Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
Tuesday, July 13th at 2:35PM EDT
You know things are bad for the National Rifle Association when it has to get the New York Times to run a puff piece on it.
But in their zeal to get a puff piece out there as well as their collaboration with the left on the DISCLOSE Act, the NRA has angered a number of people on Capitol Hill.
Shocking new e-mails obtained by RedState show that the National Rifle Association actively opposed and sought to undermine gun-rights legislation offered in the Senate by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).
The New York Times article contains this paragraph:
With a push from the N.R.A., a popular bill last year restricting credit card lenders came with an odd add-on: It also allowed people to carry loaded guns in national parks.
This is referring to legislation by Senator Tom Coburn, which would have allowed rifles and pistols into national parks — legislation the NRA actively tried to undermine. In other words, in getting their puff piece written by the New York Times, the NRA is taking credit for things the NRA actively tried to stop. That is not the whole story.
A congressional aide tells me, “You’re absolutely right that many conservatives view the NRA as an organization that represents itself rather than the 2nd amendment. For instance, the NRA was livid when Senator Coburn introduced the guns in the park amendment without their permission. The NRA worked to undermine the amendment.”
Specifically, the NRA tried to weaken the guns in parks language working with House Democratic leadership (after it passed the Senate overwhelmingly). The Coburn language returned to the states complete authority to determine firearm possession laws in national parks and refuges. This change mirrored similar regulations governing firearm possession for the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. In some instances, this would result in park and refuge visitors being allowed to carry handguns and rifles in national parks. Ironically, the National “RIFLE” Association wanted to change it so that Coburn’s legislation did not include “rifles” or other long firearms.
Another source familiar with the behind the scenes machinations on the DC voting rights bill tells me that despite the claims in the New York Times article, “the NRA had nothing to do with the addition of the DC Gun language to the DC voting rights bill. Senator Ensign did not give the NRA a heads-up for fear that Reid would block the Amendment, because the NRA would have ratted Ensign out to Reid. They may have helped in the House to make sure the DC voting rights bill include gun rights language, yet they were not part of any pre-Amendment offering strategy sessions.”
Why? For fear that they would rat out the Republican effort to Harry Reid.
RedState has obtained a series of emails between the NRA and congressional aides wherein the NRA is clearly pushing for a Nancy Pelosi backed language to undermine Tom Coburn backed language. In the chain of emails, the NRA says it wants a House version because Senator Coburn’s would have unintended consequences. What were those unintended consequences?
To: Congressional Aide
Sent: Mon May 18, 2009
Subject: Re: Congress Poised to Restore Common Sense Second Amendment Rights
The Coburn amendment to H.R. 627 is open to criticism and potential problems since it is not limited to concealed firearms, or even concealable firearms. Rifles, shotguns, legally possessed machineguns or destructive devices, could all be carried if the person is not prohibited and the person complies with state law.
Two very important points to consider on the language:
1. Limiting to concealed handguns squares with the motive for the federal rule change to legalize self-defense in national parks and wildlife refuges - i.e. the growth of right to carry states.
2. Concealed (and therefore concealable) handguns are less likely than rifles or shotguns to be used for poaching - unlike in national forests and BLM lands where hunting is frequent and legal.
Note the NRA uses the words “destructive devices.”
Let’s ignore the fact that the inability to conceal a rifle might actually be of benefit to park rangers should poaching happen. Instead, let’s focus on the National Rifle Association trying to prohibit rifles from national parks.
What. The. Heck?