LETTER from DAN BUTTERMANN
To the Editor:
I was delighted to see the attorney general take direct action against the leadership of the NRA. They have profited millions of dollars at the expense of NRA members and vendors, and this is not the mission and purpose of the organization. However, I find it difficult to agree with the conclusion that the NRA no longer has a place in our society. I am writing this letter to express my view that dissolving the NRA would not be fair to its members.
The NRA’s history originates in New York over 150 years ago, and serves its members across the country – about 5 million all together. The original functions of the NRA were not political, but more for the training and marksmanship of its members. Later, many years after its inception, the NRA started to address political affairs.
Today, it seems many of us identify the NRA more as a political affairs and lobbying organization than as a member services organization. In the light of NRA’s advocacy for gun owners, its members have relied on the organization to represent them. In this vein, the NRA functions for its members like unions function and negotiate for their members. Union members rely on their associations to negotiate their contracts – to represent them. Without the NRA, how will its members across the country receive the representation they require?
Good policy comes from good debate. The debate on gun safety will not have the same rigor without an organized body representing and speaking on behalf of gun owners. Our country was founded on, and continues on, the principles of representation.
The state’s actions, although completely appropriate against the four individuals at the top, go too far in seeking dissolvement of the NRA. This ultimately is punishment against members who joined the NRA seeking support, knowledge and advocacy. I believe the NRA members deserve a resolution to this lawsuit that reestablishes the NRA as an organization that responds to its members and can continue to serve as it was intended to so many years ago.