I should start by saying that this is not an official NRA press release. This is my take, my analysis, on what the NRA’s up to in 2012. However, if you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, you can watch the video included below.
From my perspective, the NRA has three main objectives for 2012: 1. Beat Obama. 2. Get the Supreme Court to rule that Second Amendment (self-defense) rights extend beyond the home. 3. Proselytize the gospel of guns.
The first objective is one that Wayne LaPierre, NRA CEO and Executive Vice President, has been shouting from the rooftops for several years now.
To put it mildly, he’s not fond of Obama’s politics. In an op-ed he wrote for the Washington Times, “Millions will defend the Second Amendment on Election Day,” he made it clear that the NRA is resolved to depose Obama, to ensure he becomes a one-term president.
“The fight for 2012 is a fight for our country, our values and our freedom, and if the National Rifle Association (NRA) has anything to say about it, Barack Obama won’t get a second term,” LaPierre wrote. “Mark these words – the NRA and America’s gun owners will have plenty to say about it.”
In the article, LaPierre underscores the criticality of the 2012 election. For him, it’s a watershed, an event that will determine the course of history for the Second Amendment.
“The next president will likely appoint one and perhaps as many as three justices to the Supreme Court,” LaPierre wrote, “A second Obama term will mark the end of the Second Amendment, as we know it. That is a fact.”
While the battle to beat Obama is an important one for the NRA, it may take a back seat to its legislative efforts to have the Supreme Court hear a case on whether our Second Amendment Rights extend beyond the home. In other words, should we be a country of universal concealed carry?
This is a fundamental question that needs to be answered. While 49 of the 50 states permit some form of concealed carry, there are states (obviously Illinois, which still bans CCW) that make it very difficult for individuals to obtain CCW permits.
One would imagine that banning concealed carry or making it next to impossible for a law-abiding individual to obtain a CCW permit, is an infringement on one’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The NRA obviously believes that it is an infringement and is doing everything it can to get the high court to take up a case that directly addresses the issue.
So far, the NRA has been unsuccessful in its quest. Late last year, the Supreme Court opted not to hear two cases that would have brought the issue to the fore. But the NRA is not giving up. Currently, it supporting the following cases, all of which deal with the issue of self-defense rights outside the home:
Jennings v. McCraw, in which a group of law-abiding 18- to 20-year old adults challenged the state law prohibiting issuance of concealed handgun licenses to persons under 21, who are treated as adults for virtually every other purpose under the law.
Peruta v. County of San Diego, which challenges discriminatory permit issuance under California law and Shepard v. Madigan, challenging Illinois’ complete denial of any lawful way to carry firearms for self-defense outside one’s home or place of business.
Jennings has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Peruta is pending in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and Shepard is awaiting action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, according to an NRA press release.
All of those cases have the potential to find their way to the Supreme Court.
But don’t be fooled. The NRA’s political advocacy and legislative action for 2012 doesn’t stop at self-defense rights outside the home, the NRA will keep fighting other initiatives and/or laws that seek to erode, challenge, infringe, etc. our Second Amendment rights. For example, the NRA will continue to fight the Obama administration’s multiple purchases tracking requirement and will continue to keep a watchful eye on the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
With all that said, I think the NRA’s biggest mission in 2012 (and arguably every year) is to keep spreading the gospel of guns. That is, to continue to win the hearts and minds of non-gun owners.
According to the David Keene, the President of the NRA, the organization spends 80% of its annual budget on non-advocacy (aka non-lobbying) related endeavors, e.g. public outreach and public relations.
The result of putting more money into public outreach is a growing gun community that is becoming more diverse; the NRA notes that its largest growing segment is women.
I think this is something to be really proud of if you’re an NRA member. Getting women, minorities and other groups not traditionally associated with the gun community disabused of the notion that guns are bad or evil or ‘assault weapons.’ Getting more non-gun owners out shooting, hunting, and having fun with guns is wonderful achievement.
And as we’ve seen in recent Gallup polls, it’s paying off. Increasingly, the public is embracing gun culture.
In any event, if all goes according to the NRA’s plan, 2012 should be another good year for law-abiding gun owners.