The Wall Street Journal has a fantastic editorial about just how awful the NRA's carveout deal with the Democrats is.
The NRA may swing a big lobbying stick by virtue of the breadth and voting power of its members, but it draws its legitimacy from the Constitution and it has drawn support on gun rights from those who care about the entire Bill of Rights. Cutting a special deal at the expense of the First Amendment with lawmakers who have decided for now to stop gutting the Second Amendment reveals an NRA that is unprincipled and will be weaker for it in the long run.
Made more awful is the NRA's own statement in support of its carveout. Get a load of this:
The most potent defense of the Second Amendment requires the most adamant exercise of the First Amendment. The NRA stands absolutely obligated to its members to ensure maximum access to the First Amendment, in order to protect and preserve the freedom of the Second Amendment.The NRA must preserve its ability to speak. It cannot risk a strategy that would deny its rights, for the Second Amendment cannot be defended without them.
Does the NRA think it alone defends the second amendment? I ask because there are other legitimate gun groups out there like Gun Owners of America. But as the Wall Street Journal notes, based on the compromise language the NRA got in the bill, it is the only organization in America that anyone can find that meets the criteria. Planned Parenthood doesn't meet the criteria, the Sierra Club does not, Citizens United does not, etc. etc. etc. Just the NRA.This is not about the second amendment. This is clearly not about "ensur[ing] maximum access to the First Amendment." This is about the NRA securing an earmark of constitutional protection for itself to turn itself into a monopoly.That is, in fact, the key. This provision gives the NRA a monopoly that they are perfectly happy to use to shutdown other freedom loving, pro-second amendment groups that should be viewed as their allies, but instead are viewed as competition.It is also disgusting.