While the National Rifle Association has been around for quite a while in support of Second Amendment rights of gun owners, they have also compromised on many occasions, which surrendered portions of their members, as well as Americans’ rights concerning firearms. However, one organization is now getting the attention of even the New York Times as the premier gun rights advocates that push “harder than the NRA.” That group is Gun Owners of America (GOA).
GOA is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue.
The organization was founded in 1975 by Sen. H.L. (Bill) Richardson (now retired). Richardson continues to serve as the Chairman of Gun Owners of America, bringing his many years of political experience to the leadership of GOA. Richardson is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman.
Its Board of Directors have over 100 years of combined knowledge and experience on guns, legislation and politics. According to their website:
“GOA has never wavered from its mission to defend the Second Amendment — liberty’s freedom teeth, as George Washington called it.
Over the last 30 years, GOA has built a nationwide network of attorneys to help fight court battles in almost every state in the nation to protect gun owner rights. GOA staff and attorneys have also worked with members of Congress, state legislators and local citizens to protect gun ranges and local gun clubs from closure by overzealous government anti-gun bureaucrats.”
Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times writes:
When word surfaced in February that Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, was plotting with Democrats on a bill to expand background checks for gun buyers, Larry Pratt got really mad. Then, Mr. Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, got busy, mounting a lobbying blitz that helps explain why a bipartisan Senate deal on background checks remains elusive.
Within days, his staff, working from a nondescript space in a squat office building off the Beltway here — there isn’t even a nameplate on the door — was on the phone with supporters of his organization in Oklahoma. The group’s members were encouraged to inundate Mr. Coburn with e-mails and calls and to otherwise make it exceedingly clear to the senator that an enhanced background check law would not be tolerated.
It wasn’t long until Mr. Coburn, a gun rights advocate, had backed away from negotiations with Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, securing at least a temporary victory for gun rights activists and frustrating advocates of new gun safety laws.
Once largely unknown, Gun Owners of America, with its war chest, membership and lobbying strength dwarfed by the National Rifle Association, is emerging as an influential force as a series of gun control measures heads to the Senate floor.
The group has already been successful in both freezing senators, particularly Republicans, who have appeared to be on the fence about supporting bills to expand background checks and increase penalties for illegal gun purchases, and empowering those who have a strong gun rights background.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “They are strong defenders of the Second Amendment.”
Rep. Peter King, who has been OK with the Presidential assassination of American citizens, told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, “Larry Pratt with the Gun Owners of America is effective. I don’t deal with them myself, but the fact is, they are effective.” The reason he must not work with him is because GOA scored him an “F” when it comes to standing up for the Second Amendment.
While Coburn said that his decision to remove his support for the bill was due to a plan to require private gun sellers to keep records, GOS president Larry Pratt seems to think his group had something to do with it. “His staff admitted that it kind of irritated the senator. We were told, ‘He’s getting tired of this.’ But when we hear complaints like that, we know we are close to success. We are happy he changed his mind.”
There is courage to be gained from GOA as well. Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul refers to them as the “only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.” They are not a rich organization by any means, especially when compared with the NRA.
Ms. Steinhauer points out that in 2011 GOA’s total revenue was less than $2 million, compared to the NRA which received nearly $220 million. However, notice the use of the funds.
Open Secrets provides a comparison of money obtained and spent from both organizations. For instance, in 2012 GOA provided contributions of $119,850 compared to the NRA’s $1,458,651. GOA contributed only to Republicans candidates and the top recipients were Steve Stockman R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Steven Daines (R-MT) and Douglas Lamborn (R-CO). The NRA contributed to a variety of Republicans and Democrats, some of whom don’t wish to repeal current gun laws in order to remove restrictions on the Second Amendment, but rather enforce them. Additionally, in their lobbying, GOA spent $1.3 million in both 2011 and 2012, compared to just under $3 million by the NRA in 2011-12. Keep in mind that the NRA is nearly seventeen times larger in members than GOA and has been around far longer. GOA has approximately 300,000 members compared to the NRA’s five million. Both organizations disclose donors.
Part of GOA’s mission, according to Pratt is to keep an eye on the NRA in order to make sure they advance the cause of freedom regarding the Second Amendment “when we don’t think they’ve gone far enough.”
Some, like Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Mark Glaze claims that Pratt’s GOA is marginalizing the NRA, who he claims is “essentially a political party” and that the big majority of the members are “centrist,” what they forget is the issue of the Constitution and according to the Constitution, there is no such thing as an illegal gun, nor does it give the authority to the Federal government to restrict in any way guns or gun ownership. An obvious question I have is, if these Second Amendment infringing mayors, which include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are saying that GOA is marginalizing the NRA and we know Bloomberg’s position on guns, what should that tell us about who is actually defending Second Amendment rights and who may be open to compromises?
Mr. Pratt, 70, served in the Virginia legislature in the 1980′s and briefly worked for Patrick Buchanan’s 1996 Presidential campaign, so he’s not new to the political arena. Pratt and his son graciously respond promptly to questions and interviews with Freedom Outpost. I can’t say that for a lot of politicians or organizations. In fact, emails and phone calls are often not responded to at all.
If you missed it, you can see just how Pratt schools liberal gun grabbers like Piers Morgan, without batting an eyelid and brings to bear facts, the Constitution and logic to the issue of guns. Pratt is the “real deal” when it comes to the Second Amendment.
GOA is one that uncompromisingly uses their resources to fight to stop gun legislation and unravel current legislation such as background checks, fearing that they will ultimately lead to a national gun registry. “We have opposed them from the beginning,” he said, “because there will be mission creep.” GOA also opposes penalties for purchases made with the intent to sell or give firearms to someone else who cannot pass a background check, commonly referred to as “straw purchases.” According to Pratt, “There would not be straw purchasing if there were no limits on who can carry a gun,” which is a clear reference to the Second Amendment’s language that reads, “shall not be infringed.” Larry Pratt and Gun Owners of America actually understand that language. They openly support the proposed filibuster by Senators Paul, Cruz and Lee over Harry Reid’s gun control bill. Membership to GOA can be obtained here and they also provide alerts concerning important matters that threaten your Second Amendment rights protected under the Constitution, which you can sign up to receive for free here.