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UPDATE: NRA president gives historic view of gun fight

Our nation’s history is replete with efforts to control guns in the hands of private citizens, National Rifle Association President Jim Porter said Monday evening during a Logan County Republican Party fundraiser.

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Dr. Art Costin, left, prepares to take a photograph of National Rifle Association President Jim Porter and Diana Costin after Monday’s fundraiser for the Logan County Republican Party at Briarwood Sporting Club. (EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)

The British first tried to seize guns from Bostonians in 1775, and failed, and Franklin D. Roosevelt scuttled a gun registration bid in 1941 in the shadow of World War II.

But the fight over the Second Amendment right to bear arms has heated up since 1968.

“Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was mired in the (Vietnam) War, needed an issue to detract attention from the war,” Mr. Porter said.

So he pushed forward on a gun control bill that included registration of firearms. It failed because of the efforts of a lawmaker who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.

That event stirred the NRA and its 150,000 supporters to begin talking with lawmakers, but without a lobbying presence.

In 1975, the NRA membership voted to become more than just an organization dedicated to firearms training and competition, and cleared the way for Mr. Porter’s father and others to establish a lobbying presence.

“1968 made gun control a political issue,” Mr. Porter said. “Since then we’ve been fighting a public relations battle. There are those who want to make us out as less than human.

“This is a tough fight and there are some sharp elbows out there.”

The battle has gone from the national legislature to the courts and now to the states.

While much has been made of recently passed restrictions, those laws were passed in states that already had the most restrictive laws, the self-described redneck lawyer from Alabama said.

“And even they have to agree that the measures they passed would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook,” Mr. Porter said.

“Those states also have the highest crime rates. So as I see it, the only scientific conclusion you can draw is gun control leads to increased crime.”

The NRA is focusing on electing pro-gun candidates to the U.S. Senate. He explained senators vote to confirm on U.S. Supreme Court justices and federal judges and they vote on international treaties.

He encouraged the 100 plus attending the rally at Briarwood Sports Club to join the NRA.

“We now have 5 million members,” he said, “but we need more. We have a terrible fight on our hands.”

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