. “Truth be told, he’s not there yet.”

Cox said McCain and the anti-gun control group have endured some “high-profile disagreements” in the last several years that have left many gun owners concerned about his candidacy.

Specifically, McCain played a leading role in crafting the campaign finance reform law that bears his name and that also enraged many lobbying groups. The NRA was one of the most outspoken.

At the group’s national convention in 2001, NRA President Wayne LaPierre vocalized that dismay.

“Is it possible that John McCain thinks you have too much freedom?” LaPierre asked, before adding: “I don’t know what’s happening to John McCain.”

The Arizona senator also ran afoul of the group when he pushed for tighter restrictions on buying guns at gun shows.

To be sure, McCain has often been a friend on issues dear to the NRA, Cox said. But Cox added that his members intend to scrutinize the candidates’ entire legislative records, and not just the points of agreement.

“We owe it to our members and our supporters to tell the truth about all of [the candidates], and we’re not going to sugarcoat it,” Cox said.

A key question among members that surfaces when Cox travels the country is this: “What’s the deal with John McCain?”

Cox said that members have expressed “a lot of borderline resentment in some circles” over McCain. But because of the outright disdain for both of the Democratic candidates’ past positions on gun control, the NRA is actively seeking a way for McCain to directly address its members and smooth over past troubles.

“He will be asked about gun shows. He will be asked about campaign finance reform,” Cox said. “Can he help himself? Yes. Can he hurt himself? Yes.”

McCain may be on his way to winning these critics over. As the Supreme Court considers the landmark Washington, D.C., gun ban, McCain was one of 55 lawmakers to sign a “friend of the court” amicus brief.

Both Democratic candidates, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), did not.

Tucker Bounds, a McCain spokesman, said the senator has a strong record on gun owners' rights, which is in "sharp contrast to his potential rivals."

"Senators Obama and Clinton have recklessly supported some of the most controversial attacks on the Second Amendment, and that’s going to make a major difference with voters this fall,” Bounds said.

The NRA expects to spend between $18 million and $20 million this year on campaigns ranging from state legislative races to the presidency. But the group has yet to endorse McCain, and in the absence of an incumbent, likely won’t do so until after the summer conventions.

Additionally, the group is launching an ambitious “seven- or eight-figure” voter registration drive, something it has never done before.

“This is arguably the most important year in NRA history,” Cox said.

04-09-2008, 9:11 PM
Well, at least the NRA ponies up.

04-09-2008, 10:12 PM
When the Republican's call for donations I tell them I donate to a different group now, the NRA.