Someone At The NRA Has Gone Nuts

The NRA first said it would endorse Harry Reid’s re-election, but I understand the NRA has now reversed itself on that. But now the NRA has endorsed liberal Democrat Betsy Markey over conservative Cory Gardner for Colorado’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Somebody at the NRA must be losing their mind. Markey is a liberal Democrat who voted for Obamacare and has done nothing to support gun rights. Cory Gardner, on the other hand, is a solid conservative Republican who tried to improve freedom for gun owners in Colorado as a member of the House in the Colorado legislature. Based on his voting record in the Colorado House Gardner has an A+ rating from the NRA. Markey refused to return the NRA’s survey when she first ran for election two years ago, and as far as I know has no rating at all from the NRA.

What in the world is going on at the NRA? What are they thinking? Westword wonders if Markey threatened to shoot somebody.

Here is what former Colorado State Senator Mark Hillman says about the Markey endorsement in an email to his list of email subscribers:

CAPITOL REVIEW · By MARK HILLMAN · Sept. 20, 2010

To anyone who still believes the National Rifle Association cares more about protecting your Second Amendment rights than it does about kissing up to powerful politicians, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

For the NRA, the Second Amendment has become little more than an expedient tool for raising money, striking political compromises, and maintaining access to those in power.

This week, the NRA’s Political Victory Fund endorsed liberal Democrat Congresswoman Betsy Markey, who cares so deeply about the Second Amendment that she didn’t even bother to return the NRA’s survey when she first ran for Congress two years ago.

So why did the NRA cast its lot with Markey now?

It’s simple: the NRA likes to play it safe by backing incumbents, even those whose support of gun rights is as sturdy as a soggy role of toilet paper. When the NRA endorsed liberal Democrat Sen. Harry Reid, NRA lobbyist Chris Cox explained that its “long-standing policy … gives preference to incumbent candidates who have voted with the NRA on key issues.”

Let’s establish the gun rights credentials of the two candidates in this race.

Republican challenger Cory Gardner has repeatedly taken the lead on pro-gun rights legislation such as the “Make My Day Better” bill that would give business owners and employees the same right to defend themselves and their business property as they have to defend their home.

Based on Gardner’s voting record during five years in the Colorado legislature, even the NRA gave him an A+ grade.

On the other hand, Markey has done nothing courageous or noteworthy. The NRA’s flim-flam press release touts her co-sponsorship – that’s Beltway speak for “honorary cheerleader” – of a bill that she knows will never come to a vote in a Democrat-controlled Congress.

On the Second Amendment, Markey is no profile in courage. Her two actual “pro-gun” votes were meaningless throwaways, cast to gain political cover (which the NRA is now slavishly providing) after the outcome of the vote was no longer in doubt.

(Remember Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall voting to allow guns in national parks but only after obtaining permission from the Senate’s top gun-grabber, Sen. Charles Schumer? Markey’s votes were of the same lot – manipulative campaign fodder.)

Now, the NRA wants us to believe that if push comes to shove, Betsy Markey will “demonstrate her commitment to our Second Amendment rights” and betray Nancy Pelosi and the cadre of local liberal activists to whom she owes her election.

If you believe that, you’re a hopeless sheep.

Markey and the NRA were also allies on the DISCLOSE Act, which attacked the First Amendment rights of most Americans but conveniently carved exemptions for the NRA and labor unions.

Conservative columnist George F. Will explained, the NRA “told Democrats that it would not oppose DISCLOSE if the legislation exempts entities with a cynically constructed set of attributes that only the NRA has.”

Will described the NRA’s refusal to fight DISCLOSE as “intellectual ludicrousness and moral disarmament,” tantamount to arguing that the Second Amendment is sacred but the First Amendment is negotiable.

During my two terms in the Colorado Senate, the NRA regularly watered down gun rights legislation to garner unneeded Democrat votes rather to push for the best pro-gun legislation that could pass. At that time, Republicans held the majority and even a handful of Democrat legislators were solid on gun issues – without the NRA’s pabulum.

I understand that the NRA looks solely at gun issues and nothing else. But for gun owners who think for themselves, this race is a slam dunk. Cory Gardner has demonstrated his rock-solid credentials by fighting for gun owners and against the liberal majority at the State Capitol. Betsy Markey has said “me, too!” when it doesn’t matter.

When I cast my vote for Congress, it will be for the candidate I know I can count on. When I donate to groups that support my Second Amendment rights, it won’t be to the NRA.

The NRA has done other things lately that have angered gun owners and conservatives. Remember, the NRA first tried to stop Alan Gura from filing the Heller lawsuit that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court recognizing that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right. Later, after it saw that the case would likely succeed, the NRA got on board. Recently, the NRA has acted as if it deserves some of the credit for the victory in McDonald which established that the 2nd Amendment applies to the states. The NRA was not a party and did not finance that case. Rather it was the 2nd Amendment Foundation that carried the water. But the NRA has released public statements and paid advertisements that create the impression that the NRA played a key role in that case. These statements and ads fail to even mention the 2nd Amendment Foundation.

I won’t stop supporting the NRA nor will I encourage anyone else to do so. Were it not for the NRA we would have lost our gun rights long ago. The reason Canada, Britain and Australia have lost their rights is because they have nothing like the NRA. But clearly, something is currently wrong and must be fixed. Soon.

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