January 04, 2006

Is the NRA a Friend of Hunters?

Pat Wray of Corvallis, Oregon, nails the National Rifle Association on one of its weakest points: supporting Second Amendment rights while simultaneously supporting anti-widlife habitat Republicans. (link may expire)

The NRA aligns itself with politicians who care little about the land or wildlife, but who will deliver votes against gun control. This includes politicians like Republican Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who serves on the NRA board of directors. Craig was a primary supporter of the Bush administration's action removing federal protection of 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in our national forests and returning their fate to the tender mercies of individual states. The NRA regularly parrots Craig's message about our roadless areas, interchanging the terms wilderness, roadless areas and road closures, which confuses the public and convinces hunters that their hunting access will be lost in all of these areas.

As I recall--and this was before I joined the NRA--in the mid-1970s, the organization planned to move its headquarters from suburban Washington, DC, to Colorado Springs. A large group of members rebelled, thinking that the NRA would lose its effectiveness on gun laws and become just another conservation group. The move never occurred.

Unfortunately, Wray is right. The NRA's American Hunter magazine is full of ATV ads, while its board members, who do their hunting on Texas game ranches, Atlanta quail plantations, and the like, simply don't see the problem.

My dad belonged to both NRA and the Sierra Club. He had the right idea. To hell with political labels.

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