At its annual meeting in Houston, Texas, Saturday, the National Rifle Association unanimously adopted a WND columnist’s resolution to stand “steadfast in opposition to any and all expansion of firearms laws” in the United States.
Knox’s resolution commended the staff and leadership of the NRA for standing against further gun-control laws and insisted the media had engaged in a campaign of “lies and distortions” to paint even the NRA as favoring more restrictive legislation.
The heart of the resolution, however, was a proclamation of resistance to gun control.
“Be it resolved, that we members,” the resolution states, “continue to remain steadfast in opposition to any and all expansion of firearms laws that would or could put honest Americans at increased risk of prosecution or which would or could in any way infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.”
Knox also pushed for the resolution to be published in the NRA’s official journal, but the resolution was amended on the floor to forgo that step for primarily financial reasons.
Knox was present at the meeting to explain the reason for his resolution: “[NRA] members at large need to know that the members here gathered soundly and solidly oppose any and all restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.”
“I want to remind everyone,” said John Fafoutakis of Sheraton, Wyoming, a supporting speaker from the floor, “none of our rights, including our God-given right to self-defense, [is] subject to popular or democratic vote.”
The NRA long has dedicated itself to the Second Amendment but in recent months has found itself in the crosshairs of Washington strategies to propose new rules, regulations, restrictions and requirements on an almost daily basis.
The NRA’s influence probably was most visible in recent weeks, fighting a recent vote in the U.S. Senate on key gun restrictions sought by Obama.
In that move the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate shot down every proposal for more restrictions, although it’s always possible for them to be revived.
The votes were on amendments to a bill by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., advanced 68-31 to the Senate floor for debate.
The first, and key, amendment was to expand background checks widely. It failed 54-46 under a requirement of 60 votes for adoption.
The White House had lobbied intensely across the country, including using emotional pleas from the families of victims of the Newtown school shooting, but Obama administration officials had confirmed the president’s agenda was sinking. Reuters reported the frustration level was so high that press secretary Jay Carney took to the podium of the briefing room to urge senators to back Obama.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told the assembled body that Congress should be focused on “stopping violent criminals” but not “targeting law-abiding citizens.”
“The approach that is effective is targeting violent criminals while safeguarding the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” he said.
Cruz blamed the Obama Justice Department for failing to prosecute gun criminals, noting that of 48,000 felons or fugitives who tried to obtain weapons, only 44 were prosecuted.
The support just wasn’t there. Among the legislation that senators addressed was:
- The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and others. It expands background checks to gun shows and Internet sales. It also authorizes $400 million to upgrade the national background check database. It failed 54-46 under a requirement of 60 votes for adoption.
- A proposal by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to swap the background check provisions of the existing bill. It would target those who lie on background check applications and raise access to information about those who have been found mentally impaired by a court. It failed 52-48.
- The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and others. It would enable those who purchase guns for others to avoid a background check. It failed 58-42.
- Concealed-carry reciprocity from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and others. It would treat state-sponsored concealed carry permits like driver’s licenses, making them valid across state lines. It failed 57-43
- The Assault Weapons Ban from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and others. It targets hundreds of types of weapons for a complete ban. It failed, 40 to 60.
- A plan from Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., to require a court order finding a person a danger to himself or herself or others before that person is banned from buying a gun. Failed 56-44.
- The Large-Capacity Magazine Feeding Devices Amendment from Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.. It bans devices holding more than 10 rounds but creates a special class of citizen – the off-duty police officer – for exemption. Failed 46-54.
The Democrats were unable even to corral their own for the key vote on background checks, losing the support of Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Max Baucus, D-Mont.; and Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
After the stinging rebuke, Reid withdrew his bill entirely, for now.
Democrats need to retain all of their 55 members – doubtful because several are up for re-election next year – plus get five Republicans to join them to reach the 60-vote threshold.
And even if the overarching bill, which seeks stiffer penalties for gun trafficking and more spending on school safety, were to be passed by the Senate in some form, the Republicans hold the majority in the House.
Video of the NRA meeting, discussion and vote on the resolution, captured by Media Matters, can be seen below: