Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Hunting

American Hunters And Shooters Association: The Ultimate In Political Camouflage

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

When it comes to political discourse and campaign rhetoric on Second Amendment Rights, there are two events that have shaped the current landscape more than any others: the 1994 mid term elections and the 2000 Presidential election. In 1994, gun owners turned out in record numbers to send a message to the Clinton Administration that the gun bans and the anti-gun laws they had pursued were unacceptable. And in 2000, Vice President Al Gore lost because his position on guns was unacceptable to voters in states that had been reliable for his party for decades.

The result was a watershed change in American politics, and a change in the way many anti-gun politicians campaign. Rather than talk openly about their desire to ban guns, register gun owners and regulate firearms sales, anti-gun politicians talk about their “support” for sportsmen. Rather than admit they oppose the individual right protected by the Second Amendment, they claim they “support firearms ownership for hunting.”

This is all an effort to mislead and divide the gun owning community and to dilute gun owners’ political impact. Anti-gun activists want to ensure that 1994 and 2000 never happen again. To achieve their goals they have created new organizations with names designed to confuse gun owners and hide the real agenda. The American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA) is one of those groups.

AHSA was created with the specific intent to provide political cover for anti-gun politicians by allowing them to claim support from a “sportsmen’s” group. In truth, the anti-gun credentials of AHSA’s leadership is well documented. For instance, AHSA president Ray Schoenke has a long history of giving political donations to some of the most anti-gun politicians, including Al Gore, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Bill Clinton, Dianne Feinstein and Ted Kennedy. In 2000, Schoenke donated $5,000 to Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Campaign) and the Ray and Holly Schoenke Foundation also made donations to the Brady Campaign. AHSA Board member John Rosenthal remains the leader of Stop Handgun Violence, the Massachusetts anti-gun group. And one of the leading organizers of AHSA is Bob Ricker, who has been a paid expert witness against gun manufacturers in a number of reckless lawsuits. (For more information, see Anti-Gunners Don Camo As Elections Loom.)

AHSA’s political activities are predictable when you consider its primary goals are to discredit the NRA and advance the interests of anti-gun politicians. AHSA's first effort was in the 2006 Missouri Senate race. AHSA used direct mail to mislead sportsmen and distort the landmark work NRA was doing to protect millions of acres of wetlands in Missouri. While NRA was working with legislators to protect the 100-year flood plain in Missouri from development and ensure that land would be available to hunters, AHSA produced direct mail falsely claiming the NRA had “sold out hunters” so that they could mislead sportsmen into voting for anti-gun candidate Claire McCaskill (See Who Needs Another Alternative To NRA for more information.) Unfortunately, AHSA’s lies were at least partly to blame for McCaskill’s election and the loss of Sen. Jim Talent, a valuable friend of gun owners and sportsmen.

While the NRA counts membership in the millions, AHSA can only claim a few hundred members and has done nothing to advance the issues important to sportsmen. On top of that, in its first foray into Second Amendment issues, AHSA chose to stand alongside one of the leading anti-gun politicians in America: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. AHSA supported Bloomberg’s effort to repeal the law that protects confidential law enforcement data from disclosure that threatens the privacy of gun owners and the safety of law enforcement officers—all so that Bloomberg could use the information in reckless lawsuits against the firearms industry (for more information, see: The "Tiahrt Amendment" on Firearms Traces: Protecting Gun Owners' Privacy and Law Enforcement Safety). By standing with Bloomberg, AHSA President Ray Schoenke made his claims that “we are a gun rights organization” impossible to defend.

AHSA has also attempted to use the District of Columbia v. Heller case as an opportunity to create false pro-gun credentials, but its effort reveals the group’s real agenda. In its friend of the court brief—ostensibly in support of the challenge to D.C.’s gun ban—AHSA claims to support the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, but a complete reading shows a different story. The AHSA brief actually makes the case that the D.C. gun ban is mainly improper because D.C. is not a state, and the gun ban has not been authorized by Congress, saying “as a federal district, D.C. enjoys none of the indicia of statehood absent congressional legislation to the contrary and, therefore, basic notions of federalism cannot logically or semantically apply to the District.”

If AHSA’s position were adopted, it would strengthen the ability of states to pass more restrictive gun laws and lessen the impact of a pro-Second Amendment ruling in any of the fifty states. Unsurprisingly, in its conclusion, the brief states:

The argument advanced by [AHSA] would in no way prevent the D.C. Council from enacting reasonable regulations relating to possession, safety, and registration of firearms in the District. Indeed, it has a responsibility to the public to do so. [AHSA believes] that the District’s Gun Law was a laudable effort.

“Reasonable regulations,” “a responsibility to the public to do so,” a “laudable effort”?

No organization that claims the D.C. gun ban is a “laudable effort” or claims the gun regulations supported by the D.C. Council are “reasonable” can be described as pro-Second Amendment by any stretch of the imagination. And the claim that the gun ban’s primary flaw is that is was not enacted by a state eliminates any doubt that AHSA opposes a true individual right to keep and bear arms. If AHSA’s view were adopted, states would largely not be subject to the ruling—and to the extent they were, would not be prevented from enacting a broad range of laws as “reasonable regulations.” In fact, they would say, it would be their “responsibility to the public to do so.”

AHSA would be more correctly called the “American Association for the Protection of Anti-Gun Politicians.” No gun owner or sportsman should fall prey to its carefully crafted lies and deceptions.


TRENDING NOW
Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

The Illinois state Senate could vote on legislation to allow localities to infringe upon Second Amendment rights as early as today.  Senate Bill 2314 was moved to third reading after it had passed the Senate ...

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company ...

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms!  In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms! In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

In case you were worried there were not enough anti-gun organizations working to eradicate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, a new one has formed, and it’s called NoRA.  Get it?  The name implies that the ...

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

On Monday, the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee approved several gun control bills during a hearing that stretched over five hours. 

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, murders, there has been an unusual amount of anti-gun and anti-NRA commentary by private corporations with plenty of problems of their own.   In February, Delta announced it was ending a ...

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember M. Lorena González have announced their intention to introduce legislation to impose a one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms as well as punishing victims of theft by requiring reporting of lost or ...

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

This week, Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) started circulating a co-sponsorship memorandum soliciting members of the Pennsylvania state Senate to support a proposal to ban commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines in Pennsylvania.  Please ...

NRA backs Challenge to Vermont Magazine Ban

News  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NRA backs Challenge to Vermont Magazine Ban

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced support for a lawsuit brought by Vermont citizens, sporting-goods stores, and shooting clubs to challenge the state¹s recent ban on many of the most ...

UK Officials Continue to Push Knife/Gun/Cleaning Products Control

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

UK Officials Continue to Push Knife/Gun/Cleaning Products Control

The UK’s descent into absurdity continued this week as officials announced new efforts to crack down on knives and other potentially dangerous objects. The renewed interest in banning sharp objects stems from a recent spate of killings in London. ...

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

There is growing evidence that some of America’s financial elite want to create a world in which America’s public policy decisions emanate from corporate boardrooms in Manhattan rather than from citizens and their elected officials.  ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.