The NRA Effect.

Beginning in 1980, the National Rifle Association first inserted itself into politics by endorsing Ronald Reagan. Since then, the NRA has increasingly exerted its power and influence over both national and state politics. Nearly every year, the NRA writes proposed legislation then shops it around to state legislatures in hopes of finding sponsors.

Often the legislators who put their names on the bills never even read them!

An example is the Concealed Carry Law. In 1986, there were only 8 states that had legislation dictating that anyone who meets minimum requirements shall be issued a permit to carry concealed weapons. But thanks to the NRA, there are now 37 states that have “shall issue” permit laws and 4 states with no restrictions at all. Next month (November 2011), Illinois will be the only state left that does not allow concealed carry in any circumstances.

These laws were not demanded by the states’ citizens. Nor were they addressing real problems. They were written by the NRA merely to push its own narrow political agenda.

Of course, other special interest groups followed the NRA’s lead. For example, the Arizona anti-immigrant law was initially written by Kris Kobach, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. It was embraced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which is headquartered in Washington, DC. FAIR (or, more precisely, UNFAIR) then shopped the bill around to the states until Arizona State Senator-In-Recall, Russell Pearce agreed to sponsor it as the infamous SB1070. It has since been brought before state legislatures in Alabama, Georgia, and South Dakota.

Now Kenneth Blackwell, an Ohio citizen and Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC, is pushing an anti-abortion bill for the state of Mississippi. The bill, if the voters of Mississippi pass it, will ban all abortions in the state by extending First Amendment rights to fetuses. And this isn’t the first hayride for the bill. It was previously promoted, and defeated, in Colorado.

Now, I believe US citizens should be able to create and pass legislation to solve problems in their own states as long as they meet the standards of our US Constitution. But it is one thing for a state legislature to identify issues, and quite another for special interest groups to write and promote legislative solutions in search of a problem.

It’s time for this nonsense to stop.