NRA puts politics over the Second Amendment by supporting Burns

So the NRA is supporting Conrad Burns by hosting fundraisers across the state. (Sorry, no link. I just know these things, heh heh. It’s part of being a Montanan.) For many of my out-of-state readers, some of whom are “coastal elites,” this is a big deal. Montanans love their guns.

(Note that I’m pretty “squishy” when it comes to gun control. I think some communities can have a legitimate interest in limiting the type of guns in their neighborhoods. That said, I think the current background check system is decent enough, if enforced, and I’m comfortable with Montanans and their guns. Ultimately it’s not much of an issue with me. But this ain’t about me.)

Why is the NRA supporting Burns? Jon Tester is an avid supporter of the Second Amendment. When I emailed his office for his position on gun control, I got the following “official” statement:

“Jon Tester is a hunter and sportsman who fully supports Americans’ second amendment rights to keep and bear arms.”

Burns, too, has a record of supporting gun rights. In 2000, he won an “A” rating from the NRA for his lifetime record on gun issues.

Normally, if all things were equal, you’d think the interest group would just bow out and concentrate on other races. However, the NRA policy (no link here, either, just trust me) is to support the incumbent over the challenger because the incumbent has more advantages in Congress because of his seniority and committee assignments.

Only thing…Burns and Tester aren’t equal when it comes to NRA gun issues. There’s the little thing called the Patriot Act that separates them on the protection of Second Amendment rights.

You see, gun owners rightfully distrust the Patriot Act, and the NRA recently joined the ACLU in criticizing the legislation. Many (sane) conservatives don’t want government to intrude into their daily lives – which is why the Montana state legislature’s condemnation of the Patriot Act was overwhelmingly bipartisan. The NRA and their supporters are extremely vigilant in protecting their right to bear arms; the Patriot Act through its many and nefarious provisions allows unreasonable search, seizure, and imprisonment of US citizens…and their guns.

In the televised June Senate debate, Jon Tester

….said that after 9/11 we had a great opportunity, everybody was willing to effect real change and eradicate terror organizations. We had allies and willing cooperation. But all Bush told us to do was “go shopping.” And then came the Patriot Act, which “penalized our people first.” We don’t need to take away Americans’ freedoms to catch terrorists; we can still follow the rule of law and catch terrorists.

Burns? Big fan of the Patriot Act. (And note that Burns’ “A” rating came in 2000 — before the passage of the Patriot Act.)

Not only does Burns lag behind Jon Tester in protecting Americans’ personal liberties and their right to bear arms, apparently – as rumor has it – he’s been very disappointing at the NRA fundraisers. Apparently he shows up and gives a lame five-minute speech on voter registration and then splits, which only reinforces his commitment, not to Montanans, but to lobbyists and industry.

The NRA’s endorsement of Burns reveals one thing: they are not an interest group, they are blind, partisan Republican supporters.

NRA members and gun rights’ advocates: now is the time to write to the NRA and voice your complaint with their endorsement. The NRA should be about protecting the Second Amendment, not supporting Republicans. Burns does not support American liberties; he should not receive the NRA endorsement.

  1. Frank

    You did forget one important aspect about Tester though, HE’S IN THE PARTY of the anti-gun. A world of horrible legislation by John Kerry and other Democrats. Voters are not just voting for Tester, they are voting for a Senate that history tells us, HATES my guns.

  2. Frank

    We also can’t forget about Charles Chumer and Barbara Boxer wanting to make hand guns, most ammo, and even bolt-action rifles illegal. Vote Tester, vote an extremely anti-gun Senate majority!

  3. I don’t see how voting in a pro-gun rights’ Senator would give gun control politicos a majority as you claim.

    Maybe you don’t live in Montana; there’s no way in hell Tester backs down from the Second Amendment. That’s political suicide.

    (PS – Frank, patient with the comments. They’re getting caught by the spam filter.)

  4. There is an important point to be had here, the NRA does not care one bit about hunting, they are all about the guns and conservative reactionarism. Otherwise, they would support Tester 100%. Burn’s record on public access is dismal.

    The NRA has shown that they do not support on the issues and record, but pretty much by party line.

    Voters are not just voting for Tester, they are voting for a Senate that history tells us, HATES my guns.

    Unlike Burns, Tester has the backbone to break with the party and vote his conscience. If Bush told Burns to vote for complete gun control, he would gladly do it.

  5. Well said.

    BTW, congrats on your blogging for LiTW. I’ve always enjoyed your work, I’m glad you’ll be getting a larger audience…

  6. “The NRA’s endorsement of Burns reveals one thing: they are not an interest group, they are blind, partisan Republican supporters.”

    Can’t help but do some grave digging, seeing as the NRA endorsed Schweitzer over Roy Brown =)

  1. 1 Tester on gun control issues « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] A little while ago, I wrote a post on the NRA’s support of Senator Conrad Burns, and how it was an obvious partisan move, placing the Republican party above the Second Amendment. […]

  2. 2 Links… « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] New West’s Bill Schneider claims the NRA’s endorsement of Conrad Burns only further proves that it doesn’t represent hunters. H*ll, I’ve gone further than that! The NRA doesn’t actually represent gun rights, it’s a Republican PAC. Period. […]

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