Threat to Free Speech Lights a Fire in the Grassroots
— Vote has been temporarily postponed; keep up the heat!
Tuesday, June 17, 2010
“[T]he NRA — on whose board of directors I serve — rather than holding steadfastly to its historic principles of defending the Constitution and continuing its noble fight against government regulation of political speech instead opted for a political deal borne of self-interest in exchange for ‘neutrality’ from the legislation’s requirements.”
— NRA Director Cleta Mitchell, June 17, 2010
The above quote — part of an editorial authored by NRA Director Cleta Mitchell — ran in The Washington Post today.
Like Mitchell, bloggers and editorial writers around the country have lit up the Internet with the story that we have been alerting you to over the past 48 hours. Here are just some of the headlines:
* “The NRA sells out to Democrats on the First Amendment,” The Wall Street Journal
* “Conservatives take on the NRA over deal on disclosure bill,” The Washington Post
* “The National Rifle Association’s Excuse Holds No Water,” RedState.org
The conservative movement (and to be honest, many liberal organizations as well) are coming together to loudly protest the DISCLOSE Act — legislation that threatens to gag our ability to effectively hold individual congressmen accountable in the days and weeks leading up to an election.
It is imperative that we continue hammering the Congress. But rather than cry “uncle,” liberal Democrats are now trying to buy off more groups with an exemption for those that have at least 500,000 members (rather than the higher threshold of one million, which would have applied to few groups other than the NRA).
Of course, how is the government going to know how many members an organization has? According to the legislation, each organization will have to certify to a government commission how many members they have. But what if the commission wants documentation; will the organization have to “disclose” the names of their members?
GOA, of course, will never do this. Furthermore, you should know that your Gun Owners of America can NOT be bought off. We will continue opposing this bill on principle, urging all gun groups to stick together in this fight. As we stated yesterday, we realize that: “We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.”
GOA applauds NRA Director Cleta Mitchell for the courageous stand she took today. (You can read her editorial here.) We hope that the NRA leadership will heed her wisdom and take a stand against this bill. If they don’t, we wouldn’t be surprised if NRA members start demanding a change in their leadership. After all, the NRA has engaged in many good fights over the years, and it would be a shame to lose this VERY IMPORTANT battle because high-ranking staff led the NRA down the wrong path.
1. Please call your congressman today and urge him or her to oppose HR 5175. We’ve asked you to send emails before, but now on the eve before the vote, it is crucial that the phones ring off the hook. If they’re not ringing, they won’t be worried.
You can use the Talking Points below to call your Representative toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.
2. If you haven’t yet urged the NRA staff to change its position on HR 5175 and stand with Gun Owners of America, please do so. NRA Director Cleta Mitchell was absolutely correct, and the NRA leadership should heed her wisdom. You can call the NRA at (800) 392-VOTE (8683).
3. Please help Gun Owners of America to continue fighting for your rights. You can go to http://gunowners.org/contribute-to-goa.htm to help us alert as many people as possible to the DISCLOSE Act threat.
—– Talking Points for contacting your Representative —–
1. I stand with Gun Owners of America in opposing the DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175).
2. The Bill of Rights is clear in saying that Congress has no authority to pass legislation like this. Just like the Second Amendment says our gun rights “shall not be infringed,” the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”
3. The Supreme Court was right earlier this year in the Citizens United case. Sen. John McCain — the author of the Campaign Finance Reform law (otherwise known as the Incumbent Protection Act) — was wrong. Americans, and the groups they choose to associate with, should be able to criticize Congress in the days and weeks leading up to an election WITHOUT BEING GAGGED OR FORCED TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS that are mandated by Congress.