The NRA leaders like to speak on behalf of law-abiding gun owners and they often argue that any infringement on gun owner’s freedoms, including background checks or limits on the types of guns that can be purchased, are unfair burdens placed upon lawful gun owners. However, the NRA’s objections may stem in part from the fact that many members of the NRA leadership are not in fact law-abiding gun owners. The NRA board is populated with a smattering of criminals whose objection to gun laws might be rooted not in their concern for law-abiding gun owners, but their desire to protect fellow criminals. Let us meet the criminals in high places within the NRA’s leadership:
Harlon Carter: Murderer, Former NRA President and architect of the Cincinnatti Revolution within the NRA
At age 17, Harlon Carter shot and killed a 15-year old Latino boy named Ramon Casiano in Laredo, Texas. He had returned from school and his mother informed him that three Hispanic boys were loitering in the area. According to the sworn testimony of one of the boys, 12 year-old Salvador Pefia, the youths were returning from swimming, when they encountered Harlon. Prior to meeting the boys, Carter had already grabbed his shotgun and gone out to confront the boys. Upon finding the boys, Carter pointed his shotgun at the youths and told them they must come with him. Ramon Casiano resisted and pulled a knife challenging Carter to a fight. Instead of fighting, Harlon pointed his shotgun at Casiano. Ramon Casiano allegedly pushed the gun aside and stepped back, asking Harlon not to shoot him. Harlon Carter ignored his plea and shot and killed the boy anyway.
Although Carter would later claim self-defense, the presiding judge over the case instructed the jury that there was no evidence that the “defendant had any lawful authority to require [the] deceased to go to his house for questioning, and if defendant was trying to make [the] deceased go there for that purpose at the time of the killing, he was acting without authority of law, and the law of self-defense does not apply.” Carter was convicted of “murder without malice aforethought” (essentially the equivalent of today’s charge of 2nd degree murder, which is homicide that is intentional but not premeditated). He was sentenced to three years in prison, but later had the conviction overturned on appeal. Of course the acquittal was at the hands of the Texas justice system and Carter was a white man who had killed a Mexican boy. Carter later joined the US Border Guards and led an operation targeting illegal immigrants called “Operation Wetback.”
Although Carter has since passed away, he was the person most responsible for transforming the NRA from a hunting oriented gun safety and conservation organization to an active gun cult that lobbied congress to oppose almost any and all gun regulations. Carter was instrumental in toppling the moderate old guard and turning the NRA into the more militant and uncompromising pro-gun organization that it has become today. This coup within the NRA was known as the Cincinnatti Revolution. Although Carter has since passed away, the NRA continues to follow in the radical path that he established when he took control over the organization.
Ted Nugent: Serial poacher and wannabee presidential assassin
Nobody screams “law-abiding” gun owner louder than NRA board member Ted Nugent, the lyrical genius who brought America the songs “Wango Tango” and “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”. In 2010, Nugent was charged with eleven misdemeanor poaching crimes in California for engaging in illegal hunting methods. He plea bargained and plead guilty to just two of the poaching charges. He also illegally poached a black bear in Alaska, violating the state’s seasonal limit of only shooting one bear. Nugent was fined 10,000 dollars and placed on probation for killing the bear unlawfully.
When the motor city madman is not illegally shooting wildlife or singing misogynistic rock songs, he is making thinly veiled threats on the Democratic political leaders of America. One of his political rants while holding a gun in the air was “Obama, he’s a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.” Well it may not be an immediate death threat, but trigger happy Ted does seem to be itching to illegally shoot something other than deer and black bear.
Don Young: And you thought Sarah Palin was bad?
Don Young, the Republican Congressman from Alaska sits on the NRA’s Board of Directors. Although this may seem like a conflict of interest, it is apparently legal. However, this is certainly not the first time Mr. Young has been surrounded by questions regarding his ethical conduct. He has successfully weathered several Congressional investigations regarding political corruption, but his most dangerous action may have been signing Schaeffer Cox’s petition justifying the overthrow of the US government. Cox was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a plot that included conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, and arson. While Young was not implicated in the plot, he did sign Cox’s seditious petition at an “open carry” event in Alaska. Lacking in decorum, Congressman Young has also waved a walrus penis bone at a government official and he has unsheathed a knife and threatened retribution against one of his political opponents, both on the House floor during official congressional business. He also still refers to Latinos as “wetbacks” in 2013, a term that would surely make the late Harlon Carter proud.
Larry Craig: Does the NRA board let him have his own bathroom?
Last time most of us saw Larry Craig, he was a homophobic Idaho Republican Senator being charged with lewd conduct for soliciting gay bathroom sex with an undercover police officer in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport restroom. He then tried to violate FEC laws by using campaign funds to pay the expenses for his legal defense. But alas, we know why Larry Craig is now on the Board of Directors for the NRA, because we can bet that even though the police may catch him with his pants down, he will surely have at least one hand on his beloved gun. He will give up his gun only when the police pry it from his wet, sticky hands I presume. Of course, we have to wonder over at NRA headquarters if Larry has his own bathroom or if he is sharing the stalls with other “law-abiding” gun owners.
David Keene: NRA President and road rage’s poster father?
Well technically David Keene is not a criminal, but his son David Keene, Jr, who was hospitalized with “severe emotional problems” at least seven times in his youth, was sentenced to ten years in prison for attempted murder when he tried to shoot a fellow motorist in a road rage incident. Although this crime is not the responsibility of Keene Sr. it does beg the question as to why pulling a gun was apparently his son’s way of handling Beltway traffic problems. In Keene’s desire to protect law abiding owners from the “bad guys” with guns, he apparently overlooked that his son might be one of the “bad guys” with a gun. Of course, it is not the gun’s fault, but clearly the parents should have taught the young man proper gun safety and highway etiquette. Therefore, we should not blame the President of the NRA. Well except for the fact that he is the parent, which then complicates that whole line of argument a bit.
Manny Fernandez: Proof that outlawing guns does not keep guns out of criminal hands
NRA board member Manny Fernandez was convicted in 1983 of illegally possessing a machine gun, illustrating I guess that if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns. Apparently his criminal conviction was of no concern to the NRA since he now serves on their Board of Directors. Well, maybe they needed diversity, and come to think of it since Fernandez is Hispanic, maybe he should get a pass on wanting a gun. After all, you never know when he might run into Don Young or the ghost of Harlon Carter.
Bob Brown: Accomplice to multiple murders?
Bob Brown’s claim to fame was that he was once editor of Soldier of Fortune magazine. During the 1980s and 1990s over half a dozen contract murders were traced back to advertisements run in the Soldier of Fortune magazine. The magazine ran ads for contract killers with titles like “GUN FOR HIRE: 37-year-old professional mercenary desires jobs. Vietnam veteran. Discrete and very private. Body guard, courier, and other special skills. All jobs considered.” and the less subtle ““Married man looking for an expert in poisons to kill his wife.” One family of a victim of a contract killing was awarded a 4.37 million dollar judgement against the magazine. Astonishingly, the magazine refused to accept any responsibility for the murders, claiming, “We’re as culpable as any newspaper which accepts an ad from a used-car salesman and doesn’t go out to check the condition of his brakes.” Magazine ads for contract killers don’t kill people, people kill people apparently. Small wonder Bob Brown became a perfect fit for the NRA and the gun cult that refuses to accept any responsibility at all for any form of gun violence.
The NRA leadership is unqualified to speak on behalf of law-abiding gun owners
Given that the NRA leadership is populated with a number of men who have been convicted of criminal activity or have been implicated in serious violent crimes, up to and including murder, they are in no position to speak on behalf of law-abiding gun owners. Murderers, murder for hire facilitators, serial poachers and other criminals lack the moral authority to lecture the nation on how to protect law-abiding citizens from the “bad guys” with guns. Some of the “bad guys” with guns are sitting on the NRA’s Board of Directors, and it is about time the “good guys” (without guns) do something to stop them. Congress can continue to cower in fear of the NRA or they can stand up and do something to stop the “bad guys” with guns from bullying the nation into submission yet again.