Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The NRA: A Cheap Super PAC?

Wikipedia defines the NRA (National Rifle Association) as an "American non-profit 501(c)(4) lobbying group[1][2] that advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights, and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection of hunting and self-defense in the United States." But in my opinion its oh so much more than that. The group has effectively become almost a "Super PAC" of sorts, mobilizing voters, funding endorsed candidates and playing a pivotal role in many elections across the country. To be an outsider looking into a private group or organization reminds me of the adage "those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones". So I took that into consideration when writing my thoughts on the NRA.

What better person to analyze the actions of the NRA, then a member himself! I have been a registered NRA member since July 25 2011. I joined the group because I thought the group's purpose and drive was to protect second amendment rights, crucial in the formation and continuity of this country, and ensure citizens always had the ability to rise up against oppression. What the group really consists of is far from that and a detriment to its members. The group routinely sends out spam and otherwise unnecessary emails peddling gun insurance, general insurance and other non-essential services. Some of the emails are written to be intentionally deceiving telling a member that the group "hasn't heard back from them on their insurance" and that they "are at risk without action". Other tactics of the group involve sending unsolicited promotional material to members and then demanding payment for it. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself!

But perhaps the NRA is preserving second amendment rights; spam advertisement and cheap marketing tactics aside.  Perhaps by removing elected officials who stand in the way of second amendment rights the NRA can best utilize its massive funding capacity  In a recent senate primary race between incumbent Dick Lugar and a relatively unknown Tea Party darling Richard Murdock, the NRA was largely influential in the incumbent's defeat.  In an official NRA statement from Chris W. Cox the NRA was "was fully vested in this race with a comprehensive campaign that encompassed thousands of radio and television ads in the months before the today's primary election.  This effort also included 600,000 web ads."  Murdock, an unrelenting partisan, virtually opposed to any form of bipartisanship, is certain to make zero impact in a governing body requiring work across the aisle, outside the box thinking and commitment to country and NOT party.

Gee, what a great way to spend our membership fees, on radio and television ads for a political candidate who might make 1-5 critical votes in their senate membership lifetime.  Let's not spend it on firearm education (to prevent firearm accidents and educate the public why firearms are important to our freedom), actual membership benefits leveraged by over 4 million members (no, spam emails and incessant requests to join insurance programs don't count!), or interesting and relevant publications.  Here's my tip: Take the money you would have spent the NRA and donate to your favorite politician, because that's just what's going to happen to it.