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NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox's Message on H.R. 5175

Monday, June 14, 2010

I appreciate the concerns that some NRA members have raised regarding the NRA's position on H.R. 5175, the "DISCLOSE Act". Regrettably, our position has been misstated by some and intentionally misrepresented by others. I hope you'll allow me to provide the proper context.

The U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision was a significant victory for free speech and the Constitution. The NRA filed a strong brief in that case, which the Court specifically cited several times in its opinion. The DISCLOSE Act is an attempt to reverse that victory and that's why we told Congress we oppose it.

The NRA has never supported--nor would we ever support -- any version of this bill. Those who suggest otherwise are wrong.

The restrictions in this bill should not apply to anyone or to any organization. My job is to ensure they don't apply to the NRA and our members. Without the NRA, the Second Amendment will be lost and I will do everything in my power to prevent that.

We believe that any restriction on political speech is repugnant. But some of our critics believe we should put the Second Amendment at risk over a First Amendment principle to protect other organizations. That's easy to say--unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as I do.

The NRA is a single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment. We do not represent the interests of other organizations. Nor do all groups fight all issues together. For example, we didn't support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when it backed amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens and we did not join the Chamber in its support of President Obama's stimulus bill. And we've been in direct opposition when the Chamber has tried to restrict Second Amendment rights in publicly accessible parking lots.

Rather than focusing on opposing this bill, some have encouraged people to blame the NRA for this Congress's unconstitutional attack on free speech. That's a shame. If you oppose this bill, I hope you will contact your Member of Congress and Senators so they can hear from you.

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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.