This erroneous strategy by the NRA plays in to the hands of the progressive gun-grabbers by incrementally inching the ball closer to their direction of full gun control.
By Matt Collins
It has been just over a week since the Republican-controlled legislature in Florida passed a multi-issue gun control bill, and legislators who begrudgingly voted for the bill are beginning to break their silence on what really happened behind the scenes in the Tallahassee swamp.
A Republican state legislator, who will remain anonymous, has directly informed me that the NRA not only supported the gun control bill, but seemingly authored it and orchestrated its passage being rammed through in the last two weeks of the 2018 session (SB 7026).
“We’re not saying this publicly” the legislator started.
Marion Hammer, the Florida lobbyist for the NRA, was the architect of the scheme. “Marion Hammer was all in on this” the legislator explained. “She will go publicly and tell how bad and ugly this bill is but on the flip side it just boosted their membership…”
“This bill was hatched behind closed doors with the Speaker, Senate President, and Governor.” the legislator continues. “The [Republican] team leads [whips] were telling us to vote yes.”
When asked if the NRA ever told the legislator or their colleagues to vote against the gun control bill the legislator replied “No they didn’t… The NRA never came to me and told me to vote against it.”
Apparently the NRA didn’t even mobilize their membership base to fight against the bill, at least not in any significant way. “I received more emails from the NRA in the past when we were doing campus carry and other stuff than I received on this” the legislator continued.
If this is indeed true, then it explains why almost every Democrat voted against the bill and most Republicans felt like they could vote for it despite putting themselves on the record in favor of this gun control bill. This is a classic move out of the NRA playbook; giving cover to Republican politicians who vote for anti-gun legislation.
Unfortunately for those Floridians who fully support their right to keep and bear arms it will also likely mean that the NRA will not be holding any legislators accountable in the coming elections for their vote to enact gun control this year.
The grand scheme cooked up by Mrs. Hammer, according the to the legislator, was to slip legally-questionable language in to the bill by creating a ‘special class of citizens’ who could purchase firearms from a dealer between the ages of 18-21 (military, law enforcement, etc). The NRA is apparently gambling that this bill will be found unconstitutional and overturned thus setting a precedent.
But the process to overturn the law could take years. And in the meantime our rights are infringed until the bill gets overturned, assuming it ever does.
Also it is a risky proposition. Gambling with our rights in a court system that is unpredictable at best, and at worst one that could have an agenda against gun owners, could prove disastrous for the 2nd Amendment. And if a higher court rules against gun owners and the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case then we are permanently stuck with this new gun control law.
Is this something we really want to trust with an unaccountable judiciary?
This risk is huge and unnecessary especially when a single vote against the bill in the Florida Senate could have killed it entirely (a tie equals a failed vote in that chamber).
‘Selling out’ is an often repeated tactic by the NRA which compromises away our rights. Their twisted logic operating premise of preempting the gun-grabbers and beating them across the finish line is poor political strategy and ultimately results in erosion of our rights over time. Frequently the NRA will support passing ‘a little bit’ of gun control to supposedly prevent ‘a lot of’ gun control from being passed.
This erroneous strategy by the NRA plays in to the hands of the progressive gun-grabbers by incrementally inching the ball closer to their direction of full gun control. Instead of playing offense and keeping the gun-grabbers on the defensive, NRA shenanigans like this cause us to end up with less rights in the long run.
Not to mention it is deceptive to those who support the NRA thinking that their rights are being fought for by the organization when in reality they are not. It is my guess that many NRA members will soon be demanding an explanation for what happened in Florida.
Matt Collins is a citizen activist and former lobbyist who resides in Central Florida.