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Neil Smith’s Letter to the NRA

A while back, I asked of the NRA What Next? Well, Neil Smith wrote a letter on the issue of NRA’s priorities a bit back. It’s a good read. I don’t agree with all of it but some points leap out at me. Like:

FOURTH, in the same context, I’d want the NRA to disconnect all future discussion of the Second Amendment from the totally unrelated topic of crime. My rights have nothing whatever to do with anything anybody else does, right or wrong. If the crime rate were only 1/10 that of today, my rights would be unaffected. Likewise, if the rate were TEN TIMES what it is, it would have nothing whatever to do with my individual right to own and carry weapons.

FIFTH, I’d want the NRA to reject all future argument about the “sporting use” of weapons — why look like an imbecile, pushing the AK-47 as a deer rifle, when it meets the Founding Fathers’ ACTUAL criteria so elegantly? — in favor of frank and frequent public reference to the original Constitutional purpose for an armed citizenry, which is to intimidate the government.

SEVENTH, in support of that objective, I’d want the NRA to print ads, half a page in every issue, in all its periodicals, reminding members of the duty and power of an American jury to nullify any law it believes unjust or unconstitutional. Alcohol prohibition died this way. Gun prohibition could, as well. All it takes is eight and a third percent of the population, one twelfth, to carry it off.

There’s more. Go read.

20 Responses to “Neil Smith’s Letter to the NRA”

  1. Ninth Stage Says:

    “[R]eminding members of the duty and power of an American jury to nullify any law it believes unjust or unconstitutional”. Do that and no prosecutor will ever allow another NRA member on any jury.

  2. Sebastian Says:

    Maybe having NRA membership be a “get out of jury duty for free” card would bolster the membership roles 😉

    Seriously though, the NRA does these things because the rights argument doesn’t carry any water with the politicians, who don’t honestly give a shit about your rights or mine; only their own power. Sadly, I don’t think rights matter much to the general population either, because people are only in favor of rights when it affects them.

    When the NRA has numbers, i.e. votes to back up their lobbying muscle, they don’t have to do as much horse trading, because they can bring enough money votes to the table to threaten or secure a politician’s seat. When membership flags, and people don’t get involved, what else can you do except a fighting retreat?

    I think what they need to concentrate on now is engaging their membership, and I don’t mean only their usual bit about asking for money, even though that’s important too. I think the internet is an invaluable resource for organizing gun owners, and I don’t think the NRA honestly does a very good job of utilizing it. The only thing that’s going to keep the Democrats in line at the federal level for the next two years is fear of the NRA, and that’s only going to happen if they are strong and can deliver up votes and money. They can only do that with our help. That’s why I’m wary of sqabbling amongst ourselves because some people favor different tactics for achieving our goals.

  3. chris Says:

    What an epistle.

    I wish that I had thought of some of these ideas.

  4. Ron W Says:

    Join Gunowners of America!

    Constitutionalist U.S. Representative , Ron Paul, (R-TX) calls it “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington D.C.”

    Also check out Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

    One need not be Jewish to join, but simply support All of the Bill of Rights for All Citizens

  5. Michael Says:

    I have know about the compromise of the NRA with the anti-gunners for a long time. I really hope that they would change.

  6. Ron W Says:


    Join Gunowners of America. Check it out:

    It’s an organization that focuses on grassroots political action to force the governemtn to obey the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

  7. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner Says:

    While crime may be totally unrelated to the purpose of the 2nd Amendment, it is the primary (stated) reason for the gun-ban crowd wanting to destroy it. Think about it. If you were sitting on the fence concerning this issue, which reason for gun ownership would make you feel more uneasy:
    1) So that I may be able to defend myself from unwarrented criminal attack. Or…

    2) So that I may be able to defend myself from the Government?

    So many people consider NRA members to be on the lunatic fringe (thanks Sarah, VPC, MSM, et al.) that I don’t think that it furthers our cause to also be percieved as an insurrection plotting organization.

  8. beerslurpy Says:

    Can’t ignore crime. Criminals use guns and even pro gun people want guns to be able to resist criminals. The two are inextricably joined.

  9. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner Says:

    I wish it would change too. But the fact is that the NRA plays politics, and the NRA gets results. Without them, firearm ownership in this country would be a thing of the past. Everybody here in Northern Va. knows of the NRA, but mention the GOA or JPFO to any legislator and they have no idea. And GOA’s H.Q. is closer to the Capitol than the NRA.
    How can we impress upon all of the gun owners who may be unhappy with the NRA that if they would all join, the NRA could go to Capitol Hill boasting 24 million members, instead of 4 million, and we might not have to compromise?

  10. Ron W Says:


    Good points, Michael. I’m also an NRA member so if gunowners and those who want to keep the basic RIGHT of armed self-defense also joined another organization like GOA and then the effect of a larger NRA would be doubled or tripled.

    My legislators have an idea of GOA, because I send their issue postcards to them several times a year. And as the subject of this blog indicates, if armed self-defense rights advocates were joining other organizations because of NRA compromise, it would force the NRA to become more non-compromise on our rights.

    Here in Tennessee, it’s also important to join Tennessee Firearms Association which works at the State Capitol for Article I, Section 26 (Tennessee Constitution) RIGHT to keep and CARRY the means of armed self-defense.

  11. Xrlq Says:

    Here’s hoping the NRA gives this letter all the consideration it is due – which, if these three items are representative, is none. The last thing we need is for a very successful gun rights organization to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory but adopting such inane positions, which could just as easily have been worded thusly (and quickly would be by our opponents):

    FOURTH: So what if my guns make me a menace to society? I have a constitutional right to be a menace to society, dammit.

    FIFTH: Screw you, hunters, target shooters and even self-defense advocates, except in the narrow circumstances where the guy you’re defending yourself from works for a government. We only want people who support gun rights for the right reason. If that brings our membership rolls from 3 million to 30 in a New York minute, so be it.

    SEVENTH: Rule of law? What’s that? Oh yeah, for those of you fascists who do support the rule of law, we don’t want your support on the Second Amendment, either.

  12. Ron W Says:


    If gunowners and armed self-defense proponents didn’t “put all their eggs in one (NRA) basket” maybe NRA compromise wouldn’t be such a problem.

    I repeat, stop just lamenting the NRA’s faults and failures and join Gunowners of America and/or others instead of or in addition to, the NRA.

    I’ve been an NRA member AND a member of Gunowners of America which is more hardline and emphasizes grassroots political action. This year I may not rejoin the NRA and just stay with Gunowners of America and Tennessee Firearms Association and I may join Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership–an organization that remembers that the Holocaust and other state-sponosred mass murder happened because they disarmed the people first. Their focus is All of the Bill of Rights for All Citizens and get US out of the UN and the UN out of the US.

  13. Jacob Says:

    The problem with this is that GOA has negligible political clout and they aren’t really effective in Congress. They get a lot more credit than they deserve.

    JPFO may be technically “right” on the issues, but it doesn’t matter because they don’t even try to get involved in the political arena.

  14. Ron W Says:

    Jacob, the more, the better. If every NRA member also joined GOA, then they would have more political clout. Being a memeber of both, I think GOA does a better job of mobilizing grassroots efforts. The NRA does and spends money on things besides political action–which is fine. We’re talking political-action for gun rights…who cares who is more effective or bigger. Join one, two or three organizations…the more, the better.

    Yes, JPFO is more of an educational orgaanization…it’s all good when it comes to educating, motivating and forcing politicians to obey the Bill of Rights and especially the 2nd Amendment.

  15. Jacob Says:

    From experience, I do care who is effective and who isn’t. More the merrier is a nice idea that simply does not work. Ineffective people and groups drain resources from effective ones. Activism is a finite resource and we cannot afford to waste it.

  16. Xrlq Says:

    Ron W., I agree. Enough so that I just converted by GOA membership to a life membership. The main thing is join the NRA no matter what. When measuring the size of “the gun lobby,” most analysts and politicians will look to the largest pro-gun group, and assume all members of every other group are either (1) members of the big group, too, or (2) chopped liver.

  17. Ron W Says:


    I use GOA postcards and web-site letters many times a year to contact my Rep and Senators, and State Legislators which is effective. From my experience with both the NRA and the GOA, I think they are both effective and the more active members both have, the better.

    But what is ineffective is to argue among ourselves about who or what is more effective when the tyrants who want to disarm us are on the same page. Stick with the NRA and work there. My comments were directed to those who have expressed dissatisfaction with the NRA. Find another group and keep working for the RKBA against the tyrants.

    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by
    one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. …. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”
    — Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797)

  18. Billll Says:

    The 2nd amendment: It’s not about ducks, it’s not about deer, it’s about turkeys*.
    That makes any machine gun a ‘sporting weapon’, no?

    *Not the feathered kind, either.

  19. agpilot Says:

    Be very careful when using nulification and never speak that is what you have done. If questioned why answer, “based on the evidence” or “the witness wasn’t credible”. Judges and presecutors can take a very dim view of nulification and could possible charge juror misconduct.

  20. Sebastian Says:


    Does a Jury really have to give any reason why it decided to acquit? I don’t think a judge or prosecutor can throw anyone from a jury in prison because he doesn’t like how he voted., even if he doesn’t like the reason. Juror misconduct can be grounds for a new trial if someone is found guilty, but if a defendant is acquitted by a jury of his peers, that’s it. The state has not met its burden, and the accused goes free. There’s no remedy for prosecution, or the judge.

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