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Op-Ed: NRA Not Backing Away From Guns, or Trump

By • April 24, 2023

If the National Rifle Association’s annual convention is an indication of where Republicans are in presidential politics, the party’s nomination practically is a foregone conclusion. Former President Trump will win, hands down.

Former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, an NRA board member since 1982, said delegates at the recent convention in Indianapolis made it clear where they stood.

Others made strong impressions, including former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent a recording that was well received and a smattering of boos greeted former Vice President Mike Pence. But it was Trump’s show, and he continues to thrive in the wake of an indictment filed by the Manhattan prosecutor.

“Trump was Trump,” Craig told me. “He played to the crowd and the crowd played back. They were there to see their president.”

And while the NRA is a non-partisan lobbying group, at least officially, there are good reasons for NRA members to support Trump. Yes, there are some – including Craig – who wish Trump had a more diplomatic style, but there’s no question about his commitment to NRA issues.

“He was the first presidential candidate that we fully endorsed in 2016,” Craig said. “He pledged that he would build a pro Second Amendment court, and he delivered.”

Meanwhile, NRA and Democrat leaders are no closer to resolving the gun debate, or coming up with “common sense” legislation to curb the wave of gun violence. There have been more than 160 mass shootings in the U.S. this year – and it’s only April. With frustrations and anger at a fever pitch, Craig says he understands the calls for Congress to do something – anything – to stop the bloodshed.

“And politicians, being politicians, want to show they are doing something even if it doesn’t have any consequence,” Craig says. “We have common-sense gun laws …all the laws we have are based on that. There isn’t anyone in the NRA, or any law-abiding citizen, who wants a person to use a gun with the intent to cause harm. But the problem is lack of enforcement of the laws that are on the books. For instance, do all states immediately feed their information to the FBI data base for automatic background checks? No. And there are frustrations of a wide-open southern border and immigration policy, where some criminals are coming into the country.”

Beyond that, he says,

“We have a cultural civil war that is going on in our country right now, and it has built a lot of anger and frustration as the left moves further to the left and the right moves further to the right. What people expect from government is to stay out of our private lives, enforce laws and keep us safe. When people don’t think that law enforcement will keep them safe, they take steps on their own to protect themselves and their families.”

So, guns have become the ultimate security blanket. But do people really need weapons, such as an AR-15? Well … try to take them away, Craig says.

“How are you going to collect them? How are you going to take them off the street? In Idaho, are you going to assign the National Guard to go door to door and ask for them? The answer is that the guard won’t allow it and the governor won’t order them to do it. Then we get down to state’s rights … some states will and some won’t. So now it comes to the individual … and some people will start shooting if federal agents come to the door.”

As for the prospect of banning the sale of assault weapons, Craig says, one problem is defining what an assault weapon is. “Any weapon used to kill another human can be viewed as an assault weapon.”

For law-abiding citizens, an AR-15 is a nice addition to a gun collection. But it’s a popular weapon for crazed shooters seeking 15 minutes of fame on the news networks and wanting to go out in a blaze of glory. Gun violence may be part of a cultural war, as Craig suggests, or maybe it’s the end result of what happens during the transition from pandemic lockdown to “normal” living.

Either way, there are no easy answers, culturally or politically. Of course, there’s something already on the books that should cover everything related to gun violence.

Intentionally killing another person, by whatever means, is against the law – punishable by death or life in prison.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at

This Op-Ed was submitted by Chuck Malloy. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

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Tags: 2A, AR-15, Asa Hutchinson, Donald Trump, Kristi Noem, Larry Craig, Mike Pence, NRA, Ron DeSantis, Second Amendment

5 thoughts on “Op-Ed: NRA Not Backing Away From Guns, or Trump

  1. Sorry until Wayne is gone the NRA will be nothing more than a corrupt joke. They pretty much sat out the past Presidential Election. I am a member through this year only. I will give my money to people who fight for my rights not buy suits for leadership and their cronies.

  2. “For law-abiding citizens, an AR-15 is a nice addition to a gun collection. But it’s a popular weapon for crazed shooters seeking 15 minutes of fame on the news networks and wanting to go out in a blaze of glory.”

    Do a check of murder statistics and long guns commit less than half of firearm murders. Most are committed with handguns.

    “Either way, there are no easy answers, culturally or politically.”

    Actually, there are. First, enforce existing laws and prosecute criminals. Second, bring back the death sentence for anyone convicted of murder. Third, realize that the deterioration of the family is what is leading to the majority of these crimes: most firearm murders are gang-related and children without fathers are attracted to gangs.

    At first, I thought that Mr. Malloy had for once written a common-sense article. His last three paragraphs, however, betrayed his true intentions.

    1. BWWAHAHAHHAAA!!! Malloy? Write a common-sense article???? Never gonna happen!!!

      That said, your post is spot-on, yet Malloy will read it and completely ignore your well-written facts, his brain will automatically resort back to the thoughts of “guns bad, guns must go bye-bye”.

      Nothing has really changed in the last decade (and longer, actually), its the same rhetoric. As soon as another gun crime is commited. The left, and a few on the right too as we’re seeing, simply use these crimes to affirm that “if” they can get all the guns out of the homes of law abiding gun owners, there will be no more shootings. Notice I quoted the word IF! Imagine how they will get rid of all the guns the citizens of this country owns right now! LOL!

      They know they cannot stop violent gun-related crimes. Hell, they can’t even do that in places where guns are already illegal to have, so they throw out the same garbage, hoping the majority of lemmings believe it as truth, “get rid of legally-owned firearms this country’s citizens own and we’ll all live happily ever after”.

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