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December 21, 2007

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Why the NRA Should Try Being Reasonable

... Give Up Asking for Money, Ect.

I am indebted to a Mr. Bill Heavey of Virginia for putting me on to an editorial that ran in The Washington Post on Sunday, Dec. 16th. It's titled "The NRA's Main Target? Its Members' Checkbooks," and is written by one Richard Feldman, who worked as a representative for the NRA from 1984 until 1997.

Mr. Feldman makes two points:

First: "In the NRA's lexicon, 'compromise' is a dirty word, code for gun owners surrendering their rights while getting nothing in return from gun-control advocates."

Second: "…the NRA itself…has become intoxicated with money and privilege. The leadership has lost sight of its mission. Safeguarding the rights of gun owners has become secondary to keeping the fundraising machinery well greased and the group's senior staff well compensated."

Mr. Feldman claims that Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's Executive Vice President, "…pocketed about $950,000 in 2005," and that NRA headquarters' parking lot is "filled with shiny new BMWs and Mercedez-Benzes.

Let's start with point one. If someone mentions compromise, the next phrase out of their mouths is usually "reasonable gun controls." I assure you that the measures Sarah Brady and Barbara Boxer and Chuck Schumer consider reasonable are quite different from what you consider reasonable.

People in the gun-control biz know nothing about guns, hate guns, and harbor a profound fear and mistrust of people who own them. It goes far, far beyond public policy; it is visceral. I cordially invite Mr. Feldman to achieve a meaningful compromise with this bunch, and I advise him to bring lunch because he's going to need it.

About point two: Wonder why Mr. Feldman quoted LaPierre's income for 2005, and not 04 or 06 or 07? It's because an NRA executive incentive plan paid off in that year and one time only, LaPierre did make $950,000. In any other year he makes far, far less, and in fact is paid a lot lower than many heads of other special-interest groups in Washington.

But I would not care much if Wayne LaPierre did pull down nearly a million every year or if the NRA parking lot teemed with Bugattis and Bentleys. Washington runs on money, and every special interest group pays people to keep the gutless twerps in Congress in a state of constant fear. Those who do this successfully are awarded very large sums of money--because they are worth it.

As long as Mr. La Pierre and company remain as terrifying as the Black Death they merit whatever they earn. If they keep Chuck Schumer well supplied with stomach acid they can have my contribution any time.


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Blue Ox



I've heard that when discussing something controversial, first, attack the opponent's argument. Find flaws, untruths, etc. If that fails, attack the opponent. You can even stretch the story on him or her because personal traits are more subjective, while topics are generally based on facts.


I'm a member of the NRA with a yearly renewal. For a couple reasons I don't join for life or for more than a year at a time. The 1st being financial. I love how my membership isn't up until April, yet around October, and monthly after that I get a renewal notice. This seems a "fishy" practice to me, but hey I keep sending my check every March.

The second reason I'm only a yearly member is I can distance myself from an organization that IMHO everynow and then does, or says something extremely stupid. So far though, nothing bad enough to make me quit the NRA. My favorite pet peeve are the yearly opinion polls they send out that are worded in such a way, you can only give the answer the NRA wants you to give. (not that this isn't done by lots of groups....politicians for one)

I believe the NRA is a needed organization and believe they help protect our gun rights. I just wish they used better judgement in some of their actions.

Just my 2 cents,



Well said David.


Mr. Petzal-

A poster above comments on annual vs. Life Membership.

I am also an annual member, but not for financial reasons. I base that decision on a phiosophy I read back in the 70s. I believe it was John Wooters, commenting on the late 70's controversy when a group of board members attempted to essentially change the focus of the NRA to a more conservation / land use advocacy group with less emphasis on defending the 2A.
As I recall this was for all intents and purposes, an attempted coup. I believe the "counter-insurgency" was lead by Harlon Carter (and others)at the annual meeting. The gist of Wooters article was he chose to remain an annual member because you never know what the future holds. He would not be tied to an organization that changed its focus.

I don't know all of the details. Would you please comment?


I too am an annual member. Reason being some financial but mainly for the same reason as Alamo and others. A year in the life of any special interest group is an eternity and their focus can change drastically in that time. Wasnt it Mr. La Pierre that made the jack booted thug comment a few years ago? If memory serves that gave "us" a big black eye for some time. That put a lot of focus on the NRA and not the good kind.

WA Mtnhunter

As a life member after many years of annual membership, I can say that overall I am satisfied with the intent and actions of the NRA. I have occasionally taken issue with some comments and negative exposure by the NRA, but overall, who has defended our rights to bear arms? I used to belong to the Sierra Club many years ago when they were a conservation minded group, not what they have become today.

So if you have issues with the NRA, support someone else who defends our 2A rights. And oh by the way, let us all know who that might be.


I sometimes have issues with any special interest I support. I do agree with WAMtnhunter that the NRA is the group that deserves our support the most.


It just dawned on me. A special interest group and reasonable in the same sentence. Damn Ox I just spit all over another keyboard!LOL Just a joke fellas


Good point Dave. If anyone thinks the NRA leadership does not earn their money, be prepared to move to Washington and fight Hillary and crew for free.

Give a gun for Christmas. Happy Holidays.

Steve C

Everyone needs to draw their own line in how much of their money they’re willing to give to an organization that uses it to pad living large life-styles that revolve around expensive dinners, inner circles, and executive privileges.
I reached that point about 15 years ago with both the NRA and Ducks Unlimited. Both organizations treat their rank-and-file membership the same way many unions do. And the may go the way of the Dodo bird like unions have.


Gun-control is not about guns... it's about CONTROL.

"The Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights is my concealed weapons permit, period!"
Ted Nugent


While I am an NRA member (and have been for years) I don't like LaPierre, never have, never will, I think he's an arrogant putz.

Having said that, he is effective and fits well in a town full of arrogant putz(s).



You are now indebted to Heavey, Dave? Isn't that one of the signs of the apocalypse? And yes, anything that causes Herr Schumer's skin to crawl is, to quote Martha Stewart, a good thing.

WA Mtnhunter


Good observation! I could care less how arrogant Mr. LaPierre is, or isn't. Bottom line is that the NRA has been instrumental in keeping the power mongers out of our gun cabinets, so far. I think all the front runners from both parties are anti-gun. Rudy and Hillary are both anti-gun. I'm voting for candidates that protect my gun rights. As long as I have my gun rights, I can defend the others.


I ended my affliation with the NRA (National Republican Association?) when I began receiving direct solicitations from the Bush re-election campaign. I have no desire to affiliate with the GOP and this disaster of a president. Too bad, because otherwise I could support their work.


They (we) are protecting a truly monumental freedom enshrined in the 2A. Do we protect it with a hellish beast or a pussycat?

We have everything to lose through compromise - the gun control crowd has everything to gain.

The NRA stands athwart, yelling: "Stop!". For me, it's well worth $35 clams a year.


"Reasonable" and "special-interest group" are mutually exclusive terms. The NRA isn't supposed to be reasonable - just effective. It is up to the electorate to be reasonable. I'm a life member, BTW.

Sage Sam

I oulled my membership from the NRA two years back when they came out spitting venom (complete lies) in response to a Wilderness Bill here in Colorado (Browns Canyon) that had been worked on by diverse parties for years. That combined with the Zumbo fiasco was the last straw.

I disagree completely with Mr. Petzal. I don't want lobbyists making millions and I don't believe in a "the ends justify the means" tactics. I don't believe the hype that somehow the local sherrif (or BATFE for that matter) will show up at my door asking for my guns. I'm hoping that the upcoming Supreme Court ruling will finally put the gun rights argument to rest.

I'm a helluva lot more concerned with shrinking habitat and constantly losing places to hunt. That is why I support organizations like Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership who are making sure that my kids and grandkids will get to enjoy the same things that I have.

Mike Strehlow

If anything, Petzal understates the feelings gun grabbers have for firearms in private hands. Ever notice how we always have to compromise in the gun grabbers' direction? If they are reasonable, why don't they compromise in our direction; ease carry laws, etc.?

If the NRA adopted a policy of compromise, in ten years we would be debating whether a hunter should be issued three rounds or five when checking his hunting rifle out of the state run armory. Compromising with them is like compromising on a hanging; we think a man should go free, they think he should be hanged from sunup until sundown. So we compromise and hang him until noon.



I’m a life NRA member. NRA is a necessary pain. Reason being NRA policy often is not in the best interest of NYS shooters and sportsmen. Sometimes it is direct conflict, or the NRA is simply non-supportive until it’s aware of local success
and jumps on the band wagon.

Politics suck, but I have to agree 90% of the time NRA is very articulate for most my shooting and gun interests.


Sage Sam, "the end justifies the mean" is called real politics. I do agree with you though. I don't like any lobbyist, I feel that they are part of the problem with our country now. Politicians have quit doing what they thnk is the right thing to do and now just try to appease the special interest groups. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a lobbyist at an Auburn football game this year. He was a lobbyist for some huge coorporation and was one of the dullest people I have ever met.


When in Rome........

Dr. Ralph

Sage Sam I have never met anyone I agreed with 100% of the time. The NRA is on our side and if you want to keep your second amendment rights they are the best organization to donate to. I just wish they didn't send me a letter every month begging for more! The postage alone must run in the millions if this is the treatment we all get... You can't send a lobbyist to talk to Senators and Congressmen in a pick up truck. They all need BMW's and Mercedes just to do business in Washington. That and plenty of money so keep writing those checks.

Dave Petzal

To Alamo: John Wootters was a director of the NRA for at least a couple of terms, as far as I recollect.
What you are refering to is the Cincinnati Rebellion, where Harlon Carter, Neal Knox, and the general membership, threw out a "management team" that was not really dedicated to defending Article II. Carter was made Executive Vice President, Knox was made head of the ILA, and thereafter the NRA took a very hard line indeed. I was present at that General Members' Meeting, and as I recall, it ran from 7:30 in the evening to 3 in the morning.

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