On November 6 The Trace ran a story pointing to the fact that George H.W. Bush quit the NRA in 1995, thereby setting an example that any of the current five million NRA members can follow if they too want to avoid being tied to the group.
To be clear, The Trace did not come right out and say Bush quit, so you can quit too. Rather, they suggested that Bush quit because Wayne LaPierre is an “incendiary” zealot, and they made sure to stress that nothing has changed by describing “LaPierre’s language” today as “the hyperbolic fatalism for which the NRA has become known.” The gist is clear–Bush quit in 1995 because LaPierre and the NRA were over the top, and before you hitch your wagon to the NRA for the 2016 election cycle, you’d best know they are still over the top.
It is important to understand a couple of things here. Number one, The Trace was started with “seed funding” from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, as well as funding from the Joyce Foundation. The Joyce Foundation funds gun control groups, and an up-and-coming gun control advocate named Barack Obama served on their board of directors from 1994-2002. Politico reported that during Obama’s time on the board, the Joyce Foundation “doled out” various grants to gun control groups,” totaling $2.7 million.”
In addition to this, The Trace also received funding from Nick Hanauer–one of the numerous one-percenters who gave at least $1 million to secure the passage of Washington state’s gun control Initiative 594 in 2014.
Number two, George H.W. Bush was not a conservative. That is not a personal swipe at him, that is just a fact. So to point out that he quit the NRA as if that may be the way to go for voters who are fed up with liberalism’s relentless encroachment on our constitutional rights is really a non-starter. Moreover, such an approach fails to consider that the stands LaPierre does take–like his simple yet profound observation that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun–may be the real drawing card for the NRA. Perhaps gun owners of all political stripes are drawn to people who are showing some backbone at a time when the Second Amendment is under undeniable assault.
Yet The Trace paints a different picture, one of an NRA that seemed open to compromise for a very short window of time following Bush’s resignation but has now reverted to its old tricks of standing its ground, come what may. They now allege the NRA is marked by a “hyperbolic fatalism,” which explains the NRA’s efforts to highlight Obama’s October 1 announcement that he is going to “politicize” gun crime for the purposes of securing gun control.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.