NRA’s History of Compromise Continues with Phelan Endorsement

January 9, 2024 

As the landscape of gun rights in America evolves, the National Rifle Association (NRA), once revered as a bastion of Second Amendment defense, finds itself at the center of critique and controversy.

The organization’s approach under Wayne LaPierre’s long tenure has been marked by decisions that many staunch gun rights advocates view as compromises detrimental to the core values of the Second Amendment.

Under LaPierre’s leadership, the NRA supported measures such as Gun Free School Zones, Red Flag Gun Confiscation, and the Brady Gun Owner Registry. These stances have raised eyebrows within the gun rights community, suggesting a stark contrast from the uncompromising defense of gun rights that the NRA is known for.

Furthermore, the NRA’s track record of endorsing political figures with mixed stances on gun rights, including Democrat Harry Reid, has added to the growing discontent among hardline Second Amendment supporters. This discontent is not just about specific policies but also about the perceived shift in the NRA’s overarching approach to gun rights advocacy – from staunch defense to a more conciliatory, compromising posture.

Adding to the concerns is the NRA’s historical role in authoring the National Firearms Act (NFA) and its apparent reluctance to support the elimination of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Such positions have not gone unnoticed by newer, more hardline gun rights organizations that have emerged in recent years.

Chris McNutt, President of Texas Gun Rights, is among those who have voiced strong criticism of the NRA and its former leader. According to McNutt, even post-LaPierre, the NRA continues to endorse politicians who do not stand firmly for Second Amendment rights. A prime example cited by McNutt is the NRA’s endorsement of Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Phelan’s record includes supporting legislation that limits Constitutional Carry and campus carry rights for 18-20-year-olds, endorsing parts of President Biden’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and influencing the composition of the Texas House committee responsible for gun legislation. This committee, under Phelan’s guidance, failed to pass significant pro-gun bills, including a measure to prohibit Red Flag Gun Confiscation and the Second Amendment Preservation Act. It also supported the ‘Glock switch bill’, restricting ownership of specific gun tooling and imposed transport restrictions on young adults.

“The NRA’s pattern of backing such measures and politicians contradicts the uncompromising defense of the Second Amendment we desperately need,” said McNutt. He stressed the importance of unwavering support for gun rights and criticized the NRA for its selective acknowledgment of pro-gun actions while turning a blind eye to measures that hinder gun rights.

This approach, according to McNutt, is not just a betrayal of the Second Amendment but also undermines the integrity of the NRA’s advocacy for gun owners. The selective recognition of achievements like the passing of Constitutional Carry, coupled with a disregard for actions that negatively impact gun rights, paints a picture of an organization in a state of internal conflict about its core mission.

Texas Gun Rights, under McNutt’s leadership, remains steadfast in its commitment to holding politicians and organizations accountable. The group advocates for the full protection of gun rights without any form of compromise, emphasizing the need for a clear and consistent stance in defense of the Second Amendment.

As the debate over gun rights continues to be a prominent feature of the American political landscape, the NRA’s approach and endorsements will undoubtedly remain under scrutiny. Advocates like McNutt and organizations like Texas Gun Rights seek to ensure that the defense of the Second Amendment remains unyielding and free from the influences that they believe have led the NRA astray.

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