In California, The Second Amendment Is Effectively Dead - NRA MIA

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."


June 2, 2018 - San Francisco, CA - - In its advertising, the National Rifle Association, self identifies as “ Freedom’s Safest Place,” but a deeper probe into the workings of America’s largest 2nd Amendment lobby, and the chimera invoked by the “man on the white horse protecting the rights of responsible firearms owners” quickly flakes away.

The truth is that the NRA has never been committed to the type of line in the sand, uncompromising defense of the Second Amendment as one can always expect coming from groups like the ACLU when it comes to the First Amendment. If the ACLU compromised as much and as often as its fellow lobbyists in the NRA, freedom of speech would likely be dead in the United States.

So in that sense the ACLU should be the model for an absolutist organization charged with protecting the right of American citizens to defend themselves.

It doesn't take much digging to conclude that the NRA has become such a creature of the DC Swamp that the organization itself poses a threat to what is left of the 2 nd Amendment. We say this because in marketing itself as something it is not, the organization has sucked up all the resources that its 5 million members could have repurposed to create a “give no quarter” modern, cost-effective and transparent firearms rights organization much in the mold of Judicial Watch that daily is breaking down the doors of corruption in DC on a budget that is paltry by comparison.

Instead of actively resisting any and all calls for increased regulation of firearms [there are over 10,000 firearm regulations already on the books] especially in states such as California whose citizens are laboring under what are among the nation’s most Draconian and presumptively unconstitutional fire arms regulations, one of the National Rifle Association’s most recent and public displays of legal strategy in the state involved a ridiculous administrative law exercise that would at best, force the state to publish its gun-grabbing legislation in sufficient time to permit public comment, before descending on law abiding, gun owning citizens of California.

This timidity extends beyond states that are passing bucket-loads of anti-Second amendment legislation, for example doing little to move HR 38 [“The National Reciprocity Bill” that passed the House on a recorded vote: 231-198, with 213 cosponsors] out of the Senate Judiciary Committee where we suspect the bill will languish then die.

The NRA has historically endorsed Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and what exactly does that get the Second Amendment community?

Nothing, McConnell couldn’t care less, so why the support?

This is hardly the only fault that can be found with the NRA’s national lobbying efforts. For example in the absolute hysteria that followed the Las Vegas mass shooting the organization almost immediately rolled over as the hard left - in high dudgeon - demanded, that so-called bump stocks be made illegal.

"… Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law . The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. [source, NRA's Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox Issue Joint Statement , NRA, NRA Calls For Federal Review Of Bump Stocks After Vegas Shooting, ABC News]

The NRA’s position on bump stocks is to simply abandon a matter rife with 2 nd Amendment implications to the tender mercies of unelected federal bureaucrats with a long history of hostility towards private ownership of firearms. Actually it’s far worse than that since the organization over its long history has steadily overseen the constant diminution of the right of American citizens to arm themselves in defense of their homes and loved ones and to be at the ready, as the Founders intended, to defend the republic against the potential predation of the central government going rogue as we believe would have quickly happened had Hillary Clinton won the last general election.

Ok so on the national level the NRA has been found seriously wanting but what about in the states where the gun confiscation lobby has made huge gains such as in New York, Illinois and of special concern to this writer, the People’s Republic of California which is poised to do exactly what the “Brady Coalition’s” have been unable to do on a larger scale - destroy the very fiber of the Second Amendment?

Sound of chirping crickets…

Point in fact. Most of the legal world, both right and left agree that the Heller case [District of Columbia et al. v. Heller] is foundational [it found for instance that the 2nd is an individual, not a group right, which is huge] for the renewed drive to stop courts from bleeding the Second Amendment to death, but contrary to popular belief, this case was originally shunned by the NRA.

“Heller, who lived on the other side of Capitol Hill, attempted to set up a defense fund for Plesha. He asked the National Rifle Association to join him in trying to overturn DC’s gun ban. The NRA declined. Heller then began looking for allies to overturn the law. In 2002 Heller helped DC native Robert Levy and his team of lawyers build a case against the DC gun ban.” [Harry Jaffe, Do You Want This Next To Your Bed?, The Washingtonian]

Yes eventually the NRA stepped in, but had not Mr. Heller persisted in the matter odds are DC’s bizarre firearms regulations would still be in effect.

There are numerous other examples, but we think the following demonstrates why NRA members question the organization’s commitment to once and for all, absolutely assure through aggressive litigation that the full force of the Second Amendment is finally and unalterably made the law of the land, as is the case with the First Amendment.

Historically the NRA has supported 2nd Amendment friendly politicians in California, but the deluge has become a trickle...

“In 2000, the organization spent $320,000 on California state races. No more. The NRA hasn’t given a direct donation to a legislative candidate since 2014, and then it gave a mere $11,000, split among nine candidates, all of them Republicans. One, Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang of Los Angeles County, returned $1,000 last year. Ray Haynes, a Republican who served in the California Legislature from 1992 until 2006, regularly carried bills advocated by the NRA, and recalls the NRA was a source of campaign volunteers and donations. “It’s not being overly dramatic to say it looks like they’ve given up,” Haynes said. [source, Dan Morain, Almighty NRA is all but paper tiger in California , the Sacramento Bee]

Regarding the losing fight against Gavin Newsome’s Prop 63 - "gunmagedon" - in 2016, the Democrat party coughed up over a million dollars, the NRA...not so much.

“One activist frustrated by the lack of help on a drive to overturn other new gun laws wrote on his Facebook page last month: "Hello, NRA? Is Anyone There?" Another wrote: "I'm also rethinking my NRA dues." The National Rifle Assn. has poured $4 million into fighting a Nevada initiative that would require background checks for firearms buyers but just $145,000 into battling a gun control measure in California. The difference has not been lost on gun owners and those pushing Proposition 63 on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot.” [source, Patrick McGreevy, NRA not putting up much of a fight against California gun control ballot measure , LA Times]

If it was honest, the NRA would probably argue that expenditures in California represent wasted money and that the newspapers from which we pulled the above quotes are just trying to dispirit its members.

Speaking as a very long-time member and sometimes large contributor I absolutely know that the image of the NRA in the once Golden State is in tatters, and rightly so...we can demonstrate one aspect of why this is true.

Various journos from our organization, but particularly this author have for YEARS been contacting the NRA in order to help them get their message out and just possibly, convince them that CA is not a lost cause.

Our most recent efforts involved a month long courtship of the NRA’s public relations people, in this case dealing with the representative responsible for publicity in California.

At first our inquiry this time around was ignored with numerous messages unreturned. Then on the single bright note in an otherwise shabby encounter, this author and the representative responsible for California chatted amiably at the beginning of May and we agreed to get in contact for an interview after the big NRA meeting in Texas [Dallas, May 3-6] as this party was understandably consumed by preparation.

To show good will I suggested and the NRA rep accepted a series of proposed interview questions to allay any concerns that a news organization as aggressive as would resort to ambush journo, the questions can be found in the end notes section of this essay.

Unfortunately post Dallas 2018, every effort to get in contact - and we are talking here at least a dozen emails and voice mails - went unanswered…complete and total silence as if the organization had gone to ground.

If the representatives handlers had taken even a few minutes she would have seen how glowingly we have always written about the NRA in the past, for example the following...from 5 years ago.

“Stand and Fight!

©2013 LLC, William Mayer. All rights reserved.

Publisher’s note: We wish to thank the NRA-ILA for the superlative work they are doing on these related matters…and if you haven’t joined the NRA, we can’t think of a better time. We are 5 million strong and growing…and most important of all, the NRA isn’t shy about kicking the asses of liberty adverse legislators in DC and state capitols, witness how the Senate gun ban was defeated and proponents sent home with their tails between their legs, a huge loss for the left.” [source, CA Neo Marxist Legislature Moves To Effectively Kill 2nd Amendment ,]

Having, I think proved our point and being way over word count on this piece, let’s wrap it up.

The future of the United States as a democratic republic right now hangs in precarious balance with states like California, New York and Illinois moving in extra-legal fashion to destroy as much effective exercise of the 2nd Amendment as is physically possible while the political atmosphere is in turmoil and still feeling the effects of the Obama administration having weaponized every facet of government, especially targeting responsible firearms owners.

As for the NRA, if it doesn’t change its suicidal policy of non engagement, it will become irrelevant because at some point in the immediate future the 2nd could effectively be killed by the stroke of a pen by SCOTUS, so yes this is an entirely political fight and if you don't even have a horse in the race...well...

The National Rifle Association is going to have to mend its ways and one of the ways it can demonstrate this is stop paying its executives' obscenely high salaries for simply pushing paper and flying an aside, it stretches credulity to the breaking point to believe that 88 years old James Baker [elite DC power lawyer for Ronald Reagan] shows up "for work" more than occasionally.

Let’s get a little more specific. We pulled 3 of the NRA’s most recent 990 filings and were a little shocked to see how many bureaucrats within the NRA made mid-6-figure salaries, capping it off with the organization paying Wayne LaPierre $5 million one year [over and above his nearly million dollar a year salary] apparently as some sort of retirement.

A "challenging" environment? Yes, but it's still not HennyPenny "the sky is falling time...yet. But this is a fight to the death and there is nothing to suggest that there isn't still time to change the trajectory that we are on in this country. Now, listen hard; the NRA can still be a huge and positive factor in that fight, but it is going to have to decide pretty soon to climb out of its glass castle, internalize the fact that ALL Americas count and understand that NRA member’s patience in the “orphan states” is not endless.

End notes:

Below the questions submitted to the NRA’s press attaché for California on May 16.

How about we try these on for size? If u need clarification on certain points or if the wording is unclear pls let me know personally.

1. Could you describe the process that NRA/ILA goes through before bringing suit against a piece of legislation, and/or the NRA/ILA’s general theory of litigation.

2. Getting specific, California is suffocating under an avalanche of anti-Second Amendment legislation, both on the books and in the pipeline, working its way through the California State Legislature. There are actually so many bills involved here that an in-detail discussion of each of them is really impossible, so let’s first focus on California’s new ammunition purchase restrictions.

This matter seems to be such a clear case of an unconstitutional restriction on the exercise of the Second Amendment. Many NRA members whom I talk to are wondering when and if it will be challenged. Taken to its natural conclusion, the state will be able to eventually effectively bar commerce in ammunition and even gun parts under proposed legislation, since firearms minus ammunition are just heavy paper weights how does this bode for the Second Amendment here in the most populous


3. In District of Columbia v Heller , Justice Scalia associated the “right to bear” with “the right to carry,” actually quoting the reasoning of Justice Ginzberg which itself was derived from Black’s Law as the right to “carry on your person.” However in California, only the privileged seem to be able to obtain a license to carry, so where do citizens who perceive a need to carry a firearm turn?

4. As you know California has an “approved” handgun roster; one that is constantly shrinking. What is to stop the state from making its approval process so difficult that firearms manufacturers are no longer willing to comply? For example of the arbitrary nature of California’s legislation, a U.S manufactured Glock pistol may not be sold in the state, however the exact same weapon, made in Austria can be legal [if it’s not Gen. 5 etc.]

5. Re magazine restrictions. The law now is that new magazines shall be restricted to 10 rounds, does the NRA interpret the Second Amendment as flexible enough for the state to in the future restrict magazines to 7 rounds [1911 std. magazine size] or even further?

6. In wrapping what i hope will be an extended conversation, where does this process stop or are we looking at a time in the not so distant future where the Second Amendment loses all of its meaning, suffering what is in effect the death of a thousand cuts as is happening here in the once Golden State?

©2018 LLC, William Mayer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.