The National Rifle Association has puzzled many observers as well as angered its conservative members by remaining neutral in the contest for Nevada’s seat in the US Senate in November. In that race, Sharron Angle is challenging incumbent Harry Reid, running on the Republican ticket as a Tea Party conservative. Her own campaign site notes as follows her position on the right to bear arms.
Sharron Angle supports the individual constitutionally protected right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, property, as well as for other lawful purposes.
Sharron has been endorsed by the Gun Owners of America and has an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association (NRA).
So why is the NRA coyly remaining neutral in a contest which would depose the senate majority leader and send shock waves across the nation? The Wall Street Journal reports as follows on the calculations of Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA in Washington.
“Truthfully, the two individuals vying for majority leader should Harry Reid lose are the two most rabidly anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment senators in Washington, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin,” Cox said. “Does that give concern to NRA members and gun owners all over America? Absolutely, it does.”
Many NRA members are furious at what they see as a cheap political betrayal of core principles by NRA leadership. The NRA is officially neutral on all issues that do not pertain to the right to bear arms. A candidate could be a left wing liberal on every issue except gun control and theoretically get an NRA endorsement if they were pro gun. Sharron Angle has impeccable pro gun credentials and stands a good chance of unseating Harry Reid. Despite this, the NRA is looking ahead to the leadership struggle in the Senate that would follow a Harry Reid defeat.
Many political conservatives in the NRA will undoubtedly break with NRA leadership if they endorse Harry Reid. The NRA is not the only organization that supports and lobbies for the right to bear arms. There are many such organizations all across the country. The NRA may do well to be concerned about its credibility with its own membership. The NRA may be lobbying Congress to advance its own agenda, but plenty of conservatives are lobbying the NRA itself. World Net Daily gives a good indication of the storm brewing within the NRA membership in the latest fight.
The Senate race in Nevada is one of polar ideological opposites. As such it is a fascinating race. But as a study of intrigue and cold calculation versus a principled political battle, the struggle within the National Rifle association is far more interesting.