Jim Porter, the new president of the National Rifle Association, responded to Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks on Tuesday pertaining to the White House’s renewed push to pass tougher federal gun laws and restrictions on gun ownership.
In short, Porter said that the nation’s gun lobby will keep winning the war over gun control on all fronts, whether that be the state level, the federal level or the international level via the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
“The anti-gun forces tried to win the battle politically,” Porter said in an interview with Newsmax, “and we beat them. So what did they do? They go to the states. They try to push their legislation there. We beat them. So now they’re in the international arena at the U.N., and, with all due respect, we will beat them there as well.”
When asked specifically about the centerpiece of President Obama’s plan to curb gun violence, the expanded background check bill drafted by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), which failed to garner the 60 votes it needed to overcome a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate back in April, Porter intimated that the bill was inherently flawed and would be futile at preventing another mass shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“It’s just another useless gun law that will have no effect on crime and certainly have no effect on the safety of our kids in school,” Porter said. “The White House has admitted that the laws they are pushing wouldn’t have stopped any of the recent gun violence that have spurred new calls for legislation.”
Porter also criticized Manchin’s new ads that seek to build support amongst NRA members for universal background checks. Porter slammed Manchin for being two-faced on gun control.
“Sen. Manchin talks NRA and is pro-gun when he is home in West Virginia, but when he leaves West Virginia, he’s speaking Bloomberg and anti-gun.”
In the TV spots, Manchin claims to be a free thinker, someone who pursues common sense legislation over a political agenda, after stating that he is an NRA member, Manchin says, “I don’t walk in lock step with the NRA’s Washington leadership, this administration or any special interest group.”
However, where Porter and Manchin can find some common ground is with respect to increased mental health reporting, something that Porter said the NRA has supported all along vis-à-vis the NSSF’s ‘Fix NICS’ program.
“We want the records that should be on there, particularly the mental health records,” he told Newsmax. “They don’t want to address the issue to make the background checks actually meaningful, and we do.”
In truth, Manchin does support Fixing NICS, i.e. ensuring that states are turning over their criminal records and records of those adjudicated ‘mentally defective’ to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
However, Manchin also wants to require background checks for all gun transfers made via the Internet or at gun shows, a mandate that the NRA finds to be too onerous and burdensome for law-abiding gun owners, hence why the two men disagree and why the Manchin-Tommey amendment failed in the Senate (a significant portion of the Senate agrees with the NRA on that point).
In any event, and to circle back to Porter’s earlier point, the NRA is winning the battle over gun control, especially at the federal level. At the state level, Colorado, New York, Connecticut and Maryland have all passed tougher gun laws in the wake of Newtown, though, arguably, Colorado may be the only real loss for the NRA as the other states already lean pro-gun control.
Barring a disaster, it’s hard to envision a future where the NRA isn’t calling the shots in Washington.