By The Gun Psychiatrist
Like most gun owners, I grew up being taught that the NRA is the oldest gun rights organization in the country. Not only did I believe this, but I was also a member of the NRA for some time before realizing that the organization was never really tough on gun rights.
In 2010 I didn’t renew my membership and sought to tithe my hard-earned money elsewhere to a more deserving organization. Years later I learned about the untold history of the NRA, and what I learned shocked my conscience.
The NRA has become a hot topic in recent weeks beginning with its lawsuit against Ackerman-McQueen, their (now former) public relations company. Though its suit and the resulting countersuits have brought much overdue attention, it seems to finally be the breach in the dam.
Gun writers are doing an amazing job at breaking information as it comes out. Still, some of us know that the NRA is not the tip of the spear in defending gun rights, but few are discussing specific things the organization has done since its inception to undermine that fight.
For the record, I am a staunch Second Amendment supporter and believe in the original intent of the Second Amendment prescribed by the Founders in 27 words. Additionally, I believe that any attempt to add to or change those 27 words is simply an attempt at gun control.
NOTE: The information I will be presenting may not reflect the stance of NRA members, but pertains more to organizational leadership.
The Second Amendment and why we have it
For readers new to gun culture, the Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state (Pause – Part II) The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” ← PERIOD.
In 27 words the Founders established that states are sovereign, that in order to maintain a state’s sovereignty, a militia must be maintained, and separately, Americans have a right to firearms without infringement. Let us be clear on the exact definition of infringement.
INFRINGE In·fringe /in’frinj/ 1: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another. 2: Actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.).
On April 18, 1775 British General Thomas Gage marched to Concord to seize a large arms cache held by the Massachusetts militia, thus the story of Paul Revere and battles which ensued at Lexington. In short, fighting our way out of tyranny gave us the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This path to freedom was paved in blood, sacrifice, and the individual, unobstructed right to own firearms.
Though the Constitution was ratified in 1787, it wasn’t until Dec 15, 1791 that the Founders passed the law giving us ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights, better known as a Bill of Restrictions on government, contains the Second Amendment.
History doesn’t reflect that a herd of deer were marching on Concord to seize weapons, nor does it reflect that the Founders hastily passed a gun rights amendment for sporting purposes, or defending themselves from a tyrannical wild game population.
The Founders were simply afraid of government. Thus, history has shown that an armed populace is a free populace, and subjects only exist via the mechanisms of disarmament.
The Cash Cow of Concealed Carry Permit Training
For about a century after ratifying the Bill of Rights, gun control, restrictions on guns, or harsh laws pertaining to firearms and gun ownership weren’t a part of the American psyche. The only two examples of early gun control were Georgia banning handguns in 1837 (ruled unconstitutional), and the Black Codes enacted in 1865.
It wasn’t until 1871 that the Second Amendment met its first true domestic enemy…the National Rifle Association.
“The National Rifle Association has been in support of workable, enforceable gun control legislation since its very inception in 1871.”
— NRA Executive Vice President Franklin L. Orth
NRA’s The American Rifleman magazine, March 1968, P. 22
Franklin Orth, the CEO of the NRA at the time, admitted that since its inception, the organization had been finding ways to incrementally destroy the Second Amendment using unconstitutional legislation. This was a hard pill to swallow as I grew up believing the NRA was committed to gun rights.
The first sellout of gun owners began in the early 1920’s with the US Revolver Association (let’s call it the NRA²). The NRA² was a subsidiary of the National Rifle Association dedicated to handgun training.
Like Orth, the USRA had an issue with the Second Amendment. The NRA² was very busy from about 1918 and into the late 1920’s crafting ways to infringe in the manner in which arms were born by Americans. The NRA² led many efforts in several states to require concealed weapon licensing, a new idea in America at the time.
Or was it a business model?
²License (li·cense): 1: Permission to act. 2: A permission granted by competent authority [that’s hilarious] to engage in an activity or occupation otherwise unlawful. 3: A permit from an authority to own or use something
(Not found in the Second Amendment)
Initially passed in nine states, this legislation quickly spread throughout the several states like an STD. Today in America, there are only a handful of states which have reversed the litigious initiatives blessed by the NRA and have reinstated constitutional carry (permit-less carry).
Please do not confuse my disgust with carry permits as opposition to firearms safety training.
Have you ever asked yourself why the NRA pushes so hard for concealed carry permits? I’m not talking reciprocity, I am talking about why they want Americans to obtain government permission to exercise a constitutional right?
The NRA established itself as a training business, and most industries use the power of lobbying, pulling the levers of government for some sort of financial gain for themselves, at the expense of We The People.
In most states, to obtain a carry license you have to attend a training class in order to get a concealed carry permit. Good idea, right?
In my research, I found that most states, by law, only accept training classes conducted by certified NRA instructors. You would think military, police, gunsmiths, and others highly skilled in the use of firearms could conduct a state-recognized course and train people to carry a gun. Nope. In most states, only NRA certified instructors can administer the training gun owners are required to have in order to carry a concealed firearm.
Note: Some states now accept LEO and military training in lieu of an NRA class to obtain unconstitutional permission to carry a firearm.
Do you want to help people beg government for the privilege to carry a gun? I don’t, but if you do, you’d better pay the NRA because without their certification, you can’t train anyone.
Regardless of your opinion on constitutional carry or unconstitutional government permission requirements, the NRA sold us down the river. The right to carry a concealed firearm in most states is now a government-granted privilege, but the fruits of the NRA’s actions continue to make the organization loads of cash on instructor certification fees alone.
The NRA boasts that it currently has 125,000 instructors, 8,000 coaches and 2,200 training councilors on its web site. I fully support safety training for gun owners, but not by government requirement or mandate.
“I have never believed in the practice of carrying weapons. I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.”
— Karl T. Frederick NRA President and VP, US Revolver Assn.
in NFA hearing before passage of 1934 National Firearms Act
Karl Fredrick also worked diligently to frame the Uniform Firearms Act of 1930 that was later adopted by several states.
The American Rifleman March, 1968 Issue
It is America in the year 1930, alcohol is illegal, but one could easily obtain a steady supply of marijuana, short barrel rifles, short barrel shotguns and machine guns. I dream at night frequently about mail-ordering my very own full-auto Auto Ordnance M1A1 SBR or 1927A1.
I go to the range, smoking a fat Cuban cigar in my coat and top hat, and proceed to saw targets in half with .45 reasons to achieve pure bliss. Then I wake up and realize the nightmare of the current reality.
During the 1933-34 period, the NRA was busy in an advisory role, blessing the passage of the Infamous National Firearms Act of 1934. In this unconstitutional pretended legislation, it requires a “tax stamp” on certain types of firearms and accessories (RIGHTS), like machine guns, SBR’s, SBS’s, and today, suppressors. These items are not illegal to purchase and own, to do so without paying a tax to an unconstitutional bureaucracy to exercise a right is. So what does the NFA of 1934 have to do with the NRA?
“The NRA supported The National Firearms Act of 1934 which taxes and requires registration of such firearms as machine guns, sawed-off rifles, and sawed-off shotguns.”
If you are speechless right now, trust me, I feel your frustration. In black and white, the NRA, in its own publication, is on-record as supporting one of the most outrageous, unconstitutional pretended laws pertaining to firearms, the NFA.
This law has destroyed the lives of countless men, women and children who ran afoul of it. No Founder could have foreseen an America where a 1/64” length variation under 16” or 18” on a barrel could land you in prison for 10 years.
“The NRA Supported The Federal Firearms Act of 1938, which regulates interstate and foreign commerce in firearms and pistol or revolver ammunition…”
So far, America’s “oldest defender of the Second Amendment” has abolished constitutional carry in most states, financially burdened the right to own a machine gun, SBR/SBS or suppressor, and has supported the Federal Firearms Act of 1938.
What was their justification? Gangland weapons. As with any garbage legislation, the problem they were attempting to solve only grew into a bigger issue while criminalizing the law-abiding.
The NRA went further, discussing their support for Sen. Thomas Dodd’s bills.
“The NRA supported the original Dodd Bill to amend the Federal Firearms Act in regard to handguns when it was introduced as S.1975 in August, 1963. Among its provisions was the requirement that the purchaser submit a notarized statement to the shipper that he was over 18 and not legally disqualified from possessing a handgun.”
It gets better….
“In January, 1965, with the continued support of the NRA, Senator Dodd introduced an amended version of his first bill, now designated 5.14 and expanded to cover rifles and shotguns as well as handguns.”
Then, in the next quote, the NRA decided it couldn’t take the pressure…
“The parting of ways came only when Senator Dodd introduced still another bill (S. 1592) in March, 1965 which drastically intensified his earlier bills. The NRA opposed S.1592 and subsequent bills introduced by the Connecticut Senator.”
So, when Dodd doubled down, the NRA ran off, hanging all gun owners, making the rounds in D.C. to insure successful passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act.
The American Rifleman continues:
NRA support of Federal gun legislation did not stop with the earlier Dodd bills. It currently backs several Senate and House bills which, through amendment, would put new teeth into the National and Federal Firearms Acts. The essential provisions which the NRA supports are contained in 2 Senate bills introduced by Senator Roman L. Hruska (Nebr.) and House bills introduced by Congressmen Cecil R. King (17th Dist.-Calif.) and Robert L.F. Sikes (1st Dist.-Fla.) These bills would:
1. Impose a mandatory penalty for the carrying or use of a firearm, transported in interstate or foreign commerce, during the commission of certain crimes.
2. Place “destructive devices” (bombs, mines, grenades, crew-served military ordnance) under federal regulation.
3. Prohibit any licensed manufacturer or dealer from shipping any firearm to any person in any state in violation of the laws of that state.
4. Regulate the movement of handguns in interstate commerce by:
a) requiring a sworn statement, containing certain information, from the purchaser to seller for the receipt of a handgun in interstate commerce.
b) providing for notification of local police of prospective sales. [this is gun registration, how is that working for ya, Hawaii?]
c) requiring an additional 7-day waiting period by the seller after receipt of acknowledgment of notification to police
d) prescribing a minimum age of 21 for obtaining a license to sell firearms and increasing the license fees
e) providing for written notification by manufacturer or dealer to carrier that a firearm is being shipped in interstate commerce.
f) increasing penalties for violation.
On page 23, the NRA goes on record supporting firearms registration, a ban on “destructive devices,” police notification of sales, other registration schemes, waiting periods, age discrimination, and increasing penalties on gun owners.
Furthermore, for decades the liberal-progressive fake news industrial complex (AKA, the media) and the NRA have somehow sold the lie that the NRA is the only reason we still have a Second Amendment. Click here for access to the full issue of the March 1968 American Rifleman.
Gaslighting (gas·light·ing) 1: A form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, or sanity.
In part two of this article, I will analyze the NRA’s support for gun control post 1968. I will also discuss some of the things the organization does for the gun industry, and what members’ focus should be in order to save the organization.